Sinead O’Connor, She Moved Through the Fair
Sample Response I
By Hayley Witmore
How is character created in the vocal part of this work?
Strenuous,genuine,vulnerable character created through:
Use of lots of air across the vocal chords in the high head voice at a soft dynamic creates a vulnerable character and establishes the accepting and reflecting atmosphere that has been created.
Jenn Gillan: Great example here and reasons why a particular effect is caused. Resulting tone colour would have strengthened this. ‘Accepting’ as a mood not really needed. Maybe reflective rather than reflecting but that’s being very picky!
Use of vibrato and sounds of strain (air rushing past the vocal chords audibly) in the higher voice with the lyrics ‘He went away from me’ contribute to the longing and reflective but heart-rendering/mournful mood.
Jenn Gillan: Again, strong response linked to technique. Good locating the example using lyrics. When using vibrato as an example either draw a picture that shows what it does or use descriptive words – tight, wide, loose, narrow, changing – speeding or slowing, and where – towards the end of a note/beginning of a note, throughout etc.
Lack of embellishment and natural fast vibrato that isn’t forced contributes to natural and genuine character.
Jenn Gillan: Good, you went into some detail about the vibrato here. Just be careful that every example you give doesn’t change character as this gives your response a disjointed feel. Maybe stick to a few characters and even provide an opening sentence that says the main character/s are ___ and ___. I like putting = tense or = vulnerable after my sentences to make sure I know I’ve stuck to the script and I can compare both sides of the equation. For example, if I say nasal harsh tone colour = relaxed…. I need to either change or expand on my example or change my mood word!
Use of loud dynamics within the break of the voice adds a grit to the sound and helps to further emphasise the strenuous and passionate character.
Use of softer dynamics towards the end signify a change in character from a forceful and passionate character to one of vulnerability and longing.
Jenn Gillan: Great acknowledging a change in character here.
Use of manipulation of the shape of the mouth in words such as ‘mother’ ‘father’ and ‘your’ manipulates the sound giving it a course, rustic and western sound which creates more of a colloquial and natural character.
Jenn Gillan: I don’t know about the whole ‘rustic, western’ sound idea. I think this might be going too far. Try to stick to the elements and character I’d say. I love how this opens in terms of manipulating the shape of the mouth but you don’t say how really here or what actually happens to the words you highlighted.
‘ When’ lyrics use mainly breath over vocal folds (creates a ‘shhh’ sound) while pitch becomes sharp (distorted) creates a breathless and briefly exhausted character as a result of the passion and strenuous nature of the previous phrases.
Jenn Gillan: Again, watch flow with changing character words or try to make this clearer in the format some how.
Rough,course sound at the end of the phrases = Strenuous character
Jenn Gillan: Do you mean tone colour? If so how is this created? If you’ve already answered this you’re repeating yourself.
At the end of phrases the note often wavers in pitch as the vocalist does not have enough air to be able to control the pitch. Indicates that the lyrics that are being sung are using a lot of air – due to vocalists passionate and heart wrenching character.
Jenn Gillan: A solid response. A little repetitive at times but you there’s a pleasing connection with reasons for particular things occurring and its effect. Filling out some other elements of music – melody, articulation, rhythm in particular – may have given you more to write about.