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Blog 9 Roopnarine

In your own words, summarize the connection between the topic and the two music entries discussed in the presentation. Lyrics? Social context? Musical characteristic?

The presentation that I choose to discuss is the connection between Music and Animals, more specifically Animal Cruelty. In the US, there are roughly around 10 million animals that die from abuse. Music is a way for this idea of animal abuse to become well-known and a way for the charity to succeed. 

In class, the two songs that were presented to represent this topic were “Behind the Mask” by Goldfinger and “Exotic Animals Suite: Movement 1” by Mark Dal Porto. 

Behind the Mask

Lyrics and Social Context: Behind the lyrics, this song is a reference to ALF (Animal Liberation Front). It showcases support for animal rights and to end animal abuse, saying that the animal trusted the human and all the human did was put it in pain. Animals have a right to life and deserve to live it. 

Musical Characteristics: Tempo = 175 BPm / B-key and minor mode / Instrument and Lyrics are repetitive / Music stops at a certain point and is being warped. 

Exotic Animals Suite: Movement 1

Lyrics and Social Context: this musical piece is an orchestral one, with no lyrics. The composer created this movement to showcase the wonders of nature and the beauty that comes with it.

Musical Characteristics: This piece consists of three movements and is considered to be chamber music / The harmony is dissonance and polyphonic / Music reflects the sounds of birds (the technique used is removing the reed from the oboe to do so). 

In all, both songs serve to bring awareness to protecting animals and appreciating their existence. 

If you wrote about this topic instead of your own, what kind of music would you pick? Pick two songs/pieces that the author didn’t discuss in their presentation. How would you connect these songs/pieces to your topic? Lyrics? Social/historical/cultural background? Musical characteristic?

Song 1: Angel by Sarah McLachlan

This song connects to the topic because Sarah McLachlan sings this song for the ASPCA commercial. ASPCA is an animal rescue organization that rescues animals from abandonment and cruelty. Sarah McLachlan says the reason that she sings this song is because it brings out the emotions of everyone, making them want to cry alongside seeing the desperate animals in need of help. The song offers a way for the organization to gain some donations so they can better care for the animals in need. 

Lyrics and Social Context: The lyrics are used to convey the hardship of struggle and hardship. This song was originally written about a drug addict’s struggles with the world. The “angel” symbolizes the drugs the addict gives in to repeatedly. Similarly, when Sarah McLachlan gave her song to the ASPCA organization, it was meant to portray the helplessness of the animal not being able to better its situation. 

Musical Characteristics: The song is written in a minor key. When she performs the song on the piano, you really hear the minor keys. The minor keys serve to create that sad/grieving tone, which the song symbolizes, originally about addiction and then animal cruelty. 

Link: Sarah McLachlan – Angel [Official Music Video]

Song 2: Silent Night by Sarah McLachlan

Lyrics and Social Context: The lyrics, in the animal context, are used to convey the brutality of the cold winter night. The song is sung in a way to bring peace and to help put someone down for a night’s rest. In reality, it is meant to showcase the environment that the animals have to live in. They are hungry and cold and have no place to call home. Even though the song is meant to bring calm, it depicts the event that the song is bringing calm to. 

Musical Characteristics: The timbre or tone color of the artist’s voice is natural and pure. The music is also very basic with not a lot going on, other than a piano accompanying the voice. The purpose of the artist’s singing in a lower and more quiet tone is to get the feel of the hymn because Silent Night is a hymn from the Christian faith, but here it’s used in a different context to depict the brutality of animal abuse and the singer’s voice does justice to that. 

Link: Silent Night

Blog 8 Roopnarine

Piece Of Music: Allez by Teddyson John 

Teddyson John – Allez (Official Music Video) “2016 Soca” [HD]

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. 

Unit

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.)

Blog 7 Roopnarine

Religion: Hinduism 

How Is Music Used In Hinduism: Music in Hinduism has significant importance. Music offers Hindus a way to express their love for God, as well as offer prayers. It helps takes Hindus a step closer to finding their way back to God. Hindus sing songs to God while doing puja/hawan, when there is a religious festival, when the swami or pandit (priest), reads from the holy book(s), etc. 

Link: श्री हनुमान चालीसा Hanuman Chalisa I GULSHAN KUMAR I HARIHARAN, Full HD Video, Shree Hanuman Chalisa 

Song/Music: The musical piece that I chose is the Hanuman Chalisa. The Hanuman Chalisa is one of the most recited Bhajans (Religious song/prayer) in the Hindu Religion. 

Lord Hanuman is one of the most strong and most powerful Hindu Gods and is admired by Hindus across the world. Lord Hanuman was granted a boon of immortality, meaning Lord Hanuman is still amongst us today. Lord Hanuman also played a great role in the Ramayana (The Story of Lord Rama and his battle with Ravana, a demon). When Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya, Lord Rama asked Lord Hanuman to stay on Earth till the end and asked him to work for the welfare of the people. 

Therefore the Hanuman Chalisa is meant to benefit Hindu Devotees. By chanting the Hanuman Chalisa, Lord Hanuman himself will come to solve your problems. The Chalisa is meant to free us from our problems, fulfill our wishes, and keep/protect Hindus from evil forces. Lord Hanuman and the Hanuman Chalisa give Hindus the strength and courage to face challenges to their core. 

One musical element that I would like to focus on is the melody. For most Hindu Bhajans, the melody stays the same, except for when the singer is not singing, when there is a pause in singing the sacred text. The same thing happens here in the Hanuman Chalisa. Every time the singer takes a pause, there is a slight change to the melody when a stringed instrument, maybe a sitar, comes in. It adds substance to the Bhajan, and the melody only alters when the singer takes a pause, and this happens in most likely every Bhajan.

Blog 6 Roopnarine

The performing artist/group: Little Mix (LM5 Tour)

The genre of music they performed: Pop and R&B/Soul

The space they performed in: London, The O2 Arena 

What made you decide to attend or watch the concert?: Little Mix has always prided themselves on always wanting to do better than the previous material they have put out. Rather it be their music, albums, or the performances/tours they do. So, as a fan, you can always expect something new and engaging when they come on stage. 

Then, discuss how the performers and audience behaved (for example, dress style, interaction with the performer/audience, movement, etc). 

Performers:

There were many sections throughout the concert. So there were many themes and costume changes throughout the almost two-hour performance. The performers and dancers were in colorful clothing and patterns. For example, there was like this animal print phase and a jean and plaid phase. 

Little Mix loves their fans and often likes to interact with and involve them in their performances. Jesy is always hyping the crowd to jump and scream, and they also like to share some personal moments with the fans as well (flying over the crowd or talking about feelings). 

When it comes to dancing, Little Mix gives full choreography. The dances are always high energy and the dancers match up to that energy. The dancers also get up close and personal with the girl group to create the vibe that the song is putting forward. 

Everything from the lights on the stage and the video playing in the background on the stage was colorful and everything matched the tempo of the music. 

Audience:

The audience was singing along to the songs, they were dancing, grooving, jumping up and down, and screaming/crying throughout the whole concert. 

Did anything surprise you, or did everything match with your expectations?: Nothing surprised me about the concert, as it lived up to the expectations that these girls created for themselves. 

Compare this concert to one we discussed in Unit 7: A concert that I would like to compare with that of Little Mix at their LM5 tour is Beethoven’s Concert in 1808. Just like Little Mix’s Concert, Beethoven’s concert was the one to be at. Both of these artists are well-respected performers, so it is obvious that if either had a concert to do, people would go and watch the show. Just like the concert at the O2 in London, for Little Mix, the Beethoven concert was sold out. People were expecting to be dazzled. The Little Mix concert went extremely well and the audience loved the show. The same however can not be said about the Beethoven concert. While the sections done by Beethoven were the fan favorites, the rest of the four-hour show was disorganized and not pleasing to a lot of people. The orchestra was not well practiced, it was too long, cold, and too complex. The audience found most of the show to be displeasing for their liking so the show was not a great hit with the people. Despite the outcome, Beethoven was able to produce famous pieces that we all know today for that concert that night.

Blog 5 Roopnarine

1. Read “100 years ago today, ‘The Rite of Spring’ incited a riot in a Paris theater”; in your own words, summarize what the author believes happened during the ballet’s premiere.

The author of this article believes…

Shortly after the ballet’s opening notes, a meandering and unsettlingly high-pitched bassoon solo that many in the crowd found amusing and mocking, started the commotion. The orchestra’s hammering percussion and jarring rhythms intensified in tandem with the mounting tensions within the freshly opened Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, and the jeers grew louder as the music moved into a more cacophonous territory.

By the time the dancers, directed by renowned Ballets Russes director Vaslav Nijinsky, ascended the stage, the atmosphere had almost reached a boiling point. The dancers, who were decked up in absurd costumes, made monstrous and violent movements instead of graceful ones, that echoed the weird story that was being told throughout the ballet. The audience’s boos got so loud that the dancers couldn’t hear the music, requiring Nijinsky to yell instructions from backstage.

The orchestra quickly found itself under attack as irate Parisians threw vegetables and other objects toward the stage as a fight broke out between two sections of the audience. Although 40 individuals were reportedly expelled from the theater, it’s unclear whether the police were actually called to the scene. Amazingly, the show went on till the end, even though the consequences were severe and quick.

2. Read “Did Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring incite a riot at its premiere?”; in your own words, summarize what the author argues actually happened at the premiere and describe at least two pieces of evidence (like historical material) the author uses to support their argument.

The author of this article believes…

A riot never occurred on the night that “The Rite of Spring” premiered. He believes that the term “riot” was used for promotional business, especially in the United States, where the thrill of violence was exciting to Americans. After entering the States, The term “riot” and “The Rite of Spring” went hand and hand. 

Levitz points out that the balcony is where the majority of the first-person recollections of the premiere were recorded. Due to certain architectural features, the balcony of the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées was highly resonant; sounds from the orchestra, which was unusually strong, bounced off concrete walls. The setting of the balcony probably amplified the effect and made the sound overwhelming. We don’t know whether other groups in the audience felt the same confusion because this is the only audience perspective that has been recorded in history. Only a one-group perspective, that to far from where the incident occurred can not be the sole proof that a riot occurred. 

The author also pointed out that the choreography that the dancers were doing, was seen as humorous at the time, justifying the reason why the aristocrats were viewing the performance as hilarious. The music lovers, musicians, and critics were horrified by the aristocrats’ rude actions, so they reacted by complaining and abusing them. History lists a number of specific insults, but Levitz hypothesizes that only those seated near to the people who yelled them were likely to have heard them at all, contrary to how most representations of the clash portray them.

Early stories of that evening do not record any actual physical altercations, much less a riot. Levitz cites a number of sources that described the mood in the immediate wake of the premiere as hostile and fervent but not physically violent—similar to that of a contentious parliamentary discussion or a criminal court trial.

Evidence

“Furthermore, the myth conveniently neglects to mention that, at the end of The Rite, the dancers took five curtain calls, and the evening’s entertainment continued with another ballet, Carl Maria von Weber’s Le Spectre de la rose, also choreographed by Nijinsky. That wouldn’t seem possible if the altercation was as destructive as it’s been construed”, (Gleason / What (actually) happened at the premiere of The Rite?). 

“Levitz points out that the audience had a limited frame of reference for such displays; they most often saw them in demonstrations at colonial expositions that presented the “exotic” traditions of exploited people for the amusement of their European colonizers. Some dance moves had found their way into the cabaret and music hall, where they were intended as humor—as the title of Levitz’s essay indicates, these practices were very racist. Thus some in the audience—notably the aristocrats—responded in the way they thought they were supposed to: by laughing”, (Gleason / What (actually) happened at the premiere of The Rite?). 

Conclusion: Everything was a big misunderstanding!

3. How did you respond to this ballet the first time you watched/listened to it? If you were in the audience in 1913, how do you think you would have reacted to the music and dance?

Watching this performance, I found it very unusual. My first initial thought was that this was distributing. I did not know what was going on in this ballet or what story was being told. If I was in the audience in 1913, based on my first initial thoughts of seeing this ballet, I would have reacted with an expression of disturbance, and I would have probably left the theatre hall. I found it very hard to watch as I was confused the whole time and the music and visuals were not that pleasing.

Blog 4 Roopnarine

Harry Styles – Falling (Live) 

Link: Harry Styles – Falling (Live From The BRIT Awards, London 2020)

1) Share some background info about the song and each performer

Harry Edward Styles is an English singer, songwriter, and actor who was born on February, 1st, 1994. As a solo candidate on the British competition series, “The X Factor”, he launched his musical career in 2010. During this competition, he was eliminated but called back along with four other boys, who formed One Direction. The group went on to become one of the best-selling boy bands of all time until taking an indefinite break in 2016. When the “band break” occurred, Harry started his solo career, and “Falling” was one of the songs that he came out with as a solo artist. 

The song “Falling” by Harry Styles was featured on his second solo album called “Fine Line” and is one of the great hits on his record.

2) Discuss what story and/or emotions are being communicated by the lyrics

“In an interview with RADIO.COM, Styles explained the truth about Falling, saying it was about a period of time where one starts falling back into a dark place. ‘Falling is about getting right before a place that you recognize as a low for you’, he said. ‘You kind of feel yourself falling back into that down period, I guess, and being sad about what you lost”.

Wright, Minnie. “Harry Styles Reveals Heartbreaking Meaning Behind Falling in Candid Interview.” Express.co.uk, 3 Mar. 2020, www.express.co.uk/entertainment/music/1250122/Harry-Styles-Falling-lyrics-meaning-interview-2020.

3) Using musical elements vocabulary (form, tempo, timbre, etc.) and time stamps (when something happens in the song)

“Falling” is a very simple song. All it associates itself with is Harry’s voice and a piano. The tempo in this song is also very slow. It takes around two seconds before the pianist hits the other note. Harry’s voice range also does not vary that much. His pitch is either high or low. In his verses, he tends to sing in a low tone, and in the chorus, he sings in his high tone or frame. From the time stamp of 2:43 to 2:54, Harry hits one of his highest vocal ranges and he stresses the last word as well on that high note. You could see the effort that he puts into hitting that note, as you can see the strain in his neck. His veins are very visible. 

Little Mix – Falling (Harry Styles Cover) Live

Link: Little Mix – Falling (Harry Styles cover) in the Live Lounge

1) Share some background info about the song and each performer

Little Mix is a British girl group made up of four women, Perrie Edwards, Jade Thirlwall, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and Jesy Nelson. Jesy broke away from the group in 2020 and shortly after the release of their sixth album, “Confetti”, the group decided to take a break and follow in their own careers, after the completion of their Confetti tour. The group promises to always come back together at the end of the day, that Little Mix will always be together. The girls have no bad blood with each other, they are sisters who will always be there for each other no matter what circumstance, always and forever. 

2) Discuss what story and/or emotions are being communicated by the lyrics

[Same as previous #2 statement] [This group did a cover to this song.]

3) Using musical elements vocabulary (form, tempo, timbre, etc.) and time stamps (when something happens in the song)

Compared to Harry Styles’s version of “Falling”,  the girls made it their own. Even though the lyrics are the same, the tempo, the pitch, and the way it is sung are polar opposites to each other. The first obvious difference is that the tempo got picked up, it is much faster in the Little Mix version. Instead of just having a piano and voice in their version of the song, they are also accompanied by a guitar. The guitar helps assist and clarify the difference in the tempo. The song structure is another major difference. They did not sing the song in the same melody and rhythm that Harry Styles did. Their vocal range was also aimed more specifically toward the higher ranges as well. From the time stamp of 3:00 to 5:13, a lot of improvisations to the song are occurring. From the way they sang the bridge, “And I get the feeling that you’ll never need me again”, to the added verse to the song, that is not in the original lyrics. (I do not know if they wrote those lyrics or got it from somewhere else.) This verse was sung by two artists in the group. Even though “Falling” was sung very differently from Harry Styles’s version, it was still a brilliant execution by the girls that gave me goosebumps when I first heard their versions. 

Comparing And Contrasting The Two Songs

1) Identify at least two similarities and two differences between the performances

Two similarities between these two performances were the tone in which the song was sung, both songs had a very calming sense to them, and the baseline of the piano remained the same throughout the song in both performances as well. Two differences between these two performances were the tempo, Harry’s version was slower compared to Little Mix’s version, and the way the song was sung as well, the song structure, was different.  

Emotions And Story Of Music

1) Consider how the different musical settings affect the story and/or emotions of the lyrics.

The musical setting of a song can have a major effect on how a song is depicted. For the song, “Falling” by Harry Styles, he made a music video to go along with the song. The video portrays Harry, as a lost man, who seems to be depressed, and nothing in his life is the way he imagined it to be. He is in a room with his piano and an alcoholic drink. As he is singing, the piano is spilling out water and towards the end of the video, the entire room and Harry are under. The water took over. Harry is illustrating this image of drowning, which is very similar to the feeling of falling. That you are drowning there. You can also really see those feelings of hurt and being kind of angry in Harry’s facial expressions as he is singing the song. The video to this song helped convey those emotions of sadness and despair.

Blog 3 Roopnarine

A piece of music technology: The human voice (singing)

What is its purpose: Humans value their voices highly. They serve as our primary means of communication with the outside world, including both our thoughts and our feelings and personalities.

How does it work to achieve that purpose: To produce sound, your vocal cords vibrate. Inside the voice box (larynx), the vocal cords are tiny bands of muscle and other tissues. When the margins of the vocal cords come together, the air from your lungs causes them to vibrate.

Are there any people that use this technology in a way that it wasn’t designed for: In general, the human voice was a form meant to be used as a way of communication; just to speak. So, if it is used in any other way, it would be considered abnormal, but as time went on, humans began to discover the different ways that their voices can be used. For example, singing, ventriloquism, etc. So as forms of voices began to develop, it was widely accepted that voices are something that can have multiple effects on the world. 

Do you have any experience with this technology: I do have experience with this kind of technology. I do sing, but not professionally. I grew up singing as I have a very musical family. It is something that I picked up and enjoy doing. I still get stage fright to perform in front of people, so many don’t know what my singing voice sounds like. I wish to grow in this aspect of myself in the future and better my voice by getting vocal training.  

Song: Lyrical: Mere Dholna | Bhool Bhulaiyaa | Vidya Balan | Shreya Ghoshal, M.G. Sreekumar | Pritam

How did the technology influence the music it helped to produce: The voices that sang this song, had a great role in the effect that it needed to produce in order to portray the correct stance and reflect what was happening in the movie at the same time. Shreya Ghosal is considered one of the best singers in the Bollywood Industry. It’s been said no one can do what she can. You’ll even notice that the singers as well go off in a “Sargam” in the middle of the musical piece. Every beat matched the voices. That takes talent and breath control to do. The song is focused on love with Indian Classical Elements intertwined with it as well. The Indian Classical part, specifically the Sargam, was placed in this song to fit into the role of the “old times” that was shown in the video. This was something that singers and classical dancers frequented at the time. It still is recognized today, but many countries have adapted the western style of music that many of us listen to in this age of time. The fact that both the male and female voices were light and airy, and had the runs at the end, illustrated the mood and vibe that is needed in a song that is about love. Voices can play a very important part in music because voices can imply many different emotions and textures to make a song go to the next level and make the listener feel the intent of the song. If the singers did not perform the way that they did in this song, it wouldn’t have been one of the veterans of Bollywood music.

Blog 2 Roopnarine

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sK7riqg2mr4

Song: Agar Tum Saath Ho

Artists: Alka Yagnik and Arjit Singh

Music: AR Rahman 

Lyrics: Irshad Kamil

Music Label: T-Series

Genre: Bollywood

Relationship: I grew up watching Indian Movies and listening to Indian Music. It is a part of who I am and my culture. In my opinion, this song, instrumentally and vocally, is very breathtaking, complex, and emotional. 

Musical Element #1: Melody 

The third verse of this song is something I can’t stop singing or humming. There is so much that is happening instrumentally and vocally, that you are taken aback by what you’re listening to. The melody here follows disjunct (the melody ascends and then descends and then ascends and so forth) [You hear it in the violins especially]. This whole song in general is a combination of music that makes you feel pain/sadness but also love at the same time. Two very contrasting emotions and feelings of music. The singer’s voice, however, in this section, is performing in the conjunct method (gradually ascending and then gradually descending). For every line he sings, he starts off low, and towards the end, you hear the stress of when he’s hitting the high note. This pattern continues into the next line and so on and so forth. 

Musical Element #2: Timbre (Tone Color)

Again, I’ll reference the third verse because I feel like it is a good representation of the main elements of music. Timbre refers to the distinctive quality of a voice or an instrument. In the third verse, the male singer’s voice is overlapped. He is singing the same lines but on two different scales (a series of pitches, ordered by the interval between its notes) and pitches (a tone that is composed of an organized sound wave). In one voice, he is singing calmly and in the other, he is singing in agony, very representative of the roller coaster of emotions that the characters experience in the movie. One of which is in a high tone and the other which is in a low tone. It is significant because it portrays the emotions that the people involved in making the song want the audience to feel. They want the viewer to go through the journey with the character. 

Blog 1 Roopnarine

Questions: What about this historical period is most interesting to you? What do you already know about the period? How does the textbook describe the music from that period?

Pick one of the “Major Figures in Music” listed under your period on pages 19-40 of Reading Packet 1. Look up and listen to some of their music. Does the music sound like what you expected from the textbook or your own knowledge? Why or why not?

Classical (Enlightenment Period) (ca. 1750–ca. 1820)

Something about this historical period that I found interesting was how this period of time was also reflected as the Enlightenment period. The ideas of reasons and science from the past, for example, sparked a knowledgeable evolution that impacted Europe and the New World. The American and French Revolutions were built and progressed through the Enlightenment Principles. Thats how the concept of  “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness” came about in the United States. 

Something that I already know about this period is that in the New World, the colonies that were under British Rule were rebelling against the throne. The colonists did not see eye to eye with the British rules, tax principles, and laws. This sparked conflict between the colonist and the British, like the Boston Tea Party or the Boston Massacre, which eventually led to the American Revolution. 

The way the textbook described the music from that period is that composers during the early period kept away from “complex textures, learned compositional techniques such as fugal imitation, and grandeur in favor of transparent textures”, (European Art Music Classical, Page 26, Paragraph 4). Other styles like Haydn, Mozart, and early Beethoven, on the other hand, had complexity written all over them, from ideals to expressions, everything had a purpose. Improvements to instruments like the piano were also occurring at that time. 

I have listened to a series of symphonies by Franz Josef Haydn. I had no previous knowledge of who this composer was. As described in the textbook, it seemed that his work of music composition was very intricate. From listening to his symphonies, you can identify the instruments that people generally know. What was complex to me, was when all the instruments would come together, and in that way, the music complimented each other. That was “complex” to me because it is difficult at times to get many instruments in sync to make music that sounds good to the ears. So the textbook did justice to that thought. 

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