Popular Music Appreciation by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Ourboox.com
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Popular Music Appreciation

I'm a writer, scientist, musician, inventor and lecturer. During the daytime I am advisor to the President of Shenkar College. Read More
Member Since
Oct 2013
Published Books
1404

Appreciating a Song:

We can use the following questions to try to help us understand why we like a song or not:

Does the song tell a story? A personal story? A good story? A moving story? An authentic story? Is the song a story?

Similar to other songs we know and like, familiar and yet different’

How are the lyrics? Does the music fit the lyrics?

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Let’s see what Antoine Hennion had to say:

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Is there a hook?

Danceability/Beat/Groove

Fits the listening situation/mood

Makes us feel like everyone else -OR-

Makes us feel part of a special group of people

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Simple and easy to sing along (short words, long vowels, convenient range, repetition) -OR-

Complicated (lyrics, chords, range, structure, modulation, etc.)

Cleverness

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The singer(s)’ performance

Quality of voice and type of singing – timbre, range, speechiness, etc.

Authenticity

Energy

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Instruments and instrumentation – familiar, different

Pitch, Melody and Phrasing (see opposite)

Vocal harmony, instruments, arrangement

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Just how intricate the arrangement can be! A great video for musicians especially. “And in the End” from Abbey Road. Listen to the harmonies at 5:15.

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Let’s now add to our repertoire of musical understanding of popular songs: pitch, melody and phrasing, as described in the book on the opposite page.

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So why is this song immortal? Is it really ‘the best’? Is there such a thing?

 

 

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Let’s listen to this big hit by Gilbert O’Sullivan from the early seventies. Alone Again, Naturally. It’s a highly successful song, even though (perhaps because?) it is many chords! Or is it something else entirely?

 

 

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Popular Music Appreciation by Mel Rosenberg - מל רוזנברג - Ourboox.com

 

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And Diana Krall cover:

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Why do you think Diana picked these songs for her album?

Diana Krall, 2017, Turn up the Quiet

Scroll down to see all.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. Like Someone in Love Johnny BurkeJames Van Heusen 3:16
2. Isn’t It Romantic Lorenz HartRichard Rodgers 4:28
3. L-O-V-E Milt GablerBert Kaempfert 4:21
4. Night and Day Cole Porter 4:38
5. I’m Confessin’ (That I Love You) Ralph Edward Daugherty, Al J. Neiburg, Ellis Reynolds 3:24
6. Moonglow Edgar DelangeWill HudsonIrving Mills 5:15
7. Blue Skies Irving Berlin 4:38
8. Sway Norman GimbelLuis Demetrio, Traconis Molina, Pablo Rosas Rodriguez 6:12
9. No Moon at All Redd EvansDavid Mann 4:06
10. Dream Johnny Mercer 4:04
11. I’ll See You in My Dreams Isham JonesGus Kahn 3:53
Total length: 48:15

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Why do you think Paul McCartney chose these?

Kisses on the Bottom, Paul McCartney, 2012

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter Fred E. AhlertJoe Young 2:36
2. Home (When Shadows Fall) Peter van Steeden, Jeff Clarkson, Harry Clarkson 4:04
3. It’s Only a Paper Moon Harold ArlenE. Y. HarburgBilly Rose 2:35
4. “More I Cannot Wish You” Frank Loesser 3:04
5. The Glory of Love Billy Hill 3:46
6. We Three (My Echo, My Shadow and Me) Sammy Mysels, Dick Robertson, Nelson Cogane 3:22
7. Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer 2:32
8. “My Valentine” Paul McCartney 3:14
9. Always Irving Berlin 3:50
10. “My Very Good Friend the Milkman” Harold SpinaJohnny Burke 3:04
11. Bye Bye Blackbird Ray HendersonMort Dixon 4:26
12. “Get Yourself Another Fool” Haywood Henry, Monroe Tucker 4:42
13. The Inch Worm Loesser 3:43
14. “Only Our Hearts” Paul McCartney 4:21
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Some musical principles taught during the course: 

2-4 and 4-4 time

AABA (32 bars)

Waltz (one-two-three time)

Rhythm Changes (e.g. Flintstones)

Stand By Me chords (The Fifties Progression)

Major, minor and pentatonic scales

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The octave and notes on the scale

Musical hooks (anything that hooks you)

Blues (we talked about the standard 12 bar variety)

Chords

Notes

Relativity of music (playing songs in different keys)

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