Tuesday, March 08, 2005

"Ode to a Butterfly" by Nickel Creek

Nickel Creek is a sort of pop folk/bluegrass group who have recently gained more recognition for their amazing musical talents. The trio is made up of Chris Thile on mandolin, Sarah Watkins on fiddle, and Sean Watkins on rhythm guitar. They also have a stand up bass player to accompany them on stage, normally Mark Schatz. "Ode to a Butterfly" is the first track off of their first well-known self-titled release. This instrumental has a very traditional bluegrass feel. The beginning starts off with a twelve or twenty-four measure phrase (it is probably in two-four not four-four so double measure counts) of mandolin with the guitar playing short, muted chords. Do-do-do-mi-do-ti-la-do-do-do-sol is a little bit of the melody which repeats four times in the beginning and is used again later in the piece, possibly making the song rounded. Now the mandonlin plays alone, higher up on the staff for four bars and then the violin joins in. The violin plays a little melodic line do-sol-la-sol-fa-sol-do for four bars and then the rhythm guitar starts. The rhythm guitar sticks with half and quarter note chords but gets fancier with some syncopated rhythms. The melodic line shifts often, going to the mandolin and then the violin again before the whole band plays equally. Now they begin to solo! The guitarist takes about an eight to ten bar solo and then the violin takes over the solo. Throughout you can hear the bass player doing a lot of I-V motion. The violin solo, which is of equal lenghths eventually takes us back to the originally violin melody. The whole group plays together until the break right before the mandolin solo, which is accompanied by some guitar and then violin is added. The mandolin doesn't need to obvious of a solo, seeing as though he has the most obvious melody throughout the song. Next, the similar A theme comes back which occurred in the beginning once of the the group played together, before the guitar solo. I not sure what kind of form you give this song because of the different solos. There are a couple of main themes used throughout the song, normally repeated a lot by the mandolin. You can hear an obvious V-I at the very end.
The song features all of the talents of the players very well. Chris Thile's technical skill and creativity shine while Sarah's accompanying violin along with her solo are perfectly placed. My favorite part is the guitar because Sean does not over play. He does his job of rhythm perfectly, helping the bass and letting the listener really feel the beat. He is the most underrated player in the group and is very underrated in his professional field. I like the songs bouncy, fast bluegrass feel. The melodies are very traditionally and tonal sounding which is so pleasing to the ear!

1 comment:

Djumby said...

YOU also have wayyy too much time on your hands!!!!