- Music and Racism by Justin
The topic is how music and racism is connected and how music often talks about the topic. In terms of the songs he chose, “Black Man” by Stevie Wonder. The song talks about different attacks on people of color that have occured and brings light to these social issues. Many different instruments are used and the important point in the song shown in class was very interesting as the instrumentals behind it were unique.
If I were to do the topic I would choose “Riot” by XXXTentacion and “The Bigger Picture” by Lil Baby. Both songs speak about racism especially towards African Americans and how police brutality occurs in America even in the 21st century. Both songs came up due to the Black Lives Matter movement and show the major protests that were going on at the time.
2. Music and Death by Regina
The topic is how death and music are often tied together and how death is shown in different music types like composition and game OSTs. “Dies Irae” – Death Motif, is a composition apart of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique. It explores death through a drug dream, they signify death through its score and an interesting moment would be the first four notes as they show death. The 2nd song they used is “The Strings and Keys” from the game Omori. The song signifies the final duet between Mari and Sunny, after Mari killed his sister without meaning to. A prevalent moment is at 4:15 in which it shows a piano fadeout to a singular violin note. It is a beautiful song that signifies the loss of a loved one.
If I wrote about the topic I would use the “Welcome to the Death Parade” by My Chemical Romance and “Veil” by Keina Suda. Both songs talk bout the loss of loved ones. However, MCR uses the Black Parade as a way to set a narrative of life and death and the song signifies the start of the end. Veil on the other side, talks about the loss of a close person and how it affects them. Both songs are amazing. Veil at 0:50 bursts into a new timbre and pitch making it amazing, while death parade the first 40 seconds just set the tone of the song through its instrumentals.
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.
A religion that uses music I’d like to discuss is Sikhism. It is a monotheistic religion that I personally follow and have family that follow it as well. Music plays a major role in our religion, during times of prayer at Gurduwaras (the house of prayer for Sikhs), we often play “Kirtan”. Kirtan is a major part of Sikhi and many different gurus (people who have devoted their lives to Sikhism) learn to play it. As Ajit Singh Paintal describes it in his document ” Sikh Devotional Music – Its Main Traditions”, “Kirtan is music which overflows with devotion for God, and sings his glory” ( Paintal 19).
A certain Kirtan I would like to talk about is the “Rehras Sahib”. It is an evening prayer for Sikhs and worships our god. It is actually not a Kirtan but many different gurus have converted it into Kirtans and often use different musical elements. For example, in this video I have linked below, you can hear tablas and harmoniums being used. The voice of the guru goes through many different pitches and changes timbre quite frequently throughout the composition. It expresses religious belief through building a greater connection with god during the evening time.
Mac Demarco is an Alternative/Indie artist that has created many great albums that have been extremely popular on social media and in general. His 2012 album “2”, was a major success with songs like “Freaking Out the Neighborhood” and “My Kind of Woman” have been extremely successful and has paved the way for his newer music which has gotten better and better. He performed at Primavera Sound 2019, which is a musical festival that takes place in Barcelona yearly. I watched the concert on youtube due to my love of his music and due to the opportunity off of this assignment.
The performers even with the chill, synthwave music still try to vibe out and try to hype up the music. With little gestures like dancing a bit or even moving their hands a little while playing their respective instruments. Mac also has moments where he tunes his guitar and talks to the audience during intermissions. It seems like a very relaxed environment which can also be shown by the fact that the audience sings along and screams a lot during the performances beggining or ends. Also all of the audience are standing as it is a festival outside. People dress in all different varieties but summer clothing seems to be prevalent due to the heat, all different kinds of people come together to enjoy good music. What suprised me was the sheer amount of people during the show, there is at least a couple thousand there and it seems overwhelming to me personally. Compared to the concerts seen in unit 7 like Beethoven and Whiteman, it seems more relaxed and less about composure and preciseness but rather about the feeling and everybody just enjoying themselves while listening to Mac’s music.
In the article, “100 years ago today, ‘The Rite of Spring’ incited a riot in a Paris theater”, the author talks about how The Rite of Spring ballet performance by Igor Stravinsky, caused mayhem and chaos. Through the bizzare and violent moves the ballet artists were doing many people were confused and even horrified at seeing such an odd form of ballet. 2 factions soon broke out leading to a major arguement in the theather and leading to police involvement. The story has been extremely overexaggerated as some people say that violence incited and many people were injured. But the author says that no such violence occured but arguments insued.
In the article, Did Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring incite a riot at its premiere?, the author argues that what actually happened is that aristocrats were not used to what the performance portrayed so they procceeded to bash it instead of having an open mind, saying ” these practices were very racist” and the aristocrats were laughing at these racist jokes. Those who actually cared about the Rite of Spring and wanted to critique it got mad at the aristocrats for being loud and laughing. The author says “Levitz speculates, “In truth, only those sitting close to the people who uttered these insults probably heard them at all.” meaning that the people who even heard the insults blew it way out of proportion leading to a major argument and insults being thrown around. Since the recordings of the experience of what happened was through the lens of somebody in the balcony, most of the things we know now could be seen as over exxagerated. The author states “The first mention of physical altercations at the premiere came from eyewitness Carl van Vechten, who claimed that a man sitting behind him “beat rhythmically on the top of my head with his fists.” Meaning that the man that claimed this might’ve lied and blew it out of proportion when in reality it was not a riot but rather a smaller altercation.
I thought this ballet was very interesting but I did not like the racist jokes that were used for humor. However, that is only through the context of nowadays. If I was apart of the audience back when this was released for the first time and I was a white male, due to the social context I would probably laugh at it as well. But as a critic I would be mad at the aristocrats laughing during the performance. Overall, my feelings are mixed.
The song that I chose is “Passionfruit” by Drake, which was released in his 2017 LP, “More Life”. This song has also been covered by Paramore’s Hayley Williams and both versions are great yet drastically different. The song itself is a very subtle yet chill song that can often be described as R&B. Drake is telling a story about an experience he has had with a long-distance relationship and how he struggles to trust her while in said relationship. He often brings up addiction and cheating in the song and he makes clear how he is unable to maintain trust and faithfulness to the woman and eventually stops the relationship. Now, Hayley Williams, although not having a long distance relationship can relate to the lyrics of the song as during the time she performed this at BBC music, her ex-husbands infidelity lead to their divorce. The story is mellow and melancholy at some moments but is a song that many people can relate to. The differences however come around when it comes to the tempo and timbre of the performances. For example, the tempo of the Paramore performance is a little slower compared to the original Drake song. Another difference would be the timbre of each others voices. Hayley heavily changes her timbre especially in the first 50 seconds of her performance. While Drake seems to be pretty constant throughout the song with little timbre changes. 2 similarities is the use of instruments and the “beat” that is being used is the exact same just at different tempos. Another similarity is the mood of the song as it is a chill yet melancholy song and they both hit the nail perfectly on what they are trying to portray with their respective performances.
A piece of musical technology that is a streaming platform would be Spotify. Spotify is an easily accessible streaming service that can be downloaded to virtually all platforms. This includes desktop pcs, laptops, phones, gaming consoles, and more. The purpose of Spotify is to make music accessible in virtually any place as long as you have a device to do so. It works to achieve that purpose by making users pay anywhere from $5 to $20 a month to have access to the library of music they offer and download said music to play it anywhere. People use this technology in a way it wasn’t designed for by finding loopholes in the music system and putting literal movies on there and also make new genres on spotify alown. I have experience with this technology as I use Spotify almost daily during my daily routine. I love using it and it is a great form of Technology.
A piece of music that uses this technology that actually originated in Spotify and the depths of underground music would be a song named “Goodbye” by Sewerslvt. Spotify and other streaming services allowed Sewerslvt to have a cult following and eventually explode onto other platforms while still being a cult in a sense. Her music has helped thousands of people around the world, and it started the resurgance of a genre called “breakcore”.
The song that I picked is “Runaway” by Kanye West. Kanye is a hip-hop artist that in recent years has been shrouded in controversy, yet his work is some of the best music has ever seen and has influenced countless artists. This song has affected me as it really made me understand that music itself is art and I believe everybody should listen to this song at least once. The melody of this song is so memorable especially due to the first few C notes that are played. It is so distinct and the rest of the song is so recognizable due to its uniqueness. The melody is very diverse and pitches up and down but is balanced in a sense. The timbre of Kanye’s voice adds so much balance and beauty to the song. He often pitches up and down, yet he does not make the 9-minute drag time of the song boring at all. The pre-chorus and chorus especially shows the timbre of Kanye as he often changes how loud or how low he is sounding, yet it is balanced and creates a new sense of stability to the song with his intensity, which is why it is often regarded as Kanye’s best song. This song’s best moment is that chorus with the way Kanye harmonizes all instrumentals and voices into one beautiful piece of art.
The Classical Period of music, also known as the enlightenment period was one of the most ground breaking revitalizations of music as a whole. This historical period is extremely interesting to me due to the fact that I actually listen to some classical songs while I workout. It is really beautiful in the fact of how these composers strive for beauty and art in all their compositions. The aesthetics of classical music is so intriguing as it shows emotional restraint yet catharsis in many composers works. What I knew about this era of music prior to reading about it is that many of the twentieth century and romantic era artists use some of the ideas of the composers from the classical period. For example, pianos and refined music is extremely prominent in modern day music and we use some of the ideas behind instrument usage in our modern day. The music is described as clear, proportional and refined.
The figure I picked is Ludwig van Beethoven. His music is very influential as almost everybody knows of his work. Für Elise is one of his biggest compositions and it sounds just like I would expect classical music to sound, very much so composed yet with no lyrics can produce emotion. It sounds like what I expected because the word “classical” gives this sense of sophistication. So I believe that the sound is very much in line with being sophisticated.