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The Language of Performing Arts

Essay Topic: ,

On being given the task of creating and performing a song based on the stimulus provided, it seemed doable and was approached by my group and I with enthusiasm and determination. We achieved roughly what to set out too. With some effort and contribution, every member of the group provided a vital input into the making of our final piece.

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Although all group members could have put in more effort to provide a more tidy finish to the performance, I believe the song written was of a good quality.

When given the stimulus our group came up with several ideas based on “Of Mice and Men” for lyrics, although only those who knew the play were inspired by this particular stimulus. The other stimulus was ‘Dustbowl Days’ by Nicole S.Porter and this again provided vague ideas for lyrics.

The group however took more specific ideas from “Dustbowl Days” and used ‘Life’ as a topic for the song, the lyrics were then written around this.

As far as music is concerned the group decided that the lyrics could not be written out until chords and melody were fitted into place. As I was the most experienced with music in the group it was my job to find chords that created a sad yet effective pattern for a deep and meaningful song. After tampering with a E, D flat minor, G sharp minor, B chord progression for the verse I finally came up with just a simple A minor, F change over. Then every eighth bar a G fitted well. The rhythm was straight and of a moderate tempo, we decided working with a straight 4:4 rhythm would be easiest and besides that would fit our song better too.

We practised improvising melodies over these chords until the group agreed on one fitting better than the others. To do this we took notes from the chords and practised singing them over the top of the chord to try and create a sad yet beautiful sound, this was achieved by holding the first note of the first chord of each verse and then using notes which fitted into the scales of both chords for the rest of the verse.

Two members of the group then wrote the lyrics while I taught the other two members the chords and appropriate piano and guitar parts. We felt we wanted to include more instruments to give a thicker texture to make the song deeper. The piano part consisted of a simple set of notes (A, C, E, F) linking each chord before each change over. These harmonised very well as the notes were taken from the chords.

The timbre of our song was very important to all members of the group and we decided that the lead guitar should be dominant and of a more clear sound so in order to do this the rhythm guitar used palm muted power chords while the lead clearly picked the notes from the chords. This did not only prove more practical but also have a more calm and tranquil effect as intended due to the songs nature.

We then decided we wanted to try and make the audience ‘fall in love’ with our song, this was ambitious but in order to do this we intended to take advantage of the G chord every eighth bar and create a hook from it, this we achieved and although the singers did not harmonise with each other they did harmonise with the chord creating a hook line.

A chorus proved quite difficult to make as our verse had come to us so quickly we were puzzled as to what to do. As the verse was in a minor key we decided the chorus should be in a major key. We came up with possibilities for a chorus and decided it should definitely consist of C major as the first chord as this fitted the well with the song. Certain members of the group then wrote more lyrics and insisted they had to be the lyrics for the non-existent chorus; this made writing it an even trickier job.

After agreeing to all meet up and work on the chorus during a free block only two of the members of our group turned up, this added insult to injury and we finally decided as a group we shouldn’t spoil our song by adding another melody and set of lyrics which were of poorer standard to the verse’ and instead we should simply just have a guitar picking chords C, D Bb, and G. This didn’t turn out to be too badly and fitted the song well, and after speeding the tempo of the chorus up it fitted the song well.

The transition from verse to chorus was immediate and very smooth, and then from chorus to verse it was paused with a two beat rest.

As far as the performance of the song went it could have been better, the picked intro went as planned as with the fist verse and chorus, but one of the members of our group had decided to change the structure of our song at short notice, therefore the song did not end properly as not all group members had been informed of the removal of one of the verses. The part of the song that did go to plan was played pretty well and with little mistakes. Intentions were met as far as the audience were concerned although our mistake was noticeable it was not really commented upon. Little feedback was given but the audience responded all the same as the general tranquillity of the song was felt by most.

If we got the chance to make and perform a song again I would insure more harmonising was done to create a deeper feel in timbre, and possibly more instruments were used including drums to maintain time. I would also ensure all group members were at rehearsals as appose to just two, this would mean more work could be put in to a shorter space of time.

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