Thank you for your analysis response, anonymous, and permission to publish it.
Question: How does articulation and tone colour create character in the following work?
Listen to the first 1 min 30 seconds
The character of this work is driven and upbeat with aspects of articulation and tone colour that create this are:
Jenn Gillan: Consider more sophisticated character words. “Upbeat” I avoid because it has a double meaning in music and there are more sophisticate words. I’m feeling the same with the word ‘driven’, though this may just be a Ms Gillan thing and other teachers would be fine with it!
• Crisp hitting of the tribality bongo drums with (supposedly) the hands has a resonant but clear tone colour, and this is fairly similar to the consistent strumming of the guitar, resonant but also echoing.
Jenn Gillan: A few things here – Is there a better word than ‘hitting’? I love that you’ve given reason for the tone colour though (use of the hand rather than stick) Am not sure what you mean by ‘tribality’. If you meant something ‘tribal’ I’d avoid using this word when it comes to drums. It can be a little stereotypical and not really reflect what’s happening with the drums.
• Overall the male vocal is full and at times speech like, not only because he does speak at the conclusion of some phrases, but the tone for many phrases is like so.
Jenn Gillan: Watch the term ‘speech-like’ unless you qualify it a lot more. Speech-like melodies tend to be linear, small contour, use repeated notes and a lot of other things. Outline these if you intend to use the term ‘speech-like’. Also, I’d qualify ‘full’ a little more. Are you talking about tone colour here? Maybe revise some good tone colour words that you can use here.
• Male voice which appears to have some form of turn/ornament on phrases such as “we will ‘RUN’,” which he employs a crying/calling for help tone colour. Likewise, the squeaking and piercing whistle also imitates this kind of ornamentation, with a turn at the same time,
Jenn Gillan: Is there a particular technique he does or some reason you can give for this change of tone colour? It may have to do with pitch? Nice picking up the similarities in instruments. I like this. I’ve just realised though you haven’t made links to character for a while. Make sure you use phrases like “aids a __ character” or “supports the ___ character” or “enhances the ___ character” or even simply “= ______ (character word)” to keep you on track and remind you what you’re supposed to be discussing.
• Male voice also maintains a high amount of upper pitch turns and abrupt stepwise movement (laughing like) where he starts the ‘oohs’, while both main voice and harmonic vocals have large diphthongs with ‘away’ and ‘my way’
Jenn Gillan: Good. If you link this to character, which could be done quite easily, some good points. Can you link a diphthong to character? Worth trying…. I sometimes think the word ‘playful’ comes in handy here. A lot more connections you can make in a piece like this to the elements of music.
• Whistle section sees repetitive sequence in the whistle supported by the pulsing drums, but maintains the same tone colour,
Jenn Gillan: Some of your analysis may be spot on in terms of what happens but can you use it to support character as the question demands?
• Ad-Lib section sees the male vocals appearing to imitate a kookaburra which contrasts highly to the more ‘normal’ singing he had been doing.
Jenn Gillan: A little colloquial but easy to link to a playful character.
• The final phrases see the male vocals adopt a more aspirate articulation with a breath tone colour, appearing to be whispering. Concurrently the drums and guitar maintain their former driven and resonant tone colour
Through these instances, the character of driven and upbeat are supported.
Jenn Gillan: Great you stated the character at the end, though I don’t know if the links were strong as you went through. When you say aspirate articulation, make sure you make it clear whether you mean articulation – aspirate attack/decay – or tone colour – aspirate tone colour.
Jenn Gillan: Overall a great start. You’re hearing a lot which is great! You just need to neaten up your language a bit and make sure you’re connecting everything to the question.