Music – My vocal composition
My vocal composition takes several influences, but few of them were direct; by this I mean that I rarely intended to mimic anyone as I wrote the piece but I unknowingly did take influences. I chose the second option for this assignment: a solo voice with or without backing singers, accompanied by a group of at least four instruments. I chose this option as it was directly relevant to me for I have been a singer songwriter for bands for several years; also recently I composed the music to the lyrics of ‘the Caucasion Chalk Circle’ by Brecht for an amateur production.
Due to these experiences of composition of this nature I had my own style of putting words to music all ready mapped out before I started writing this piece. I chose the second set of lyrics written Lorenz Hart; I did a brief background on where they are taken from and discovered that the song is called ‘Ev’rybody Loves You’ and it was written to be in a musical called ‘I’d Rather be Right’ but it was dropped before the New York opening but still published with Richard Rodgers’ music in September 1937.
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I did this background check as I wanted to insure that I had an original take on the lyrics and not follow the composer’s intentions. I decided to compose my piece on ‘Micro Logic’ using a synthesizer as I wanted to use a variety of instruments which I didn’t have access to. I decided that my music would be essentially 1960’s psychedelic as I am very fond of the style and the lyrics are quite ‘cheesy’ which relates to bands like ‘the Small Faces” lyrics. With this mind, I composed a basic two chord verse (A and E) which I thought sounded quite retro and was easy to compose a melody over.
I thought an organ was essential in order to create the poppy catchy sound of the 60’s so I improvised over the piano line until I had the sound I wanted. I chose to use an acoustic bass sound for my bass line as I wanted to imitate ‘Paul McCartney’s’ ‘Hofner Violin Bass’ sound, my actual bass line was not very 60’s as it sounds very improvised unlike the carefully worked out lines of the likes of ‘the Beatles’. I chose to improvise the bass as I thought it made the music more interesting to listen to. I decided to lay the drums down in a minimalist style as I thought a complicated drum line would detract from the rest of the song.
I made one, in my opinion, direct reference to somebody else’s music with the flute line. This was heavily influenced by the blues style flute solo in ‘California Dreaming’ by ‘the Mamas and the Papas’, I think it an incredibly effective solo and I wanted to try and do something like it, so I used the pentatonic scale to improvise around the two chords. The chorus unintentionally sounds a lot like the who due to chord progression and use of an organ, I decided after trying out several combinations of instruments to only have organ, bass and drums as the backing for the vocals.
I use a A B A C structure for my song, the C represents an ‘outro’ I composed in the same manner as the chorus, with an organ sound and then I added in a bass line and drums. The purpose of the ‘outro’ is to add another dimension to the song and to make it more musically interesting for the listener, rather then just a backing track for the vocals. I felt this was a very important point to get across as I was composing as if I was in band and we were going to perform it. I wrote the melody after I had written the music as I know from experience that I find it easier that way.
I tried to vary the pitch throughout the song to give the piece a more psychedelic sound. On the chorus I tried to give the melody a more majestic quality by using longer note values and louder dynamics, I felt this was important in order to make it sound like a chorus even though it is only used once. I only use vocals for half of the outro as I feel it gave more of a fade out feeling to the song. I chose to include talking at the end to give it a Jim Morrison feel and add to the psychodelia. The instruments I used in my final composition were as follows: Organ, Piano, Acoustic Bass, Flute, Standard Drum Kit and a Banjo.