Analysis Question with Sample Responses 1: Special Two

Analysis Question with Sample Responses 1: Special Two


Listen to the first 1 minute 12 seconds

Thank you, anonymous,  for this response and permission to publish it! 


Question: How does tone colour and articulation create character in this work? 

– This work has a despairing yet hopeful character.


Jenn Gillan: Great listing the character up the top. Makes it clear from the very start.


– The vocalist uses legato articulation to create a smooth sound, with predominantly softly spoken lyrics. This enhances the flow of the work and its hopeful nature.


Jenn Gillan: You might need to go into a bit more detail with this. Legato is fine, but you might want to talk about how particular notes start and finish.  See page 132 of my book “Listening beyond hearing 3rd edition” for common vocal articulations that might help you be more specific.


– The piano line has uses the sustain pedal throughout the work, which has a similar effect to the aforementioned legato articulation of the vocal.


Jenn Gillan: Good mentioning reasons for articulation (ie use of the pedal) but again, you might want some more detail here.


– Accenting of negative words by the vocalist, such as “never” and “darkness” make them more prominent, which emphasises the despair.


Jenn Gillan: HOW are they accented? Is there a particular technique used?


– The aspirate tone that is used by the vocalist creates a breathy sound, creating a sense of the despair in the work.


Jenn Gillan: When mentioning tone colour it can be good to give reasons for a particular tone colour – for example, at a lower/higher register etc.


– The warm tone colour of the female vocalist is as a result of the comfortable range.



Jenn Gillan: You read my mind! Better.


The lack of strain from the vocals ensures that the piece can sustain the hopeful character.

– In addition, the piano line is played in a similarly comfortable mid-range, leading to a mellow tone colour that mixes well with the tone of the vocals to once again enhance the hopeful character.


Jenn Gillan: Overall some good points made.  More needed on each topic and try to really hone in on the detail of how notes start and finish when it comes to articulation. Mention trends and patterns of articulation and deal with particular sections that stick out.  Mention reasons for changes, both in articulation and in tone colour.