Listening log Page 2

GENRES

This is a section that I am looking forward to exploring.  I have decided that I am going to investigate and listen to each and see where things take me and approach the genres with an open mind, throwing any previous held prejudices out of the window. Instead of choosing three genres as suggested I have listed my favourites in their sections.

I know that I have not heard all genres so I am going to listen , research, see how things progress and note my thoughts, feelings and outcomes.  I am not sure what my childhood listening genre would be defined as but I am obsessed by 80s pop music and love a good pop song from that era.

CLASSICAL MUSIC

As far as classical music is concerned I would consider myself a complete beginner and do feel the need to go in-depth to get a better feel and understanding. I have chosen a number of composers, researched their life and works and asked Apple Music to select some of their works for me.

Johanne Sebastian Bach  – hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts

I am very new to classical music and chose Bach to start.  I throughly enjoyed listening to all these pieces.  There were some that I had heard before and were familiar to me.  I especially loved the unaccompanied cello suites, these were so passionate.  Whilst I enjoyed the choral pieces and found these uplifting, I am more drawn to pieces which are written for strings in both major and minor keys.  Some of the pieces I recognise from advertisements, even though they are only excerpts but I do prefer them in their original versions.

The pieces left me feeling uplifted and even the pieces in minor keys had a certain quality to them and I generally found them relaxing.  For the choral pieces I had a picture of them set in very grand churches and cathedrals – they would be most effective performed there as that is what their original intention was.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts

As I listened it became apparent to me that I recognised a significant number of these pieces, especially The Marriage of Figaro.  I did, however enjoy the Piano Concertos.  The pieces are so beautiful and full of expression, sometimes complex but with the orchestration, powerful and uplifting.  I found them bright and cheery.

I recognised the excerpts from “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”, they were so very familiar to me. I instantly recognised the Piano Sonata No 11 in A major.  I was very surprised at how many of these pieces I actually knew. The vocal pieces and the  minor key pieces I found to have a strength to them.

I find Mozart uplifting, cheery and on the whole uplifting, a I feel a sense of happiness in listening to these.

Ludwig Van Beethoven – hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple Music playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts

Beethoven has been quite an education.  I find him to have a grandness  and the pieces are very expressive, my favourites being the symphonies and the piano concertos and upon listening there is a strength and emotional content to them. Due to the depth of emotion in some of the pieces I found myself transported into the piece and losing myself in its power. The piano pieces were extraordinary using the entirety of the keyboard to convey drama, delicacy and emotion.

Richard Wagner – hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple Music Playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts

I had a little knowledge of Wagner after seeing a few programmes about him on BBC4 and I knew that his works brought about two responses – love or hate.  Listening to these pieces I am indifferent.  I found them heavy with too much for my ears to handle but they were brilliant pieces.  His work was outstanding but I do believe that you really have to be passionate about him to throughly enjoy his works.  I can enjoy a few excerpts but I believe a full performance would be a little beyond me.

Igor Stravinsky – hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple Music Playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts

I was very surprised by Stravinsky and I recognised some of the pieces. This music seems to be military in style and that sort of music which you would immediately associate with Russia and dare I say it communism.  I recognised some of the ballet works too.  I enjoyed listening to him.

Sir Harrison Birtwistle –hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple Music Playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts 

It pains me to day this but I found this composer very difficult to listen to.  I didn’t enjoy any of the pieces finding it noisy and not to my taste. I persevered in the hope that I would enjoy some of it but sadly I didn’t.

CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL

Even thought this is a sub genre of classical music I approached it in-depth and sought out the artists that a were suggested in the course notes.  Again I have used Apple Music to teach out suggested pieces of music and maybe some additional ones.

THOMAS ADES –hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple Music Playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts

I am not hugely impressed with this composer but now and again I heard pieces that I thought “oh I like that” so I think there are some aspects of his work that I will enjoy if they come up in the future and there may be some that won’t.  I would put myself firmly in the middle with regards to this composer.

KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN – hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple Music Playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts

I do like Stockhausen.  I listened to a fair amount of his works and liked it.  I do find him hard to define but I did like the variety in his work and the electronica feel to it.

Kaija Saariaho  hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple Music Playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts

This is composer is not for me.  I find that the melody is completely ruined by noise.  It may be deemed groundbreaking in the eyes of some but I think its dreadful.  It is depressing and it really does not speak to me.  I like a melody that is not ruined by bleeps, pings and squeaks like some of this is.

TRISTAN MURAIL – hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple Music Playlist – hard copy in personal notes

I could not find anything more and to be honest to make a judgement I would need to hear more.

WOLFGANG RIHM -hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple Music Playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts

The first one that I listened to I found amazing with the voices, where the melody was totally done via voice, it was breathtaking and I enjoyed the whole piece. The second piece I found beautiful with the choral work and I appreciated how it interacted with the melody. It was peaceful but with a haunting beauty to it. I enjoyed these two pieces and I think he’s a modern composer that I could actually listen to.

COUNTRY MUSIC – hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts

I found investigating and reading about the roots of country music interesting but as for the music where do I start?  Lyrically I find that they are story based, so they are a story set to music.  I however found some of the lyrics totally hilarious – I mean “She thinks my Tractor’s Sexy” this particular piece left me wondering if I was actually hearing things!!

I class the majority of these songs as depressing lyrically usually involving someone that has been killed, drunk, not got a drink, or lost a love.  There were the songs that I had heard before and that I would class as famous songs and I recognised a number of them which had been covered by other artists.

Do I like country music?  No, its not really for me but I can understand its mass appeal and some of those artists considered country have crossed over successfully into the mainstream music charts.  I didn’t dislike them all but there were only a handful that I liked.

DANCE MUSIC(EDM) -hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes
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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes
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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes
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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes
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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts

This encompasses such a wide spectrum of styles that I took the suggested artists as my examples. This whole section was a pleasure to listen to.  Kraftwerk inspired so many artists and many of them are bands that I grew up listening to – I had heard of other bands in the EDM spectrum,but I had never sat and listened to them. I am not a fan of modern EDM but I do enjoy what Daft Punk release and I have heard the odd track from other artists in passing.  I am beginning to enjoy more artists from the current crop through a podcast that I listen to but they are specifically curated and usually include artists that I already am a huge fan of.  A brilliant section for me to indulge in.

EARLY MUSIC  –hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes

JEAN-BAPTISTE LULLY -hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes

JEAN MARIE LECLAIR, THE ELDER – hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

Thoughts

This section surprised me and I really enjoyed what I listened to.  At the time of listening I was studying Grade 6 Music Theory and I found this section relevant to some of the elements that I was covering and as I needed to know at times which period a piece covers Ireally helped me.

I enjoyed the choral pieces and the ones which contained harpsichord and voice.  I found these very helpful in my studies.

I have come to the conclusion that I much prefer early classical music and classical music to that of contemporary classical music and I feel I appreciate classical music more now that I have done this in-depth investigation

FOLK MUSIC – hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts

Listening to this playlist I was pleasantly surprised by the music and I had heard a number of the tracks before, but this really gave me a deeper insight into this genre.  I enjoyed reading about the derivation of folk music and have become less ignorant of it as a consequence, realising that I have made assumptions about this genre which are entirely wrong and I have a new found appreciation for this genre.

JAZZ -hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts

This is a section that I really enjoyed.  There was so much choice to listen to but I stuck to the essentials and chose Jazz Vocal.

Again I had heard some of the tracks and as I listened I heard more of the lyrics and the musicality. Reading about the history of jazz I enjoyed discovering the roots and its golden years.  It is a genre that I would revisit again and I would like to see Jazz live if possible.

REGGAE– hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes
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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes
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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts

I loved this section and I had never heard Bob Marley in such depth before and that was an eye opener of a pleasant sort.  Reading through the history of Reggae I had no idea of its links to Rastafanarianism, which in itself was revealing and I throughly enjoyed learning about this.

I had no idea that Ska was linked so that in itself was a learning curve.  I liked what I heard but listening to UB40 I realised that I am not such a fan of theirs and I remain indifferent to their sound

I am pleased that I chose to discover this and discover new music.

RAP -hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts

I did not enjoy this section.  I found some songs that I knew and would never had slotted into this genre.  However a number of the tracks on here had such bad language that I felt it was too much.  It was the overuse of the language I objected to.  I also found some of the songs misoginistic however the women hit back but I didn’t not enjoy these.  Rap really is not my thing and whilst some tell great stories the genre isn’t for me.

SOUL -hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts

I was surprised at a number of the tracks on here as I would not have classed them in this genre.  There were many songs that I had already heard so I skipped those and played the unfamiliar tracks.

I enjoyed this section but some artists were a no go, for a start I absolutely cannot abide Mariah Carey and her whining voice so I skipped her and a few others. I was reminded of some forgotten tracks in here which was good.

As I play bass guitar I am drawn to a strong bass line and this section covered that.  It is good to find a new groove that you haven’t discovered before

ROCK MUSIC-hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts

There is such a diverse number of artists in this category and most if not all I was familiar with.  I chose a playlist with a varied number of artists, some of which I hadn’t heard music by.  What struck me was that years ago these were actually classed as pop music so am I a rock fan or a pop fan? Probably both.  Further to this category I decided to diversify a little into the heavy metal side of rock.  I am a fan of some heavy metal bands such a Led Zeppelin and Motley Crue so I chose to listen to four bands which I was not that familiar with. Black Sabbath, Slipknot, Iron Maiden and Metallica.

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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes
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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes
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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes
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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts

I really liked the musical elements of Black Sabbath but I really did not like the voice of Ozzy Osbourne, so it ended up not appealing to me for that reason alone.  I was so unimpressed that I couldn’t finish the playlist.  Slipknot were okay but I really enjoyed Metallical and Iron Maiden.  I have seen Metalica live in a 20 minute set which I enjoyed at the time.  I hadn’t realised that I had heard so much of both the latter but it never registered that I was listening to these two bands.

OPERA-hard copy of these pages contained in personal notes

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Apple playlist – hard copy in personal notes

Thoughts 

I left this section until last as I was dreading it.  However my reactions to the music have left me surprised.  Much of what I listened to I had heard previously but without the accompanying vocal and again it was a case of not realising that some songs/tunes are actually from a music or opera.

I further shocked myself by actually enjoying this section tremendously.  Some vocals were a little on the screechy side (is screechy an actual word you can use?) at times and I do prefer a male vocal to that of a female but saying that some of the female vocals are  beautiful.  I particularly enjoyed the voice of Bryn Terfel and I know some people do not like Wagners “Ring Cycle” but I particularly enjoyed the excerpts from that.

Return to Part One – Project 2 Music in Modern contexts

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