Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Listening Journal, Week 8

This final edition of listening is just one song.  It is the Bodysnatchers, performed by Radiohead.  The song begins with an electric guitar solo.  Once the vocalist enters there is a back beat, but it is not by a drum set, but another guitar.  As the song progresses another guitar enters.  When the song arrives at the "chorus", the vocalist almost becomes an instrument with the guitars.  It is very effective.  The balance of the song is almost even, meaning that the guitar and vocalist are on the same level.  The song enters a new section, in which the timbre of the song changes.  The vocalist is demonstrating a fairly wide range using falsetto.  There are several special effects being used with the balance shifting back and forth between focus on the vocalist and focus on the guitar.  There is also a lot of echo being used.  The song ends with feedback sounding from a lone guitar.  

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Listening Journal, Week 7

This week's listening examples have been my favorite because I listened to a lot of this music while growing up.  I divided the songs up into four categories:  Pop, Rock (including alternative), rap, and country. 

Sweet Dreams, performed by Eurythics, sounds like a song that is highly influenced by disco.  The song is very repetitive and has a steady bass beat that would make it easy to dance to.  The song jerks the listener into the 80's as it relies heavily on electronic instruments (especially synthesizers).  What's Love Got To Do With It?, performed by Tina Turner, is much more mellow with the tempo.  Like many of the songs in the listening this week, the piece begins with an instrumental introduction.  Also, like most of the songs in this weeks examples, there are several verses with the chorus or refrain in between and an instrumental interlude somewhere in the middle. Turner uses back up singers, but mostly for effect as the vocals are very subdued.  The song fades out like the majority of 1980's songs do.  Like a Virgin, performed by Madonna, begins with synthesizer.  The verses have two chords in the first half and two different chords in the second half.  This song has a bridge and a coda, which is more like music form of the 60's.  When Doves Cry, performed by Prince, is a much more complex song than anything we had this week.  There are many special effects, including growls, voice overs, and instrumental sounds.  When the song is not featuring Prince the vocalist, it is featuring Prince the guitarist as solos are spread throughout the song.  There is also a keyboard solo that occurs at different times, including the very end of the song.  This is the most unique song of the week. 

I listened to two rock songs this week and one song that was a combination of a rock song and a rap song (see next paragraph).  The first rock song is Jump, performed by Van Halen.  The song is heavy on the synthesizer as well as electric guitar.  The same chords are played throughout most of the song.  My favorite part of this song is when the 2nd half of each verse jumps into 3/8 time for four measures followed by 4/8 for one measure.  This is something that the listener does not expect.  There is a nice electric guitar solo in the middle of the song.  Smells Like Teen Spirit, performed by Nirvana, definitely sounds like it is ten years different from Jump.  There are a lot of dissonances including the interludes between the chorus and before a verse where there is a stop time moment.  This song is hard-driving all the way through and has a chorus where the last line is repeated constantly to end the song.    

Walk This Way, performed by Run-D.M.C. with two members of Aerosmith, is very intriguing because it combines all of the material of the rock song, which was popular on it's own.  However, the lyrics are rapped instead of sung.  It is a fantastic collaboration between the artists, which is perfectly symbolized by the electric guitars playing with record spinning.  What's My Name, shows off Snoop Dogg's ability to create many rhythms through the lyrics.  Back up Singers are used during the chorus and bow wow wow is a mention of country western music (I read that in the text).  

Lady, by Kenny Rogers, is not exactly a country song, although Rogers sang a lot of country music.  This is a great ballad where the listener can hear the character trying to "talk some sense" into his ex-lover.  You can hear the pain of the character's lament in Rogers' voice in the chorus.  The large interval leaps in the violins add drama to these moments.  The listener can hear the sadness at the end of the song as it ends with just the piano playing an arpeggio.  K.D. Lang's Nowhere to Stand is also a very sad song about child abuse being a family tradition.  Like Rogers, she is the most dramatic during the chorus.  In order to drive her point home, she repeats the final sentence, which includes the words of the title, three times.