Analysis Question with sample response IV: Jinja Safari Hiccups
Sample response to question posed on the VCE Music Student Support Facebook page.
Question: How does tone colour and articulation contribute to creating the character of this work?
* Please only analyse the first 1 minute exactly.
A euphoric and playful character is expressed in Jinja Safari’s ‘Hiccups’ which incorporates the manipulation of articulation and tone colour as central musical elements:
Jenn Gillan: Great! But be careful you’re not just rewriting the question. You don’t get points for restating the question and it can take a lot of time to write this out. Maybe just do dot points – out of all these words the only ‘point worthy’ ones are naming the character. Writing “character: euphoric & playful through:” is enough and leaves you more time to actually answer the question.
The piece is introduced with the crisp attack and decay of a barking dog and staccato percussive sounds that resembles the sound of typing on a keyboard, which complement each other as unique and organic tone qualities, and initiates a playful expression.
Jenn Gillan: Great description of articulation. Tone colour needs a little work. If you’d just put two tone colour words after each of these instruments you would have covered more fully both elements.
The clean attack of the detached hollow electronic keyboard is introduced within the existing layers of staccato sounds, which further compliments the energetic progression of the piece and adds the established playfulness expression.
Jenn Gillan: You have some articulation words muddled with tone colour words in a way that makes this a little unclear. Maybe ‘The clean, detached attack of the hollow ____ (another TC) electronic keyboard’ would be clearer. How does clean attack equal playful? It’s not a very clear link between the two.
The sudden entry of the bright baritone male vocals singing in the upper mixed voice register establishes the verse of this piece, and it creates an immediate contrast with the sustained, warm, deep and resonant synths that is also enters with the voice. This adds to the unique mixture of tone qualities from the existing layers of sound and complimenting the playful character expressed from it.
Jenn Gillan: Great mention of contrast here. Whether this links successfully to playful or not I’m not sure. You need a few more tone colour words to fully describe voice and maybe mention some of the changes in the tone colour at different section.
Furthermore, the legato and sustained phrasing of the vocals and synths creates a further contrast with the staccato and energetic percussion and electronic keyboard, creating a euphoric and joyful expression with the piece.
Jenn Gillan: Connections clearer here.
Short accented percussive notes are introduced into the layer of sounds and the singular male voice transitions with an extra layer of warm backing vocals that sing sustained and legato phrasing in the chorus. This sustained melody contrasts with the accented, staccato and fast-paced instrumentation from the percussion, which further amplifies the euphoric and energetic movement of the piece and emphasises the playful and care-free nature of this piece.
Jenn Gillan: Great.
Overall: Some strong responses and great use of vocabulary. Watch you don’t waste time restating the question, work on some more tone colour words and try to strengthen your links between character and proof. An activity I have done to strengthen this (a common issue) is create a mind map for different characters. Have the word ‘tension’ in the middle then brain storm by yourself or in a group how this can be created through melody, harmony, tone colour etc etc. Activities like this help you look for the right more ‘obvious’ things to create character so you’re not in danger of tenuous connections. Well done.