Analysis Question with Sample Responses 3: Someday my Prince Will Come

Analysis Question with Sample Responses 3: Someday my Prince Will Come

Listen to the first 1 min 17 seconds

Listen to the first 1 min 8 seconds 

Question: How have different expressive outcomes been created through the elements of music in these two excerpts? Refer to improvisation, ornamentation and embellishment and one other element of music, either 

  • Dynamics
  • Blend of instrumental voices
  • Balance of instrumental lines
  • Tone Colour

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

– The use of clashing harmonies in the first excerpt creates tension in the opening of the piece, which is later released by the entry of the trumpet solo which used a more melodic line.


Jenn Gillan: You’re straight into it! Don’t forget the question. It may be good for you, (and the examiner!) if you state what the expressive outcomes (character/mood) are for each piece first. Maybe consider using headings to show which elements you’re using. This will help you keep to the question. Unfortunately, given that harmony is not one of the dot points, or improvisation as mentioned in the question, you wouldn’t get points for this paragraph, no matter how correct or well expressed you were. Maybe you were considering blend/balance? In which case, this needs to be a bit more explicit.


– In the second excerpt, the piano solo uses a more melodic line from the start, allowing for a relaxing, flowing character to be established.


Jenn Gillan: Again, a good point about the change of role, but hard to know what part of the question you’re referring to.


– The use of brushed on drums in both excerpts allows for a softer dynamic, ensuring that the solo parts remain prominent and that there is a lighter texture in the pieces.


Jenn Gillan: Great!! You’re dealing with dynamics here (which is on the list given in the question). You’ve given a reason for those dynamics too. Remember to link to character as the question asks.


– In the first excerpt, the soloists have louder dynamics in comparison to accompanying parts. For example, upon the entry of the solo trumpet line, the piano reduces its dynamic. This creates a less dense texture and allows for a laid-back character.


Jenn Gillan: Great. You’ve talked about character but only for one interpretation. You’ve given a reason for the laid-back character which is good but you’re not been clear enough on your reasons why dynamics are softer or how this compares to the other version. A little more detail needed here:

  • Character for both interpretations
  • Dynamics for both interpretations (what are the dynamics?)
  • Reasons for dynamics (how are they created?)
  • Links from dynamics to character for both interpretations


– In the second excerpt, the piano uses a louder dynamic with the right hand to ensure that the solo line is the prominent sound, which allows for a monophonic melody.


Jenn Gillan: Remember to link to character, give reason for dynamic change.


– The use of grace notes and glissandos in the solos of both excerpts creates rhythmic interest, with this effect adding to the legato style of both solos. This element once again emphasises the flowing characters of both excerpts.


Jenn Gillan: Great! Some vocab relating to embellishment/ improvisation! Maybe try to be a little more specific and give a lot more detail given that this area should make up half of your response. Tricky isn’t it?!


Overall: Some good points, more detail needed and a closer reading of the question. Headings, and stating the character of each interpretation first, may help to keep you on the right path.