This week's listening excerpts come from the 1960's, which was highlighted by the "British Invasion", folk music, and music of the Beach Boys. The first song that I listened to was Be My Baby, performed by the Ronnettes. This is sung by a soloist with back up singers. The song is set in the standard verse-refrain form. The soloist's voice has that raspy quality to it that is appealing to the listener. The only aspect of this song that is out of the ordinary is a that the drum beat in the intro also happens between the chorus repeats. My Girl, performed by The Temptations has a few noteworthy qualities. As the song progresses, additional instruments and features, such as trumpet fanfares, add in to maintain the listener's interest. The verses of the song is performed by the soloist, while the chorus is a performance of the group in harmony. There is also an orchestral interlude between the second and third versus. The piece eventually fades out during the final chorus.
I listened to four songs performed by the Beatles. Please, Please Me starts with a short introduction that also reoccurs between verses. The beginning of each verse is sung by a duet. Half way through the verse is the words, "Come On," which is sung in the call and response style. There is a bridge in the middle of the song. The piece ends with a short coda. A Hard Day's Night is set up in the same form as Please Please Me. The song's introduction is a just one chord, followed by the first verse. Like Please Please Me, the bridge happens toward the middle of the song. Unlike Please Please Me, the bridge repeats itself between the 2nd and third verse. There is also a featured guitar solo during the first part of verse 3, followed by the remainder of verse 3. The song ends with a short coda.
Yesterday is a solo feature of Paul McCartney. Like the previous two songs, there are verses with a bridge toward the middle of the song. There is no introduction to this song as McCartney sings the first verse immediately. The final piece, Elanor Rigby, is completely different than the other tunes. There is an introduction with all of the voices with a small string ensemble. The recording of the song is very effective as the first half of versus are recorded on one side (my right ear). "All the lonely people," is heard in both ears. There is a lot of rhyming in the lyrics as well as syncopated rhythms against the quarter notes in the strings. The song ends with five notes in the string ensemble.
Good Vibrations, performed by the Beach Boys, is by far the most complicated song of this week's listening. There is so much to it, that it is difficult to catch everything without listening to it many times. The instruments are different than anything that we have heard to this point. The most unique of these instruments is the Tannerin, which is a version of the theremin. See the article below. Also used is an organ, sleigh bells, and different types of drums. There are also some different recording effects. At the D section, the music has an echo quality to it, making the music sound dreamlike. There group sings alongside a pre-recorded portion, resulting in a layered effect. The form, which is listed in the text is unlike anything that I have listened to for this class. It is almost like there are two songs in one as, beginning at the C section, the tune completely changes.
Unique instrument heard on Good Vibrations
The last three songs are completely different from each other. Respect, performed by Aretha Franklin, is a great showcase of her vocal ability. The chord structure is very simple. Two chords per section of the verse. There is an instrumental break, which features a tenor saxophone solo. Finally, the only time the listener hears the word "respect" is at the end of the song. The word is spelled and magnified by the fact that Franklin is singing by herself with "hits" in the band. Like a Rolling Stone, by Bob Dylan, is unique because of how Dylan's timing and rhyming of the lyrics work together. Each time the chorus of the song occurs, it is longer in duration than previously. Dylan also plays the harmonica along with the guitar. Finally, Crossroads, performed by Cream is a fantastic showcase of Eric Clapton's guitar skill. The song is set in a 12-bar blues, with a driving rock beat. Clapton's solo with the drumset almost sounds like a duet more than a solo.