Analysis Question with Sample Response I The Church, Under the Milky Way

Analysis Question with Sample Response I The Church, Under the Milky Way

The Church – Under the Milky Way

Sample Response I

Question: How are musical elements used to develop character in this work? 

Character: mysterious, brooding

  • The male vocalist’s warm, resonant TC and the reverberation effect used create a sense of space, adding to the mysterious character

  • At the beginning of the excerpt, the sparse homophonic texture of the acoustic guitarist and the accompanying vocalist adds to the sense of space and the mysterious character

Jenn Gillan: Watch the ‘sense of space’ concept. Sticking to musical example = character is a little more straightforward.

  • The guitarist uses an even, repetitive rhythm, accenting beats 2 and 4, which, when combined with the andante tempo, creates a brooding atmosphere

  • The descending arpeggio on the lyrics “I think about”, combined with the overall simple melodic contour, add to the brooding nature of the excerpt

Jenn Gillan:  Maybe the fact that these phrases are shorter/ interrupted and use silence helps create this?

  • The vocalist does not use vibrato and uses a slow decay on each note, which leaves the note hanging and adds to the mysterious character

Jenn Gillan: Good.

  • The initial dynamic is mezzo piano, created by the mellow, resonant TC of the synthesised voices and the low register of the vocal melody, adding to the brooding character

  • The dynamics build slightly as the texture becomes more complex, with the addition of the bass, drums and synthesiser, intensifying the mysterious character

  • The vocalist ornaments the melody with scoops, which when combined with the minor harmonies of the synthesised voices, creates a mysterious atmosphere

Jenn Gillan: Is this the strongest example? Does scoops + minor naturally = mystery?

  • The languid descending bass line, along with the repeated 2 bar phrases, contributes to the brooding character

Jenn Gillan:  What makes a bass line ‘languid’?

Overall: Some impressive links from musical elements to the creation of character. Be careful with a question like this that implies change of character (How are musical elements used to develop character) that you address how a character changes. You almost did this, talking about how the character intensifies, but the changes need to be delved into more in order to answer the question properly. A great attempt.