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Blog 9 Wong

The connection Mittens by Frank Turner and Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley has on the topic of Music and Breakups is pretty clear. Both songs are about the artist’s emotional experience with heartbreak. This person mentions the decrescendo that happens in Heartbreak Hotel and the bright sound of Mittens. Both of these musical characteristics work towards the student’s first introductory slide because they both help people relate and feel better about their situation in a real way.

I would pick songs that focus the artist’s revival after a break up. Some songs that come to mind are “thank u, next” by Ariana Grande and “Irreplaceable” by Beyonce. A lyric found in Grande’s song is “I ain’t worried ’bout nothin’/ Plus, I met someone else/ We havin’ better discussions”. A lyric found in Beyonce’s song goes ““I won’t lose a wink of sleep / ‘Cause the truth of the matter is replacing you is so easy”. Both of these lyrics show how the artists are moving on from their break ups into a new empowering state.

These songs connect to the topic because they are not only songs about a break up, but also show a strong attitude toward a rather sad situation. My topic Music and Childhood probably would not connect very well with these songs but might be a part of an artist’s adolescent years that impacted them significantly.

Wong Blog 8

Donald Grover’s song “This is America” was a controversial song addressing the issue of gun violence in the United States. More specifically, it brought to light the issue of mass shootings and racial discrimination against African Americans. Although asked about the meaning behind the song, Grover refused to comment any further than the song being “a song for people to play on the fourth of July” (IndieWire). The message of the song along with the music video is clear, which may be the reason why Grover chooses not to elaborate on it further. Even though Grover refuses to comment further, I don’t believe listeners “added their own political purpose to it”. The song was made to have political purpose. Even without Grover explicitly saying it, we see this in the lyrics and video very clearly. “This is America” would be part of the musical genre of trap music. Trap music itself is more popular than political.

The first part of the song is very carefree. Then there is a juxtaposition after the main intro which is revealing a more serious problem in contrast to the “carefree” and “nice sounding” beginnings. The beginning of the song repeats:

We just want the money (yeah)
Money just for you (ooh)
I know you wanna party (yeah)
Party just for free (yeah)
Girl, you got me dancin’ (girl, you got me dancin’)
Dance and shake the frame (ooh)

Then after the intro, the song repeats these phrases in a more serious tone:

This is America
Don’t catch you slippin’ now
Don’t catch you slippin’ now
Look what I’m whippin’ now
This is America (woo)
Don’t catch you slippin’ now
Don’t catch you slippin’ now
Look what I’m whippin’ now

One musical characteristic of the piece that make it a useful tool for political protest would be catchy beat. This is useful for any kind of political protest because it is memorable and danceable too. While the song holds a grave message, the beat makes it easy for people to listen to.

Blog 7 Wong

The role of the Sema ceremony is for a person’s soul to meet with God’s. This highly symbolic ceremony contains music that support this role. There are two parts of music in the Sema ceremony. The first is the Taksim or improvisation on the a ney, or flute (Mevlevi Slides). The second is the Peşrev which unlike Taksim is not improvised. It is composed. In combination with symbolic dance moves and the flute, the “divine is made manifest in the world” (Music and Spirituality). In short, the music in the Sema ceremony has the purpose of bringing a person’s soul into the divine presence of God reflecting “the ideal of surrendering one’s individual identity to the all-encompassing universalism of God” (Music and Spirituality).

With relation to Buddhist chants, gospel music, and Western art music in the Christian church, this Mevlevi music is comparably more calculated in its symbolism. Every dance move down to the direction the palms are facing has symbolism and purpose. The music has sections that each represent a particular moment in the history of their religion.

Specifically compared to gospel music, Mevlevi music in the Sama ceremony has no words. There entire song is instrumental while in gospel music, there is usually a choir. Another obvious difference would be the difference in religion. Mevlevi is a mystical branch of Islam while gospel music is from Christianity. In terms of similarities, they are both forms of worship to God. They both have symbolism whether in forms of lyrics, dance, or sections they both intended to bring people into the presence of God.

Blog 6 Wong

In Chinese culture, the genre of folk music is prevalent and dates back to the Han Dynasty. One folk dance that is popular even today is the Chinese Dragon Dance. Initially used in a ceremony to worship ancestors and pray for rain, this dance today symbolizes “wisdom, power and wealth, and … are believed to bring good luck to people.” Typically, the music that goes along with this dance consists of “music of beating drums, clashing cymbals, and resounding gongs.” Several dancers carry poles which are attached to a huge, decorative dragon. They dance and “puppet” the dragon to make it move as if it were a real creature. This dance is performed usually during Chinese New Year or at Lantern Festivals. Today, this performance still goes on and can be seen in many Chinatowns around the states.

I personally don’t feel tied to this folk genre or Dragon Dance because I don’t believe in the meaning behind it. Nevertheless, this type of music and dance is still very tied to my ethnicity and is enjoyed by many people from other cultures during the Chinese holidays. The video below shows the Lion Dance performed with the drum and gong in New York City Chinatown where many bystanders were able to witness.

Blog 5 Wong

I would be most comfortable in the Jazz concert as an audience member because the atmosphere seemed very relaxed and I like how jazz music sounds. I would expect to see the performers feed off of each other’s energy and work together as a group to create music that is pleasing to listen to. As a listener I would take the time to appreciate the sound of the orchestra but also feel free to dance to the music too.

I would feel the least comfortable at the Hindustani concert because I do not connect with the music. I don’t know what the woman is saying and I don’t like how the background instruments drag out the notes. I would expect to see the performers also feeding off of each other’s energy. As a listener I would show more respect to the performance by being silent and keeping my attention.

I’ve been to a live concert at the Lincoln Center where I saw many ballet performances. The expectations are similar to the Hindustani, quartet, and Beethoven concert. Audience members are expected to sit quietly until the piece is over at which they can clap. There is a certain amount of respect that is given to the orchestras.

Blog 4 Wong

In the opening scene of “Get Out” we see an African American man walking in a quiet neighborhood with wide roads and fancy street lights. While he’s his phone, we see that he is being followed by a car. There is no music playing in the background until the man gets knocked out and dragged into the vehicle. As he is being dragged, the upbeat 1939 song “Run Rabbit Run” by Noel Gay and Ralph Butler begins to play (wiki).

The diegetic sounds in this scene include the man talking to himself as he is navigating the streets. We hear him being attacked. The non-diegetic sound is the song “Run Rabbit Run.”

The music in this clip is pivotal in setting the overall tone of the movie, which is a mix of thriller, comedy, and satire all at the same time. The song sounds light hearted and pleasing to listen to, but actually has a deeper meaning to it. This song, written during WWII is poking pun at the German’s aerial warfare branch saying how it was ineffective and at most killed two rabbits (wiki). The lyrics suggests a killing and a chance for the victim to escape:

“Run rabbit – run rabbit – Run! Run! Run!
Don’t give the farmer his fun! Fun! Fun!
He’ll get by
Without his rabbit pie
So run rabbit – run rabbit – Run! Run! Run!” (wiki)

The song adds an eerie mood as something grave occurs (man gets attacked), yet the song is consonant and has a fast beat. This definitely lets the audience know that the rest of the movie will have characters and settings that look polished, but are actually troublesome.

Blog 3 Wong

The technology I chose was the electric guitar which drastically changed the music world for the better. According to Guitar History Facts website, electric guitars have a hollow, semi-hollow and solid body. They don’t rely on chamber acoustic to produce tones, and the presence of hollow body can cause feedback and unintentional vibrations of the strings.” Instead of relying fully on natural acoustics of the guitar shape and string vibration, the electric guitar creates sound directly from the strings itself. Some different types of electric guitars include “solid body, chambered bodies, semi-acoustic, full hollow-body, and electric acoustic” (Guitar History Facts).

I myself play an electric acoustic guitar. What’s great about it is that I can play it with the acoustics and string vibration sound while also amplifying those same sounds when I plug it in. I haven’t played a solid body electric guitar but I would like to one day. In many songs I listen to, the intro usually has a melody produced by an electric guitar or keyboard. I want to learn how to play this on the solid body electric guitar one day.

The song I chose is “Fix My Eyes” by Kings Kaleidoscope which consists of multiple genres (Christian, rock, indie…). Throughout the piece, the electric guitar can be clearly heard as the artist is playing it using chords.

Blog 2 Wong

I chose to listen to Kyrie from the Pope Marcellus Mass by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. The first element I noticed was the harmony throughout the piece. There were female and male singers; females singing the higher pitched vocals and males the lower pitched vocals. The harmony of this piece created a full sound as if one were at a mass. The piece itself is a smooth flowing mood with not a very distinct rhythm. The singers definitely follow some sort of tempo, however it was hard for me to distinguish actual beats with the singing. The texture of these pieces are homophobic as the vocals are accompanied by the instrumental organ all following the same melody.

The second piece I listened to was Kyrie (monophonic) which was surprisingly very different than Kyrie from the Pope Marcellus Mass. By listening to this piece after the first, I was more able to understand the melody of the piece. On a first listen, this version of the song is a more solemn mood  It has a monophonic texture as the singers are not accompanied by any other instrument. There is a distinct different in timbre compared to the previous song. While the first song at the mass was more bright and layered with several harmonies, this song is just a melody and stays in the lower pitch range throughout the entire piece. I also could pick out the rhythm better in this piece as there was only a melody and no harmony. 

Wong, Blog1

The 20th Century time period of music is exciting in its newness and technological innovations which are reflected in many composer’s works during this time.

The textbook describes this time period as one containing great changes in technology, medicine, and lifestyle. Styles like impressionism and expressionism came about emphasizing mood and the unconscious mind (respectively). Another style that was prominent of this time was minimalism which was characterized by “harmonic consonance, steady pulse, and the slow, hypnotic transformation of musical phrases” (Cornelius, Natvig).

An example of composer of this time includes George Gershwin (1898–1937). During high school band class, I played many pieces by Gershwin one of which was called “I got Rhythm” which is an upbeat, bright jazz piece published in 1930. The music does sound like what I expected as it clearly contains a mood that is a defining component of expressionism, as mentioned in our textbook. The mood in this piece is cheerful and puts emphasis on brass instruments like saxophone and trumpet. Contrary to this piece, Gershwin also composed “Summertime” which contains a deep, solemn mood that is drawn out and intense. Both pieces are accompanied with lyrics, which I found to be very interesting.