Home » Articles posted by Sophia Kotkes

Author Archives: Sophia Kotkes

Recent Comments

Blog 9, Kotkes

1. I chose to look at the “Music and Breakups” presentation. The two entries in the presentation were: “Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis Presley and “Mittens” by Frank Turner. I think “Heartbreak Hotel” was chosen for the presentation because it connects well to the topic of “Music and Breakups”. “Heartbreak Hotel” is a song sung by Elvis who is singing about his feelings after a breakup. The song starts off very upbeat but then shortly starts to talk about heartbreak and the music is more solemn and low. The line,“ Heartbreak is so lonely, I could die”, really sums up how he is feeling.He is feeling so down that he feels like he can die from the pain and loneliness. The second entry, “Mittens”, is a song describing the feelings and thoughts after a breakup. He is describing everything he put into the relationship and how it didn’t help preserve the relationship. It felt like all the efforts were for nothing. In the song, it says,” you left me feeling like, we’d never really been in love”. This summarizes the idea that after a breakup, people may feel like they did so much for the other person and put in so much effort to now be treated like a regular person, not someone who was in love with them. The musical characteristic that stands out is the tone of the signer’s voice. He sounds like he is yelling meaning he is upset about it and wants everyone to know. Usually, after a breakup, it is really rough for people and they tend to need to vent and yell out their frustrations.

2. If I would’ve chosen the topic of “Music and Breakups”, I would have included “Since U Been Gone” By Kelly Clarkson and “Die From A Broken Heart” By Maddie & Tae.  I would have chosen “Since U Been Gone” because it is the epitome of a breakup song. It discusses both sides of feeling after a breakup, feeling like you want them back and feeling that you are relieved to have ended the relationship. She sings about all of the “red flags” that she didn’t see in the relationship but she sees now, thanks to the breakup. The chorus says, “But, Since you’ve been gone, I can breathe for the first time”. This means that since they’ve broken up, it has been better. It is such a relief since he left her. The musical characteristic that stands out is the tone of the signer’s voice. She sounds happy but is singing in a very loud voice. She is so relieved to have ended the relationship, she is screaming in joy! The second song I would have chosen is “Die From A Broken Heart”. This song mimics a conversation someone would have with their mother after a breakup. The pain is so hard to deal with. It feels like one cannot function and feels like they may even die. In the song chorus, it says, “Momma, can you die from a broken heart?”. This means that the pain and frustration is so high, she is wondering if this pain and sadness can kill her.  The singers were both going through heartbreak or personal failures at the time of the song so the song is very genuine and heartfelt. The musical characteristic that stands out is the guitar melody in the background. Guitars are usually used to give off a homey feeling. They are usually used in group sing-alongs because for some reason, the softness of the guitar brings comfort and unity. In this song, she needs her mother’s comfort because she is so upset from the heartbreak.

Blog 8, Kotkes

I chose the song “We are the World” by U.S.A for Africa which was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy JOnes and Michael Omartian . This song was created to help raise awareness for the famine going on in Africa. There was a political change needed to stop the people from dying in Africa from the terrible famine in 1983-1985. The song’s purpose was for people to persuade their governments to participate in the relief effort in Ethiopia,Africa. I think listeners of the song definitely were made more aware of the struggles of the famine that Africa was going through.The musical genre that “We are the World” would be part of is rock. But, many people do not accept this song as a piece of rock music. 

The beginning of the song consists of these words:

“There are people dying

Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life

The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on

Pretending day-by-day

That someone, somewhere soon make a change

We’re all a part of God’s great big family

And the truth, you know, love is all we need”

These words are raising awareness to the people and to the politicians. We cannot live life and assume Africa will be taken care of. We need to fight for Africa and help collect the funds for relief from the government. 

One musical characteristic of the piece of music is the individuality of the singers in the song. There are about 21 soloists in this song. Each of them sings a solo which shows the individuality of the singers. It is showing that every person, individually, must make this choice and care about this situation in order for a change to be made. It also shows that every individual can be responsible for a change.

Blog 7, Kotkes

In the video of the Metlevi Sema ceremony, it mentioned that the Metlevi can be found in numerous Turkish communities. The most well known is in Konya and Istanbul. The Metlevi are known for their dances. Their dances were banned for a while under the Turkish government finally allowing the dances to be performed publicly. There is a special ceremony called the Sema Ceremony. This tradition was practiced in secret for a while which resulted in them focusing on music and songs,rather than on spiritual or religious traditions.

In the slideshow, it mentioned what the dance represented as a connection with the music. The beginning is with one palm upward and one palm downward which represents receiving the blessings of God and transmitting it to the earth. Throughout the rest of the dance, there is spinning and twirling which represents God’s divineness throughout the world.

The music seems to have an effect of seriousness on the listener’s body and mind. The beginning of the music is more slow and serious which is supposedly representing the oneness of God. Next, the music sounds louder and more exciting which is supposedly representing the love for God and his divineness of this manifest. It seems like very serious music unlike other music which is more exciting to dance to. The dances of twirling to this music seems very particular and not the type to laugh about or dance the way one would like.

The piece of music that I chose was “Kol Nidre” by Selmar Cerini which is a player sung on the Jewish high holiday of Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is a very serious day for the Jews as they are begging God to spare their lives for another year. This song, “Kol Nidre” is the first song of this spiritual holiday. It begins very softly and as the chazzan,the leader of the prayer service, repeats the prayer it gets louder and louder. The music represents the theme of this sacred ritual of asking God for repentance. The role of this prayer and piece of music is to ask God to please forgive any promises not kept or any sins they did throughout the past year. It is recited softly at first  to represent approaching the king of the world, God, as it is a scary and fearful experience. Then, it is recited a little louder each time to represent the closer and less scary it is to approach Him. 

These two traditions are very different from each other. The Sema Ceremony involves twirling in a specific way while music is being played. The Kol Nidre song involves praying and standing very solemnly and seriously. Another difference is that the Sema ceremony is about God and how wonderful He is while Kol Nidre is about asking God for forgiveness.One similarity though would be that both traditions involve softer and quieter music that escalates to louder music.

Blog 6, Kotkes

The genre of music I chose was Klezmer music. Klezmer music originated from the kabbalists of Israel in the 16th or 17th century. The Klezmer musical genre was created by Jews in a village in Czarist Russia (“Shalom Aleichem”). The Jews there had a hard life. They were not doing well financially or physically due to anti-semitism. They decided to create songs discussing God and His love to help with their pain. The specific song of the Klezmer genre that I chose was “Shalom Aleichem”. This song is definitely tied to my ethnicity. The Sabbath is a very spiritual and precious time for the Jews. Every Saturday is a day of rest for all of the Jews. It is a time to thank God and take a break from work and the outside world. This song, “Shalom Aleichem” is sung every Friday evening, which is the start of the Sabbath,by every Jew. It is a song sung around the table with friends and family. This song uses a lot of beautiful instruments that are very soft sounding. It sounds like there are flutes and guitars primarily being played. In addition, there is a great consonant harmony. The flutes are playing beautifully while the guitar is strumming. The two instruments harmonizing together gives it a pleasing and beautiful melody.

“Shalom Aleichem”. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/shalom-aleichem/

Blog 5, Kotkes

The performance where I would feel most comfortable would be the Jazz Club. The Jazz Club seems to be a very chill performance. The performers are singing and playing their instruments. But, it does not seem so official as they are taking pauses and don’t seem to demand silence. The audience is not sitting completely quietly. I saw even a waiter walking around serving drinks. People also seemed very happy throughout the performance, chatting with others.. It seems like it was the type of performance where people can hang out with friends or family,chatting and eating, while enjoying the Jazz music. If someone had to sneeze or get up for whatever reason, it would be acceptable and normal. It is most comfortable because everyone can do what they please without feeling pressured or feeling like they may disrupt the performance.

The performance where I would feel least comfortable would be the Chamber Music Recital. They are performing a string quartet known as “Joke”. The Chamber Music Recital seems to be very official. There are only four performers and it seems like a small hall. In this type of performance, it would be very disruptive for someone to speak or even get up. I would be nervous to even cough or sneeze because the room is silent. The audience is sitting silently throughout the performance. In addition, their seats are very close to the performers. There is only applause at the very end. During this performance, it would be least comfortable because the whole time people may be feeling pressured to hold in a sneeze or not use the restroom if needed. 

Blog 4, Kotkes

I chose the opening scene from “Get Out”. The clip starts off with a black man on the phone, talking to a girlfriend, walking on the sidewalk. As he is walking, there are alot of outdoor sounds like crickets buzzing and dogs barking. After getting off the phone, he seems a bit nervous while walking through this particular neighborhood. He is talking to himself out loud while he is walking. He is talking about how creepy it is and directions he must follow to get to a certain destination. Suddenly, he notices a white car following him. The car is driving very slowly and is stopping when he stops. He seems to get very nervous by the car and tries to stay calm. He then turns around to walk the opposite direction and then starts to cross the street. Suddenly, someone dressed as a knight with a mask grabs him and seems to be choking him. He then drags him into his car trunk. The scene then ends as the car drives away.

There are many diegetic sounds in this scene. Firstly, the footsteps,the breathing, the crickets,and the dogs are heard by him and the audience. We also hear what he is thinking because he says it aloud. The man and the audience hear the sound of the driving as well. I think the only non diegetic sound in the scene is the music coming out of the vehicle. It seems like the man doesn’t hear the music.

The music added into the scene, such as the music played once we saw the car, adds the intensity to the situation. The music being played had a kind of weird and spooky beat and tune. It’s a type of music heard by a haunted house or in a spooky movie. This music shows us that someone bad is about to happen which is the kidnapping. It also foreshadows that the movie may not be all comedic, it will have some spooky or mysterious parts.

Tempo is the speed at which a piece of music or part of it is played . The tempo in the music hints to the spookiness as well. As the car and the knight get closer to the man, the faster the music is. The tempo getting faster as the action rises, gives it a spooky vibe. As the guy is being attacked and dragged into the car truck, the tempo is fastest. I think the tempo being fast can resemble a heart beat. When there is a scary situation happening, our head and heart beats extra quickly.

Blog 3, Kotkes

The piece of musical technology I chose was the instrument, the drums. The drums are an important instrument used in many different musical pieces and songs. The purpose of the drum is to give the musical piece rhythm. More specifically, drums give a beat for the piece to follow. By having the drum sounding in the background, it is easier for the listener to follow and listen with ease. The drum achieves this purpose because of its unique sound. The drum is a banging type of sound which is really exactly what a beat is. There are very clear notes when using drums. The drums can be played fast or slow but every beat is significant. It really helps the song flow when there is a clear beat.

Most people do not use drums in a way that it wasn’t designed for. The only thing that comes to mind is the possible risks and harm of drumming. Some people don’t take the appropriate and correct precaution when drumming which can cause hearing loss or other issues in the ear. Drummers tend to play loudly which can be too loud for the ear to handle. Earplugs are an easy fix to that issue. I do not have any experience with the drums other than hearing than at shows or in songs I listen to. I never played the drums but love listening to sounds with drums in it.

The piece of music I chose was “Counting Stars’” by One Republic. When I thought about drums, this song came straight to my head.  This song has a great beat with the drums in the background. Even though there are other instruments being used in the song, the drum in the background helps the listener follow the song. The drums also give a nice beat which makes the song pleasing and catchy. Drums have been a great addition to music. 


Blog 2, Kotkes

I chose to listen to Kyrie (monophonic) and Alapana from “Sitar, Sarode, and Tabla”. Alapana from “Sitar, Sarode, and Tabla ” was a very interesting piece of music. The melody had a lot of different pitches. A melody is a unit of pitched sounded in succession, one after another. In some of the songs, such as “Pallavi”, there was harmony. Harmony is the sounding of two or more pitches at the same time. I found the harmony to be quite consonant. Many of the songs had a timbre which is the particular sound or color of an instrument that makes it unique. Some songs had violin and drums in it. The particular drums used were unique since they sounded like a type of African drum being played lightly. The violin was also an interesting and unique instrument which added the music piece. Kyrie (monophonic) was also a very interesting piece. It sounded a lot like a song sung in church. Many of the songs, such as “Surge Illuminare Jerusalem” had harmony. The harmony sounded very beautiful. Harmony is the sounding of two or more pitched at the same times and that is exactly what they were doing. There is a very high pitched voice and a very low pitched voice singing together. The musical piece had a very specific form used by choruses. Form is the overall shape or structure of the piece of music. Many of the music pieces had choruses which repeated the same melody and words. The songs in the collection also have great rhythm. Rhythm is the way the music is organized into distinct time units. There is a very slow tempo in many of the songs. Tempo is the speed at which the piece of music or part of it is played.

Kotkes,Blog 1

The Baroque Period

The invention of the new genre,opera is a very exciting part of the Baroque period. Many stories from Greek Mythology were used in the opera songs. There were speeches like songs and melodic songs. 

In the Baroque Period (1600-1750), there were many historical events. There are two historical events that I know of in that time period. One event is the establishment of Jamestown. I remember in elementary school history class, learning a lot about the establishment of Jamestown in 1607. The second event that I know of was when the land of New York was claimed. The land claim of New York is a huge historical event for all, especially us who live in New York!

The music in the Baroque period was very interesting. There were many new genres and instrument music styles being discovered. As I mentioned earlier, opera was invented. In addition, suites,sonato,and concertos were discovered. Many of the songs in that time period were basso continuo. Orchestra,which is a huge part of music today, was invented during the Baroque time period.

I chose to listen to a piece composed by Johann Sebastian Bach called ”air on the g string “. The piece sounded like the textbook described. It had basso continuo which the textbook mentioned to be a music theme for the Baroque time period. It sounded like a baby lullaby. When I played the piece, it sounded very soft and something a mobile would play for an infant.

Need help with the Commons? Visit our
help page
Send us a message