Music and feminism:
Feminism is about the idea that women should have complete social, economic and political equality. Many female workers in the industry promote this idea and support the idea of it. Making music allows them to spread the word and get more women to band together to fight for equality. The two songs that were used for this presentation was Strip by little mix and NRI by Raja Kumari. Strip by little mix encourages women to love who they are and be comfortable in their own bodies. Which relates to the topic as it creates an idea of women supporting women and that girls shouldn’t be ashamed of anything. The musically interesting moment was the rhythm contrast during as it starts playing halftime and her voice is constantly going up and down until she switches her flow when the beat goes back to full time. The second song mentioned addresses the feelings one gets from being considered as an outcast in society due to their race and gender. Raka Kumari wrote this to partially depict her feelings on being a POC women in the music industry as she worked with a lot of artists but not many people know of her indicating that women should get treated equally in the industry. The musically interesting moment in this scenario would be when the melody takes change of form. The beat cuts out and the rest of the song is being kept minimalistic. If I were to write about this topic I would use The song “The Man” by Taylor Swift and “My Future” by Billie Eillish. The song by Taylor swift is about how no matter what she did as a woman, she was always met with criticism while if a man did the same thing, they would be praised and put on a pedestal. Swift has said in an interview that she had been meaning to write this song for a long time but she couldn’t find the right words to say it. I think an interesting moment in the song is the amount of harmonies you can hear in the song. Especially in the chorus or bridge, I feel as if you could hear it slightly clearer than the verses. The second song I mentioned, by Billie Eillish, is a song about self-reflection and self-growth. Although it may not necessarily be aimed towards a feminist agenda, I think it can be applied to the topic as it can give a person the confidence to be themselves in the future no matter what happens. The second verse in the song says “Know I’m supposed to be unhappy Without someone (someone) But aren’t I someone?” I think this means that you can be happy by yourself and the concept of self love should be important to your own future even if everyone around says otherwise. A musically interesting moment in the song happens when she transitions from the first chorus to the second verse as the tempo changes as well as the timbre of the song. It seems to me like she’s breaking the news that she can be happy by herself and then once the change happens, she begins to be more confident and happy with her decision and talks to her future self during the chorus.
The song I’m using is Tim Hughes’s ” Here I am To Worship” . Tim Hughes had written this gospel ballad after he read the book of Philippians 2. He wrote the song quickly and added the melody using his guitar. However, Hughes didn’t end it there, he continued to rewrite the chorus until he was satisfied with the final product. His song had been covered by many artists in the Christian community. Hughes also was inspired by a Stephen King movie called substitution where the character takes on a punishment that wasn’t meant to be his. This song would fit into the Music and Religion category since this was a song meant to be sung for Christian people. The song is meant to be sung a little slower with a 75 bpm and in a E major key. In most churches, the congregation sings along with the worship songs so it can be considered a congregational song. It fits in as we were discussing christian worship and this song has been sung it almost every church. It encourages a lot of syllabic and homorythmic singing. The song also follows a verse-chorus form just like many other christian songs.
The religion I choose to discuss for this assignment is Christianity. My family and I go to a church in New Hyde Park so I do have a lot of personal experience with the religion. Like most other churches, my church has a worship team. We have two; one in our mother tongue , Malayalam, and the other in English. In the worship teams, we have a couple of singers and 1 or 2 instrumentalists accompanying them. With the English worship team, I play the guitar and accompany them with the songs. During the service we go through the Order of Worship, but with the services that are in Malayalam, it sounds a bit more song-like as they tend to sound syllabic in reciting the words. Occasionally there are also these conventions/meetings where we invite other churches to worship with us and make it a night of worship. Typically we sing/play gospel-like music, hymns or other Christian music during the services.
“So in Love” by Isla Vista Worship is a worship group based in California and produce worship songs for joy and to spread the word of Jesus. In a C Major key, going at a tempo of 88bpm, the song begins with a mezzo piano dynamic and crescendos throughout the song until 2:50 where the beat drops and a choir joins in with the main artist. After the 3:30 timestamp, they decrescendo and fade out in the song. The choir provides support in the harmonies and I would say the texture for this song would possibly be polyphonic due to the different melodies of the instruments and the riffs in the background. There are also chords to the song that the band itself has uploaded on to their website of islavistaworship.com. Regarding the form of the song, They have 1 verse, pre chorus, the chorus and the bridge. They play the first verse, the pre chorus and the chorus first but there is one line they sing before singing the bridge and going back to the pre chorus. Im unsure if it would be considered part of the bridge or separate due to the fact that after saying “you have my heart” there is a slight pause before the bridge starts. All in all, this song is the type that would be played during a convention or a worship night due to the powerful emotion of praise that could be heard in the song.
The artist here is Doja cat who has had a pretty successful launch in her career because of the hot pink album. This song is from her recent album, planet her, where she performed the song “Women” from the ACL music festival. According to Wikipedia the song is a “fusion of pop, R&B, and reggae.” I haven’t personally been to this concert but from the video, the performer had a lot on stage with her such as dancers, musicians, set designs and a few other things. The audience is having a good time, where they are singing along loudly, recording the song, standing and/ or are getting carried to view the concert. Due to the genre of this, I’m not surprised of how either performer or audience are acting as to them it may be typical to act like this at these types of concerts. Compared to the concerts we viewed in unit 7, the opera ones were not as loud, had a different timbre and tone to the music. The instruments being used in them were also different as the opera ones had more classical and/ or traditional instruments. While this used more modern sounding instruments. The music also felt like it had more emotions which is potentially due to the heartbreak most of them go through.
In the first article “100 years ago today, ‘The Rite of Spring’ incited a riot in a Paris theater”, the author says that the jeers and derision from the people in the audience was so loud that they had to shout the commands for the dancers from backstage. Then a scuffle broke out in the audience resulting in the orchestra being sieged and vegetables being hurled on stage. The production was continued after 40 people were reportedly ejected from the audience. There were a lot of people split between keeping things traditional and embracing modernity. From the second article “Did Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring incite a riot at its premiere?”, the author says that the acoustics of the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées exaggerated the sounds of the ballet which overwhelmed some people. Some of the audience had a limited frame of reference to ballets so once they saw the performance they responded by laughing as they thought it was meant to be humorous. The music lovers/ musicians and critics were insulted by this so they complained about the aristocrats. But there were no accounts of any riots or fights. Instead the myth of the riots occurred to challenge the stereotype that classical music as boring, to see high society people becoming a mob over ballet gets a lot of attention. This author uses a firsthand account from 1915 to discuss what actually happened at the event as the only physical altercation that occurred was a man hitting the person on front of him on the head to the rhythm of the music. The author also uses musicological research from Tamara Levitz’s “Racism at The Rite” to discuss the acoustics issue. If I was in the audience when this first premiered, I would’ve done the same thing as the aristocrats and laughed. In class, even though I knew how diverse the range of music can be, I still laughed when I saw this performance because it caught me off guard. Despite my initial reaction of laughter, after discussing this ballet and watching it through I could say now that it’s a very interesting performance.
Cyndi Lauper is an American singer, songwriter and actress whose mostly known for her song “Girls Just want to have fun” in the 1980s. She grew up in Queens, NY and dropped out of High school to ended up singing in nightclubs and working random jobs. She co-formed the band Blue Angel with another musician but the band later dissolved once it took off. “Girls Just want to have fun” was her first single as a solo artist and the sing became a huge part of 80’s culture. Due to the music video coming out, it set a fashion trend for bold, bright, outrageous clothes. Miley Cyrus is and American singer and actress who was born to a country singer named Billy Ray Cyrus and whose godmother was Dolly Parton. Miley Cyrus had begun acting from a young age and eventually ended up on a show called Hannah Montana where she also ended up having a singing career. The two had actually mey at the 1008 grammy awards where Lauper suggested to Cyrus to cover the song. Although originally written by a man, Lauper had changed up the lyrics a little and the song became a female empowerment anthem to show the world that no matter what a woman looked like, they do whatever they want. The second verse of the song gives that exact feeling saying:
“The phone rings, in the middle of the night
My father yells, “What you gonna do with your life?”
Oh daddy dear, you know you’re still number one
But girls, they wanna have fun
Oh girls just wanna have”
Right from the beginning of the song, there’s a clear difference between the two versions. While Lauper’s version begins with what sounds like a glissando, a funky sounding guitar, bass, a snare drum for the down beat and the and a synth ( maybe Im not too sure) playing on the offbeat. Miley begins with a faster tempo, a guitar repeating a note, string instruments in the background, some toms playing and another guitar playing a higher version of the chorus. At 1:15 in Mileys version, the song break before the next verse is filled with all the instruments that were originally playing with the guitar soloing and some vocals in the back. But at 1:25 in Lauper’s version, theres a instrument that solos and the synth, snare and bass In the background. The lyrics and the melody are essentially the same, Miley’s version is louder, faster, incorporated some strings and is more guitar driven. Due to Miley’s tempo being faster the song is almost a minute shorter than Lauper’s. However at the end of both songs, they decrescendo and end with a fade out. Cyndi Lapuers version of the song sounds more fit for the 80’s and reminds the listener to have fun. Miley Cyrus’s version is more rock /pop punk driven and, since she was a child star, could be considered a song she sang because she had the desire to have fun with her friends instead of being overworked.
A loop pedal is a tool that records a section of music and then plays it back on a loop. Most loop pedals allow a person to play more sections over the first one. And can even change the tempo as well as the direction of the playback loop, so you could play it in reverse, or what section is playing at the moment. This allows anyone to create different harmonic sounds and rhythms easily. The pedal can be used for any instrument as long as it can record the sound. Although if someone wanted to use a loop, they don’t necessarily need to use a physical pedal. Because technology is advancing, there are software’s a person can download to use this same effect from their computer or phone. I believe one of the most commonly used programs to use this would be GarageBand. Since it is already pre downloaded onto many Apple products, it is easily accessible to everyone. With garage band anyone could record anything and remix it, loop it, or add many effects to a sound. Many people can be seen using one on TikTok to cover a song or promote their own, as it became a trend for a little to try and cover a song with only a loop pedal. And I haven’t seen anyone use it in another way other than what it was meant to be used for. Personally I haven’t used a loop pedal but I have tried to use the one in the Garage band application on my computer and it worked pretty well.
For this prompt, I decided to go with the song Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears. Tears for Fears is a British pop rock band that started in the 1980s. Their first album had hit number one in the UK but, they didn’t hit the US until their second album released. Which had two singles, Shout as well as Everybody Wants to rule the world, hitting #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100. However after their world tour, the band had split but reconciled a decade later in 2000. Recently, they had gone on tour this past spring and are performing in the UK the day this assignment is due. I had listened to this song when I was younger but it was only until a few years ago, when I rediscovered the song, when I started actively listening. Listening to the song, I think the rhythm of it follows a ¾ signature due to the drum accenting every meter. And from my research, the song has a tempo of 112 BPM which is just slightly under allegro. The piece follows a alternate verse-chorus form where it goes from verse one, chorus one, verse two, chorus two. But after that, following the bridge and the third chorus, there is a solo from the synth at first and a guitar improvisation afterwards (right around the 2 minute mark). This was most likely a song Tears for Fears made to appeal to a general audience and assumed that it would be slowly forgotten after a while. However, thanks to the use of the song in media like TikTok, Tears for fears still gets 14 million monthly listeners and has over 800 million streams for Everybody Wants to Rule the World on Spotify. I think the most musically interesting part of the song is the guitar solo. There is a part where the guitar plays an intro riff right before the solos start but after it ends it uses the same pattern but in a higher key. It’s a little hard to listen for but if you focus just on the guitar you can hear it happening.
In my opinion, the most interesting thing about the romanticism period is that music and art started getting emotionally intense and dramatic. I know that the period started using more dynamics in music in order to be more expressive. As well as the use of symphonies and harmonies had begun to become more common. According to the textbook, it says that the romantic period began in the 19th century, and artists had started perceiving the world in a “romantic aesthetic”. The composers used “poetic lyricism, dramatic contrasts and harmonic complexity”. Which, eventually led to an increase in orchestra size. Although once the 20th century had begun many artists had tried to step away from the aesthetic of the romanticism period. I decided to look up Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and one of his most popular and well known pieces is a ballet called Swan Lake, which he wrote in the mid-late 19th century. In this particular piece he frequently uses a range of dynamics, going from a pianissimo directly into a fortissimo or fortississimo. Once the piece gets towards the climax of the story, the symphony in the background helps with engaging the listener and putting them on edge for dramatic effect as the music begins to sound deeper, slower and goes into a crescendo. While listening to this certain piece, I was able to visualize the story Tchaikovsky had put together through his music and I was able to hear the emotional intensity, the use of dynamics and articulations, as well as the use of harmonies.