Analysis Question with Sample Responses 6: Special Two

Analysis Question with Sample Responses 6: 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)

Character: longing /serene

Female voice: delicate and aspirant though creating the longing character through aspects of organic and longer decays of articulation on notes sung. Through the first verse on the ends of phrases = more longer decays = softens in dynamics = serene


Jenn Gillan: I think you meant aspirate (breathy) rather than aspirant, (aspiring!). Your link to ends of phrases and character is clear. I’d mention the use of lower pitch too, which has an impact on tone colour and how the phrases finish as well.


When the piece gets climatic towards the chorus through use of dynamics, there is a change in tone colour from an airy/aspirant tone to a crisp and organic tone of being bright. Especially heading into higher register of the voice, it becomes more prominent.


Jenn Gillan: I’d express this a little differently. Maybe “As the piece approaches a climax”.  I don’t know if I really use ‘organic’ to describe tone colour.  Given what is organic, or natural, would change depending on the instrument, using vocabulary that is more instrument specific might say more.


Piano accompaniment = delicate and resonant tone colours. Which is shown by the sequence of chords played through the piece adding improvisation through the use of lingering on the ends of chords and accents on every second chord of the sequence adding trills = complementing the characters of longing and serene.


Jenn Gillan: Mention influences on piano tone colour – mostly pitch I’d say, though also pedal, which has an impact on articulation too. I congratulate you on picking up on the piano trills, I missed this, as did everyone else who’s submitted so far! Take note of the articulation in the piano when she sings “once again”, which hasn’t been picked up by others either. I don’t know if your link to character is very strong here though.


Being a homophonic piece, together through the similar tone colours of the vocals and piano, and both different uses of articulation, when put together, they create the overall characters of serene and longing.


Jenn Gillan: Some great work here and good listening. Some work needed on clear linking to character.  Some things you could explore – consistent, predictable approach to tone colour or articulation is usually linked with a tranquil character.  Inconsistent, unexpected or sudden change from one extreme to another is usually linked with more tumultuous characters.