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