Composition lessons requirements;

  • 1 piece to perform live.
  • 4 pieces in portfolio different genres using different instruments.
  • Track must be over 4 minutes long and represent you.

We were tasked with describing genres:

  • Instrumentation

Historical context/when genre was established. Geographical reasons for instrument choices. Cultural choices. Development of technology, e.g. Double reeded instrument, use of metal in instruments; brass, valves. Metal horns are simple – evolved from hunting. Blues was just singing due to lack of instrumentation.

  • Melody

Monophonic – unison one melody. Polyphonic – counterpoint, 1 or many melody’s. Homophonic – one melody supported by harmony (with embellishments). Hetrophonic – single melody played by two or more musicians with slight variations (e.g. slight variations from performer to performer)

  • Rhythm

Dance, influenced the rhythm of the songs. Mood. Time signatures e.g. 3 for the waltz. Marching/rowing/working, pirate shanties require a consistent rhythm. Heartbeat – shuffle feel, natural. Ritual – ceremonial music has different patterns.

  • Harmony

Scales, keys, minor, major (eg keys in blues) harmonic vocabulary for certain genres. Diatonic? Jazz, simple chords, 50s Jazz became more colourful, blossomed in the 60s. What are the differentiations between subgenre’s. ‘Cool jazz’ is defined by Miles’ earlier albums

  • fashion/image

Certain genres are stereotypically listened to/performed by certain types of people. eg metal – long hair, black clothing, angry attitude.

  • Timbre/texture

massive amounts of detail about tone qualities – combination of instruments) eg jazz kit tuned differently. How somethings recorded can also apply (eg old samplers for old school hip hop)

  • Historical context

How genres have developed from others. Tango’s originated in the brothels of Bueno’s Aires

Test listening

After discussing these initial ideas, we conducted a test recording to see what could be established through listening.

Track: Zera a reza – Gaetano Veloso

 Instruments heard/analysis;

  • Drums
  • Guitar – nylon stringed
  • Guitar – electric with wah.
  • Hammond Organ – electric
  • Vocals
  • Backing vocals
  • Fusion of rhythms
  • Portuguese
  • Bossa nova – Brazilian
  • Hip hop influence
  • Rapping influence in the radio voice part

We were subsequently tasked given a list of subgenre’s of Latin American music and through a random number calculator we decided who would be assigned which genre. A presentation will be given next week on the following.

  1. Mambo – Raph
  2. Samba – Ash
  3. Conga – Joe Davis
  4. Bossa Nova – Seb
  5. Tango – Mirron
  6. Mozambique – Harry
  7. Andean – Joe Lewis
  8. Mariachi – Luke

Playing to the tempo of your heartbeat. – Composition idea to be expanded upon!


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