Friday, April 29, 2005

Bernstein's "Anniversary No 4'

This piece is cool to analyze. It starts with an unusual form. To begin with, it is part of a cycle of 4 movements. Then, by itself it is a ternary form. This is cool because the piece only last for a couple of minutes, yet it fits all the ideas of ternary form in it. It starts with an exposition. This is made up of a couple of big chord bops and little running passages. Then there is even a brief polyphonic section. The structural phenomena that holds this whole piece together is the rests. The rests are almost as powerful as the notes. Then the development explores a lot of keys, registers, and densities. It doesn't have any rests. It just flies! The dynamic contrasts are really impressive though. Then after a big chordal transition section, the recap happens. A few additional chords are added to the similar themes from the expos. in the recap. Then there is a very exciting scalar passage coda that starts very soft and then grows with spizicato velocity until the last banging chord. This piece sounds really amazing with all the articulation and speed. It's like a compact package of everything we've studied.

You Raise Me Up

You Raise Me Up- Josh Groban
There is a nice litte intro. that I believe would sound even more cool if it were on the bagpipes, but its on a string instrument.violin...the intro ends on a PAC then has static note repeated until the voice come in to sing the same line...
The intro then comes back as a transition back into the chorus of the song. After the chorus is sung once is sung again...this song basically is made totally of chorus being repeated...
it goes - intro. verse chorus trans. chorus chorus (cad extension) chorus (ending is developed) chorus (reg.)
So, as you can see there is really only one verse and the rest is just playing around with the chorus..adding instruments or modifying it a little each time to keep it forward moving..until the last one which is set how it was in the beginning giving us a sense of termination...

Sonate Pathetique- Beethoven

I enjoyed a live performance of this piece tonight played very well indeed by our own Julianne Merrill. We're all getting ready for proficiencies and decided to get together and play for each other and I'd say that it went pretty well.
I was firstly impressed with the dramatic presence that the piece has on its own, but also the effect that a performer can have on the piece as well. I've heard this piece a buttload of times, we had to study it for music history, but it was such a different experience hearing and seeing it performed live.
The dynamics and phrasing were definately Beethoven, with huge contrasts and very dramtic and beautiful phrasing. If was evident that Julie had really listened to some contrasting interpretations of the piece and made it her own which is awesome.
I'd say that the piece has an urgent quality to it, and the fluidity that it produces through the tons of notes as well as the dynamics is really apparant.
I love the cadenza that ends on this g7 chord really nicely, it sounds solid and then takes you back to the main theme which feels really comfortable and stable, thats my favorite part.

Der Schmied- Brahms

Another one for the proficiency file. This song is also by Brahms. I love Brahms. I love German Lied. I love lamp. (That was for you Anchorman fans!) This is a simple and short two verse lied. A girl is singing about her blacksmith boyfriend who is fanning the flames of his fire and when she walks by he fans faster and the fire burns bigger and brighter. The accompaniment is very "hammer-like" and sounds like blacksmith hammers. It's percussive and outlines the chord progression. At the end of each verse we get a big accented TI that then resolves to Do- Sol- Mi-Do. Really a great song.
Good luck on Proficiencies everyone!!

Bartok, Mikrokosmos: from the diary of a fly

very fly-ish. Has a lot of close intervals, repeated notes and gestures, all overlapping. He uses jarring intervals, chromatic scales, alternating intervals. It starts out smaller, and then builds up using scalar passages and richer "chords" to climax, and then slowly returns to less action. The voices drop out (I can't tell if there are ultimately three or four voices). It really feels like you could play if for fly music in a cartoon or puppet show and it'd be perfect. Perhaps it's because he avoids larger intervals (being too large for a fly to traverse). There's also this sense of continuous movement, not a real melody to speak of (though much of mikrokosmos is sort of lacking in a catchy melody), not a real direction to speak of. A fly wanders around pretty hap-hasardly, and here this piece doesn't have periods, form, anything, except a sense of beginning, climax and end--enough to bring the listener in as though be told a story.

Quiet City -Copland

Ok, so I am accompanying Susie and Caitlin on this piece for Susie's proficiency. Susie plays trumpet and Caitlin plays english horn. This piece is far from bombastic rhythms and such, it seems to sort of swell here and there. I begins with soft piano and and then english horn. After the opening statement, the trumpet picks up the theme and rhythms and builds. This is the first swell. Then it goes back to english horn and piano. Then solo trumpet and piano. This pieces mixes colors as the piano, trumpet, and english horn takes turns with the mellody and accompany each other. This piece also cahnges time signatures and rhtyhms so as to change the texture of the piece as well. It keeps the same basic theme and rhythm throughout most of the piece, with some melodic influxes here and there. All in all, it seems this piece is all about timbre and mixing, and influxes of a melody. Its very beautiful and impressionistic. On that note...I played my whole proficiencies program tonight and I rocked! Bring it on!!

leather-winged bat, jake heggie

this song is so much fun! i'm singing it on my proficiency, so i thought i'd tell you all about it before hand, dr. s.

it begins with a crazy three bar intro (i know, you're thinking...why not four? well that's heggie for ya'). when the vocals come in "hi, said the little old leather-winged bat", the accompaniment drops away to random chords on 1 and 3. once the singer gets to the 'refrain' ("hi-o-day-o-diddle-o-down...") the accompaniment picks up again and is very steady.

this song talks about a leather-winged bat, a woodpecker, a bluebird, and a robin. all have different personalities as is evident by the accompaniment. the woodpecker: eigth notes in the left hand; bluebird: floating melody in right hand; robin and bat both have sparse accompaniments. everytime the refrain has the same accompaniment. we could say that it's ABCBDBEB' but at the end (B') the singer goes up to an A, which as i've already discussed with dr. s. is quite high for a mezzo.'s hot, what can i say?

sort of random: everynow and then heggie will throw in an extra two beats, not making a 2/4 bar or a 6/4 bar, there's just a dotted line and then two more beats. this extra two beats, however, always comes right before a transition either into or out of the B section. pretty cool, huh? yeah...heggie's hot.

p.s. he's coming here next year for a masterclass! i's don't have to say it, i'm thinking it too :)

shostakovich string 4x no. 8 mvt II

the movement is marked allegro molto. The 1st violin has the melody. It is bassed off the DSCH note scheme...D - Eflat- C - B. The violin has the melody with this as the main focus. It is a march style. 16th note patterns are heard alot that are very chromatic. While the other 3 players play sparse unison accompaniment that adds to the already ominous and intense ethos. As the melody goes so does the intensity of the accompaniment. there is transition material with 16th notes all over the place as the music just flies off the page. Then brief interruption of the DSCH are heard but in small segments passed between the players. The viola then takes over the focus with a version of the melody played at the beginning. The violin then layers over that, then the cello over that, then the violin back over that as things become more and more chromatic. We then hear a new melody that is like a twisted russian dance that is very long and smooth. Then the DSCH melody is heard again though this time intertwined with the long russian dance theme just heard and it is passed from instrument. The beginning then repeats though this time with the melody in the cello. The 16th notes get passed back to the violin as it makes more statements with the DSCH theme. There is a subito piano and a massive crescendo brining to the highest intesnity we have come to. It is a shout chrous off all the melodies...the beginning melody, the DSCH melody, the long russian dance, and the interwine between the DSCH and the russian dance.


I thought I do a blog/plug in for our a cappella concert tomorrow....6:30 meharry hall. Insomniac, sung by Straight No Chaser, is one of the best songs in contemporary a cappella literature. The song begins with a cool "chimbadeechimbadee" vocal rhythm underlying a wailing solo part that serves as the introduction. After a few measures of this, we come to the first verse. The vocal accompaniment changes to staccato "dohs", leading into the powerful chorus:

I can hear your bare feet on the kitchen floor
I don't have to have these dreams no more
And I found someone just to hold me tight
Hold the insomniac all night

There is a brief return to the beginning of the song, but the harmony and accompaniment quickly change. Sustained "ah" chords mark a distinct contrast in the second verse. These are my favorite lyrics of the entire piece. They are just very meaningful, and cool.

I've tried everything short of Aristotle
Took Dramamine and whiskey bottle
Pray for the day when my ship comes in
And I can sleep the sleep of the just again

A bridge with faster harmonic rhythm leads us to the concluding section of the piece.
The final section of Insomniac is a sort of vocal fugue. There is a underlying bass part, with various voice parts entering with unique motives. These various parts converge in a climatic chord leading into a terminative section. The piece begins very similar to how it begins, with a unique vocal rhythm accompaning the wailing soloist.
This is a great song. It's fun to listen to and to sing.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Beethoven- Sonata in E-flat Major- Allegro

I was hoping that this piece would be in Sonata Allegro Form for practice, but it was hard to place it into that form. There seems to be way more themes and it may possibly be Rondo form. Part of the problem might be that it is longer than I’m used to and hard to keep track of everything. There also seems to be a lot of repeats that I think confuse me. Anyways, here are a few things I grasped. The first expository material uses a motive in question and answer fashion. Then, there is a short transition where the last PAC chord is used as a pivot chord to change the mode to what I think is the relative minor. This section ends with the Dominant key being established. Then comes what I first perceived as the B section. Here the texture and key change to develop the 1st A them and then there is a closing section. Here’s where things start to get fuzzy. There seems to be a recapitulation of the A theme, but it comes after a pause. And then it moves through the same sequence again. From here I started to see it possibly as a rondo, as new material was often introduced and the A theme kept coming back, but not everything seemed to fit for that either. Oh well, I guess I should stick with the shorter sonatas

Holst, First Suite in E flat

Yeah, I'm pretty worn out right now so I'm just going to write a little about this piece that we're playing in band and that I've played before without listening to it at this moment.

The first movement is called Chaconne and which means of course it is a Chaconne with the same harmonic line that is repeated several times throughout the movement. Holst does a good job of switching textures in the song by contrasting the lyrical melodic lines with some march like rhythmic passages in the accompaniment. There is also a great crecendo in the middle to end of the movement with very long cymbal and snare drum rolls that really highten the anticipation. It is also really cool how he makes an assymetrical phrase by adding one measure right before the climax.

The second movement is called intermezzo. Though this is a very brisk piece unlike a slower movement that is usually expected for a second movement, this piece has very light textures and flowing melodies that gives the movement a feeling of a piece that can't stand on its own. The melodies in this are very nice as is the very soft tambourine.

The final movement is called march and is has the feel of the march but isn't traditional in the sense of form. There is a loud boisterous march section in the beginning that switches to a softer lyrical melody but then near the end a very cool thing happens when the march feel from the beginning is played by the drums and some accompaniment lines but the lyrical melody from trio-esque section gets put on top of the march feel which has a really cool effect. This pushes to a very dramatic end that is very satisfying.

CPE Bach - Flute Concerto in A - Largo con sordini

This song is 9 minutes long, but it was so enjoyable to listen to that it seemed about half that length. There is a 1 1/2 minute string introduction before the flute solo enters. The shape of the music is great and it flows really nicely. I get a good feeling of the rising and falling of the phrases as far as shaping and dynamics go. The dynamics don't get very loud even though they vary a lot. I'd say the loudest this movement gets is mf, and that isn't even very often. The melody itself is somewhat haunting - it's very soft and emotive. There is a harpsichord that plays throughout the piece and there are quiet interjections of strings here and there. The solo flute part seems to really float above the accompaniment. This becomes clear when there's an unaccompanied flute line toward the end of the piece because all of a sudden it's just like wow, this is piece is even more enjoyable to listen to when it's just the flute. Directly after that, there is an orchestral closing part, which is significantly shorter than the introduction.

"Something There" from Beauty and the Beast

This song starts out with a very playful intro. There are eighth note figures that are pretty big interval jumps. There are also some 16th notes thrown in there that make it especially bouncy. When Belle begins to sing, the accompaniment changes to almost an oom pah feel between the I and V chord. Her melody is very simple, very speech like. At the second phrase, the accompaniment changes, and becomes slightly more sustained and legato, but this only lasts for a short time. Once her verse is done, the parts change, and the right hand has nothing but eighth note I and V chords played over again, and the left hand plays the legato melody. This goes on for about 8 measures, and then the Beast sings the second verse.
Now comes my favorite part of the whole song: the bridge. I used these 16 bars for an audition last weekend, and the result was me being cast in my first professional production! Maybe that's why I like this part. Ha. Anyway, it starts out on a B, which is a very middley place for a soprano, so it comes out as a wonderful mix belt. The rhythm here is very different. Thus far, we have had mostly eighth notes, and now it is all half notes. It's a nice change of pace. I think it is done like this because Belle is reflecting on how she is seeing a new and different side of the Beast, so the melody becomes more reflective.
After the bridge, Lumiere and Cogsworth come in and sing the first half of the third verse, which is identical to the first two. Mrs. Potts joins them for the second half. There is a little bit of harmony here, but nothing outstanding. The rest of the song is nothing but the same leaping eighth note figure in the accompaniment with Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts singing the melody until the end. The song ends on a rolled I chord.
What a cute song. I am so excited to be doing this show this summer!

Die Schoepfung (The Creation) Introduction "Representation of Chaos" - Haydn

This piece is self-explanatory. I wanted to see if this piece was actually chaotic in form. :)

There's a long introduction with no clear cadences or melodic motives that goes on for two whole minutes. It's filled with tutti sforzando chords, and a lot of descending and ascending chromatic passages. At about 2:12, you think that we're finally settling on "do" ... but hey! It's a deceptive cadence, and the descending passage that we thought was approaching do, actually starts over again. Very funny, Haydn. This leads to a ascending passage that gradually crescendos, and then it's a fortissimo PAC!! Whew.

An oboe solo is heard over the orchestra's chords. It plays an ascending sequence that modulates over and over again. More tutti chords, lots of repeating V-I chords. Then a wonderful V-vi cadence!! Deceptive again.

There really hasn't been an interesting melody or any phrase structure that would constitute a period or phrase group. Just a lot of modulating.

All of a sudden we're in a clear minor key. Lots of timpani! And we switch keys again. And again. Really, this is getting tiring to try and analyze. At 5:33, we still haven't found a clear melody. A clear half cadence that feels like it should resolve but never does at this point.

The mood of the piece changes to very pianissimo and melancholy. A lot of woodwind solos - clarinets and flutes. We reach a tonic note! This "do" is repeated in the lower instruments many times.

I am sure that Haydn had a lot of imagery in mind for this piece - it was meant to be program music. It's interesting that there aren't too many PACs in this 7 minute piece. The lack of a clear tonic note and melody, as well as the many unresolved chords, suggests chaos.

"Agony" from Into the Woods by Sondheim

This song is so wonderfully over-the-top and overacted that it can't help but be hilarious. We start with a slow pulse on harp and bassoon. The first prince comes in, telling the story of how he has been chasing this girl through the forest, not understanding why she is running. He sings about the "agony" of being in love. In the wood he meets his brother, who is trying to find a way to reach his love, who is locked away in a high tower. His "agony" is much more painful, since she agreed to go with him, if he could only get her down. Not really paying attention, the first prince speaks of all his many virtues, which is hilarious, as the strings rise with his ascending line, adding this great dramatic tension, even though he is merely talking about himself. This passage is echoed by the other prince, who speaks about climbing the hair of his maiden to reach her, while she only sings her "light-hearted air" which he mimics over this very dissonant chord by the strings, which distorts the lovely melody into something rather grotesque. The song battles back and forth until the end, the two princes arguing about who is in more pain because of love, finally agreeing that they must marry the two "unattainable" girls merely because they are princes who can have everything. The accompaniment is rather simple, merely pulsing out a waltzing triple meter, slowly rising and falling with the action in the words. The ingenious part is the clashing string sections, which take this sweet song and add this underlying ugliness about it. This whole show has this approach to it, making everything good have something sinister beneath it. This song is about how love can be selfish and just a display of power, and not genuine.

I drink to forget (klezmer music-oy!)

who doesn't like a little Klezmer clarinet sometimes?! I actually learned to play a little bit of klezmer music at a clarinet convention last summer. I had no idea of its origins or the big names in klezmer music, and had only heard just a little bit of klezmer music from movies. It was really fun to play, and kind of challenging in some technical aspects.

The group is called klezperanto (?), and the clarinetist is Ilene Stahl-There's a bassist, a trombonist, a percussionist, banjo/guitar player, and piano/accordian player. This piece starts out pretty sad. The clarinet starts in the minor key, playing an almost yearning, very pretty melody acompanied by the banjo and bass. She bends the end of her notes a lot, stops the notes with her throat sometimes, and uses a lot of trills, playing around with the sound, and changing the style-very klezmer. It's in 4/4 and the period is made up of 4- 4 measure phrases, every other one ending on a PAC. The accordian and trombone come in right after the first pac, and these two instruments are playing independently from her, but the trombone and clarinet sometimes have these little call and response motives. There's a big trombone solo where the clarinet cuts out. This is where the song picks up, because the trombone slides up an octave, and then it moves up a third, and is now in the major. The tempo speeds up a lot more, almost double of what the beginning was. The ending is a big "do sol do" in unison, in the major key.

Bach: Three Part Invention No. 10

This Bach Three part invention is performed by mandolin, banjo, and bass. The piece is in three-four, I think, and definitely in a major key. It starts off with two parts playing, bass and mandolin. I thought that inventions normally started one voice at a time but maybe not. For this piece the bass has the lowest voice and the mandolin plays the highest voice. In the fourth measure the banjo comes in with the middle voice. In the first four measure the bass was playing quarter notes, I-I6-I-IV-I64-V-I or do-mi-do-fa-sol-sol-do, which are heard later in the piece. The melody is performed by the mandolin in the first three or four measures, do-ti-do-re-mi-fa-sol-mi-fa-mi-re……, and then the banjo takes that same melodic line over, very invention-esque. In about the fifteenth measure or around there the transition to the minor key begins and the melody may be heard in possibly the parallel minor. The bass often plays a more accompanying and solid line but it occasionally has some moving sixteenth notes for the piece to really be the three part invention that it is. It continues in the minor for about ten to fifteen more measures and doesn’t modulate back until the very end of the piece.
This invention would be fun to play on the piano, if possible. It would also be cool to hear this piece with even different instruments as it is in this version. The voices seem to call and respond to each other and it would even be cool to hear this on three guitars. I like how naturally the transition section sounds.

Sonata in A major, D 574 1. Allegro moderato


The first theme is signaled by a dotted quarter, eighth, rhythm in the piano part, the eighth going up or down a step. After two four measure phrases of this, like an intro, the violin enters with the expository melody. This is signaled by a do-la-sol... , the do played as a dotted half, the la a quarter, and the sol a half. The line continues alternating between half note and quarter note rhythm. It is very legato, and even with a simple quadruple meter. The dynamic is soft, in a comfortable register. This is mainly to contrast with the second theme. The phrases are typically four measures, very symetric, forming two phrase periods. Transistions are signaled usually by asymetric phrases. The transistion into the second theme is signaled by a sudden drop in texture, and a descending scalar line in the violin, the piano then switches off with the violin and repeats the same pattern. Even in the second theme, the idea of scales is seen near cadential material. I think the second theme modulates to the minor dominant, definitly the dominant. The second theme is denser, with the piano building up on eighths, lots of sudden dynamic changes, and a sort of down up motion. The second theme, especially in the violin, has more metric accents, denser rhythms, with sudden rhythm changes. Overall, it just feels livlier. The expository function of the entire piece is especially recognized by its stability, because of the dotted quarter eighth rhythm in the piano and the pulling from the close intervals back to the dotted quarter. The ending cadence to the second theme is created by a series of sustained res in the violin, ending on a pac when it finally hits do. The new third theme is signaled by a compound meter and sudden, loud key change to a minor key. The theme has a denser rhythm in the violin part, and the piano emphasizes beats two, three and four by resting on one or dropping in register. The violin part does the same thing with its triplet rhythm. This theme is in a compound duple meter. This theme is shorter, and returns back to the expository function after a large transistional function. The transistional function is definitely part of a new theme because it doesn't follow any of the previous cadential patterns, There are large intervalic leaps in the violin, and the violin is denser than its every been. To create a smooth transistion back to the expository function, the do is elisioned. I liked the piece a lot, especially because of the bittersweet quality several of the keys had. The cadence in the second theme is signaled by a leap in register and decrescendo, it ends the same way.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

"while my guitar gently sleeps"

good song-
Starts in the Minor key for each verse- The chorus goes to the dominant. it's in 4/4, and The tempo is really ploddingly slow, and the chord progression ofr the verses go "do te le so fa le te do" . This bass line continues throughout the verses. This song is also strophic. There are different layers to the guitar sound, which is cool. The chords for the chorus are IV-vi-ii-vi-V-I. When it goes to the chorus in the dominant, it's like a little ray of sunshine peeking through a thunderstorm...yeah. The phrases for the verses are in four measure phrases,the first cadence ending on a PAC, the second ending on a HC. The ending is very terminitave, going V-I-V-I, and finally ending on a PAC

Sulek -Trombone Sonata

Cascading runs both ascending and descending create a mystical aesthetic as the trombone solo plays a long, smooth, beautiful melody that is very melodic. The phrase is repeated again with more urgency and chromatic notes. There is a brief transition period with a tritone interval. A new melody comes in that is in a different style. It is more layed back and relaxed. The trombone is playing short and long notes. It is a very simple rhythmic as the piano plays simple accompaniment. There is then some inverted counterpoint as the piano then takes the melody as the trombone plays the simple off-beat accompaniment. There is more transitional material as the trombone and piano play some unison melodic material. Another melody comes in that is very smooth and surreal almost. It is smooth, connected, and mostly traidic and diatonic. There is a brief transitional/developmental period between the trombone and solo as we travel through various keys with the trombone outlining sol-do. Rising quarter notes give the texture some harmonic growth and intensity. A new rhytmic motive is heard...almost hindemith like in unison with the piano. Then the main melody heard at the beginning is now in a triplet pattern and augmented. There is more developmental material as the trombone and piano trade off very technical 8th note runs. Then the lyrical melody comes in again but in a different key then modulated again. There is a quitness and developmental period as the music seems to be catching its breath. A final developmental section makes itself heard. The piano is playing long technical sixteenth and 32nd notes with the trombone is playing basically non-melodic triple tongue passages. A massive crescendo by the piano brings us back to the main melody played verbatim from the beginning. Towards the end of the phrase there are more chromatics and a different resolution. The piece ends on 3 very loud B flats in the trombone while the piano plays off-beat dissonant chords.

"konstantine" - Something Corporate

“Konstantine” -Something Corporate

This songs accompaniment is primarily made up of arpeggiated chords which move at a fairly rapid speed. The vocal line moves somewhat slow and fits more with the bass guitar which is moving slow as well…The song it really long for a alternative style song. So it has it’s “A” section that stays how I explained above. The B section has a change in register in vocal line and in the piano part. It goes from arpeggiation to octaves with a moving bass line underneath. This pattern is then repeated so that it goes A B trans. A B trans. C closing (contains some A..I believe)…every new section seems to add more instruments. It works its way up to having voice, piano, drums, and bass guitar.…It is very repeatative as far as text and melodic lines throughuot the sections. I think it’s a very pretty song….And that’s what I like it…yup..

"Oh Happy Day" SISTER ACT II: Back in the Habit!!!!!!

Best movie ever!!!!

"Oh Happy Day" is not an original song from the movie, OF COURSE. Although I can't find the original source. But it is a famous gospel piece.

Well the movie version rocks the most, because it is full-on gospel. This part of the movie comes when the Academy of the Sacred Heart (or something), a once run-down Catholic school with a terrible music program, sings in public for the first time under the choral direction of Whoopi Goldberg ... er ... Sister Mary Clarence. SAME DIFFERENCE!!! The point is, Whoopi gets the choir of teenage hoodlums to sing like ... adults ...? Luckily, Whoopi doesn't sing on this track. Though the star of the movie, her voice is somewhat lacking. Let's not forget that a young Lauryn Hill and Jennifer Love Hewitt appear in this movie!

The song begins with a vamp on the piano (the only accompaniment). Ahmal comes in hesitantly, complete with squeaks and a lack of enthusiasm. Come on Ahmal!!! Sing like we know you can! The choir also sucks. Oh happy day ... :( Whoopi encourages him by having the choir sing one of their (useless) vocalises. Surprisingly, it fits the piano's modulation. Suddenly, Ahmal sounds like he's been recorded in the studio. He's amazing, and he's got soul! Whoopi still sucks, though. Some more bad vocalises (the "Lah" syllable isn't the best to warm up on) and then the entire choir has got soul! The song modulates some more, and Ahmal rocks out. At one point, he busts out a high D# in falsetto, an amazing feat. The choir then "brings it down," and finishes with a full gospel chord. There's clapping at some point too.

The song is very repetitive, and relies on embellishment from the soloist to keep it exciting. It's basically modified strophic, with only the lyrics changing.

The moral of the story is, teach a lousy choir some lame vocalises, and they'll sing like this.

memories of tommorrow

I listened to this little upbeat latin jazz tune today and figured I would write abolut it. Its an ABA form with a header, chorus and then back to the header. The chords in it use lots of leading tones and chromatic descension and ascension. I really don't know what rhythmic genre this would be categorized in...samba, mambo, etc. It seems like it is an uptempo slow 2-4 type of a beat. This song seems really rich, and the recording I have of it, the piano really has a lot of color in the chords. I don't think this is the type of latin song that would dance to or have a lead tenor sax, it seems more of an americanized (sic) "latin" tune. Hmm I don't really think that there is much more to write about here, I just really liked this catchy little tune. I highly reccommend it!

You're so Vain--Carly Simon

So, this song is hot. that's all there is to it.

the percussion and guitar overdrive just add to the raw edge that is carly's bitterness. the repetition of words only drives her point home. It also adds to it that before she repeats the words she sings over a held chord for a couple of bars. This ensures the audience is listening :)

Background vocals are not brilliant, but they add some depth to the chorus texture. The guitar solo and piano solo break up the somewhat strophic form of carly's rant.

there, it's strophic, and i like it. and we all know the words. and the guy's wearing an apricot scarf. and he's gavotting!!! it doesn't get much better than that.

Cumming Prelude # 24

It is the unique use of 5/8 meter that gives this piece its driving energy. It is organized in 2 and 3, and it causes you to be on the edge of your seat, bobbing your head with the pulse, 12 123 12 123 12 123. This rhythmic patter of two eights and a triplet is constant throughout the piece and is a sort of never ending motive. The piece begins with a melodic pattern in a subdued tone, and then repeats the pattern again with greater density, volume, and speed. There is then a chromatic pattern beginning softly and increasing, then a change of texture with dissonant chords and then the chromatic passage again, and then dissonant chords again. This whole page lacks any recognizable tonality or any clear direction. It is sporadic and makes you heart skip beats. There is nothing to hold onto and so it is very unnerving to the listener. But then there is finally a transition leading back to the 12 123 section of the beginning. It goes different directions this time and the chromatic passage comes back, leading to a very powerful ending.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

"Ecstacy of Gold"

Inspired by Brockway to do something Metallica, I immediately thought of Ennio Morricone. Actually, I thought of "Ecstacy of Gold" and then thought of Ennio Morricone. Originally composed for Clint Eastwood in his famous "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly," this rather short fanfare has a certain western feel to it. This is not is only wild west piece for orchestra. In fact, he has something of a harmonica concerto, (the true instrument of the cowboy). It is from "Once upon a time in the west."

Anyway, back to "Ecstacy of Gold"... The San Fransico Symphony has a very stirring rendition of the piece. The tubular bells, along with the muted solo trumpet wailing on the main theme give the piece a haunting feel from the very beginning. The theme itself paints a vivid aural picture. One can almost imagine a dusty town in Southern Texas, where the law is taken into the hands of the local sherriff. Enter the snare drum, propelling the action, and intensifying the emotions. Quickly the piece builds, with the woodwinds taking theme, then passing it on to the strings. The strings are absolutely beautiful. The piece climaxes with the brass echoing the strings sending the symphony to a desperate conclusion. It reminds me of a showdown between the good and bad guys, both about to draw their pistols. This piece definately raises your heart rate a few beats.

Van Noordt's "Fantasia no. 1"

This piece begins with a monophonic slow moving line. It is quickly followed by 2 other identical lines in fugue fashion. The timbre doesn't change throughout the piece. I don't hear many key changes either. I think the fugue theme is played 12 times. What most fascinates me about this piece is that I didn't realize fanatasias were fugues. I really like the development section. It is full of alot of articulations that make me think of trumpet calls. It is also adds a lot of trills. The fanfare doesn't end with a repeat of the themes in all the voices, however. This must be one of the main differences of a fantasia. It ends in full homophonic style with a finale on a single pitch. This would be an awesome piece to learn on organ.

Purcell sung by Sylvia McNair -"Tell Me, Some Pitying Angel"

The Blessed Virgin's Expostulation:

This is beautifully sung by Sylvia McNair, who does ornaments almost like a celtic soprano. Beautiful ornaments and runs throughout. It's very additive musically and divided into several emotional/musical sections (where are the affectations now? huh?) The first section is very much recitativo and jumps around keys, in minor, in major, skeleton accompaniment in the keyboard. It ends with her calling Gabriel, but he doesn't come. I love how at the last Gabriel she almost gets breathy with vexation -- and its on this repeated high note, making it all so poignant. Then the melody sinks down saying, "flatt'ring hopes farewell." Then, the key changes, tempo changes, the accompaniment does more and starts to imimate the vocal footwork in the next section. It's much shorter than the first part and is followed by another recit section even shorter, returning to a forth section somewhat similar to the second, only the meter's changed, it's 2/2 and not 3/4. This finishes with another recit section. Nice to note that all the recit's are in the same key, but they have such different lengths--otherwise I'd draw more attention (yay apothecism) to the fact that the form of the piece shadows vaguely that of a 5-part Rondo. Plus the recit doesn't really have a "theme" to speak of. I love the last line: "I trust God, but oh! I fear the child." Really interesting spiritual and psychological implications, fun trip for the performer too.

Blue in Green as recorded by Miles Davis on Kind of Blue

This is a very interesting tune, partially because it only has 10 chords. Instead of feeling like a piece, with sections, it sounds more like a circle that the combo just follows around and around until they feel like ending things.

The melody, when Davis does play it, is incredibly rubato (which isn't anything new or surprising), and the musicians use very extended harmony, which is also typical of this combo. I mention these things however, because the combination of those factors made it almost impossible to follow along with the combo through the changes.

I'm also amazed at how much the chords seem to make sense when I hear them played by this group - I've been struggling to make them sound like any kind of coherent progression in my jazz piano lessons.

There is no clear tonal center - the only major chord in the piece is a Bbmaj7#11 which occurs only twice, and isn't the last chord. There are four ii-V progressions, three of which are A-D and don't resolve to G, which the listener expects. The fourth ii-V does resolve to Bb, giving the piece some sense of a tonal center and at least one cadence.

This piece made me feel relaxed, like most of Miles' music. If I hadn't had the chord progression in front of me, and wasn't trying to decipher it, I probably would've enjoyed it more for the sound that makes Miles great - cool. However, looking at this piece from an intellectual standpoint makes it a bit of a headache.

"There's a Fine, Fine Line" from avenue q

I decided to write about this song because it is one of the only songs in the show with real singing. The vocal line in this piece is challenging, not speechlike as most of the other songs in the show are.
The song begins with a little bit of the melody being played on the piano. It's not in a minor key, but the sound of it is just a sad, lonesome sound. Then Kate comes in, with the melody. The voice part here is very very low and chest voicey. She has almost a raw quality to her sound here. This only lasts for a few measures, and then the register changes and it is much more in her head voice. Once this happens, things change. The sound grows a lot... she is singing louder and the accompaniment is much more complex.
At the bridge, things get even bigger. The vocal part gets really belty, which is great. The instrumentation changes, and now there are many more instruments than just piano. The drums are very prominent here, they really play a lot. This is the highest that the vocal part ever gets.
After the bridge, everything slows back down and goes back to exactly how it was at the beginning, but only for a minute, and then she belts the big finish. It's the same melody, but a few steps higer. Great song. Nice to have some actual singing in avenue q to write about :-)

Better Than Ezra, "Je Ne M'en Souviens Pas"

Well, to start things off, the title doesn't really matter, there is very little vocals and is in English and has nothing to do with anything French.

The song begins with the introduction which has a drum beat exclusively on the snare drum with some voice effect that almost sounds like it's being played on pots with a synthesizer single line melody.

After a few measures of the drum beat kicks in with an extremely funky with lots of hi hat open hits and active syncopated snare drum. The synthesizer part is the only part that establishes chords with a line that has an eighth rest followed by five dotted eighth notes on do-re-mi-fa-sol of each chord and some light bass in the beginnings of measures that are extremely hard to hear. Then a vocal line gets added over it, but the voices are so distorted that I can't tell what it is being said. I can tell it's the same words every other measure with a measure of no voices inbetween. maybe it's the title french phrase. The next voice added to the texture is the flute. The flute lies low in this part just outlining some chords in the begginning part.

The vocals then change to a distorted talking voice, something about the singers girlfriend of something. The drums stay the same, and this and the bass part is all that remains. The rest of the texture comes back in with the talking distorted voice with a little singing with the original vocal line. Then the vocals go out and there is actual "rap" part with clear lyrics. It mentions Paris so I guess that is the title. After this the vocals become distorted again and the texture falls to just the bass line and this eventually dies away.

The drums then come back like they did in the beginning with a much more active bass. Then comes the vibe solo, which is cool. It is very sparse but provides good melodic movement and becomes more involved and interacts well with the original vocal line that comes back. The vibe line takes the background and a new vocal line is added with a new singing line that is distorted with one of those distortions that makes it sound alike another really high voice singing.

The drums fall away again but all of the other parts keep going. There is a constant feel of time but no pure steadiness of rhythm which gives a really cool sound. The flute solo at this part becomes really active too. And to end the song, the voice is distorted in a way it sounds like an insect and dies away.

It is quite weird and all that, but has a really good beat and some good combinations of musical timbres.

"No Leaf Clover" by Metallica

Time to rock out, with a classical kick. This song is found on the album S&M with the San Fransisco Symphony. I think more rock should collaborate with "legitimate" musicians. We come in with a orchestra sfortsando. The low brass and strings come in with our intro, the more rhythmic section of the song. This motive is repeated twice before a cymbal splash and fade. Now we have have electric guitar and strings accompanying a flute and oboe on the melody line. When the harder sound of the electric comes in we have the closing section of our introduction, with a brass flare and and violins playing in the distance. James Hetfield comes in with his gutteral force of a voice, singing the verse like sandpaper on an unfinished piece of furniture (a little harsh, but absolutely necessary) The first verse is a repeated phrase group, with each group ending on a HC. Suddenly our tone shifts completely, back to the softer section, like in our introduction. This phrase is again repeated, the second time we have a the bass and middle strings enter, adding depth and volume. This brings us to our second verse, which mirrors our first. With the repeat of the second section we have an extension at the end, this time bringing it to a PAC (the first one of the whole piece). This elides into the next section which is a guitar solo, which sounds incredible when backed by a full orchestra, he solos over the verse line. At the end of the solo we return to the very beginning section, the rhythmic pounding of low strings and brass, this time with the full crunch of the guitar. Now we add the softer section over the top of this section, a great effect, now with the string pizzacatoing on the off beats while the guitar has a little riff of it's own. We bring it all back down to the rhythmic section, with the brass making a final call and then dying away into the cacophony of cheers. YEAH!!!!

"Domine Deus" Mass in b minor

Orchestral Excerpts
Jeanne Baxtresser

The solfege in the beginning, and the main theme, is d-t-la-sol, stated a total of three times. The phrase is played in the first measure, then repeated, and then played as the last measure. In between, the development phrases are shaped by held half steps, like t-do. The continuous eighth rhythm keeps a steady tempo and focus on the motion. Because there are little jumping intervals, combined with the rhythm, the excerpt seems lite and flowing. The main theme rhythm is characterized by a dotted eighth, sixteenth rhythm, and the descending solfege. I liked the excerpt very much, you can't go wrong with Bach.

“Still in Love”

This funky song is off the album Fear of Pop, a Ben Folds side project. It contains piano (with a very stringy sound), a few violins, and some random William Shatner dialogue. This song is in a fairly slow four-four time and uses one instrumental theme throughout. It begins with a faded in piano part that sounds like mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-fa-sol with a sort of chop sticks sort of sound, probably major third harmonies. In about the fifth measure one violin comes in, plucking, sol-do-mi-do-sol-do-mi-do. In the seventh measure a lower stringed instrument comes in, possibly a bass violin, playing two or three notes at a time, sometimes sol-do and sometimes other notes. In the same measure Shatner begins his dialogue, “I could have, I might have.” The same accompaniment continues to repeat itself for all of the song. About half way through another violin part is added with slow stokes and then a little ornamental sounding thing up higher. The song is very odd because it has a sort of Asian, movie soundtrack-ish sound. They are some very dissonant notes but they do not sound bad to the ears, only eerie. The song also fades out which is understandable since it fades in at the beginning.
I like this song and how each part comes in at a certain time. It might not be too hard to reproduce a cool sounding piano version of this song.

“Still in Love” by William Shatner

This funky song is off the album Fear of Pop, a Ben Folds side project. It contains piano (with a very stringy sound), a few violins, and some random William Shatner dialogue. This song is in a fairly slow four-four time and uses one instrumental theme throughout. It begins with a faded in piano part that sounds like mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-fa-sol with a sort of chop sticks sort of sound, probably major third harmonies. In about the fifth measure one violin comes in, plucking, sol-do-mi-do-sol-do-mi-do. In the seventh measure a lower stringed instrument comes in, possibly a bass violin, playing two or three notes at a time, sometimes sol-do and sometimes other notes. In the same measure Shatner begins his dialogue, “I could have, I might have.” The same accompaniment continues to repeat itself for all of the song. About half way through another violin part is added with slow stokes and then a little ornamental sounding thing up higher. The song is very odd because it has a sort of Asian, movie soundtrack-ish sound. They are some very dissonant notes but they do not sound bad to the ears, only eerie. The song also fades out which is understandable since it fades in at the beginning.
I like this song and how each part comes in at a certain time. It might not be too hard to reproduce a cool sounding piano version of this song.

“Still in Love” by William Shatner

This funky song is off the album Fear of Pop, a Ben Folds side project. It contains piano (with a very stringy sound), a few violins, and some random William Shatner dialogue. This song is in a fairly slow four-four time and uses one instrumental theme throughout. It begins with a faded in piano part that sounds like mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-fa-sol with a sort of chop sticks sort of sound, probably major third harmonies. In about the fifth measure one violin comes in, plucking, sol-do-mi-do-sol-do-mi-do. In the seventh measure a lower stringed instrument comes in, possibly a bass violin, playing two or three notes at a time, sometimes sol-do and sometimes other notes. In the same measure Shatner begins his dialogue, “I could have, I might have.” The same accompaniment continues to repeat itself for all of the song. About half way through another violin part is added with slow stokes and then a little ornamental sounding thing up higher. The song is very odd because it has a sort of Asian, movie soundtrack-ish sound. They are some very dissonant notes but they do not sound bad to the ears, only eerie. The song also fades out which is understandable since it fades in at the beginning.
I like this song and how each part comes in at a certain time. It might not be too hard to reproduce a cool sounding piano version of this song.

“Still in Love” by William Shatner

This funky song is off the album Fear of Pop, a Ben Folds side project. It contains piano (with a very stringy sound), a few violins, and some random William Shatner dialogue. This song is in a fairly slow four-four time and uses one instrumental theme throughout. It begins with a faded in piano part that sounds like mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-mi-fa-sol with a sort of chop sticks sort of sound, probably major third harmonies. In about the fifth measure one violin comes in, plucking, sol-do-mi-do-sol-do-mi-do. In the seventh measure a lower stringed instrument comes in, possibly a bass violin, playing two or three notes at a time, sometimes sol-do and sometimes other notes. In the same measure Shatner begins his dialogue, “I could have, I might have.” The same accompaniment continues to repeat itself for all of the song. About half way through another violin part is added with slow stokes and then a little ornamental sounding thing up higher. The song is very odd because it has a sort of Asian, movie soundtrack-ish sound. They are some very dissonant notes but they do not sound bad to the ears, only eerie. The song also fades out which is understandable since it fades in at the beginning.
I like this song and how each part comes in at a certain time. It might not be too hard to reproduce a cool sounding piano version of this song.

First SWEET in E-flat- HOLST

This is a pretty standard band piece, we're playing it for the student conductor concert, so I was thinking about it today while I was playing.
Its kind of cool how the chaccone gets passed all over the band to different instruments, and I find it very comparable to the Ron Nelson Passacaglia that we played on our last concert. I think its interesting that this chaccone or passacaglia or main motive or WHATEVER always starts out in the lowest voices of the ensemble. I feel like this really kind of anchors it into the listener's ears and to the instrumentalists as well. Its the base for the piece and I realized even as a member of the ensemble that once I heard that main theme in the beginning, it made it easier to relate my own part to that main motive.
As always with anything like this, I feel like its almost a game to try and listen for the different variations on the theme, and to hear it passed around the ensemble and then see where MY part fits into it all, but thats kind of how I generally look at music anyway, so with something like this chaccone where there is a really catchy melody it makes it ecspecially easy to be able to pick out where you might have a significant part.

Rodrigo - Fantasia para un gentilhombre - Espanoleta y Fanfare

I'm playing a different Rodrigo piece right now and thought listening to more music by the Spanish composer would give me more insight into how to play this sort of music. This piece is extremely different from the Aria Antigua. It begins with a little intro section, mostly with an oboe. Then the main theme is brought in by the strings. They play the entire theme and then the flute soloist enters with the same motive. Next it gets mixed up a little with a sort of echo going on in the orchestra of the flute's part, which is a development of the motive but using staccatos and a varied rhythm. There is a very smooth transition from this style into its exact opposite, a smooth legato line. This lasts only a few bars because it is transitional into the return of the theme that was first introduced by the orchestra. This time, both the orchestra and soloist play sections of the motive.

The piece progresses into a B section, which is a really interesting change in style from the A section. This fanfare is very Spanish dance-like, but is followed by an arpeggiated motive. These two elements make up the motive of B. A little way along, the flute has a cadenza with material from A. When the cadenza is over and the orchestra has returned, we have a return of the A section that sounds almost exactly like the initial A, only there are slight variations that keep the material sounding interesting. The piece is rounded out with a terminative section similar to the intro in the beginning except the flute has it now instead of the oboe.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Carly Simon's "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" I'm sick again...actually, I've never stopped being sick since before break so what do I do when I sick and just want to pull my hair out?! I listen to Carly Simon's "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." Yep, it's a family classic for me. My mom raised me on this song. It had something for her and something for me. This piece begins with a chorus of very small children singing an upbeat version of Itsy Bitsy Spider. Then Carly comes in and sings a jazzed up version on top of the kids version of the children's melody. Carly the sings a parrel period short verse about love comin' around again. Then the chorus enters again with the Itsy while Carly improvs on top. Carly then sings another verse. The verse is twice as long this time. Underlying this verse is chanting on the words, "The itsy bitsy spider-the itsy bitsy spppidder." The second spider is elongated as written and the rhythm is very catchy. There is an interlude on this chant-singing that leads back into the chorus of singing the entire piece. This is the final time for this chorus. The melody of the verse is sung on top of it. It creates a really cool layer effect of chanting, chorus, verse melody, and ooos. I love this piece and it makes me feel better when I hear it. I recommend it to any aged person!

Il changeait la vie - J.J. Goldman

This has some great saxophone in it....

here's one of my favorite themes that is like a modified passacaglia, in compound rhythm, in a lot of the song(mostly interlude music): do ti do me re me do -, do ti do me re me do -, do ti do fa me fa do - -, do sol (low) do me re do, ti sol ti re do ti :II (the whole thing making 8 measures total in 6/8, and the ending ends with re the last two times). It repeats a third time, only different, and there is no long note on do, it goes rather "do ti do me re me do ti do me re me, do ti do me re me do ti do me re me, do ti do fa me fa, do ti do fa me fa, etc, and this time the melody of the singer starts and it's melody is in the major mode, so there's a nice shock effect to be had.

As far as the words break down there are three strophs, even though each strophe is made of two stanzas. One's about a shoemaker who made wonderful shoes in a little village, the other's about a great professor, and the other's about a young musician, all who sacrifice a little something and show little devotion and in doing so change the world (hence the title). It's very uplifting. Complete with awesome sax solo.

Jean-Jacques Goldman
Il changeait la vie

Paroles et Musique: Jean-Jacques Goldman 1987 "Entre gris clair et gris foncé"


C'était un cordonnier, sans rien d'particulier
Dans un village dont le nom m'a échappé
Qui faisait des souliers si jolis, si légers
Que nos vies semblaient un peu moins lourdes à porter

Il y mettait du temps, du talent et du cœur
Ainsi passait sa vie au milieu de nos heures
Et loin des beaux discours, des grandes théories
A sa tâche chaque jour, on pouvait dire de lui
Il changeait la vie

C'était un professeur, un simple professeur
Qui pensait que savoir était un grand trésor
Que tous les moins que rien n'avaient pour s'en sortir
Que l'école et le droit qu'a chacun de s'instruire

Il y mettait du temps, du talent et du cœur
Ainsi passait sa vie au milieu de nos heures
Et loin des beaux discours, des grandes théories
A sa tâche chaque jour, on pouvait dire de lui
Il changeait la vie

C'était un p'tit bonhomme, rien qu'un tout p'tit bonhomme
Malhabile et rêveur, un peu loupé en somme
Se croyait inutile, banni des autres hommes
Il pleurait sur son saxophone

Il y mit tant de temps, de larmes et de douleur
Les rêves de sa vie, les prisons de son cœur
Et loin des beaux discours, des grandes théories
Inspiré jour après jour de son souffle et de ses cris
Il changeait la vie

She Moved Through the Fair - Celtic tune

The recording I have is of unaccompanied flute and it's a short, simple song. I don't know much about Celtic music or how to describe it, but I'll try... The piece sounds like a repeated phrase and not much more than that. It begins in the lower octave and stays there for the first half of the song, then moves into the higher octave for the second half. The melody is very free-flowing and peaceful-sounding and because of the title's influence, I picture a girl in a long skirt walking through the street and casually browsing the stalls of the marketplace around her.

Von Ewiger Liebe- Brahms

This is probably one of my favorite pieces in my proficiency. It starts out in C# minor with a "narrator" setting the scene for what is about to happen. "The night is dark the world is silent, as is the lark." (Rough translation...) Then the boy is walking his girlfriend home and starts talking incessantly so it is the boys turn to sing. His part says basically that if she is selfish their relationship will end as quickly as it started. It takes an entire page and a half of his singing before we get a PAC. The rest of his phrases end on sol, ti, or re which builds much anticipation to the tonic and represents the tension he is creating between himself and his girlfriend.
It is now her turn to talk. She is in Db Major for most of her "rant", unless she is asking a distressing question about him doubting their love. She ends in a dramatic PAC with lots of high notes with the statement, "Iron and Steel may melt, but our love lasts forever!"

"I Wish I Could Go Back to College" from avenue Q

"I Wish I Could Go Back To College" from Avenue Q

I love this song because of the harmonies, and there are some great chord progressions and neat things musically.
It starts out with arpeggiated chords on the keyboard, and then the first vocalist comes in. She starts out with the melody of the song right away. It's a really catchy tune; it's pretty simple and mostly stepwise, but it appears a lot throughout the song, and is very memorable. It starts out very soft, only keyboard and voice. Every character sings the melody solo, singing about what they miss about college, and then they come in and sing it together. When they sing it together drums, guitar, and I think a few brass instruments join in. The tempo speeds up, and the dynamic is much louder. The harmonies are just great... I think that's the reason I love it so much. They aren't even hard harmonies, they are just catchy.
Next comes THE BEST PART. I play it over and over again. All the sudden all of the instruments drop out, and they sing accapella with all the harmonies. I love it. The instruments pop in every once in a while when they are switching to a new chord. I'm not sure what the chord progression is, but it's amazing. I love that it is accapella.To me, there is nothing better than voices harmonizing accapella. Also, the melody never appears in this part. It is all new material.
After this section, the song modulates to a new key. The melody comes back in, and it is sung very loudly, and there is a little bit of a descant part going on over top of it. Then, suddenly, we return to the very soft dynamic and slower tempo with nothing but voices and arpeggiated chords on the keyboard. The song ends with everybody harmonizing on a 1 chord.
I guess this could be considered rounded binary form. The beginning is the A section, the cool accapella section is the B section, and then when the melody returns through the end of the song is the return of the B section.
Guess that's it! As always here are some lyrics. These go with the cool B section:
'We could be sitting in the computer lab
4 am before the final paper is due
cursing the world cause I didn't start sooner, and seeing the rest of the class there too.
I wish I could go back to college, how do I go back to college?"

It's funny, because right now all I can think about is getting out of college :-)

Speed of Sound, Coldplay

For those who can't wait till June 6 and Coldplay's release of their new album, the single, "Speed of Sound" has just been released.
Coldplay has definately not lost their distinctive ethereal sound. That light, almost airy sound that is uniquely Coldplay is present from the very beginning of this song. You can hear influences of their earlier music, but their new album sounds like it is going to be significant evolution in their style. The keyboard and ethereal backgrounds that are so prolific in "Clocks" make an appearance in their newest single. A solo guitar seems to be a nice addition in the timbre of this piece.
In common time, the entire theme of the piece is played in the first four measures. Listen as this melodic theme is passed from the keyboard, to the vocalist, to the guitar, and so on. There is a lot of repetition, but somehow, the melody gets blurred by the end of the chorus, but don't fret, the keyboard reenters restating the theme. Anyway, it's rather difficult to analyze a piece such as this, as it tends to just blur together from one section to the next, due the ambient quality of the music. Here is a taste of the lyrics:

All that noise,
and all that sound,
All those places I have found.
And birds go flying at the speed of sound,
to show you how it all began.
Birds came flying from the underground,
if you could see it then you'd understand…

"Indian Summer"

This is one of my favorite jazz songs, and Ken Peplowski is one of the best jazz clarinetists out there.
This starts out with the clarinet improvising to the chords from the bass and guitar lines, no melodic detail yet. It's in slow 4/4. We wait 7 measures, then Ken comes in with the melodic line on the 8th measure. The melody lasts for 8 measures: there are 4 two measure phrases.
Then it goes into a bass solo for about 16 measures, with only the drums. The clarinet comes back in improvising (such a beautiful sound), changing the rhythms to much more syncopation. He also starts these downward sequences, and plays around with octave jumps a lot. The piano solo comes in after this...improvises...Then the clarinet comes in with the straight melody. On the end he glissandos up and ends on the tonic.

Liturgical Dances: The Symphonic Wind Music of David R. Holsinger

Liturgical Dances : The Symphonic Wind Music of David R. Holsinger

This is an old CD I have in my little collection that I decided to pull out and listen to today. This is a pretty cool piece, and as far and concert band music goes, David Holsinger is one of my personal favorites. This particular piece I believe would make a great marching band piece…and some may laugh, but this would kick….seriously it really has some major brass power, percussion beets that are fun to follow, and lots of glory points for company fronts….YEAH…oh…just to think of the good ol’ days of high school choir and band….fun fun..

Well anyways, the piece starts of with a quick tremble from the percussion and brass…then the French horns take the main melody which is the same phrase repeating only with varying conclusions (cont. up, flowing back down) to the phrase. The cadences through these phrases seem to be HC IAC HC DC, then the woodwinds come in to smooth out the line and correct the deceptiveness of the last cadence. The chord progression is very unique sometime only seeming to change one note making it seem as the song is just swelling slowly. Also throughout this whole first section there is a crisp bell, a more mellow sounding xylophone, or marimba, and piano keeping a very clock like rhythm but is sounds so cool with the octaves in between the instruments and how they alternate every other note. Also the change in the thickness between each note keeps the sound very unique.

Then the brass some in to increase dynamics and bring back the original theme in the French horn..

That doesn’t last long because the percussion comes in with a drum beet that then all the brass fall in line with. This section is very syncopated, loud, with random rest that really get the beet off in your head, and when you think you totally have lost it.. The brass comes in with a very full, thick progression up to a BIG I (this could be a cool scatter section with and ending company front in marching band…I can see it now)…

This section goes on repeating itself, then continuing on to a drum beet that acts somewhat as a drone as the French horns come in with a quick run from do-sol then falling back to fa..keeping the stress on so and fa more as an line accent.. The brass keeps getting added in throughout this minor section…

Eventually the same phrase has been modulated into the major (mode change) and continues with full sound till the big hectic company front PAC at the end…

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Cummings- Prelude #10

It is the very simple 2 note pattern in the bass clef that gives this piece a constant, sturdy foundation. The texture and rhythm of these bass lines remain unchanged for the entire piece. There is always a low note and then a high note, usually a ninth a part, each lasting a quarter each. This pattern slowly descends down for the entire piece by usually altering no more than one note each time, and it finally reach down an octave by the last measure. In the right hand, a 1 and 1/2 measure motive is stated, developed, and restated. The motive is first played in e minor, the C major with a dimunition, and then F-sharp major. The there is a two-phrase transitional sequence returning to the motive, with a gradual increase from mp to forte highlighting the return. The final phrase includes only a fragment of the motive and gradually dies off

When the Hungers Gone- Dido and Rufus Wainright

I love this song, there of course isn't much to say about it musically, its a pop song, I'm sorry. So of course the thing that drew me to it was 1) the lyrics 2) its rufus wainright and dido, two of my all-time favorite pop singer\songwriters.
The chord changes are very simple, but the diminshed quality kind of gives a feeling of longing and lonliness, which is what I think that the song is all about. I like the fact that its two people and they are singing apart and then together, because it kind of gives the idea that they are both thinking the same thing and this relationship that has ended between them at different times, and then them singing together kind of signifies them both really thinking it maybe at the same point in time.
There is a middle section of the song that modulates and its talking about the past of the relationship and I think its kind of interesting that the modulation was used there to kind of take the listener to a different place and time...

When the Hungers Gone
Rufus Wainright and Dido

I eat dinner at the kitchen table
By the light that switches on
I eat leftovers with mashed potatoes
No more candlelight
No more romance
No more small-talk
When the hunger's gone
I eat dinner at the kitchen table
And I wash it down with pop
I eat leftovers with mashed potatoes
No more candlelight
No more romance
No more small-talk
When the hunger stops
Never thought
That I'd end up this way
I who loved the sparks
Never thought my hair'd be turning to gray
Used to be so dark
So dark

No more candlelight
No more romance
No more small-talk
When the hunger's gone
No more candlelight
No more romance
No more small-talk
When the hunger's gone
When the hunger's gone
Never thought
That I'd end up like this
I who love the night
Never thought I'd be without a kiss
No one to turn out the light
Turn out the light

I eat dinner at the kitchen table

By the light of the TV screen

I eat leftovers with mashed potatoes

Rufus + Dido:
No more candlelight No more romance No more small-talk

When the plate is clean

When the hunger's gone

When the hunger's gone

"Elle a fui la tourterelle" from Les Contes d'Hoffmann by Offenbach

Les Contes d'Hoffmann is one of the coolest operas ever, and is considered Offenbach's masterpiece. The opera tells the (fictional, yes somewhat biographical) tale of ETA Hoffmann and the four main loves of his life, Olympia the doll, Giulietta the courtesan, Antonia the singer, and Stella the diva.

"Elle a fui" opens the Antonia Act (sometimes the 2nd Act, sometimes the 3rd). Antonia is dying of tuberculosis (like most sopranos do) and has been instructed by her father (buffo tenor) not to sing, because she is too weak. However, she is in love with Hoffmann (tenor - figures), and the two love to sing together. Hoffmann secretly returns after a long time away from Antonia, without the knowledge of her father. He hides when he hears a noise. It turns out to be Dr. Miracle (bass - figures), a really sick bastard who actually killed Antonia's mother, who was also a singer. Antonia's father confronts Dr. Miracle, who says that Antonia is sick and needs his care. He actually forces Antonia to sing from her (offstage) bedroom. After he chases her father off, Dr. Miracle conjures the image of Antonia's beloved deceased mother. Through her spirit, Dr. Miracle beckons Antonia to sing. She sings beautifully in one of the coolest trios ever, but dies when her body cannot stand it anymore. Hoffmann runs on to hold the body of his beloved, but Antonia's father enters and believes that Hoffmann killed his daughter. Hoffmann is once again cursed in his efforts to find his true love.

This opera is fantastic because of all the parallelism in the acts, musically and dramatically. It is fun to analyze!

The act opens with a fortissimo, tutti chord. There is an ascending line, then an identical chord. The ascending line returns, as does the chord. A beautiful harp arpeggio is played, setting up the scene for the aria. The strings play a descending line, and Antonia begins the aria. She only makes it through the first line before she has to stop. The recitative is introduced - full orchestral accompaniment. An oboe plays Antonia's theme. The strings begin again, and Antonia sings the full aria.

The aria begins with a phrase ending in a HC, then another, symmetrial, parallel phrase that modulates - it's a progressive period. There's a B section that is so beautiful - it's held on steady high notes that are very difficult to sing. The B section modulates back to the original key for the return on the A section. The aria is in rounded binary form.

There's a second, identical verse. Only the lyrics change. The orchestral is actually the same, although the tempo in the B section is a lot faster, suggesting that Antonia is more tense.

In the aria she's basically lamenting Hoffmann's absence, and hopes that he will soon return, like the turtle dove (tourterelle).

quiet city--better blog on this before proficiency...

this is probably one of my favorite trumpet tunes out there, and better yet, i will be performing it on my sophomore proficiency with caitlin on saturday. i'm gettin excited.
anyway, the piece starts out with piano (or strings, if performing with an orchestra) playing block chords in a slow cut time. the english horn joins in with the smooth melody before the trumpet enters. we all know very well what the superior instrument is here...only kidding!when the trumpet enters, it feels very stately, as if mimicing a call. the piano cuts out and the trumpet plays solo--a quick little run. one thing i really love about this piece is how the trumpet and english horn switch off playing the melody. the trumpet will finish a melody and the english horn entrance just meshes right in. i quote adam when i say "whoa daddy." so anyway, a new, quicker melody settles in until the solo trumpet plays a nice little triplet ditty! okay then some otehr stuff happens and finally the english horn and trumpet play together--some nice parallel harmonies. ummm more to come later i gotta go rehearse

Vieuxtemps, Elegie for Viola and Piano, Op. 30

Liundsey Parsons concluded her senior recital tonight with this piece, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The rest of her program was much less virtuosic - she played a Bach Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord, a piece she composed herself, and the Shostakovitch Sonata for Violana and Piano, OP. 147. This pieces were well-performed and she was sensitive to the style of those composers, but they provided few opportunities for Parsons to show off - they had little passagework or runs, lacked cadenzas, and I think Parsons was a bit too nervous to be very expressive. She came to life, however, for the Elegie, adding some personal touches to the music that were much needed.

The harmony of this piece sounds very cool - Vieuxtemps uses many diminished seven chords to chromatically slide from tonal center to tonal center. One chord in particular struck my fancy - it was an F# major chord played over a pedal F, which was the bass for the f minor chord that preceded it. The moves by half-step created a devious, ambiguous sound that made the authentic cadences feel all the more strong.

The larger form of the piece is fairly straightforward - it's ternary, with the two outer sections in f minor and the B section modulating to the relative major, Ab. There was a very impressive terminative section which had a lot of the impressive passagework and virtuosity that I had desired the entire recital.

Queen, "March of the Black Queen"

Another long Queen song (clocking in at about six and a half minutes), and this song has a wide range of moods and doesn't follow a typical formula of verse chorus solo etc. but rather goes through a very free form going through different episodes that reflect the lyrics and go through a wide range of feelings.

The song begins very serenly with an introduction that is played by the piano that has eighth notes in the bass with the upbeat higher than the downbeat (probably a fifth or octave) with chords filling out on the downbeat with a little light guitar in the middle this is interuppted by a huge vocal la chord on the tonic chord with the bass guitar. The piano structure keeps going with the vocal background and the first lyrics "Do you mean it?" This lightens in a couple measure to just the vocal line continuing and some light ride cymbal hits with another little guitar solo with cymbal that ends on the half cadence that prepares us for another loud vocal hit on "ah". This time our rhythm kicks in with the drums carrying sixteenth notes in the toms that start to give us a march like tempo but with the vocal ah's holding out seperate chords for several measures, with the guitar being added in unison and then creating a polyphonic texture, the feeling of the music is still introductory.

This feeling of introduction finally ends over a minute into the song when the whole previous texture falls back to just the vocal doing a true feeling melodic line with quarter note piano chordal accompaniment with bass guitar in the beginning of each measure and some other little fills and whatnot outside of the lyrics.

The drums kick back in after about eight measure with some guitar filling accompaniment in a part that feels like the chorus. This is followed by a guitar solo over the music of the verse repeating itself followed by the chorus again followed by a short vocal transition which would feel like a guitar solo and this carries on for a few measures, but this is soon interrupted by a very cool rhythmic transformation. To give a little clue on the lyrics, they are about the "black queen" with some somewhat vulgar language (not cuss words, just things like "blue powder monkeys praying in the dead of night") and eventually comes to accept being with the black queen which represents evil or at least the inability of humans to be perfect

The rhythmic transformation of the music is done by taking the sixteenth note in 4/4 time and making it the eighth note triplet in 12/8 time. There is still that same subdivision of the beat but the actual tempo marking quickens and the triplet feel also gives more action to the music. The guitar carries on the solo with beating toms and a cool little part of chimes on the downbeat followed by some more of the crazy ah chords.

All of the ah's seem to be going somewhere but suddenly, all of the noise from the instruments and chordal voices ends suddenly with just one vocalist carrying a new melodic line. This new melody would serve as a verse in some other song and just has some light occasional piano accompaniment and some light vocal accompaniment. The beat can be felt and is slower than the other but there is still not consistent playing. The vocals in this point are about the "voice from behind me" trying to find some redeeming value in human life and ends up saying that the quality is giving "a little bit of love and joy" This part feels verse form throughout and has three repititions of what feels like a verse.

At the end of the verse marks the enterance of the drums, bass, and guitar that start going into a march feel with a crecendo followed by the enterance of the chordal voices again that crecendos into another section that has the same feel as the original march feel from just after the introduction but doesn't sound quite like the original part. This part has an active drum part throughout and the lyrics are back to accepting the fate of being with the black queen. There is a guitar solo in the middle of the lyrics which is followed by some more lyrics and then a transition section that sounds like the one before the rhythmic modulation but this time it just falls apart to a light guitar solo and piano solo.

This eventually goes to silence where one might think the song is over, but it doesn't sound quite done and is interrupted by the piano doing an active two sixteenth notes one sixteenth note rest pattern which serves as a call that ushers in the rest of the group for one last affirmation of the rule of the black queen that has a main vocal line and backup vocals that eventually end in a glorious PAC which serves as the jumping point of the next song, but since I've written way to much on this song I'll stop here.

"With or Without You" by U2

Once again I am sticking to the principle that the most moving song usually is the most simple. The constant of this beautiful song about a troubled relationship is the chord progression, in fact we never waver from the I-V-vi-iv. We start rather simply, just a repeated pattern on guitar (do-sol eighth notes) and a bm-chk-bmbm-chk pattern on the drums. After 4 measures the bass comes in with the chord progression and strane mystical tones are cranked into the foreground. The ethereal tones are guitar harmonics put through a sythesizer, adding an other-worldly sound, to an otherwise plain accompaniment. Bono comes in on the vocals, not in his higher, more powerful voice, but in a lower, resigned tone. The song sings of a man caught in a relationship he neither wants to continue nor end. The first verse is rather straightforward, ending on the tagline "With or without you." The second verse comes in with crunchy muted electric guitar strokes on two and four, which sounds like clapping hands. Here, Bono repeats a second "Without or with you" up an octave higher. After this we move in thicker, adding more percussion and the full electic guitar, with echo pedal on to thicken things even further. This bridge/verse is made up of a lot of repeating "and you give yourself away" over and over. At the end of this we have the first full ending of the tag line, adding on the final "I can't live, with or without you." Bono throughout this verse is becoming more and more agitated, straining higher and higher until the end of this the sound explodes through and he comes in with OH-OH-OH-OH repeated twice (sol-fa-mi re, then sol-fa-mi-do) with backup singers and the full guitar accompanying it. We have a final tagline, then a very slow fadeout that lasts for about 45 seconds.

“Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin

This is kind of an odd one I think. It starts off with a drum beat for probably two measures if two-four time and then the band comes in. The drums play a nice rock beat and the bass does some stagnant stuff. The lead guitar plays the recognizable low part, do-do-do-do (up octave)-do. The band plays for eight measures and then Robert Plant comes in with the scream/yell things, do-do(up)-ti-do(up). He does the scream thing twice, eight measures in all. The same chord is played for both the band and scream introduction parts. Then, in the seventh measure, the rhythm guitar and rest of the band comes in and the chord changes to V. The melody comes in, “Come-to-the-land-of-the-ice-and-snow” which is sol-sol-sol-sol-sol-do-sol-sol. The next twenty-four measures almost sound like one big long melodic phrase. The next eight measures build up. His vocals move up the scale and crescendo but lead back to the original guitar riff. What a surprise, the beginning of the song repeats! This time, after the build-up there is a new, fairly short, melodic theme. Plant does some spooky sounding oohs, sounding slightly ghostly, and then the song ends.
I have heard this song before, but I never really realized that it was Led Zeppelin. I am interested in looking at the lyrics more closely because it seems to talk about the strife of immigrants. The scream is a cool way to display their pain. The music is interesting because it sounds kind of minor and dark.

O Magnum Mysterium

O Magnum Mysterium
by: Morten Lauridsen
Schola Cantorum of Texas

This piece is absolutely gorgeous. It starts with a chord and the altos come in on beat two. It seems that quite often in this piece there's a chord and one voice line that moves (it's usually the altos or tenors).

I'm familiar with this piece, and the things that stands out the most are the liberties that the conductor is taking with the choir and stretching rhythms. I really love it when he takes the second note in a three note pattern and stretches it, when my ear was thinking the third would be strechted.

Cut-off's and final consonants are really wonderful. All of their breaths are together, you can hear them breathing as a choir. There are times that I wish one note would really propel to the next to create more of a horizontal line versus a vertical one. They have a beautiful sound, and the piece lends itself so well to movement in phrasing...and sometimes they take advantage of this fact. I just wish they did in the really forte sections.

The alleluia section is beautiful! The alto's vowel in [a-lE-lu-j(uh)] (sorry, i couldn't find a schwa) anyway, all the sections are saying an open E in the word, and the altos are saying anywhere from [e] to [ai]. It only stands out because the sopranos follow them doing exactly the same open E as the basses and tenors. The change in vowels gives the alti a brighter timbre than the rest of the choir, sort of shaking things up in what I think should be a very calm section. The sopranos are very focused, but when they get down into their lower register the sound sound too dark for the group.

All in all, great piece, good choir, very expressive conductor.