Sample response to question posed on the VCE Music Student Support Facebook page.
Question: How does tone colour and articulation contribute to creating the character of this work?
* Please only analyse the first 1 minute exactly.
Sample response 1 form ‘Liam’
- The smooth and flowing legato articulation of the vocalist creates a jolly character.
Jenn Gillan: Is there a better word than ‘jolly’? Can you identify any techniques the vocalist uses or can you describe his attack and decay? This would strengthen this point a great deal. You could also describe the tone colour and how these elements interact.
- The tone colour of the electronic keyboard is very bright and clean, therefore creating an uplifting character.
Jenn Gillan: You can compare this to the other instruments to strengthen this point.
- The stereo mixing of the percussion emphasises the strong beat, which creates tension adding to the excited character of the piece.
Jen Gillan: Does emphasising the strong beat crete tension? Do you need to explain this further to get a better point?
- The barking dog is an organic sound that contrasts to the electronic keyboards. The blend of these two tone colours conveys an intrepid character.
Jenn Gillan: You talk about a blending of two tone colours but don’t say what those tone colours are.
- The contrast in articulation between the short percussive notes that have short decay time with the long held notes of the backing singers creates a soaring character.
Jenn Gillan: Glad you mentioned decay. You could compare the attack and decay here. Also compare tone colours. Do the tone colours create a similar effect to the articulation?
- An adventurous character is created by the juxtaposing articulation made by the singer in the verse and the chorus. In the verse his accents are clearly articulated, where as he wafts thought the chorus and consequently the melodic phrases are drawn out.
Jenn Gillan: Watch your use of ‘juxtaposing’ here. It’s not really grammatically correct. “created by the juxtaposition of ___ articulation with ____ articulation” would work better. Again, a better description of what happens in terms of attack and decay would help strengthen your answer.
- All of the polyphonic lines have their own individual articulation which conveys a vibrant character.
Jenn Gillan: Which polyphonic lines? What is their articulation? You need to describe what the articulation is in order to state how it create character.
- The artificial delay and reverb on the vocals adds to the adventurous nature of the piece
Jenn Gillan: How? Some of your claims aren’t immediately obvious.
Overall: Some great responses. Good mention of some different types of articulation and tone colour. Work on your tone colour words (I encourage my students to use two tone colour words whenever they mention an instrument in a tone colour response) and learn some more vocabulary that will describe articulation in more detail.
GREAT links to character, though some were a little tenuous. You don’t have to have a new character for every point. This makes it a little unclear. Also work on identifying where things happen so it doesn’t sound like you’re saying everything happens at once. Things like “before the ___ solo” or in the chorus etc. will help and you have done some of this.