Sinead O’Connor, She Moved Through the Fair
Sample Response IV
How is character created in the vocal part of this work?
The vocalist uses a warm, slightly breathy TC to create an atmosphere of longing, adding to the wistful character
The vocalist’s melody has a flowing contour that mostly ascends over a wide range and then descends again at the end of the phrase, creating a sense of familiarity through the predictable contour and adding to the wistful character
Jenn Gillan: Consider rephrasing? ‘an ascending contour is balanced by slight descent at the end of the phrase. Balance/predictability = wistful… ” And then I type = wistful and wonder whether predictability = wistful? Is there something else you could add so that the equation is more equal? How another element is used in conjunction with what you’ve mentioned?
The simplicity of the vocalist’s long, sustained notes further contributes to the wistful character
Jenn Gillan: I’m wondering given the angle you’ve taken whether it might be worth looking at how musical space is created – through use of air, through use of long notes/pauses, slow tempo, through high straining register etc. and whether this might be an area you could explore for creating wistfulness/reflective character. So an opening sentence could be something like “A reflective/wistful character is created through the use of musical space within many expressive elements.”
The vocalist sings almost at the top of her range in the middle of the excerpt, adding a slightly strained quality to the aspirate timbre, and further contributing to the wistful character
Jenn Gillan: Does the character intensify or change here? Remember, you’re not stuck with the one character if it does change. Admitting to change enables you to talk about so much more.
The vocalist sings solo in a monophonic texture, creating a feeling of loneliness
and adding to the wistful character
Jenn Gillan: See? musical space 🙂
The vocalist crescendos and decrescendos through the phrases, corresponding with the contour of the melody, creating dynamic swells and adding to the wistful nature of the piece
Jenn Gillan: This is called dynamic swells. Great you noticed dynamics and contour linking.
The vocalist crescendos into the climax by increasing the intensity of her vibrato as the melody ascends, creating a sense of hope and adding to the wistful mood.
Jenn Gillan: Good acknowledging the change in mood. Remember to describe vibrato more fully. It’s good you said it changed but is it wide, narrow, broad, thin, speeding up/slowing down?
The balanced phrases are separated by natural silences. This sense of emptiness further enhances the wistfulness of the excerpt
Jenn Gillan: Overall some solid examples from a fairly wide range of expressive elements. Acknowledging a change of mood more solidly would help enhance your response.