Composition in Context

Piece for Performance

The Worcester Stranglers Day Off:

Klezmer Composition:

Drum and Bass Composition:

Funk Composition:



The Hoaxx EPK

“The newest, most exciting up-and-coming band of the last 5 years” – some slightly dodgy source

Dropping their self-titled debut E.P., Spanish immigrants, The Hoaxx explore their diverse and somewhat conflicting influences and inspirations. The resulting fusion of genres and playing styles culminate into a multi-faceted, rock, pop and groove infused powerhouse. Add emotive lyrics into the mix and you are left feeling shaken and emotional yet somewhat relieved as the album draws to a close.


Members Dan, George and Seb have all played in previous projects but “feel as though they have found their true calling” in this current lineup.

I wrote the songs in my songwriting class and then brought in the other members of my college band to perform live.

Track listing:

  1. Time
  2. Glass of Wine
  3. Mile Run
  4. Groundhog Day
  5. Scotty’s Got a Gun

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Song Analysis

Song Structures:

Mile Run


Electric shocks they shake my core,

And we will run for miles,

By the river that has fallen to disrepair,

We will break the laws of us.

Find the light in us (find a light)

Find a light in who we are

Let us try something thats not been done,

And we will run for miles and miles,

Peeling our skin to see whats underneath,

We are nothing we’re just bones

Find a light (find a light in who we are)

Find a light in who we are (find a light)

Find a light in us

Find a light in who we are (we are nothing we’re just bones)

Find a light in us,

Find a light in who we are.


Mile run was inspired by unrequited love, feeling and knowing that although you could look into the deepest flaws of your character and personality (peeling our skin) you could never be good enough and get the reciprocation you believed you deserved.


A, B, A, B, C, A, B

A – Verse

B – Chorus

C – Bridge

Harmonic Analysis

Key of G Phrygian

Verse – vocals over a bass line in G Phrygian

Chorus – Eb – F – C – Gb – Bb – F

bVI – bVII – IV – bII – bIII – bVII

Bridge is the same as chorus.

Scotty’s Got a Gun


Your love is like a loaded gun,

cocked back and you’re ready for fun,

can you feel my heart beating,

faster and faster,

a loaded shotgun babe,

is what you really need,

a bullet through my brains,

would bring me to my knees,

Run for cover, shes coming to get you,

she gets what she wants.

Bang bang, its a loaded gun,

she’ll take you down and its just for fun,

bang bang goes another one,

she’ll take you down, just for fun

hey. she won’t hesitate,

she’ll take you down, she’ll take you down

she’s on the remake, bang, bang.

When I first met you darling,

you shot me down in flames,

guess its part of your wicked games

don’t be fooled by her eyes,

she’ll get you every time,

she is a demon in disguise

Bang bang, its a loaded gun,

she’ll take you down and its just for fun,

bang bang goes another one,

she’ll take you down, just for fun

she won’t hesitate,

she’ll take you down, she’ll take you down

she’s on the remake, bang, bang, bang.


This is another track written about love and lust, about a temptress who everyone is besotted by. When I first tried to seduce her she (shot me down in flames) and despite this I endeavoured. She takes you down for the sake of being able to do so, toying with emotions and feelings, the bang bang bang being written simply as a catchy hook.


A, B, C, A, B, C, D

A – Intro

B – Verse

C – Chorus

D – Outro/Solo

Harmonic Analysis

Key of A

A section: V – I – VI – V

V – I – VI – IV

B section: V – IV-III-IV

V – IV-I

Pre-chorus – III – IV – V

Chorus: V – I – iii – I

II – iii – I – V

Outro – solo over E (V)

Glass of Wine:


1, 2, 3, 4.

Looking through the eyes of the hourglass,

looking through the eyes of another,

everybody’s different, everybody wonders what to do,

through the eyes of my mother,

I’m right denying my father, but who is he to decide, mistaken right.

And I decide to let you go, for me, for her, (’cause I was better of without you)

and I decide to close that door on you, for me, for her. (’cause I was better of without you),

I decide to change my name, to change,

change the way you play your stupid game,

I have nothing left to say, nothing,

nothing left to for you to touch, to hurt,

she is scared of you, she’s scared to say,

you are her worst fear.

We decide to say goodbye, to say,

we don’t need you anymore.

And I decide to let you go, for me, for her, (’cause I was better of without you)

and I decide to close that door on you, for me, for her. (’cause I was better of without you),

I just take classes, I just take classes, I’ll never regret, I’ll never forget,

I just take classes, I just take classes, I’ll never regret, I’ll learn to forget.

Leave me alone (leave me alone) X5


A, A, B, C, D, E, C, C, F

A – Intro/first verse

B – Pre-chorus

C – Chorus

D – Interim

E – 5/4 second verse

F – Outro

Harmonic Analysis

Key is C#minor

The A section variates between C#Major7 to C#add9. AMajor7 to AMajoradd9. The riff based B section is: C# drops chromatically to C natural.

Power chords – Db5 – C5 – Bb5

Stabs are same progression as listed above

5/4 sections are Db then C.

Outro is Db – Ab – Eb


This is written about a father who leaves, and subsequently terrifies his son but more specially his daughter (she’s scared to say – you are her worst fear). It’s about how he decides to remove him from his life. I wrote this looking back at how the lead singer of my band suffered through these problems.




There was a time that I needed you,

That time has passed now and I can see through,

The type of person you’ve turned out to be,

I don’t need you, don’t need you no more,

I’m my own man now I’ve shut you out,

My mind is clearer and I have no doubt

That you still blame me for all thats gone wrong,

I don’t need you, don’t need you no more

My past, is my past,

and that’s just where you’ll stay,

there’s no return for you,

I don’t need you, don’t need you no,

You know you don’t know me now, know me now,

You know you don’t know me now, know me now,

You’ll never know me now, know me now,

You’ll never know,

And I won’t, let you,

place blame on the innocence,

your time has come, your time has come, your time has come

You know you don’t know me now, know me now,

You know you don’t know me now, know me now,

You’ll never know me now, know me now,

You’ll never know,

You know you don’t know me now, know me now,

You know you don’t know me now, know me now,

You’ll never know me now, know me now,

You’ll never know.


A, B, C, D, C, D, E, D, A

A – intro

B – Verse part 1

C – Verse part 2

D – Chorus

E – Bridge


Groundhog Day


Broken nights to rebuy,

broken lights go straight in my eyes, on repeat,

To many nights I lay there,

(to be finished)

Band Rehearsal and Performance Additions


During the build up to a performance there are a number of goals that must be accomplished. The most basic of these is what the material to be performed is. For our HND music show we all selected a variety of different pieces in different styles to perform. One piece we chose was a rendition of Charlie Parker’s Donna Lee; the musicians for this were chosen as me on the drums, Raph and Mirron on guitar. We then implicated the strategies needed for the rehearsals.

  1. Choose material
  2. Learn material
  3. Initial rehearsals – idea arrangements
  4. Consolidation
  5. Performance ready

So.. having chosen the material for performance we went away and learnt the material. The following step is rehearsal, Louie Armstrong is quoted as saying “I warm up at home. I hit the stage, I’m ready, whether it’s rehearsal or anything.” *1 and I think that this is a good mentality to have regarding preparation and rehearsals. It is worth noting that we had a discussion about part 3 prior to learning the material so had therefore decided to change the feel of the piece slightly, with me simplifying the drums and only playing swirls on the snare with brushes. Coming back to the rehearsals we were all well prepared and able to quickly tighten up the final pieces of the arrangement. Consolidating and making the whole piece performance ready was accomplished soon after.

1 –


For the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness of structured rehearsal series for a performance I am going to use my band Ivory Wave. We played a headline concert at the O2 Academy in Birmingham and the end of January this year and prepared extensively for it.


Analysis of Homogenous vs Heterogenous Music

Homogenous is defined quite simply as; “of the same kind; alike”(1). In music is it essentially a piece of music using the same instruments. So string quartets, guitar trio’s and acapella choirs are all examples of this.

This is a guitar trio (an example of homogenous music) with John McLaughlin, Paco DeLucia and Al DiMeola called Friday night in San Francisco. This album sold over 2million copies making it a top selling album of the time.(2) In my opinion this record is really aimed at virtuoso guitarist’s because of the technicality. But due to its homogenous sound, comprising of just three guitars it adds to the album’s authenticity and is pleasant listening despite the album also sounding intrusive and aggressive. I believe that it was down to this that the album sold so strongly, because it’s audience wasn’t solely virtuoso guitarists. People outside of this niche were buying it due to it sounding pretty, authentic and real, with the blend of instruments making it easier listening, easy on the ear. An advantage of being a guitar trio is that the tones of the instruments blend really well. The members of this trio all brought their respective audiences together and this in turn added to the sales and popularity of it as a whole. Yet another clientele for this album were people who were into metal, because of the fast technical guitar exhibited throughout. The album is essentially a metal shedding album, stripped back and played on acoustic guitars.

Take 6 are a male acapella group, and another illustrious example of homogenous music. The gospel style they sing in, the way in which the voices blend and their overall talent serve to create a stunningly seamless piece of music. Although they hint at percussion with the beatboxing the fact they maintain it as solely vocal keeps is sounding smooth.

I will now move on to discuss heterogenous music; different in kind; unlike; incongruous”.(3) I had initially applied the term non-homogenous to this type of music before deciding that heterogeneous applied more closely. 

This is the Frank Zappa album Hot Rats. Zappa used advanced recording equipment to create an album of outstanding technical and musical quality.(4) The album was recorded on what Zappa described as a “homemade sixteen track” recorder; the machine was custom built by engineers at TTG Studios in Hollywood in late 1968. Additional tracks made it possible for Zappa to add multiple horn and keyboard overdubs by Ian Underwood. Only a few musicians were required to create an especially rich instrumental texture which gives the sound of a large group. It was this use of advanced overdubbing that was the main motivation for Zappa, who hated playing in a studio.(5) Zappa was among the first to record drums on multiple tracks. This made it possible to create a stereo drum sound. Prior to this time the entire drum set was typically recorded to a single (mono) track of an 8-track recorder. On Hot Rats, however, four of the tracks were assigned to the main drum set, including individual tracks for the snare and bass drums and left and right tracks for other drums and cymbals. In this setup the engineer had unprecedented control over the sound of each drum component in the final mix. This technique was widely imitated and became the norm in the early 1970s when machines with 16 or more tracks became widely available. The result of the use and blend of these different instruments resulted in an amazing sounding album although one set pretty far away from the more conventional band set ups.

At the other end of this style of album is a traditional guitar, bass and drums setup. These have been proven by countless rock bands to work well as a heterogenous mixture.


How technology has influenced a bands work

Rush are a Canadian progressive rock band formed in 1968 they have been releasing albums from 1974.(1) As the decades past and the technology progressed Rush’s music also changed with the introduction of new technology. When Rush began releasing records in the 1970s there sound was highly influenced by the Blues and Rock n Roll with much attention on the guitar riffs and solid bass and drums. Some tracks followed blues forms some were very riff based for example the track “working man” is very riff based and is not particular progressive if anything it is hard rock.(2) At this point you can even here some black sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Cream.

As they progressed through the 1970s Rush seem to become more influenced by bands such and genesis and Jethro Tull this is when they became more progression and with the advances of the electric keyboard we start to see more keyboard in the records as we go through the 1980s the huge advancement in the technology of synthesisers allowed them to experiment more with them and the records become more new wave sounding with a huge amount of synthesised sounds In the music although guitar and bass still played a key role in the music. It was this advancement in the technology of synthesisers that allowed Rush to change their sound resulting in a complete obvious change in their work when you compare it back to their earlier records. Although through this guitar and guitar gear e.g. Amps, pedals etc technology is progressing and by the end of the 1980s the guitar was able to reach a much wider variety of sounds. This may not be the cause for Rush’s next sound change but it definitely played a role in it.

At the end of the 1980s Rush revived their old guitar based sound although with the advancement of guitar, bass, keyboard and drum gear their sound did change again hitting more of the alternative rock sound. Of course this chance of sound was deliberately moulded by the band but this was made easier and more accurately by the latest advancement of the time. Technology played a key role in Rush’s sound throughout their career as well as countless other artists/bands and producers as it will alway continue to do the technology development mixed with artistic creativity enables music to be moulded and developed in to endless sounds and styles.


How bands are influenced by their cultural origins

Oasis were a band highly influenced by the culture they grew up in. They came from Manchester at a vibrant time for the Manchester music scene. Through out the 1980s and early 1990s bands such as The Smiths, The Charlatans, Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses were highly popular especially in Manchester.

Looking at Oasis’s first album a lot of the lyrical content is based on getting out of where they live and finding something better. In fact a lot of the lyrics show quite a negative view towards their lives in Manchester. One example of this is the song ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’ this song expresses the view that the only things worth doing are smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol and that there is no point in them working hard because there is nothing worth working for. This theme of expressing a negative view towards their location is present throughout the bands early work. This seems to be what fuelled Oasis’s attitude which is portrayed in the music as well as in their presence within interviews and the way they were marketed with the negative attitude and the large sense of humour, one of the things many people liked about Oasis was their honesty and lack of care for remarks they made about other bands and artists which seemed to fuel and build the attitude of the band they have been triggered by their negative view of the place they came from which is mixed with their pride of being working class from Manchester which produces this mix of pride which is also expressed publicly by the band and the want for a better more exciting life.

It seems that rather than the location directly influencing Oasis it is rather the bands attitude towards the location which gives the influence. This is not only evident in their lyrics their sound as a band is almost a huge yell forcing people to listen to what they have to say. The records were also mixed like this with a huge wall of noise being produce with everything at high volumes. This sound complements the bands attitude which is all derived from the influence produced by their location or rather the yearn to get out of their location.

There are also examples of bands that gain influence from location which they are not based in for example Skindred are a band formed and based in Newport south Wales but took a lot of influence from reggae which originated in Jamaica. This is a great example of how a locations culture can have an influence of bands/artists that may have not even have been to that location. Skindred incorporate reggae with metal music. This influence helped Skindred create their sounds which probably would not have been possible without the influence. This location influence most likely came from listening to reggae records which wouldn’t have been made if it wasn’t for the original influence on Jamaican musicians from their location and culture.