Sample Response I
Question: How are musical elements used to develop character in this work?
Character: mysterious, brooding
The male vocalist’s warm, resonant TC and the reverberation effect used create a sense of space, adding to the mysterious character
At the beginning of the excerpt, the sparse homophonic texture of the acoustic guitarist and the accompanying vocalist adds to the sense of space and the mysterious character
Jenn Gillan: Watch the ‘sense of space’ concept. Sticking to musical example = character is a little more straightforward.
The guitarist uses an even, repetitive rhythm, accenting beats 2 and 4, which, when combined with the andante tempo, creates a brooding atmosphere
The descending arpeggio on the lyrics “I think about”, combined with the overall simple melodic contour, add to the brooding nature of the excerpt
Jenn Gillan: Maybe the fact that these phrases are shorter/ interrupted and use silence helps create this?
The vocalist does not use vibrato and uses a slow decay on each note, which leaves the note hanging and adds to the mysterious character
Jenn Gillan: Good.
The initial dynamic is mezzo piano, created by the mellow, resonant TC of the synthesised voices and the low register of the vocal melody, adding to the brooding character
The dynamics build slightly as the texture becomes more complex, with the addition of the bass, drums and synthesiser, intensifying the mysterious character
The vocalist ornaments the melody with scoops, which when combined with the minor harmonies of the synthesised voices, creates a mysterious atmosphere
Jenn Gillan: Is this the strongest example? Does scoops + minor naturally = mystery?
The languid descending bass line, along with the repeated 2 bar phrases, contributes to the brooding character
Jenn Gillan: What makes a bass line ‘languid’?
Overall: Some impressive links from musical elements to the creation of character. Be careful with a question like this that implies change of character (How are musical elements used to develop character) that you address how a character changes. You almost did this, talking about how the character intensifies, but the changes need to be delved into more in order to answer the question properly. A great attempt.