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Blog 9 Felorian

Two music entries were connected to Music and Childhood. The first piece was “Do-Re-Mi” by Julie Andrews. In the middle of the song Julie Andrews sings, “Once we have these notes in our heads, we can sing a million different tunes”. This is beneficial for a child because throughout one’s life they will hear a variety of songs, and this is the base for any song. This piece is usually introduced to kids when they first go to school. So the time and place of the social context is well interlocked with this song. In the video one can also see a woman leading the song that the kids are listening to, similar to a classroom environment. I agree in the song there was a clear and consistent pitch. This relates to a constant harmony that is heard in the chorus of the song. The second entry was “7 Years” by Lukas Graham. One line from this song is “I only see my goals, I don’t believe in failure”. As kids grow up, they will notice they are not perfect. This is an important lesson for them to learn, because the time will come where they will feel not good enough and instead of giving up they have to continue pursuing their dreams. The social context of this song is interesting since it mentions a majority of ages that people can relate to personally. Not only does it talk about the past, but it also talks about the future. From the age of seven to sixty one, a lot of social values are met and talking about drugs and family help discuss the social context. I think tempo is a great musical characteristic to bring up, because from the beginning of the song to the end there was a steady beat that did not change paste. The time units in the beats were in proportion. 

If this was my topic, I would pick two songs similar to the genre. The first song I would add is “Brave” by Sara Bareilles. Although teachers may not play this song for kids at school, a handful of girls stumble upon this song during their childhood. The social context relates to my topic Music and Femininity, because in the past and currently in 2020, too often girls are told they need to be put together and that their worth is not even a comparison to males. However, Sara Bareilles includes lyrics that make girls think otherwise: “Say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out”. This song encourages girls to find their voices and start speaking up when they feel something is not right. Another song girls may run into at a young age is “Fight Song” by Rachel Plattern. One line that stood out to me is, “I might only have one match but I can make an explosion”. This is a significant meaning to reveal, because girls are because girls can be put down and be told they are not good enough by boys, making them feel small. This song helps prove anyone that believes that wrong. Girls have the strength to fight any barriers in their way. One musical characteristic that relates to both of these songs is the rhythm. They actually follow the same beat, and carry a steady rhythmic pulse. Quite a few of my own entries had a well timed rhythm as well. 

Youtube Link for “Brave”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUQsqBqxoR4

Youtube Link for “Fight Song”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo1VInw-SKc

Blog 7 Felorian

The Mevlevi as shown in “The Mevlevi Sema Ceremony”, is a dance that is part of the mystical Sufi tradition of Islam. The role that music plays within the Sema ceremony, is that it symbolizes the soul’s journey to g-d. This is demonstrated with many formal sections. Since it is a slow dance of graceful and ecstatic turning, it has a calming effect on the listener’s body and mind. It is a time where one can forget about any stress they are experiencing and focus on their unity with g-d. It can also bring them to a place of positivity due to the instruments that are used. There are two parts of the Sema ceremony. The first one called Taksim, uses a flute to outline a scale used in the rest of the ceremony. The second one is called Pesrev, which uses string instruments, drum, and cymbal. These instruments can excite the listener, and they are able to celebrate their joy.

On the other hand, Kol Nidrei is a traditional prayer performed in the synagogue on Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for Jews because that is when they get to ask for forgiveness for everything they have done in the past year, and to wish for a better year ahead. The melody was used as a theme by many composers since the nineteenth century. The role that this music plays is to bring everyone to a peace of mind, and to ask for forgiveness for all the promises one said they can keep but failed to do so. This music has an intense effect on the listener’s body and mind, because it reminds them that there is a higher power always watching, and it serves as a wake up call on their actions in the future. That can be with them and g-d, or them and other people. Sometimes there is also a solo chanter, choir, and organ to accompany the music.

These traditions share some similarities and differences. There were two similarities which I found. The first one is that each music helps unite the person to g-d or to each other. The Mevlevi is played with instruments, and has dancers depending on each other to make the overall performance look smooth and in unison. And in Kol Nidrei, the people are asking for forgiveness from g-d and everyone surrounding them while sometimes with instruments in the background. The second similarity based on the “Mevlevi Slides PDF Version”, is that they both have to do with the soul’s journey to g-d. Each religion wants to return to g-d with a clean slate so they can go straight to heaven without experiencing any punishments. Both of these songs help aid their thoughts and actions to get to that point. However, there were also two differences which I found. First, is that Mevlevi is obviously a dance. Kol Nidrei is not, and it is usually sung while standing in place. Second, Kol Nidrei is also considered a prayer. It is a prayer that at times is not sung, and instead said to one self silently. There is also a tradition that goes along with it which includes throwing pieces of bread into a river, symbolizing one’s sins being washed away. The Mevlevi does not have that message and tradition attached to it.

Blog 8 Felorian

A popular political protest song I chose to write about is “Imagine” by John Lennon. The political purpose of this song was that we as a society can achieve peace in the world if we imagine it. A way in which listeners added their own political purpose to it, is that every listener is from a different country around the world. Bringing a mix of backgrounds can ironically unite everyone since peace is a factor we all want in our lives, no matter where we are from. This song falls under the category of rock music for genre. It also has some aspect of blues, since it has augmented chord changes, and sudden shifts in musical direction. One stanza of lyrics that stood out to me was the following: 

“You may say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one”

This stanza refers back to the idea of peace. John Lennon is trying to explain how positive thinking and determination can make a political change. If we can imagine a new world, we can achieve it. There are so many different religions and countries that can blur out this concept (similarly to how the music video began), but that is exactly why we need everyone’s contribution. He as a singer has a role of authority to write this song since the ex-Beatle would work with leading figures of the British Left, including Tariq Ali, who interviewed him for the influential Marxist magazine Red Mole. The first musical characteristic I realized was the rhythm. Throughout the song there is a steady beat that is heard. The measures have a group of strong beats, and the tempo is played with two beats in measure.

Blog 6 Felorian

My parents were both born in Iran. Genres of dance in Iran vary depending on the area, culture, and language of the local people. The dances can range from sophisticated court dances to energetic folk dances.The population of Iran includes many ethnicities, such as Kurds, Azerbaijanis, Turkmen, Jews, Armenian, and Georgian people. However, in general Iran has four categories of dance: chain or line dances, solo improvisational dance, war or combat dances, and ritual or spiritual dances. 

One example of a chain or line dance is Raghse Kurdi. Raghse Kurdi originated during the Medieval era. Kurds are the third largest ethnic group in Iran, so it is without a suprise that they have their own dance. In Raghse Kurdi, or Kurdish Dance in Farsi, the dancers stand in line and hold on to each other. One of the participants wags a handkerchief and sets the rhythm, which is a significant musical characteristic in this dance. The other dancers follow along in small steps. The musical instruments that are used are called dozal, tombak, sorna, and daf which also help with setting the rhythm and tempo. Today, the genre is still tied to my ethnicity. Even though I am not Kurdish, this dance has been made known to all Persians, so in parties and weddings I have been exposed to it and I have seen parents dance to it. It is hard to replicate it nowadays in American events, since the original dancers would wear colorful clothing with bells and handkerchiefs, so we dance in our typical dresses and use napkins instead as improvisation.

Blog 5 Felorian

Out of all the examples, I would be most comfortable as an audience member at the symphony orchestra concert. The musicians were playing Beethoven’s fifth symphony. As a violin player for nine years, I have been exposed to many pieces by famous composers. I have indeed played Beethoven’s fifth, and I have performed it with my class in front of our family members. Since I have experience with this piece, it would be more relatable for me to listen. Also it is interesting watching more experienced performers playing it, with a different conductor since he acts a beat earlier than the musicians. For the performers, I would expect them all to be seated, and all of the groups of instruments depending on each other. Some conductors cut pieces of music out, but I would expect this to be fully played. As for the audience, I would also expect them to be seated, and listening carefully to the different sections of the piece. And as predicted, when the piece was done the audience members applauded and some even gave a standing ovation to show appreciation for the performance.  

On the other hand, I would be least comfortable at the jazz club. This specific one was performed in the 1950’s at a New Orleans bar. I personally dislike the sound of jazz, so as an audience member I would not enjoy it as much as I would enjoy the symphony orchestra. I also like string instruments more, so it would just depend on the audience member’s taste. There were only about five musicians, so it was not as busy as the orchestra. For the performers, since it is an up beat music style, some clapping or walking around would be expected for engaging the audience. As for the audience, I would expect them to be standing up in conversations, and dancing around with a family member or spouse. This was played in a more open area compared to the music hall, so the audience members have more of an ability to move around regardless of the smaller space. This makes sense, since I usually see jazz players at the train station where people are busy and rushing.

Blog 4 Felorian

I decided to choose the “1.21 Gigawatts” scene from “Back to the Future”. This movie is about a teenager named Marty Mcfly, who accidently travels back in time and meets his parents as teenagers. The main goal of the movie is for McFly and his scientist named Doc, to try to figure how to go back to the future. The time machine that Doc made was called The DeLorean. In this specific scene, McFly is showing Doc a video of himself in the future on a television set. In the video, Doc explains how many gigawatts he needs for DeLorean to work with the help of lightning. 

Some diegetic sound (sound that is within the narrative action) was the television. At first the characters can hear the blurred sound of it trying to connect and finally Doc when he speaks. Also the sound of their running footsteps can be heard from either characters. Including the crumpling of McFly’s newspaper. On the other hand, some non diegetic sound (sound that is outside the narrative action) was the orchestra and band. As Doc discovers the day the lightning will strike, the audience can hear the instruments getting louder. This music adds a level of intensity and excitement for the audience. This is because it gives the audience hope that McFly will be able to resolve his problem. Doc will find a solution, and McFly can go back and eventually meet the woman of his dreams. One musical characteristic that is important is dynamics. Dynamics is the volume of a note or passage of music. The crescendo helps create these emotions and predictions about the plot. Also the tempo (speed at which the music is being played) supports the level of anticipation the audience feels. With the rhythm getting faster, the viewers become more eager to see what will happen in the rest of the plot. 

Blog 3 Felorian

A piece of musical technology that helps humans achieve certain goals is Spotify. Spotify’s purpose is to offer a digital music, podcast, and video streaming service that gives access to millions of songs and other content from artists all across the world. It is a software that allows people to create their own playlist and stream music. It works to achieve this purpose by making music easier to listen to. Users can create multiple playlists for different occasions. This helps out with efficiency since one can just set the device down during an event, and it will switch to another song by itself for free. However, if one wants to control which song it plays next, users would have to pay and purchase Spotify Premium. People usually use this application in a way that it is designed for. Again, that is either to listen to music or podcasts. I personally use Spotify when I can not hold the phone constantly, but still want to have music in the background; such as when I am driving, or busy running errands. 

The song “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran is a song available to Spotify users. This song was actually ranked number one for the most streamed songs on this application. Spotify influenced the music it helped to produce by causing it to be more well known. It gave the song a wider range of audience members to have the opportunity to listen to. People were able to listen to this song wherever and whenever they wanted, due to the efficiency of the application.


Blog 2 Felorian

Melody is a unit of pitches (or tones) sounded in succession. One of the assigned pieces, Alapana from “Sitar, Sarode, and Tabla” demonstrated this well. The melody in the song overall had a lower sound. This means that there were wider waves, whereas in rare moments of the song the pitch got higher, and there were thinner waves. For most of the song there was a long distance between pitches or a disjunct. Rhythm refers to the ways in which music is organized into distinct time units. Throughout the song, the tempo, or the speed at which a piece of music was played was slow and steady. And to help support the melody and rhythm a veena was used as an instrument. It comprises a family of chordophone instruments from the Indian subcontinent. The timbre, or the particular sound of an instrument made this song different since in modern day songs veenas are not used. It creates a unique sound that one can hear if they go through the process of close listening with the musical instrument in mind. It is almost as if someone is pulling you into a relaxed and zen environment.

On the other hand Kyrie from “The Pope Marcellus Mass” had a higher range in melody. This is because not only did the singers try different pitches but having male and female vocalists present at the same time makes it clearer to notice the highs and lows. The harmony, or the sounding of two or more pitches at the same time was consonant. The males and females sounded pleasing together. Also throughout the song one can hear various chords, or three or more pitches that sound at the same time; built according to specific rules. However the form or the overall shape and structure of this piece of music was not so clear. Although it was published in 1567, and has been studied for centuries as an example of Renaissance polyphonic choral music, there was no chorus after a verse to which modern day music is similar to. This also has a calm feel to it that the listeners can enjoy.

Blog 1 Felorian

The Renaissance period comes from the word ‘rebirth’. During this era there was an interest in writings, philosophies, and art of ancient Greece and Rome. People started to value empirical evidence and reasoning compared to speculative which is without data. Music started to be characterized by textures of intertwining melodies and the Church and nobility became important patrons of music. One point that excites me about this period is how music sung by voices survived since instrumental music often gets improvised. Since I play the violin it is relieving to hear how original pieces of music still exist even if it is not for instruments. 

A historical event that I knew about this period from high school is the Protestant Reformation. It was a sixteenth century European movement aimed at reforming the beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. The textbook describes music from that period “fresh” since Martin Luther created a new genre. His genre was named ‘the chorale’ which was a tune with German text sung by the congregation. Martin Luther believed that music sung in the vernacular was essential to worship, hence the reason why German music started to thrive during this era. 

One composer I picked to listen to under the Renaissance time period was Thomas Morley. The piece I listened to is called ‘Sing We and Chant It’. This music does satisfy my textbook expectations because it is an up beat song and during the Renaissance one would think of optimistic music since it is during an era of rebirth. There were advancements during society and this song is a representation of that. Also in my high school orchestra class we would listen to songs from this era, and they all had a similar beat and rhythm.