Analysis Question with Sample Responses 5: Someday my Prince Will Come

Analysis Question with Sample Responses 5: 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! 


·         Has a tranquil yet slightly uneasy character

Jenn Gillan: Good listing character first. This can help focus your analysis.  However, this is a comparison and the question asks you to compare the two.  Should you compare these up front? 


·         The harsh, nasal tone colour of the brass instrument is created by its high register (and resulting loud dynamic). This contrasts with the sandy, less intense tone colour of the drums, created by use of brushes instead of sticks, adding a sense of unease to the otherwise tranquil character.


Jenn Gillan: drums’ is a little general.  Is this a drum kit? Snare? tom tom? Try to be a little more specific. Is use of brushes creating unease too much of a leap in reason? Watch your links to character.


·         The piano line plays lots of improvisatory trills that create a laid-back mood, emphasising the character.


Jenn Gillan: When you say “…lots of improvisatory trills…” try to be more specific.  What is the nature of the trills? How long are they? What are trends or patterns of where they occur? For example, the first beat of the bar, at the end/middle/start of a phrase, towards a climax etc. Also I don’t know if trills logically = laid back.


·         Uneven, improvised amounts of space between the chords played by the piano at the beginning also create a laid-back and easy-going mood.


Jenn Gillan: Again, a need to be specific about the amount of space (one beat, one bar etc.) as well as trends but this is a stronger link to character I believe.


·         The brass instrument in the foreground also embellishes its melody with trills.


Jenn Gillan: See comments on trends/patterns and being more specific. 


Piece two: Someday My Prince Will Come by Bill Evans Trio (first 1 min 8 secs)


·         Like the first piece, this piece begins with a tranquil character however changes to become more playful.


Jenn Gillan: This is a way of doing the analysis.  I think it could work. It does mean that your first analysis isn’t a comparison, as required by the question though which is a lot of writing without answering the question. 


·         The piano has a very improvisatory feel as it plays a wide range of different chords and chord inversions in a short amount of time, and well as scalic phrases and trills. This creates an increasing sense of energy and helps shift the character from tranquil to playful throughout the excerpt.


Jenn Gillan: I like your justification for improvisation here with changes of chords, though I would ask again for you to be more specific as listed previously. Your link to character is stronger here too. But again, no comparison here. 


·         Unlike in the first piece, the tone colours of different instruments complement each other, contributing to the tranquil character. The piano has a reverberant tone colour, created by the mid-high register it is played in, and this blends with the sandy tone colour of the drums, created through use of brushes.


Jenn Gillan: Your work is getting stronger towards the end.  However, this is a comparison question and there are very few sentences that compare the different versions.  This needs to be made clearer from the start. When you mention “the tone colours of different instruments” you’re not giving the instruments or their tone colours or reasons why they might complement each other! That’s a lot of chances for points you’ve missed by being general here. Being more specific will give you more to write about!