The first response to the Facebook page analysis question. Thank you, Eliza O’Connor again for your work.
The Lumineers – Ho Hey
Question: Describe how only two of the following expressive devices contribute to character in this work:
Blend and Balance
- The character of this piece is reflective, joyful and peaceful.
- The Blend and Balance of the work is evenly balanced and sustained throughout the entirety of the piece.
- In the beginning, the simple ho, hey, interjections occur and present in the foreground of the piece – they set a lively, joyful character of the piece.
Jenn Gillan: Here you’re stating what the blend and balance is without giving a reason why. Best reasons for something coming forward in the mix are elements like tone colour, pitch, dynamics. If you just state what the balance is without qualifying why, this is not analysis. It’s just listing what is there without analysis.
- The other effect of beginning the piece with few instruments is a calm, empty atmosphere, which creates a consequent calm and reflective character.
Jenn Gillan: Better phrase for ‘empty atmosphere’?
- As the piece progresses, within the full blend of all instrumental lines, Hey and Ho sit in the middle ground and are produced with speech like quality. They are interjectory techniques that increase the joyfulness in the work by having interrupting, strong attack and almost instantaneous decay.
Jenn Gillan: This is stronger, though you talk about Hey and Ho as if they’re little people 😉 Again, reason why they are in the middle ground would strengthen this further. You’ve stated their qualities but not why they’re middle ground rather than fore or background at this point. What is happening in other parts to make this so?
- Further from to? this, the simple acoustic guitar accompaniment sits in the background of the piece. It is moderately amplified through the use of microphone – playing strummed chords with fingers, these chords are melodically stable with comfortable dissonance – this further extends the reflective, peaceful expressiveness of the work.
Jenn Gillan: Reasons why again? Dynamics? Tone colour? Other parts?
- The male vocal line is in the foreground in the instrumental blend of the piece. His voice has a dry, aspirate and raw tone colour, creating an organic quality as well as adding fragility to his sound. This creates a reflective, slightly vulnerable character
Jenn Gillan: Good. You’ve mentioned qualities of the voice but might need to make the connection to balance a little more clear. For example “In relation to accompanying parts which have a more mellow tone colour, the harshness of his tone colour brings this voice to the foreground as well as ____ rhythm ___ articulation”
- Female voice is incredibly subtle in the dynamic mix of this piece. It is created with incredibly airy onset and requires not much support for the singer to attack the note. Singing at a pp dynamic, does too bring the voice away from the male leads of the piece leaving it closer to the background of the melody and blend.
Jenn Gillan: This is more like it! Great. You’ve stated the positioning and given clear reasons why.
- Cowbell is another percussive addition to this work and sits in the background of the blend. It is created through single strikes with a hard, wooden mallet and creates an unexpected interruption – emphasized also by its distorted, ringing tone colour.
Jenn Gillan: And you were going so well! Link to reasons missing here too.
- Yelling in vocal line is speech like and is created through a tightening of the vocal chords – this creates quite strained sound, however emphasizes the reflective, calm mood. That the lead singer is almost shouting works to further emphasize the lyrics and add a joyful, driving character to the chorus.
Jenn Gillan: Watch ‘speech-like’ as a word unless you describe more of what makes it speech-like. The way you describe the voice does not link well with reflective, calm mood. Yelling = calm? You need to explain more how these two things can combine when they’re so opposed.
- Tambourine smacks are abrupt, just as the ‘ho, hey’ chanting is. They compliment each other by occurring at the same time – the jingles that accompany the tambourine are slightly prolonged and create a less subtle decay of the note, which emphasizes a joyful, playful character.
Jenn Gillan: A better word for ‘smacks’?
- ‘Hey Ho’s’ are attacked strongly as appear as if written with a Sforzando marking – the notes begin loud and fade instantly.
Jenn Gillan: Articulation a little light on. Remember to compare articulation in parts and look for trends/patterns. Overall some great use of musical language. More depth needed in articulation and clearer links between character and elements.