Work: ‘Deception Bay’
Artist: Boo Seeka
a) Describe how the vocalist uses tone colour to create expressive outcomes. (4 marks) The expressive outcome, a laid-back, relaxed character.
- Tone colours are warm and mellow created through a male vocalist singing at comfortable register = relaxed
- The overall approach to vocal tone colour remains stable. There are subtle changes but generally the tone colours remain the same. This stability adds to the relaxed character.
- The use of aspirate exhalations in the voice in the introduction blend well with aspirate, reverberant tone colours in the accompanying parts. The snare has artificial echo added which creates a breathy quality, the buzzing synthesiser parts also have these reverberant qualities and so complement the vocal tone colour = relaxed.
- The vocal part in the chorus is doubled at the 8ve by a lower, bass male voice. The lower pitch of this part has a warm, resonant tone colour as a result of the use of low, comfortable register. This is aided by a softer dynamic. Blended combination, warm, resonant TC = relaxed
- Other parts harmonise the main melodic line using consonant harmony – 6ths/3rds. The tone colour of these notes is similar – warm, resonant with brighter overtones at higher pitch. The blend is unified through use of similar vocal qualities and tone colours =relaxed as well as the use of tone colours at the warm, mellow end of the tone colour spectrum.
- Artificial echo on vocal parts, in particular backing vocals, enhances the reverberant, echoing tone colour aided by softer dynamic and comfortable register. This further enhances the relaxed character.
b) Describe TWO ways in which the use of phrasing by the performers in this band creates character in this excerpt
- Comfortable length of phases:
- Opening phrases are fairly short – 8 beats/2 bars long – and have a few of the words at the ends of the phrase repeated/echoed in even shorter phrases. For example, “Hold me down” is repeated twice – each phrase is only approximately four beats long. This shortness of phrase requires limited effort to sing and enables the aspirate, warm tone colour to remain throughout.
- Eight beats at the given moderate tempo is easily sung in one breath. This enables a relaxed singing style free of strain or tension. The comfortable short to moderate length of phrases are the same length and balance an initial 8 beat phrase with two 4 beat responding phrases. This creates a sense of balance and symmetry that allows for a relaxed character.
- Vocal phrases, when longer are almost cut in half as there is a breath in the middle, for example after the word ‘getting’. This is in the middle of a sentence/phrase. However, this means the tone colour remains warm and there is no effort required to extend phrases = relaxed/laid back.
2. Long legato phrases in accompaniment:
- While short to moderate phrases are sung in the vocal parts, the synthesisers are able to have extended phrases without resulting in a change of tone colour. Given the quality of the instrument they are able to join notes seamlessly. Stability of tone colour = relaxed.
- These phrases seem to last for 16 beats. The reverberant, echoing tone colour help create a tranquil, flowing underlying layer.
- The ends of these phrases are signified by the synthesiser that has a more piano like tone colour – with a more ringing clarity than the buzzing warmth of the other parts. This instrument plays a few crotchet beats as an anacrusis, or joining section to the next phrase. While the brighter tone colour adds a little energy to the character, the continuous stability of the underlying parts = relaxed
- While these phrases seem to end because of the use of the ‘piano’ there is actually not a break in the sound meaning that the phrases are much longer than they appear. Seamless nature = relaxed.
- The bass line equally maintains the long length of phrases. In the verse notes with short articulation are joined through the semiquaver effect where notes are repeated as semiquavers even though each bass note changes every four beats. This semiquaver effect helps to join the phrases through rhythmic unity of unaccented semiquavers played with a steady, continuous pulse. Seamless connection = tranquillity.
- The bass in the chorus has a softer dynamic and the semiquaver effect is removed. Here the connection of notes within the phrase is achieved through a warm, reverberant tone colour that has the same quality throughout the note and therefore joins each bass note to the next. Connection + warm tone colour at low pitch, as well as repetition of similar harmonic movement = relaxed.