Blog post 10/2

Choose one song from the listening assignments dated September 25 to October 2. Listen to your chosen song, paying attention to sonic form. Choose ONE of the sonic forms listed here: timbre, echo, ambience, texture. Write a post about how your chosen sonic form operates in the song.

15 comments on “Blog post 10/2

  1. Z says:

    In the song, “What Have They Done To The Rain” by Malvina Reynolds, the ambience interpreted in the song introduces a sad and hopeless sentiment. Composed in the late 20th century, it was written to protest the nuclear testing. The tones and echoes are somewhat slow, embroidering a dark and bleak real world. The sentimental ambience correlates the lyrics of the song “And the grass is gone, the boy disappears”, “What have they done to the rain”. The substance of the song seemed to be substantiated by this distressing ambience.

  2. Monica Poleway says:

    In Country Joe and The Fish song, “I feel like Im Fixing To Die Rag,” the ambience of the song introduces a feeling of hopelessness and surrender. This song is a protest song about Vietnam. “Whoopee! we’re all gonna die, ” demonstrates this hopeless ambience that is found throughout the entire song. During the live performance he even repeats this line of the song multiple times till the entire audience is singing it with him. They are protesting the war as well as setting a mind set that everyone is going to die.

  3. Will Adams says:

    In the song, “Paint it Black,” the Rolling Stones utilize the role of timbre in order to distinguish the different feelings expressed in the acoustics. The Rolling Stones use a range of instruments at various strengths to change the tempo from slow to upbeat. At first, a sitar and maracas set a mesmerizing mood, but this suddenly changes when the drums and the bass guitar come in with overwhelming intensity. Even though these affects seem subtle at first, timbre creates another level of complexity by adding distinguishing layers to a instrumentally unified sound.

  4. danmann7 says:

    In Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s “Ohio” they created a song in response to the terrible shootings at Kent State. Timbre is used very effectively in this song, utilizing a mix of rhythm and lead guitar, drums and harmonic vocals to create a mixed feeling of patriotism and regret. The whaling lead guitar and solos make the song similar to a patriotic rock ballad, but the repetitive, harmonious vocals all speak to the tragedy that occurred. The cries that accompany some of the vocals add to the feeling of despair that winds through the core of the song. These cries show the true feelings of both the musicians and the people who had to go through the event itself. The chorus is a testament to the power of harmony vocals, really standing out among the other instruments and displaying the song’s message loudly and clearly.

  5. Robbie Katz says:

    I feel that both echo and texture play a large role in Country Joe Mcdonald’s “I Feel Like I’m Fixing to Die Rag”. This song is not complex in a manner and consist of simply Country Joe Mcdonald and his guitar. It is actually the lack of texture that is important because it allows people to focus more on his powerful lyrics. The audience isn’t getting hung up trying to sift through various instruments which lets them take in his message much easier. Also there is a slight echo during the live performance which in my view is meant to enhance his lyrics and make them take up more space. It is a very lyrical based song which is apparent from the crowd singing along with him. He constantly getting them involved as he really wants them to think about what he is saying instead of just blindly following along which is what the texture and echo both help to accomplish.

  6. Naeem says:

    In Country Joe McDonald’s song “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die,” the sonic form of ambience plays a very significant role. During this live performance, McDonald interacts with the numerous fans that have come to watch. He sets an energetic, protest-like mood in the audience, encouraging everyone to join in and sing with him. Without the ambience—or the mood of the environment in which McDonald sings the song—this song would not deliver the same power or sense of protest that it does. As the song comes to an end, members of the audience rise to their feet and passionately chant the lyrics of the song. The sonic form of musical performance also plays a significant roll in this song, showing the passion generated by a live performance. However, the people’s enthusiastic participation in this song shows us that the ambience, or mood in the environment plays a significant roll in this song.

  7. Rafe Mosetick says:

    I chose “War” by Edwin Starr. I think that echo is essential to the effect of this song, because it makes the song sound like there are a lot of people singing at you. The song continually echoes one word: war. By doing this the writer is able to have the audience constantly thinking about war even after the song is finished. After the background singers echo this line, Edwin Starr in a stern tone expresses his opinion of why war is bad. By doing this your unintentionally matching war to the bad things he sings about. This repetition makes the audience be upbeat but at the same time indignant to war. It makes the audience say to themselves, “your right war what is it good?”

  8. Haoyue Ma says:

    “Ohio”, performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, describes the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970. It is a kind of ambient music—little hoarse voices enhance the feelings of lamenting people’s death in this shooting, like lyrics of the song “Four dead in Ohio.” In essence, ambience is a term to describe any form of electronic music that puts emphasis on tone and atmosphere over songwriting, hence often lacking musical structural or rhythm. ( The electric guitar running through the song accelerates the urgent atmosphere, vividly enhances the nervous situation between antiwar students and national guardsmen—“tin soldiers and Nixon coming.”

  9. Dalila Vazquez says:

    In the song “What Have They Done to the Rain” by Malvina Reynolds the texture of the song is what gives it its uniqueness. The combination of the instruments, such as the acoustic guitar, and the voice of the singer give the song a melancholic style that touches the feelings of the audience. The sound is a slow and sad tune which in turn complements the lamentation that the lyrics say. The purpose of the song is to protest against what people have done that damaged the environment, specifically the rain mentioned in the line: “What have they done to the rain?” So when the singer’s protesting yet peaceful voice is added the texture of the song is completed.

  10. Lyons Li says:

    Malvina Reynolds uses a sonic form called ambiance in the song “What Have They Done to the Rain”. The song’s soothing melody and abstract lyrics give the audience a feeling of sentiment and disappointment. At the very beginning of the song, Malvina sets an atmosphere of depressing. By drawing a picture of raining day, audience can feel subdued. This is a song protesting the nuclear testing in the atmosphere; Reynolds imagines the aftermath of nuclear testing: “And the grass is gone, the boy disappears”. It seems that after the nuclear bomb exploded, everything in the world would lose their lives. Furthermore, Reynolds utilizes rhetorical questions to query the governors who support nuclear testing. Here is the question: “What have they done to the rain?”. Reynolds repeats the question for several times to strengthen her anger and doubt against the policy makers: how could you destroy our beautiful world only for testing some deadly weapon?

  11. Tony Huang says:

    The song “I feel like Im Fixing To Die Rag” by Country Joe and The fish introduces an ambience of despair and helplessness. The song seves to protest against the Vietam War. The author expressed his idea in an ironic way so it may not sound that hopelessness. The line “Well there ain’t no time to wonder why. Whoopee! we’re all gonna die. ” seems to point out that there are no ways to get out of Vietam there were alreay too many people lost in the war. And in the line “What are we fighting for? Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn.” questioned the meaning of the war harshly.

  12. Jen Chung says:

    Zak describes texture in the words of Robert Erickson as “always [denoting] some overall quality, the feel of surfaces, the weave of fabrics, the look of things.” It attempts to express the sound that the combination of all of the sonic forms present. The song “Paint It Black” by The Rolling Stones starts in a minor key which runs throughout the entire song. The combination of the melody with the beat as well as the particular beating sound of the drum creates a dark atmosphere in which the song pastes its lyrics. Also, the dominant background melody of the electric guitar repeats itself throughout the song, supporting the general tune of the song as well as filling the background.

  13. chenxiyu says:

    The Rolling Stone’s song “Paint it Black” takes the listener to picture the action of painting everything black. For the artists to be able to bring the image and sad feeling of blackness, all the song’s elements must come together in harmony. This is also called “texture.” The repetitive character in the lyrics of the song to want to paint everything black is also seen in the musical rhythm and tones. When the singer is singing the music does not interfere with his words and they can be understood cleanly. But when the singer pauses for the next verse the music is louder so it allows the listener to pay more attention to the instruments. This equilibrium of song musical elements and lyrics allows the listener a better experience.

  14. Abby says:

    In the song “Ohio,” timbre can be used to identify the song. Just as Bob Dylan’s switch from the acoustic guitar to electric guitar created an image of protest, the long introduction of electric guitar that symbolizes a sense of protest. Through the lyrics of the sound, the background drums provide a constant beat that represent the meaning of the sound. There is a certain harshness to the sound, as if describing the depressing aura of the murders at Kent State University.

  15. Aamina Ahmad says:

    In Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth,” there is a consistent echo throughout the song. Echo, as described by Zak in “Sound As Form,” is a repetition of a sound. In “For What It’s Worth” there are two types of echo: vocal and instrumental. The vocal echo occurs during the chorus when Springfield sings “stop, hey, what’s that sound/Everybody look what’s going down” multiple times. These lines appear in the song seven times, imitating an echo, especially at the end when Springfield sings them four times in a row. Similarly, the exact same drum beat repeats throughout the song. This staggered rhythm of the drum sounds much like a steady heart beat. Its constant beating in the background is almost like a never ending echo that actually gives the song a sort of eerie feeling.

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