Analysis Question with Sample Responses 4: Special Two

Analysis Question with Sample Responses 4: Special Two


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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 lead female vocal line opens with a heavily aspirated attack, creating an intense, stressed character.



Jenn Gillan: I wouldn’t have used the word stressed. Is there a better word? Maybe use lyrics to locate as well? You can then mention other lyrics/patterns within phrases that use the same technique. This makes this small point a bit more detailed.



Utilizing a warm tone in a high tessitura, the vocalist juxtaposes this tone with more aspirated attacks and ends of phrases, creating a tiredness in the distressed character of the piece.



Jenn Gillan: I’d review your character words.  “tired” “stressed” “distressed” consider rewording. I have a list of character words in my book but you can also just take these words and use a thesaurus and pick some words which seem less like a value judgement.  It was good that you mentioned where aspirate decays occurred – ends of phrases – but you called them aspirate attacks.  Did you mean decay? Or the attack of the start of the final part of the phrase? Maybe clarify this.



The piano creates a homophonic texture, playing chordal accompaniment, providing a warm resonant tone underneath the main melody, which contrasts the aspirated and distressed vocals.



Jenn Gillan: What technique makes the voice ‘distressed’? What techniques or musical elements, for that matter, helps create a warm, resonant tone in the piano? Your analysis would be strengthened by giving more reasons why a tone colour is a particular way.



The piano ranges from held sustained chords which provide solid warmness, to fast, heavy attacks of staccato notes that push the rhythm of the piece along, conflicting the tired character of the vocals with an uplifting, upbeat energy.



Jenn Gillan: Where are the staccato notes? Are they actually staccato? Try to locate examples.  Uplifting, I believe, is a stronger character word.  I’d also use two tone colour words to describe each instrument and give influencing factors.



As the vocals reach the chorus, the singer extends into a higher tessitura, creating more strain in the voice and thus, a more distressed mood. this tension is relieved as the chorus opens with a much smoother high note, backed by legato, soothing backing vocals, building a much more comforting character.



Jenn Gillan: Good mention of pitch change. This would be strengthened by using tone colour words and stating that the vocal tone colour has changed due to higher pitch. You almost get there mentioning ‘strain’ but you need to be a little more specific. Overall, some good points but much more needed on articulation. I feel like I’m a broken record, but my chapter on articulation, particularly looking specifically at vocal articulation, might help. You did mention aspirate attack and some other attacks which was good, you just need more of this. Look more into how notes begin and end, list patterns and trends. For example, ____ occurs near the ends/starts of phrases, leading to/from a climax, at a higher/lower pitch.