The two pieces that were chosen for the topic Music and Christmas are “Jingle Bells” and “Snow Candy”. The social context behind “Jingle Bells” is that it was not necessarily written for Christmas, but it became popular once people started to hear the song more out there. It started to become a fan favorite and go-to song during the Christmas season. The lyrics repeat throughout most of the song and involve a catchy tune that everyone knows. It includes a slow and steady tempo and the beat follows the words (jingle bell, jingle bell). The pitch changes through the song but not too much. Overall, it’s a very catchy melody and it’s an easy song to follow. The second song, “Snow Candy” by Starship Planet which is where the official unit name came from. The song was created to celebrate the upcoming holiday. It includes an addictive melody in resemblance to K-Pop and it has bell chimes along with a tune that makes you wanna dance around and sing to. The musical characteristics involve an upbeat tempo and catchy rhythm that gives Christmas emotions and feelings.
The two songs I’ve enjoyed listening to are “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber and
“All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey. Both of these songs are sung by popular artists. Justin Bieber created his song as a POP, R&B, and reggae influences. He performed the song beforehand and a week later decided to release it since he believed his fan would’ve loved the song. It’s catchy and involves a “bounce” tempo in the beat. His voice creates a very smooth and intimate feeling since we hear the maturation in his voice. It includes both bongos and guitar. He wanted to create a song that everyone would sing and remember every Christmas. The second song by Mariah Carey was created to spread her career forward. Her producers thought of creating a song that she can deliver spiritually and create a piece that is emotive. It was created during the summertime, and they wanted to create songs that can be catchy and more enthusiastic and have a balance between traditional and fun songs. The title itself explains the lyrics, how Mariah wants a special someone rather than presents for Christmas. The song is very upbeat, joyous tone, and many different sounds included that reminds us of Christmas. It includes lots of bell chimes, backup vocals, and synthesizers. The piece also involves different chords to make the song flow and more uplifting for people to want to dance around and have fun.
The piece of music I choose is “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar and it focuses on the Black Lives Matter Movement. Many of his songs from his album “To Pimp a Butterfly” had become anthems that reflect on the modern social justice movement. This song became very popular in our generation and its chorus became very important to have that hope for things to get better. The chorus consists of a rallying cry of protestors in the United States. They said, “a kind of comfort that people of color and other oppressed communities desperately need all too often: the hope-the feeling- that despite tensions in the country growing worse and worse, in the long run, we’re gon’ be all right”. The song itself reflects on the Black Lives Matter community, their protest to fight for equal rights, and most importantly for them to have a voice and not be harassed for their opinions. Many also speak out through this song about the treatment they have involving police brutality especially the student activists at Cleveland State University. The song was known for its beat as well while Lamar worked with Pharell Williams to put together. The dah dah dah sounds in the song is actually Williams disembodied voice, which is constantly played throughout the song. He wanted for the beat to not just be a tune but a statement to be told. It contains rap and complex rhythms and references to Jazz which was started in the South in black communities. A set of skittering drum beats and jazz horns, timbres in the saxophone, and piano. make this music piece stand out as well. This is where he decided to bring back the struggles of the modern black experience in America as well as the years that passed. Slaves would sing songs to keep their heads up with the struggles at the time and now four hundred years later people still need that music to heal. It was written in terms of positivity with a backdrop of civil unrest. This piece is a part of the Hip-Hop genre, but I wouldn’t necessarily say the genre itself is political. The song itself is a mix of R&B, dance-pop influences, and the 1990s deep house music.
The music of the Mevlevi Sufi correlates with dance to represent a connection between dance and religion. “A posture meant to represent the oneness of God”. Their actions are represented through a religious aspect and show how their movements show God sending his blessings. This type of music excites the listener and helps them become engaged. As mentioned in the slide we are able to, “Experience the direct spiritual union with God”. The Sema worship ceremony itself symbolizes the soul’s journey to God. This relates to the idea of mind over the matter since at the moment of the ceremony we put our mind and thought into worshiping and connecting to God. The music helps us get that closer connection to make it more powerful and meaningful. There are two parts of the ceremony which involves the Taksim and Pesrev. Overall, the music itself is very calming which helps people form a better connection and really focus. There spiritual energy throughout the dance enhances for better worship.
The music I choose is gospel music and the example is “Amazing Grace”. Worship in this music is performed in many different contexts and styles. Gospel music itself is pretty easy to learn when it comes to the words and its melodies. This song is particularly very connected to the Christian church. Both of these pieces are used in worshipping and strengthening faith. Both of these songs consist of a slow tempo. Both pieces are very different. In Mevlevi Sufi the dance consists of a lot of movement and I’ve realized it’s mostly men in the video. Usually, when we picture people singing amazing grace it’s very slow and powerful with not a lot of movement. Amazing Grace consists of no musical instruments, it’s known for its a cappella and it’s lining out style. Mevlevi focuses on God’s blessings and Amazing Graces emphasizes the thought of being found and letting go of our mistakes.
Both of my parents were born in Poland. Different parts of Poland have different customs and different music every person listens to. A very popular music genre in Poland is the Krakowiak. Today, it is considered a national dance and genre of music. It was developed over time in the southern parts of the country and most importantly in Krakow, Poland. This type of music has been around the time of the dynasties. While listening to krakowiak, we are able to realize how quick and fast the beats are. In the dance itself, our feet are supposed to imitate horses to mimic their movement. Usually, the dancer performing the krakowiak will wear polish folk costumes. The fast syncopated style of Polish folk music has everyone on their feet. Considering it is a very upbeat and dance style genre, most of its music contains a consonant interval. Throughout the music, it has a short long short type of rhythmic pattern.
The Krakowiak is in duple meter. Its melody has patterns containing extra notes, dotted rhythms, and use repetition. Some of the types of instruments used are baroque violins, recorders, fortepianos, trumpets, and the accordion. Today, different bands perform it at polish culture festivals and many special events. This type of music is still listened to today but most importantly it is performed. It is carried on through many generations and many people still dress up to perform. The example I choose is performed in the city it originated from in Krakow. In the video there dance women and men partnered up dancing together in front of a crowd at the main square of the city.
As an audience member, I would be most comfortable as an audience member in a jazz club. Personally, I enjoy upbeat music with lots of people around. During the 1950s jazz music had a variety of instruments and usually consisted of a few band members. It is a type of improvise and putting different instruments together to create an upbeat harmony that people can dance and enjoy listening to. I enjoy the swing/lazy rhythm because it gives off a good vibe and an easy-going tune. The energy that the performances show makes you wanna watch and get up and groove with them. The different cultures and ethnicities are well joined together to bring an engaging melody.
I would be least comfortable listening to a chamber music recital because I enjoy watching a performance with more people when it comes to them playing instruments. I find it pretty boring to watch a small group of performers rather than a larger group such as an orchestra.
In terms of the performers, I would expect them to be engaging as to what they as playing on their instruments. We as the audience have to sit and be respectful of those who are performing especially when watching a chamber music recital because usually, it’s a small group watching.
The scene I choose to write about is the opening scene from “Get Out”. This is one of my favorite films. The movie is briefly about a man named Chris (the black man) who decides to visit his girlfriend’s parents for the weekend. He experiences different events along the way, that brings him nearly to trouble and panic. As more time goes on, Chris starts to realize her parents are opening up about their interracial relationship. They basically start to “scare him away” so they can break up. This particular scene starts with Chris walking on the sidewalk, while he is talking to his girlfriend on the phone. A white car is passing by and decides to make a U-turn when it realizes him walking. A person dressed as a knight decides to kidnap him and put him into the car trunk.
There are a ton of diegetic sounds throughout this scene. As he is walking he hears the crickets making noises, the dog barking, his own footsteps, we’re able to hear him put his phone away into his jacket pocket and the car passing by. Also when Chris is getting dragged by the man dressed as a knight we hear the sound of his shoes being “dragged”. In a way, the sound of him being dragged makes a type of dissonance (harsh sound). There was only one nondiegetic sound present, which is the music that is playing out the car constantly. It starts to get louder when Chris sees the car door open.
In regards to our discussion last week, the music from the car is a type of symbol. Usually, when someone gets kidnapped or taken away, there is spooky music playing with tension. Instead, there is happy and upbeat music playing that we would hear in a happy cartoon. The opening scene starts with suspense before Chris gets taken away. The crickets and his walk at night give a type of spooky and creepy vibe. It tells the audience that something will probably happen to Chris in the future since he gets kidnapped in the beginning. The dynamics within the film go from soft to loud once the music plays louder. The film creates a type of emotion in thinking something bad will happen but the upbeat music gives us the thought that things will get better, but it really means otherwise.
Music Notation is an important form of technology of music. One important form of music notation in Europe is neumes. Around the early 800s, a system of notation was developed using neumes. This is known as figures that present either single tones or many groups of tones. Neumes are different from modern notation. In the past neumes didn’t display pitches, instead they showed outlines of how the music may unfold. A man named Guido of Arezzo (ca. 991-1033) had devised a staff system of lines and spaces that allowed for exact pitch requirements. They had been used to recite the Christian holy scriptures known as melodic.
Many people were able to use this device especially in the Middle Ages. I am not aware of any specific people who used this technology in a way that it wasn’t designed to be used. People were mainly looking for ways to expand ways of music notation and more advanced ways to present tones. Personally I have no experience with this particular form of music notation. However, the modern version is used now to see the different tones and sounds. I wasn’t able to find a clear piece of neumes but I was able to find a brief history and picture form of using neumes. I found this information very interesting and it was an interesting early form of music notation involving neumes.
Three musical elements that stood out to me while listening to these examples were melody, harmony, and texture. Melody is known as a unit of pitches sounded in succession (one after another). Harmony is the sounding of two or more pitches at the same time. Texture refers to how different musical parts fit together. The two listening examples that stood out to me were, Kyrie from the Pope Marcellus Mass by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and Missa cum Jubilo: Kyrie by Anonymous.
Once I listened to, Kyrie from the Pope Marcellus Mass by Giovanni, the first element I thought of was the harmony between the high pitched voices accompanied by the lower-pitched voices in the background. While closely listening to the voices that correlate with each other we get a sense of a type of consonant, which includes men and women singing. Consonant refers to the pleasing sound of two or more pitches. Giovanni uses a single melody accompanied by the range of pitches used at the same time. The melody provides a scale that forms the basis of melody gaps between pitches known as the major (bright) and minor (dark). Finding the texture in this piece wasn’t easy. After closely listening, I came to the conclusion that it must be a polyphony because of the different lines being sung simultaneously. This musical piece is sung in a church and if we listen closely we are able to hear the echo of the voices within the church.
Listening to the second musical piece, Missa cum Jubilo: Kyrie by Anonymous is also a song that would be sung at a church. The composer of this piece includes men with low pitched voices harmonizing together the type of melody they are providing. The range of the pitches throughout most of the song repeats and it includes conjunct and disjunct distances. This piece gives off mysterious and dark feelings. The harmony between these voices is very dissonant. Its texture is a type of monophony because it involves men singing the same type of musical line over and over again.
The Classical Period
The Classical Period excites me because of its’ relation to the Enlightenment. Many historical events occurred within this particular period. The Enlightenment was known for the major shift towards sciences, reason and individual rights. The widespread of advancements contributed to the Industrial Revolution. Furthermore, this leads to rises within the middle class and adjustments in the social-political structures. During this time period, the beginning of political parties was initiated in 1792. From our class discussion, we came to the conclusion that this period was called “classical” after the “classical” architecture of Greece. The music reflects balance and symmetry. It was known as an international style, which also drew from Italian perceptions. Composers depended on divergent melodies and different tonal areas in order to depict formal sections. The composer that stood out to me from the classical period was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I remember learning a lot about him in high school. The piece I chose by him is called Requiem, K. 626: Lacrimosa. It was written in 1791, which was left incomplete due to his death. This piece is one of the most popular pieces he’s put together. The sound is exactly what I anticipated for it to be. It sounds very soothing and well put together. When thinking about the classical period, this is the type of music you would expect to hear.