2014 Analysis Response Question 16

2014 Analysis Response Question 16

Done in a timed setting after the exam before my son wakes up! I hope this helps. It is not a definitive response, just an example of what it is possible to write. 

Question 16 

Work: One Hundred Thousand (excerpt)

Artist: Art of Sleeping

Track from the album: Like a Thief

 Explain how the vocal and instrumental lines create mood and character in this excerpt.

Character – brooding, intense, haunting, reflective, melancholic.

Achieved through vocals – solo voice thin, rounded tone colour with tight, slightly forced vibrato at the end of introductory phrases. Shows strain and sense of melancholy. Reflective character through echoing decay caused by artificial echo and repeating/echoing final notes gradually disappearing. This also creates a natural, echoing diminuendo at the ends of phrases. Short, repeated, descending, guitar figure with fairly small range compliments the false echo of the vocals. Enhances to reflective character.

Opening synthesizer accompanies solo voice. Reflective through sparse texture – synthesizer has accompanying chords with slow harmonic rhythm, slight, unforced vibrato and warm, ringing tone colour. Space between phrases, echoing decay fades to reflective silence to reinforce the mood.

More intensity created after introduction on as more instruments added/layered especially percussive elements with more cutting, sharp (snare) and booming, reverberating (bass drum), sandy, shimmering (cymbal/brushes) tone colours. Overall more complexity = increased intensity. Also matched by increased dynamic level due to harsher tone colours and a wider TC spectrum and thicker texture.

Vocalists initially thicken the texture by use of parallel harmony then this is intensified through doubled 8ves. Tone colour is initially quite echoing and warm in parallel harmony. Becomes more raw and harsh when change to 8ves to match the increasing intensity of the mood.

Rhythm creates sense of confusion and intensity. Contrasting rhythmic figure – “nobody wants to be left behind”. Until this point the drum kit has highlighted clearly the beat and pulse with some unobtrusive variation. This section has syncopated, almost triplet feel unlike any other rhythmic pattern used. Brings attention to this phrase. Helps create brooding character.

Vocal articulation – flip onset, changing from chest to head voice quickly gives a sense of reflective vulnerability – sometimes momentary early on with lyric ‘floor’ sometimes a more solid change – eg. From words ‘were you’, which remains in light, fragile sounding head voice/falsetto. Helps create vulnerable character.

“You can be my broke down Valentine” – the helplessness of this character reinforced by thinning out texture suddenly, doubling at the 8ve the vocal parts, no harmony, percussion drops out. Highlighting through simplicity rather than complexity. Thinning of texture/brooding character also highlighted/enhanced by accented, rhythmic unison drum beat on first beat of the bar just before this happens – louder dynamic brings softer dynamic/sparser texture into sharper focus.