Analysis Question with Sample Responses 3: Special Two

Analysis Question with Sample Responses 3: Special Two

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


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


How does tone colour and articulation create character in this work? (4 marks)


The overall musical character is sombre and reflective.


Jenn Gillan: Good having character front and centre and some nice words used here.



  • The organic attack and decay in the articulation of the piano pertains to sombre character in its sense of complacency.



Jenn Gillan: Is this enough to support your character? Maybe use some other elements? Given the question, matching this with tone colour would make your point much stronger.



  • The aspirate vocal timbre is complementary to the piano line, creating a sense of comfort, thus embellishing the reflective mood.



Jenn Gillan: Yes this strengthens it! Maybe take a microscope to the notes within the piano line.  They’re not all played exactly the same way.  Listen around the words “once again” for example! There’s a very deliberate change here.



  • The drum beat played within the chorus is muffled, and lacks excitement,  thus creating a sombre character.  



Jenn Gillan: Is there a better way of saying “lacks excitement”? I’ve had some discussions with students lately about defining things by saying what they are not.  This seems to be less ‘strong’ than defining them by what they are. More could be said about the drums here too. Tone colour and articulation. I usually use more tone colour words and your reasons why the tone colour is what it is needs strengthening.



  • In the chorus the strings use legato bowing, which is elongated and smooth, and is reflective of the vocal line in creating such a character.



Jenn Gillan: Any technical reasons worth mentioning as to why the articulation is what it is? Is this a little too general again? The comment on reflecting the vocal line works, though again, a little more detail, a little more specifics here.  Overall some good descriptions, just try for more detail and do some study on articulation. Vocal articulation, see the Articulation chapter in my book and general articulation.