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Friday, October 9

October 9, 2015

Songwriting: Today we did an exercise trying to fit four lines to four bars of music. If there are takeaways, they would probably be:

  1. You have a lot of freedom when you try to set lines to music — more than you probably think. The most important thing is to set a pattern and stick with it. (We didn’t really get to that point today, of course, since you only wrote four lines, but you’ll have to follow a pattern when you write your parody: due two weeks from now, Oct. 23.)
  2. Some of your syllabic constructions were a little crowded. You have to leave room for a singer to breathe, usually. Unless you plan to a. overdub multiple vocal tracks and b. never perform this song live. That’s why I stretched some of your lines out over eight bars, instead of four: that gave the lyric (and the singer) room to breathe.
  3. A couple of people duplicated an instrumental melody line (in this case, the bassline of the song). That isn’t wrong! A lot of times, a songwriter will have a vocal melody line doubled, or echoed, by an instrument. Often it’s piano or guitar, sometimes in a guitar solo. (FYI: The late Kurt Cobain did this in his solo on “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which echoes the verse/bridge vocal melody.) The advantage here is that you get another chance to repeat the melody and drive it into the listener’s brain.

Then we listened to the John Prine (his songs have been covered by tons and tons of people) song “Hello In There,” as essayed by Bette Midler, on the album The Divine Miss M:

You wrote down your general impressions. We’ll discuss next week, and hear another song or two to boot.

Critical Reading: Today I handed back some of your earlier assignments (the restaurant review analysis as well as the article analysis and comparison). Emmett and Sarah shared some thoughts from their article assignment and we found that they had quite different opinions, so we talked about what might have brought them to these different conclusions. See the list on the left side of the board:

IMG_7238 (1)

We talked about what context is and why it matter, then went on to talk about using filters by looking at cat paintings by Louis Wain:


In class you got a slip of paper with a different [fake] fact about the painter of these paintings, and in class wrote down your “interpretation” of the paintings given that fact. Depending on what was written on your slip, you came to understand or believe different things about the paintings. This is a small, simple example of how a filter works: you use it to view and interpret another piece or work in a particular way. You can look up Louis Wain on your own for the “real” context for these pieces.

We will review this stuff and talk a bit more about it next week. An assignment on filters was handed out: Critical Reading 10.2.15 – Filters Assignment. This is due in two weeks, on Oct. 23.

Less Miserables: Pitches II. Because of an audio malfunction (my fault), we can only present this collection of pitches. Download them in PDF format; they are here for your reference if you were here both days. If you were absent either day, you MUST download this and read it before you can vote on Monday. (Q. Isn’t it against the law to make voters pass some sort of test before they vote? A. Not here.)

Here it is: Less Miserables Pitches

BatCat: We mostly made a decision, then talked about upcoming events. Will continue on Monday.

Middle School: The Bert Bertram Show! Theme song:

To be continued Monday…

Survey: Combined: Defacing Dr. Seuss. To be continued…

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