Question: How are musical elements used to develop character in this work?
Chord progressions from the acoustic guitar introduces a blissful character during the intro.
Jenn Gillan: This would be more powerful if you mentioned the sorts of harmonies used. Chord progressions are used everywhere and they don’t necessarily = bliss. A little more needed here.
The vocalist uses decrescendos by gently hushing towards the end of phrases (especially in the first verse) to create a dreamy, sultry character. The vocalist occasionally ends phrases, particularly in the second verse, with a rasped, croaked tone to enhance the sultry character of the work.
Jenn Gillan: I’d try to avoid the word ‘dreamy’. It’s one of those words that have too many meanings to be useful. Other examples ok.
Synthetic instruments have an airy, thin tone colour, which contributes to the dreamlike character of the work. A quick percussion-synthetic, played for four bars (with music splitting the repeated phrase) then later repeated during the outro, helps to develop the enchanting character, as well as a mystical, intriguing character.
Jenn Gillan: You might need a little more than just ‘synthetic’ to describe the instruments. I don’t know which line you’re talking about. Whether it’s a keyboard like sound, a guitar like sound or a voice like sound. Again, dreamlike not a good idea. The word synthesised might be better than synthetic? Does repetition = enchanting? Is this enough on its own to support the character? Are mystical, intriguing, enchanting the strongest character words? They can mean lots of different things too. For example, something can be intriguing because it’s threatening or because it’s playful. Mystical seems a little vague to me.
Percussion is added to the work in the second verse to develop a desperate character in the work.
Jenn Gillan: Desperate may be stretching the point a little here. How is the percussion added? What sort of percussion? A little more unpacking of this point would help enhance your response.
An electric, harmonica-like instrument during the bridge introduces tension by sliding up to detached notes in mf.
A synthetic, flute-like instrument’s melodic line is added during the third verse; it uses legato and a p dynamic, contributing to the dreamy, enchanting character of the work.
Jenn Gillan: See previous point about choice of character words. Maybe use words like pensive, reflective instead for the opening character?
The harmonic line in the voice creates a dreamy, wishful, sultry, pleading character.
Jenn Gillan: Pleading is better. 🙂 Does harmony = pleading? Again, you need stronger musical examples to support this.
The electric guitar solo and outro uses a Wah-pedal, or similar effect, to further develop the sultry, pleading character of the work.
Jenn Gillan: Is this enough on its own? If I told you I used the wah-pedal would you immediately tell me “Oh, that’s created a pleading character!” If not, you need more.
There is a trend of blissful, sultry, dreamy, wishful character traits in the work created by generally soft dynamics (p-mf). As the work progresses, pleading, desperate character traits are developed through stronger dynamics (mf) which are achieved by adding instruments leading up to the tutti during the final chorus and outro (while the vocalist is still singing).
Jenn Gillan: Overall, choosing some different character words might be worth exploring as well as maybe combining some of the expressive devices to enhance your answer. Fully explaining your points will help do the same.