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“Waltz for Zizi”, written by Yoko Kanno and performed by The Seatbelts is a Blues, slow and steady-paced song that has solidified itself as a thought provoking and emotional piece for me. I first listened to it while on the bus in my freshmen year of High School and since then I’ve used it countless times to focus and relax to. One part of the song (0:59) is especially interesting because the song takes an entirely different route than what was expected because there is now open space; a harmony. The notes of the guitar are accompanied by different players in the orchestra who are all doing their part, making it so that the guitar is maintaining a consonant interval and giving life to the piece. The second half changes up the guitar chords to a higher key, that much is obvious, but the aspect of this song that makes it Blues is because a regular Blues song does not add additional elements; this song is filled with them. From the key change of the acoustics to accordion at the very end, the form changes, this is noted. Giving this song less credit and saying “It just sounds bluesy” will not be doing it justice, The song makes its distinction and signature from following ABBA form, from the start of the “B” segment (0:59) and ending at the start of the next A segment (2:20). From 2:20 onward, we’re back to basics with an accordion and acoustic guitar. That being said, why classify a song that is titled “WALTZ for Zizi” as Blues in the first place if the song can swoon anybody to sleep? If that was the intent of Yoko Kanno, then it would have not ended with the A segment, it would have ended with a B segment, i.e. the orchestra rises up during 0:59 and fades back down into nonexistence at the end. By going “back to basics” with the acoustic guitar being the sole instrument the listener pays attention to; the genre is set. It’s not blues anymore, this song is altering Blues music by incorporating different instruments into a classical Blues (the rhythm of the acoustic guitar at the start and end), thus solidifying itself as something akin to an alternative Blues song; starting at the same point as it ended with a deeply emotional segment in the middle.

Song – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ryqvdr0UxcI

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July 2024

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