Sample response to question posed on the VCE Music Student Support Facebook page.
Question: How does tone colour and articulation contribute to creating the character of this work?
* Please only analyse the first 1 minute exactly.
- The mainly major tonality of the vocals creates a warm, so tone colour therefore creating a joyous character
Jenn Gillan: Major doesn’t usually = a tone colour (TC) it can add to an effect though. Watch linking tone colour to character. Joyous is usually immediately associated with clear, bright, ringing colours. Warm, mellow tone colours is usually associated with more relaxed laid back characters. It’s not that it’s not possible to create a different character with different TCs, you just have to work harder with other elements.
- The synth like instrument’s notes are sharp and quick in articulation and attack, adding to the joyous bouncy feel of the piece.
Jenn Gillan: Great – I’d find a better word than ‘bouncy’ though. Quick attack is also associated easily with ‘energetic’ as a character.
- The fast pace of the percussion, wood blocks, in the intro create a bouncy feel and this sets the character for the rest of piece.
Jenn Gillan: ‘Fast pace’ is to do with tempo. Try not to mix up the elements. If you’d said “the riging, sharp TC of the wood block and ___ ___ TC of other percussion (be specific) creates an energetic character, and sets this up…etc” this would have been a stronger point.
- The harmonies in the vocals adds to their warm tone and enhances the joyous, free character that they create
Jenn Gillan: How does warm = joyous? It can, but you need to go into more detail. Also try using two tone colour words, I believe it makes for stronger, more convincing responses.
- The middle 8 synth solo has a jumpy character, created through the accents on the start of every note but allowing the end of the notes to run into the next note. This jumpy feel adds to the overall joyous character of the piece.
Jenn Gillan: Great! Just try to use a more sophisticated word than ‘jumpy’. This is a great way to describe articulation. Well done.
- The vocal line being in the middle ground of the piece, allows the expression of the other instruments to come through while still maintaining a joyous, free character.
Jenn Gillan: What is the expression of other instruments? This point missing some detail to make it complete.
- The long held ‘oo’ in the vocal line during the verses has a light and free tone colour creating a sense of freedom and joy.
Jenn Gillan: ‘light’ is a tone colour word. ‘Free’ is more a character word. Be careful not to mix character with tone colour. A better word?
- The syncopation has a bright tone and therefore creates joy in the piece
Jenn Gillan: Tone colour is associated with particular instrument, not rhythm. You need to state the instrument then the tone colour.
- The drums steady, heavy beat in contrast with the light feel of the vocals creates strength in the joyous character through the drums intense heavy tone and the vocals bright free tone.
Jenn Gillan: Again, watch ‘free’ as it’s not really a tone colour. ‘Steady and heavy’ – do you mean articulation or tone colour or rhythm? A little unclear.
- The drum kit being in the foreground for most of the piece, gives the piece a sense of moving forward.
Jenn Gillan: Ok, but what’s the tone colour and articulation?
Overall: Some great responses and, in particular, a shining example of how to describe articulation. Watch mixing up tone colour and character words and make sure you’re specific about elements. Some good links to character. Watch going off topic and generalisations without examples to back them up.