- The topic I chose to write about is “Music and Trends”. There was a concrete connection between the topic and the two music entries discussed in the presentation. The first music entry is a BTS song ft Halsey named “A boy with Luv”. The band BTS is a popular band from South Korea who got very popular over the past couple of years. They are known as part of K-pop groups which had a large impact on the western market. The song had a large exposure of a new genre of music to thousands/millions of people. The unique part of this music is that it’s not always sung in English which is not common in the states. The song has a constant beat and rhythm that makes it easy to top your foot too; causing it to become a trending/trendy song. The second music entry was Doja Cat’s well-known song “Mooo!”. Within this musical entry, the artist made a trendy song by utilizing other ongoing trends which would be memes. The song was very different and unique; which was perfect to catch the attention of everyone. A musical element present was the short rhythm that made it catchy and easy to sing along too.
2. If I wrote this topic instead of my own, a song that I would pick to include in my presentation would be yet another Doja cat named “Say So”. The trendy app of TikTok had dance videos go viral using that song and thousands of people were introduced to the song. A second song I would pick would be “The Box” by Roddy Ricch. I would have chosen this song because the song came out last year (2019) and is still very popular. The musical characteristics present in both these songs relate heavily with my topic. The upbeat rhythm / tempo and dynamics pulls in listeners and puts the audience in a good uplifting mood.
The piece of political protest music that I chose is Chains by Usher ft Nas and Bibi Bourelly. This song was released back in 2015. The video that was released with the music helps to accentuate the meaning behind the lyrics. The purpose behind the music is to shed light onto the devastation of police brutality and racial injustice. The music did not have a usual music video but instead it was a compilation of pictures of individuals popping up following their name and ages and devastating stories as to how their lives were taken due to the wrongdoings of police officers. It was pretty evident as to what the purpose and end message of the music is. The genre of this music is R&B/ soul and overall this genre of music derives from African American culture; usually has a lot of meaning to it. It may not be a directly political genre but it can go hand in hand (especially with the song I chose).
There are powerful lyrics that are sung and rapped throughout the music. Nas raps “We got a problem that needs some acknowledgment. I am no prison commodity, not just a body you throw in a cell. For any reason, just to bother me.” The meaning behind these lyrics are shining light into a problem that seemingly no one is willing to talk about and propose a solution to. Nas also says that individuals are not a commodity (material) of prison that are just thrown into a cell. This is sending the message that people of certain color and races are not just animals that can be treated like they belong behind bars. Usher also says “Don’t act like you saving us, it’s still the same. Man don’t act like I made it up. You keep blaming us, let’s keep it one hundred. You gave the name to us, N****.” The meaning behind this is that the police who kill innocent people are saying it’s their fault when in reality it’s the racist mentality that is pulling the trigger on people who have done nothing wrong. A musical characteristic that was present in the piece would be the very upbeat and fast rhythm. This is an important part of the music because it adds the sense of adrenaline that pumps up the listener and makes the accommodating lyrics stand out.
“The Mevlevi are a sub-order of Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam… The Mevlevi place a strong emphasis on music, which sends the practitioner’s physical body into a slow dance of graceful and ecstatic turning” (Textbook, page 315). Music is a large part of the people’s traditions. It is also said that the Sema ceremony is very symolbi and allows one’s soul to have a passageway to god. This is one effect that the music has on the listeners body. Another effect would be that as they dance to the music they believe that they are receiving a blessing from god. Also, stated in the powerpoint that the music allows union with god which is why the music is a great impact to the people.
In relation to Gospel music, such as Amazing Grace; music is also very significant. The textbook states that the “melody and message of personal transformation” (page 288) is what the music is trying for the listener to achieve. The similarity between the two music pieces is that they have a strong personal connection to each listener. However, they do have their differences as well. One difference being the way the music is let out to the individuals. The Gospel music was sung by the vocalist while the Sema Ceremony had a lot of instruments and also in the video it showed the people dancing. So, the ceremony had a traditional dance to go along with it while gospel music usually does not.
When thinking about my russian background I often think about the classical music / composers that associate with it. Some famous composers from the Classical period (1750- 1820) would be Tchiakovsky, Rimsky- Korsakov and others. These are classical artists who played and/ or wrote music for various instruments. However, traditional russian music is Kalinka. Although Kalinka may not be known a lot of artists from the classical era played music that may be more well known. A lot of this music is played on the piano, violin (orchestra setting), and the russian guitar. I personally have played some of Tchiakovsky’s sonatas and loved the sound and beautiful dance rhythm it had to it.
I personally think that I would be most comfortable in a symphony orchestra concert because throughout my four years in high school my choir sang behind an orchestra for our closing act every winter concert. This being, I am very fond of the orchestra sound and the way the instruments in unison resonate through the auditorium. The song is beautiful, and I feel like the music tells a story and like most other performers the expression and passion on the instrumentalist faces are very engaging. Also, not only the expression of the instrumentalist but the conductors body language says a lot about how the performance will play out. Because watching the conductor put his all and truly feel the music is very interesting to watch.
On the other hand, a performance I would be least comfortable attending (although I am open to almost all types of music) would be Hindustani classical performance. My reason behind this is because although the unique instruments and sounds can be beautiful, I think that I would get bored easily. I probably would not be able to sit through hours of his type of music because I find less of an emotional connection than I do with a symphony orchestra.
I chose to watch the opening scene of “Get out.” This movie entitles an interatial couple, one being the black man who was walking and then short after killed in the opening scene. Him and his girlfriends parents are not pleased with each other since they do not want their daughter dating the man, Chris. In the start of the clip Chris was on the phone with his girlfriend and then after hanging up was trying to figure out the which turn he was supposed to take and on what street. He then realized there was a white car that pulled up very close to him and kept following him, getting startled he decided to walk another way. Unfortunately, the man in the car got behind him and put him in a chokehold and proceeded to put him in the trunk of his car.
There was both diegetic and nondiegetic sounds throughout the opening scene. A diegetic sound was present is the crickets and sort of night time sounds that you would hear and there was a dog braking for a few seconds. As well as when the car passed by the man he heard it drive down the road. The non-diegetic sounds that were present would be the creepy music playing in the background while Chris was approached from the back by the man from the car. However, the song which was playing – “Run Rabbit Run ” by Flanagan and Allen came from the car at first and then got increasingly louder as the man was putting him into the trunk of his car.
When the music was played at a low volume and increasingly started to crescendo it gave the audience/ watchers an emotional attachment. It allowed emotions of interest and the on-edge feeling to surface. It also allowed the plot to thicken and sort of gave the push to move forward into the next scene and moving on from the opening. The increase of volume in the music and the zooming out of the particular part in the scene allowed suspense to build.
The pieces that I chose to listen to were Alapana from “Sitar, Sarode, and Tabla”; and Kyrie from the Pope Marcellus Mass. To first discussed the Alapana from “Sitar, Sarode, and Tabla” piece is a very different style then the other piece I had chosen. Something which stood out to be was that there was a steady beat which was easily identifiable. A beat is a “steady rhythmic pulse” which there was a steady pulse throughout the song. Another musical element that I found present was the harmony. Harmony is “the sounding of two or more pitches at the same time” and there was definitely multiple instruments sounding at the same time. I noticed there was a lack of dynamic in this piece, such as a crescendo or decrescendo which is the gradually increase of decrease in sound. There seemed to be a steady fixed volume.
The second piece I listened to; Kyrie from the Pope Marcellus Mass had more vocals present than instrumentals. This piece also definitely had a harmony since there is different voice types present, such as alto and bass. The harmony seemed very constant, meaning it was pleasant to listen to and was not harsh or sounded like it clashed. Throughout this piece it was evident there was use of dynamics such as crescendo (gradually increasing in volume) and decrescendo (gradually decreasing in volume), unlike the first piece. Another musical element I noticed was the range which is distance between highest and lowest pitches. There was a range of sound due to the different vocal sections present.
The Baroque period occurred at the end of the 16th century and is defined in the textbook by the “revival of the emotional power of Ancient Greek drama” (page 50). This lead there to be an invention of the genre of opera. Something about this period which excites me would be that there started to be involvement of instruments during this time, which is a large part of music today. And I believe the addition of instruments into music as an accompaniment was a great idea, hence there are usually instruments preset in most music now.
A historical event which occurred during the Baroque period was the findings of Jamestown, the first American colony. Another historical event which took place during the end of the 16th century is the Salem witch hunt, which was the accusation of witchcraft for several woman.
The way the music during this period is described in the textbook is that operas finale started to feature “dues ex machina” which is a “plot device in which any remaining problems were miraculously resolved.” The mention of new instrumental genres arising was mentioned as well such as sonata and concerto. The book also mentions is the “addition of decorative notes” which are ornaments to melodic lines, to both vocal and instrumentals. The Baroque period which I did not know to much about before reading the textbook I know am aware of the interesting period of music this is, and the importance of it.
One of the composers mentioned whom I chose to listen to is George Frideric Handel’s piece “Messiah.” I use to sing this piece every year as a closing act in high school in my choir class, so I am familiar with this piece as it is a very wonderful work to listen to. As the time period was described in the textbook this piece did fit the description as there was an accompaniment of the orchestra. Since the textbook mentioned the increasing use of different instruments in this period that really stood out since you are able to hear the violin and other instruments with vocalist behind them. Overall, this was an interesting period to learn more about and expand my knowledge.