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Music Appraisal

For my unit 2 composition I chose the Areas of Study 2 and 3, which are Harmony and
Tonality and Texture and Melody. Area 2 (Harmony and Tonality) includes orchestral links to
make my arrangement link to Pachelbels Canon in D, my inspiration for my composition.
The tonality links with the major and minor keys and so I wanted to express an upbeat
tonality as evident in inspiration of Pachelbels Canon in D. To fulfil this I also needed to use
a variety of vocal harmonies to show off my vocal melody. Also for area 3 (Texture and
Melody) help me include the pop instrumentation with classical links. Also, I love inserting
catchy melodies into my composition and I feel it is very important in western classical music
to appeal to the audience. Furthermore, I created a rich texture, which is polyphonic in parts
to exemplify my choice in AOS. The focus for my composition is to balance between two
genres of music. These genres are Pop and western classical and allow me to features
instrumentation I am comfortable with and also add new techniques to my music.

I chose Area of Study 2 and 3 because I felt I would create a composition attributing
Pachelbels original piece of work. Choosing these AOS plays to my strengths as a composer
of popular music and is more natural for me to incorporate the links of the strand. For area
2, the use of major scales and the use of musical devices, such as pedal notes, assist me to
design a classical piece of work into a pop arrangement. For Area 3, including textures such
as melody with accompaniment, polyphony and imitative writing link my arrangement
together with consistency and clearly shows the link between the classical music and the pop
genre. The particular focus for my composition is to make my arrangement suitable towards
Pachelbels canon in D as it is an inspiration of mine to create a tribute towards the artist and
his music.

To get inspiration for my classical composition I researched information about composers of


the Baroque and classical period and bought some classical music. The music I purchased
was composed by well known composers of the 17th/18th century like Vivaldi, J.S Bach,
Mozart, Beethoven, Handel and allowed me to listen carefully to the harmony and melody of
the compositions and how they went about composing their music. I also listened to the
instruments used so I could tribute my composition to their original work.

Furthermore, having been to a wedding in the last year I heard Pachelbels Canon in D, which
I automatically fell in love with and wanted to base my composition on the chord
progression he used. The things I fell for were the instrumentation and use of orchestral
timbre and simple chord progressions. The instruments featured all add to the build in
texture and the use of the harpsichord, being finger picked, symbolises the period that the
arrangement was created. As the harpsichord is a baroque instrument, it is quite uncommon
nowadays but I felt that this instrument needed to be feature as it links with Classical music
and AOS 4. In addition to this, I also like the use of counter melodies and polyphony because
I have developed a passion to improvise melodies for my own formations. To compose these
counter melodies, I wanted to make the best use of modern technology and I wanted to use
automation in my composition. Also, the contrasts of dynamics gave me inspiration to use
automation on my composition to emphasise specific instruments.
Listening to Canon in D, it gave me the idea to combine pop music with western classical
music and work to my strengths as a composer rather than attempt a full orchestral
extravaganza. I then thought whether this idea has ever been successful and if I could find
some examples of this. Fortunately, I could find a select few of songs that have sampled not
only classical music but also Pachelbels Canon in D, which was perfect for my composition
and me. The songs were We dance on by N-Dubz, Ill see you when you get there by
Coolio, and Memory lane by McFly. We dance on by N-Dubz uses classical
instrumentation, which includes a string quartet, in the introduction and then turned it to a
hip- hop and rap formation as the verse begins. Whereas the song created by Coolio, uses
the same chord progression as Canon in D while McFly also the use the same chord
progression (C G Am Em F C F G) but in a rock band format down a tone and build their own
chorus and uses the foundation of progression of the verse.

So after collecting all the research for my composition, I started gathering ideas for
instruments I would feature in my arrangement. I sat at a piano and worked out my chord
progression and keeping in the key in D to experience different techniques in which my
composition could be played. I also decide to use Pachelbels Canon as my chord
progression of my chorus so I could tribute my format to Pachelbel and his amazing
expression of music. Furthermore, this was also because the chorus is the most important
part of the pop song and I wanted the link to be obvious for all to hear. I tried different
techniques of how to play my chosen instruments, with block or broken chords and also
tried different pitches for specific instruments. I chose the Grand Piano to perform block
chords from the C major scale whereas the flute played the block chords of the main chord
progression inspired by Pachelbel. Furthermore, I decide to include a bridge to connect the
verse and chorus; however I decide to only feature a select number of instruments to show
contrast in my texture and dynamics. Also to keep my arrangement true to the classical
strand, I will simplify my chorus to create my verses with similar instruments and chords so it
is consistent from start to end of my arrangement. Also, the chords used in my verses are in
the key of C Major and repeated for 16 bars for each verse. I decided to compose my second
verse mirroring the first verse but with an added instrument. The strings perform a different
rhythm playing a sequence for the C Major scale. In addition, to compose my chorus I used
my inspiration of Pachelbels Canon in D for my main chord progression and added classical
instrumentation to link with the western music tradition. Within my chorus, I have featured a
orchestral flute playing in unison with the recorded vocals. I wanted to include this to create
a tribute to the baroque composers and their musical formations. To continue with the solo,
I added 2 solos into my composition. The first solo includes antiphonal writing between the
flute and the recorded vocals over the chorus chords. The second solo has specific
instruments from the chorus played without the vocals. After the two solos, I end my
composition with another chorus and a fade out, although for this chorus I modulated the
instruments to appeal more the pop link in my arrangement. The instruments I used in my
composition were: - Piano, Bass, Strings, Horns, Flutes, Drum kit and Guitars.

Using these instruments allowed me to create a piece of music, which linked to the research
I carried out on the 17th/18th century composers and Canon in D. Also, the strings link the
western classical styled music with the pop music. In addition to that, I played the tonic
notes of the main chord progression and edited the notes in Garage Band to make my
formation more exciting for the listener. From deciding on my instruments and inputting all
the instruments myself on the MIDI keyboard, I found the appropriate time signature for my
composition, which is 4/4. This time signature is popularly used in pop songs and so I found
it appropriate for my formation.

I encountered a variety of difficulties in creating my composition, which I was able to


overcome by the end of the process. There was that I originally wanted to change my time
signature to 6/8 but I felt that this changed the melody too much for my composition and
had a detrimental impact to the song. So to solve this problem I felt it was more appropriate
to keep it in 4/4 and so it would also still have the pop feel to my arrangement.

Furthermore, the melody of my composition was difficult because I felt that it was hard to
sing the melody and I didnt really want to change it because of my singing restrictions. To
overcome this problem I inputted a melody line for my chosen singer although when doing
this, it was very stop and start as the singer kept forgetting certain parts by accident and so
the singer and me kept going over the composition until we got it right. I sang a guide track
so it wasnt hard for my lead singer to interpret and to solve the problem of not knowing the
song. I felt that singing a guide track was more effective because I could make the task
easier for my lead singer and so they wouldnt struggle to record my lyrics and melody.

In addition to the difficulties, the key of my composition originally was in D to match my


inspiration from Pachelbels Canon. Although when inputting the instruments and recording
my vocals, I needed to change the key because my composition didnt fit together like I
wanted it to and so I replaced the key of D to C. This was because the key was out of my
lead singer range and I felt that it made the vocals more pleasant to the ear rather than the
singer screaming as that would take the my composition out of content. An advantage of
this was it that is easier to input more instruments into my formation as I play a lot of songs
in C major.

I made my composition successfully by integrating the various features of Harmony and


Tonality and texture and melody are prominent within western classical music tradition.
Having links to a strand gives me inspiration on how I can create a composition based on
Pachelbel and other composers. The features are pedal notes, Exploring modulation and
use of Major scales.

I have included musical devices such as pedal notes, which are played by the orchestral
strings and appear in the first verse and continue to play throughout the composition. In the
verses, the pedal note performing a note of G for 16 bars and leads into the bridge. In the
bridge, a G note again is vamped and then changes note to an A note for the chorus.

I have included major scales like melodies to make my song more interesting for the listener.
In the introduction, two electric guitar riffs perform playing from the C major scale. An
electric guitar continues into the verse building towards the next section performing the
same rhythmic riff. Also in the introduction there is a simple melody of the orchestral strings
playing tonic notes of E D E C. In the verse, the vocal melody enters with a flute playing in
unison with the recorded vocals. The flute performs a melody mirroring the vocals, which
helped me to record the final version of my composition. This shows the build in texture of
the introduction.
Area 3 (Texture and Melody) also has links featuring in my composition. These are Imitative
Writing, Use of Sequences, Antiphonal writing and Unison between the flute and the
recorded vocals. In my composition I have used imitative writing which is featured in the
bridge and chorus. In the first bridge, the bass, strings and flute perform the tonic note of
the chord progression (Am F C G). In the last chorus, the strings and flute are played to
mirror the piano chord progression and performing the tonic notes of the main chorus
progression.

I have featured the use of sequences in my verse, chorus and the second bridge. In my verse,
the strings perform an ascending sequence from the C major scale, which plays C D E D E F G
F, entering in the second bar of 8. Furthermore, in my chorus, the strings perform the main
chord progression aspired by Canon In D. In the second bridge the orchestral strings play a
sequence of notes of the C Major scale performing C D E F E D C, E F G A F E.

Also in my composition I have included antiphonal writing, which features mainly in the solo
between the flute and the horns. The solo lasts for 16 bars and shows call and response
between the two instruments. Each improvised horn melody lasts for 3 beats with a flute
melody between lasting for 2 beats, apart from the final horn melody lasting for 4 beats.
Both the instruments perform improvised melodies with dialogue between the
instrumentation. The solo plays over the main chord progression to create a tribute towards
Pachelbel and his formation of Canon in D. As well as playing in the solo section, the horn
plays high octaves which represents the lyrics of Fly High in my chorus.

Finally, I have featured unison between an instrument and recorded vocals. The unison is
included between the flute and the vocals throughout my composition, in my verse, bridge
and chorus. The unison is dialogue between the inputted instrument and voice and adds
creativity and pop instrumentation towards my arrangement. Having unison in my
composition makes it balance equally between the two genres.

My context of my composition is that my arrangement is suited to the pop genre and the
relationship is that I have include many features into my composition to make it link heavily
to features of western classical music using specific instrumentation, use of devices and
sequences and also includes major scales. This composition has allowed me to be inspired
by 17th/18th composers and Pachelbels original work to Canon in D and put a very old song
into a new, vibrant context whilst still keeping ideas from its original context.