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Blog 8 Wallace

The piece I decided to discuss is “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar, which became associated with may different rallies with in the Black Lives Matter movement, and talks about police brutality as a whole against primarily African Americans. Lamar was inspired to write “Alright” by a trip to South Africa, and was inspired specifically by the cell where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. In addition, Lamar told NPR in a 2015 interview that he was thinking about the history of chattel slavery in America, and explains how even 400 years later, we still need joyful songs and music to heal. He talks about the injustices that African Americans faced from police, using verses such as “Uh, and when I wake up, I recognize you’re looking at me for the pay cut, But homicide be looking at you from the face down, What MAC-11 even boom with the bass down?” which explains how homicide is a constant threat for black people, and more verses such as “N****, and we hate po-po, Wanna kill us dead in the street fo sho”, which references that seeminglyw clockwork killing of black Americans by the police. Protesters from the Black Lives Matter adopted this song as their anthem, following killings of African Americans like Sandra Bland (a black woman who was found dead in a jail cell in Texas after she was arrested at a traffic stop) and Tamir Rice (a black 12-year-old who was playing with an Airsoft gun outside a rec center and was shot and killed by police). The song is an part of the hip hop genre, although it carries characteristics from the spiritual/gospel genre, such as the humming of voices in the back. The song includes a very noticeable saxophone in the background, which fades in and out throughout the song, alongside drums, and the hums of what sounds like a choir in the background. However, its actually Pharrell Williams who sings the chorus, the memorable “N*****, we gon’ be alright”.

Blog 6 Wallace

Both of my parents are Jamaican, and the music genre most popularly associated with Jamaica is reggae. Created in the late 60s, it quickly became extremely popular throughout the island in the 1970s, and reached worldwide popularity, gaining instant recognition in the United States and Britain. The most famous reggae artist is most definitely Bob Marley, and alongside his ska-turned-reggae group The Wailers he revolutionized the reggae genre forever. Other notable reggae artists besides Bob Marley & The Wailers include Dennis Brown, Peter Tosh, and Jimmy Cliff. Besides reggae, there are more genres that are associated with the island, including dancehall, ska, and rocksteady. Many of the genres are closely related or are heavily influenced from one another, and as a result they are often mistaken for one another, even though there are distinct differences that separate them, such as date of creation and the primary focus in the songs. Another genre, mento, is heavily influenced by the genre calypso that is present in many other Caribbean islands, particularly Trinidad & Tobago, and is widely popular throughout the island.

Blog 5 Wallace

After watching all 4 performances, the type of performance I would be most comfortable with as an audience member is definitely the jazz club. In the example of the jazz club the atmosphere felt more comfortable, and more intimate due to the closeness of the audience to the performers. Conversations amongst audience members probably would be permitted, and most people would most likely be friendly. Another reason I like the jazz club performance the most is because I feel like the element of surprise that comes with jazz meshes very well with the audience, because since jazz is based on improvisation, so therefore you would not know what to expect from the performers at any time during their performance.

The type of performance I would be the least comfortable with as an audience member is the symphony orchestra concert. It seems to have a very serious atmosphere, with no talking allowed. That seems very uncomfortable for someone like myself. Another reason is because it seems that you have to sit down the whole time which for me is yet again uncomfortable.

Blog 4 Wallace

In the movie clip I chose (the opening scene of Get Out), a black man (Logan) is lost and talking to a friend on the phone, when a white car starts to trail him. Clearly feeling uncomfortable, he turns back, and then car makes a U-turn and continues to follow him. He later is assaulted, knocked out, and put in the trunk of the car. This sets the tone for the rest of the movie, as the main black character Chris has to fight for his life against the family of his white girlfriend Rose.

Some diegetic sounds that are included in the scene include the crickets in the background, the engine of the car that kidnaps Logan, Logan’s footsteps as he walks, and perhaps the most important one is the song “Run Rabbit Run” which plays in the car that kidnaps Logan. I also think the same song is non-diegetic, because as Logan was being assaulted the same song seems to be playing directly over the scene, and not coming from just the car. The music adds suspense to the clip, and foreshadows the danger that Chris faces later in the movie. By playing “Run Rabbit Run”, it serves as a warning about what Chris should do before he ends up like Logan. The dynamics of the clip is also important, as when he realizes that the car stopped and the door is wide open the music increases in volume until it reaches fortissimo (very loud).

Blog 3 Wallace

The piece of musical technology that I decided to choose is an instrument, the piano. The piano is a keyboard musical instrument (invented around the year 1700 by Bartolomeo Cristofori) that has wire strings, that sound when struck by felt-covered hammers operated from a keyboard. The standard modern piano has 88 keys (52 white keys and 36, shorter black keys) and has a compass of seven full octaves plus a few keys. It quickly became popular due to it being both louder and more versatile than the previous popular keyboard instrument, the harpsichord. It is louder because instead of a hammer plucking the strings as you do when you play a harpsichord, the piano’s hammer strikes the strings, giving louder ranges in volume. In the past, there have been people who played the piano in an unorthodox manner, as it was been said that Wolfgang Mozart played the piano once with his nose, and people on YouTube have played the piano in ways that include: blindfolded, backwards, two pianos at once, while playing the violin and with pencils. I never learned how to play the piano, but I would love to one day.

One piece of music that uses the piano is the song “Out My Mind, Just In Time” by Erykah Badu. In the first 1 minute and 50 seconds of the song, the song has a homophonic texture, as it is only Erykah singing and the piano playing alongside her. Later (until 2:35, where the first part of the song ends), a violin joins the piano, but the piano is still the primary instrument.

Blog 2 Wallace

The two listening examples I chose to use were Alapana from Sitar, Sarode, and Tabla, and Kyrie from the Pope Marcellus Mass, and the three musical elements I will be discussing in tandem with them is harmony, texture, and melody. Harmony is defined as the sounding of two or more pitches at the same time, and in Alapana, the harmony of the song was definitely consonant, as the song was pleasing (to me at least), and there were no harmonies that clashed or were extremely different from one another. In addition, the song had a conjunct melody (a unit of pitches [or tones] sounded in succession – one after another). It was conjunct because the time between the pitches was very short and not that far apart. The texture (the ways in which different musical parts fit together) of the song was polyphonic, as the different instruments playing each played different melodies at the same time.

The second musical piece I listened to expressed these same elements, but in different ways. The harmony of this mass is still consonant, pleasing to the ears, and satisfying. However, the melody is disjunct in this musical piece, because there is a long distance between the pitches that are played. Another difference is that this musical piece is homophonic, which means that it has melody plus it also has chordal accompaniment.

Blog 1 Wallace

The Twentieth-Century Period was characterized by remarkable new innovations in many different fields, and things that excited me about this period included the new genres of music that were started during this period of time. Some historical events I know from this time period include World Wars 1 and 2, the first flight of the Wright Brothers, and the invention of rap in the 1970s. The textbook describes music from this period as essentially experimental, as it tells is that composers (inspired by Expressionism) left the major-minor scale behind and explored atonality, which is music without a tonal center. In addition to this, electronic instruments were used in the 1950s and 60s, and tape recorders were used to manipulate sounds in the environment, while other composers (such as John Cage) challenged the very definition of “music”, by using ambient noise as their sound.

One of the composers from this time period is William Grant Still and the piece I chose from him was Afro-American Symphony – I. Moderato Assai. It sounds like what I expected to hear after reading the textbook, because the music does indeed have a slow and steady pulse, and it builds up/increases in volume and tempo as the orchestra continues to play (which is characteristic of minimalism). The mood is also very bright, and when the flute comes in, the tempo picks up and becomes much more fast paced and frantic.

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