- I chose the presentation: Music and Addiction. As addiction is the topic at hand, the lyrics and the social context have the most meaning, although I saw that for both the songs chosen the musical characteristics of the two had been shown to follow the lyrics. For instance, for the song, “Sober” by Demi Lovato, the person chose to write about the crescendo/decrescendo of the melody, which correlated with the occurring lyrics which could symbolize addiction’s path in her life. Lovato struggled with her addiction, and with fame came paparazzi, whom documented/described her check ins to rehab centers, and how she withdrew from the public eye to handle the situation. For the song “Master of Puppets” by Metallica, it also references how addicts’ lives are similar to how the song’s tempo moves relative to the chaotic emotions that encompass how addicts’ feel during the course of their highs and lows. I understood where the presenter was coming from, and agreed with them on their stance regarding the phases of addiction(as well as recovery/rehabilitation that come after) that show up in various parts of the songs. The presenter chose two songs that were able to showcase the difficulties of what addicts go through on a daily basis, and its additional aspects of how the song’s musical elements helped along that understanding for the listeners.
- Had I chosen the topic : Addiction, I would have used the two songs: Painkiller by Three Days Grace, and Linkin Park’s: Breaking the Habit. My song choice is similar to the original presenter, as they too chose a rock song, however both my songs are in the genre, as compared to their one(from the two shown in the presentation). They’re both in the same genre which is rock, but Three Days Grace song is hard rock. “Painkiller” directly references it, with lyrics like, “You know you need a fix”, “the dose that you die on”, and the obvious, “painkiller”. The lyrics show the inherent desperation addicts feel when they miss a dose of their favorite high, and even if they die because of their addiction, they can’t stop themselves from reaching for the drugs that make their pain go away for a while. It’s exactly why they’re addicted, it’s because they stop feeling or opposite, feel more, by letting out their emotions. As with the lyrics, the singers of the group are able to fit those emotions into the song, the raw pain coming out from the way they’re able to not quite scream, and manage to keep it all together. For Linkin Park it’s alternative rock/alternative metal. Slight differences, but it’s clearly shown between the two as Linkin Park’s song doesn’t have the harsh grating of multiple voices rising in pitch, in tandem with the chords. Chester’s voice is at a steady, stable pitch, consonant rather than dissonant with the guitar and drums in the background. Although, he does raise his voice towards the end of the chorus, which signals the letting go of the habit that’s ruining the narrator’s life, even if there is the off chance that the person will come back to it, thus is an addiction over the course of life, it’s simply unpredictable, but it can be managed, and stored away where it can do no more harm than one would want. There is also the personal struggle that went unseen in this song at the time, the main singer, Chester Bennington had an addiction with drugs and alcohol, that went on for some years, until his suicide three years ago. It also relates with my topic: Life Transitions, which everyone goes through, even more so for addicts, whose lives may be upended by their inner turmoil. Although, if they do turn their lives around for the better, it also relates, because that’s a huge life decision they must make, in order to get clean and stay that way.
The Killers penned this song for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting that left 58 people dead. The front man Brandon Flowers writes of how shocked he was hearing of the news, then about the Sandy Hook shooting, and Parkland, that mass shootings in the United States were far too common, and becoming a new norm-to the point most aren’t shocked by such news anymore. He kept pushing off writing the song down after each shooting, but he felt enough was enough, and released it in 2017 in response to the government’s weak response to trying to prevent such tragedies from happening again. The song is of the alternative/indie genre, and it isn’t a political genre, no music genre is actually. It’s the lyrics and the meaning that makes a song political in someone’s eyes.
Listeners would also put their own spin on the song, mostly due to the political shift due to the 2016 election and onwards, that created a much more noticeable divide between the American people. The lyrics “We’ve got a problem with guns…who just want the same things we do” showcases the message that both facts that we can all agree, hardly anything has changed in the “land of the free”. Every month, every year, we have mass shootings at schools, anywhere, immigrants are turned away at the border “wall” when all they want is a life we all look forward to, and racism, all are topics that are at least touched upon in the duration of the song. It is markedly a useful song for political protest, mostly due to the riveting lyrics and the piano’s dynamic, that bring harmony together with the background gospel choir.
As described within the powerpoint that was uploaded, the Sema ceremony symbolizes soul’s journey to god” and by listening it through, it invites listeners to get “excited” with the integral part of the song, the instruments, which include flutes, drums, cymbals, and different types of string instruments that make up the melody of the song. As the dancing that goes along with it is “a slow dance made up of graceful and ecstatic turning” it goes to show how close they feel with god, spiritually, as they perform.
Amazing Grace is a piece of Gospel music that also tends to be religiously significant(for example during church prayer) as a well known hymn. A like minded characteristic between the two pieces (Amazing Grace and the Sema Ceremony) is that they’re both characterized as religious, as they pertain to the worship of God, and belief in him. In the chapter Music and Spirituality, the origin of the hymn stems from a man by the name of John Newton”after surviving a violent storm at sea, converted to evangelical Christianity.”
From my experience, Amazing Grace is usually a piece in which singers are unaccompanied by instruments/instrumental, and each singer holds a different place within the song, holding different notes. This is because of the way it is performed, usually within a church (Christians/Catholics), in a choir, as it was originally a piece written in gratitude towards god, so it is only fitting it is sung in a church. Just as Amazing Grace and the music from the Sema Ceremony are similar, they are also opposites, with the music from the ceremony being purely instrumental, no lyrics to sing.
The genre I’ve chosen is trot music, which is the one of the oldest (if not the oldest) form of popular South Korean music. It was developed presumably around the early years of the 1900’s, or during World War 2. The word “Trot” is taken from the English word “Foxtrot”, although the genres are different as the foxtrot is a waltz dance. The genre was influenced mainly by Korean music, with American, European, and Japanese touches. The fact that it’s a genre of traditional S. Korean music means it’s tied to me through my ancestry and heritage, but the truth is, I don’t feel much of a connection to it, it’s mostly enjoyed by those who are middle aged. However, there are newer/younger singers of trot that are spiking numbers higher for the younger generation as well, as they learn to enjoy something their grandparents do, with a new spin on the traditional, even EDM is used in some songs. Also, there is the added benefit of understanding the language, because even though I learned it as a second language, it helps me to listen to Korean songs easily, without the language barrier that some might have when not knowing the language.
A younger singer(compared to those who usually perform in the genre) is Hong Jin Young, as linked below, who in the early 2000’s-2010’s(current), is someone who has helped bring more around more of a engaging way to introduce a broad audience to the genre. A well known characteristic of the genre is the usage of duple meter, a soloist(usually accompanied by backup dancers, sometimes very rarely two people in a duet), and a specific characteristic called “꺾기” (Kkeok-ki) within the classical music theory it’s described as the gruppetto ornament (or the initial original note, a note that’s lower in pitch, one higher, and one in vibrato). To explain it more simply, a single word in the song could be stretched out to accommodate for the ornament. The songs usually use an accompaniment of instruments, but in modern times, it’s changed to adapt into what the wider audience might enjoy, such as using guitars, orchestras, the occasional electronic element to mix it up now and then.
Personally for myself, I would be most comfortable as an audience member for the symphony orchestra sitting farther away from the performers. A few months ago during the winter break I had taken the opportunity to go to a NYPhilharmonics concert of Brahms and Strauss, and my expectations were fulfilled. I was comfortable there because I knew what to do as an audience member, to keep quiet during the performance so as not to distract anyone’s attention, clap when they finish, and not to move around or speak unless it’s time to leave. I expected to hear a full concert of roughly 2 hours, and it was much better in person compared to listening to a concert from a screen. The sound is much fuller, rich, and the interaction of the conductor and the performers is vivid, rather than sudden closeups from a camera from a video.
I would be least comfortable at a chamber orchestra recital, because the distance from the performers and the audience is a bit out of my comfort zone. I would be more afraid to make a noise, and any movement could make a fellow audience member make a fuss, which in turn, could cause a domino effect that would reach the performers and their music would be disrupted just as fast. It would be nerve racking just to sit that close, and I feel if I had to attend a recital, it would have to be someplace that’s further away from the performers themselves, so they can concentrate on their craft.
There’s a man in the shadows talking on the phone, walking down a sidewalk. He’s muttering directions to himself as he gets startled by the sound of a dog barking in the distance, feeling out of place in the predominantly white neighborhood. There’s a car moving steadily down the block, and the man thinks nothing of it, thinking his nerves are getting the best of him. It comes back with a smooth turn, following him for a few seconds, and the driver gets out from the running car, unknown as the audience nor the man who turns to look, knows where he is, until the driver is kidnapping him.
Some of the diegetic sounds such as the music is the song “Run Rabbit Run” by Flanagan and Allen, which is coming from the car. There’s also the quiet sounds of crickets and the dog barking in the distance, as the man ends his phone call to the other person. The sound of the car moving down the street, and the turn. The dragging of the unconscious man’s feet towards the car, with the click of the trunk, and slamming of the car door. Nondiegetic sounds could be the ending notes of the violin which show along with the Universal pictures logo and associations.
The music of “run rabbit run” adds a sense of almost normalcy to the scene, a calm before the storm, before the music gets louder, and signals urgency. The start of the music signals the beginning of the plot, and tells the audience to start paying attention, that this is where it all comes back to. The ending notes of the violin are solely for the audience, with its haunting dissonance of just a few notes, is very telling of how stifling creepy the kidnapping is, and how it’s all happening right in front of residences where they either don’t know what’s going on outside their doors, or they’re all in on it, not caring. When watching the clip without sound, you can’t tell if the scene starts off with the musical track or not, desensitizing the audience from what’s happening in front of them. They can’t hear the violin, nor the song, and it’s just a kidnapping, no one can tell if people noticed the kidnapping taking place, or if the entire neighborhood is silent, which could indicate compliancy by not noticing the loud music and yells.
The piece of music technology that I’ve chosen is the software: Ableton Live 10. According to website musictech.net “Ableton’s definition of melody and harmony: melody is the tune, the lead, the hook, a one-note-at-a-time part… played together,”(Delaney). The purpose of the not-free software is for anyone, beginners and professionals alike, to be able to mix music and make their own way into the musical world. It works to achieve that purpose by having specialty tools encapsulated within the program, such as midi-effects for harmony, and more.
I believe there might be people out there who use the software for other purposes besides music, especially through pirating or by selling copies of the software illegally, therefore making money off of it, and not the intended purpose: to create music. I do have experience using this technology, in high school I used to put covers of songs on youtube, and I used this software to mix my vocals (pitch correction) with the instrumentals, along with adding specific effects into the background. The technology was influential towards the music it helped produce because it helps artists to create their remixes, covers, original pieces, and even to be a DJ.
I chose the two pieces: Kyrie(monophonic) and Kyrie from the Pope Marcellus Mass, and while listening to both pieces I made sure to have the musical elements in mind. I did have some expectations for both, for example that the monophonic piece wouldn’t have Some that came up during the monophonic Kyrie piece was that the texture was a monophony(a single musical line with accompaniment). This was because there was the same lyrical line with no instruments for support, and “Even though many voices or instruments might be involved, as long as all are sounding the exact same line, the texture is monophonic.” The Kyrie from the Pope Marcellus Mass, started off with a single voice, then others started joining in at different times, all singing the same line(showing that it was a polyphony texture), with a consonant harmony as it sounded pleasing to the ear when the lower pitched voices combined with the higher pitched ones. The single melody was picked out right in the beginning, low (perhaps piano) to a forte or fortissimo, letting me know what to expect in the coming parts, as the line was sung by multiple people.
For the two songs, my thought process for both was I would essentially go into them blind. I wouldn’t research them about their history or anything, I would go by my first impression, which was that they were going to be without instrumentals and that the music is most suited for church mass. When I started listening to each piece, I jotted down a list of notes to come back to as I wrote my response. The basics of which was how I felt about each piece, which musical elements I could pick out, and simple definitions, making sure to refer back to either the textbook or my worksheet for notes on particularities.
The Baroque period is exciting for me because I recently went to an NYPhilharmonic performance of George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah“, and the fact that it was from the Baroque period is new information to me. Technically speaking, the historical event I do know of “Messiah” then, not as the opera, but as classical music. However, except for that tidbit, I don’t actually know of any actual historical events that took place during the Baroque period. The textbook describes the music from the Baroque period as “ornamentation” as most if not all the music from this period had “the addition of decorative notes, called ornaments, to melodic…performers”. They also included the fact that Baroque music often had the “basso continuo” as a “foundational accompaniment”.
I picked Johann Sebastian Bach and listened to “Orchestral suite no. 3 in d major, bwv 1068: ii. Aria” . Based on the textbook, if I was listening to it for the first time, I would have thought it would be more of a flamboyant type of piano solo, with more energy to the melody’s composition. When in fact, based on my own knowledge and opinion, I knew it to be a more soothing, calm, piece of music. It does have “ornaments” as the textbook said, with delicate high notes bringing the piece together, and the ending part was simple, yet had impact to it from the trill.