I consider the song “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson a good song for various reasons. The reasons why I consider it a good song is the long period of time for which it topped the charts and the impact it had. Billie Jean topped the pop chart for seven weeks in March and April of 1983 which was considered a long period. It also paved the way for more uptempo black music to crossover after three years of post-disco blacklisting by pop radio. Another reason why I consider it a good song is the usage of its various hooks. One after another you’re subject to an onslaught of hooks. The drum beat, bass line, string stabs, funk guitar, vocal punches, and tiny horn runs. It is catchy to the point that everyone recognizes each one of these as being from that song. They share the traits of being independently strong, catchy, and also being significantly memorable. The story behind the song also adds to the charm of the song. According to Jackson’s biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli, “Billie Jean” was inspired by letters Jackson received in 1981 from a woman claiming he was the father of one of her twins. Jackson, who regularly received letters of this kind, had never met the woman and ignored those claims. A unit this song could have been featured in was Unit 3: Elements of Sound and Music. In this unit different parts that make up a song are mentioned such as beat, pitch, harmony, melody, vocal, timbre, texture, etc. I believe this song displays a variety of these skills and we could have broken this song down to identify each of these terms. For example, we could have seen how harmony was utilized in the song and what type of texture the song was played in. This would have allowed us to identify terms better and also see how it’s incorporated into popular songs.
A piece of “good” music that im familiar with and that hasn’t been discussed in class would be Man in the Mirror by Micheal Jackson. Micheal Jackson was known to be an American singer, songwriter, dancer, and so much more. This song goes on to highlight the injustices that occur within the world especially during the release time of this song. During the time Micheal Jackson was giving concerts in Yokohama and Osaka, he had dedicated this song in memory to the five year old young boy Yoshiaki Ogiwara from Japan who had been kidnapped for ransom and later murdered. The creation for this song was originally written by Siedah Garrett and Glen Ballard which would be the first outside song in two years he had accepted to sing. The song displays that inorder to make a change within the world it first has to start with yourself. When it comes to the start of the song the tone that is presented shows how his voice starts off slow and at a low sound and gradually gets a more projected higer tone as the chorus follows him throughout the song. While as for the tempo it does start off slow in the beginning as well as toward the middle of the song although his voice gets higer as we move to the mid- end around the sound his voice picks up along with the beat and the chorus that is supporting his voice but continues like this till the the end. A unit that could feature my piece of music as a listening example would be Unit 5:US Popular Music. I think it would fit in this unit because it was and still is an influential work of music today that many individuals are able to connect back to.
A piece of music that I consider to be good would be the song “The Perfect Pair” by Beabadoobee. This song has been trending recently on social media apps, but I learned about it because I have been following the artist Beabadoobee for a while since around the time of senior year, which would be around late 2021- early 2022. Her album that was released in summer of 2022, named “Beatopia” had a massive amount of hype by those who followed Bea and liked her music. She originally rose to extreme heights due to her involvement in the song “Death Bed” by Powfu as she was sampled in the song and many people discovered her off the song. The song now sits at millions of views and to me is a really good song.
Bea’s dynamics with her instrumentalists seems to be very balanced as her soft tones balances out with the chill melody that is constant throughout the song. She uses her voice to accompany the instrumentals rather than overpower it and steal the show, even allowing a little solo in the climax of the song starting around 1:58. She really lets the whole band shine while not straying away from her vocals. Her lyrics are also very relatable, and texture is cluttered yet comes out to be very structured even with the use of that many instruments. I think it would be great to show in Unit 5 as it is a popular song in the US, and social media as of 2022. It can help teach which songs were popular in modern day music, and it could help teach different instruments and how they work. Here’s a link to the song.
Piece Of Music: Allez by Teddyson John
Information About Piece Of Music: This is music a part of the Caribbean, falling under the genre of Soca Music.
What the artist wants the listener to understand from this song:
The gift of change, the capacity for forward motion, and the blessing of being able to get back up and start over again are what make life beautiful. Inevitable difficulties are supposed to strengthen you rather than to overwhelm you. Teddyson John tells us that as we bravely conquer negativity and pessimism and as we all want to live life to the fullest, life’s successes happen every day. The musician asks you to overcome any and all of your issues and go on into an amazing and triumphant future, but don’t go alone; instead, go together and walk the path of growing into something greater.
Two Musical Characteristics:
Rhythm = The rhythm of this song is what makes this song so memorable and catchy. The beats make you obtain that feeling of wanting to dance, jump up, and have fun, to enjoy life. The embodiment of what this song is about. The beats are all major keys, to supporting that uplifting feeling. The musicality in the pre-chorus and the chorus are what hype you up and gets you to want to dance.
Timbre (tone color) = The artist is singing in his higher range avoiding his minor keys. Since the song is supposed to be an encouraging and uplifting piece, singing in his higher notes will also contribute to the message he wants to portray.
How would it fit into the unit?
This piece of music would fit into this unit because the general idea is to convey what makes up a song. How it is organized, how the words and music work together, and how the concept of a song can invoke emotions and tell a story. In my opinion, “Allez by Teddyson John” can do a perfect job of identifying those connections based on the meaning behind the song, and how the song was put together.
What important concepts would it help teach?
The concepts it would teach…
- How lyrics can influence the interpretation of a song? (Lyrics speak about overcoming and always looking for the light/positivity)
- How music can affect emotions and feelings? (The beats of the song make you feel happy and empowered)
- What the structure or build-up of a song can do to the music? (The music is slowed down or cut down by half, before the chorus comes in, which builds up that tension. So, when the chorus comes in, it lets loose with the music, making you want to jump up or dance.)
A song that I consider to be good music is “Open Arms” by Journey. This song is from Journey’s 1981 album called Escape. It is a “power ballad” and its lyrics convey the meaning of rekindling a relationship with someone that is starting to drift away. It has reached Billboard Hot 100 in the past and it is still a very recognizable song to this day. It has been described as one of the greatest love songs and VH1 said that this power ballad is the greatest of all time. There have been many covers of this song like one from Mariah Carey. In musical terms, “Open Arms” has a complex melody in comparison to other songs and was written in the D major key. It is under the genre of Pop/Rock. A unit that we have covered in class that this song can fit under could be Popular Music in the US. As I mentioned, this song is very well known and loved by many people to this day. It is one of Journey’s most famous songs. It would teach that all genres of music can be considered popular music. We saw how the Blues influenced Rock and Roll, so that could be worth mentioning too. Since it has been recognized by Billboard and VH1 as one of the most popular power ballads, that is why it can fall under the category of Popular Music in the US.
This week’s unit is centered on the question, “What is good music?” This blog offers you the opportunity to share a piece of music that you think is good and find a place for it within our course.
First, choose a piece of “good” music that you’re familiar with and that hasn’t been discussed in class or one of your past blogs. Tell us some of the social/cultural/historical background of this music and at least two musical characteristics (using the musical elements vocabulary) that make it special.
Then, look over the unit themes that we’ve covered this semester and pick a unit that could feature your piece of music as a listening example. How would it fit into the unit? What important concepts would it help teach? Connect your earlier discussion of the music to these points.
What Is Music; Elements of Sound and Music; Instruments and Music Technology; US Popular Music; Song; Sung and Danced Drama; Listening in Concert; Listening at Home and Court; Stories Without Words; Music and Spiritual Expression; Music and Political ExpressionUnit Themes to Choose From
Due Sunday December 4 at 11:59pm.
Refer to the Posting Guidelines to make sure you get full points for this blog. For help with posting your blog, check out the How-To Guide. You can earn a point of extra credit by reading a classmate’s blog and posting a substantial comment before Sunday December 11.
I decided to go with Hinduism, which is the religion I was raised with. Hinduism uses Bhajans, which are prayers that are written into song to praise the Gods. They can be done either vocally or with instrumental accompaniment. Usually vocal praise is done at home and in temples there will be instrumental accompaniment. This isn’t for any cultural reason, because, at least in my family, no one plays instruments that would accompany a Bhajan.
The Bhajan I chose is the Hanuman Chalisa, which is meant to sing the prasies of Lord Hanuman. It is sometimes either monophonic or polyphonic, depending on the amount of people there. Singing can be done by anyone. There is also musical accompaniment, a sitar, tabla and harmonium are usually played in any Bhajan.
I will be discussing the Greek Orthodox religion which I am personally a part of. The music played in the Greek Orthodox Church is Byzantine chant. It used Greek text and took inspiration from “the artistic and technical productions of the classical age, on Jewish music, and inspired by the monophonic vocal music that evolved in the early Christian cities…” (https://www.wsgoc.org/our-faith/music). This music is sung during Church service and prayer.
Agni Parthene (O Virgin Pure) is a chant that is sung when praising the Mother of God and during evening service. This is an example of the Byzantine chant used. It is monophonic and the vocalists are loud to make sure it echoes around the Church. The lyrics are often repeated. The song is slow paced.
For this blog I’d like to talk about Buddhism and how music is used within their religious practice. Buddhism is a largely known and practiced religion. People who follow the religion believe that “ human life is one of suffering, and that meditation, spiritual and physical labor, and good behavior are the ways to achieve enlightenment, or nirvana. Buddhist practices often contain a chant, the use of instruments or sometimes even dances. Music is treated as an offering to Buddha and is incorporated in the means of memorizing Buddhist texts and meditation.
A way that Buddhist people like to incorporate music into their daily life is using it to help calm themselves while meditating. I could not find a specific song, but I found a video on youtube that buddhist people use while meditating. The tempo of the song is very slow. They use a slow tempo song that is good for quieting the mind and relaxing your muscles.
“Buddhism.” National Geographic Society, https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/buddhism.
“Buddhism and Music.” Obo, https://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780195393521/obo-9780195393521-0136.xml#:~:text=Most%20Buddhist%20practices%20involve%20chant,of%20personal%20cultivation%20or%20meditation.
My religion of choice is Buddhism. Buddhist music originated in India and gradually flourished around the 1st century AD. Buddhist chants are a kind of Buddhist music, which has been spread from ancient India till now. It is a kind of music with the nature of chanting, with both melody and singing.
The variety of Buddhist activities and rituals has given rise to different styles of music, which can be roughly divided into two categories: popular Buddhist music for folk purposes and Buddhist music for religious rites. Although popular Buddhist music has the musical theme of Buddhism, it is not limited to the chanting of believers in temples or Dharma meetings due to its good melody but is widely accepted by the public, such as Li Na’s Guanyin Bodhisattva and Huang Siting’s Love Affair. Buddhist music mainly refers to the Buddhist music of Buddhist chants, which is sung by the devotees in monasteries and some dharma meetings. In the temple, monks perform this music in the form of chanting during morning and evening classes. Buddhists sing or recite scriptures on a daily basis to remember the teachings of Guanyin to calm their hearts and sublimate their perverse desires.
When I was very young, I visited my great-grandmother with my family, before she passed away. She lay unconscious on the bed with a radio playing the Great Sorrow Mantra. I was too young to understand the meaning of the song. After that, for a long time, I associated the Great Mercy Mantra with death and I was afraid of the Great Mercy Mantra for a few years. As I grew older, I learned that the Great Mercy Mantra had the power to heal, purify and protect. The Great Mercy Mantra praises Avalokitesvara, respects the Bodhisattva’s compassion and compassionate qualities, and asks for protection from suffering.
The Great Mercy Mantra begins with a bell sound, then the sound of the flute enters, and the flute ends at 0:37 seconds, to be replaced by a human voice. Buddhist music does not have very distinct pitch fluctuations but instead centers around a major melody to sing Sanskrit. Use this way to remember the text and its teachings. After the chorus of male and female voices is over, the sound of the flute appears again, accompanied by the sound of the pipa, and the erhu is added at 2:50. 3.12 The second loop begins. The number of cycles of the Great Mercy Mantra varies from person to person. As far as I know, Buddhists usually chant the Great Mercy Mantra at least three times a day.