Introduction to Music, Fall 2017

Prof. Jake Cohen, Rutgers-Newark

Category: Blog Entry 3 (page 1 of 4)

Blog Entry 3

In “Tu se morta”, the performer uses a lot of text painting to express emotions to the audience. The first text painting I noticed was when he uses a descending pitch to sing the phrase “descend to the deepest abyss”. By lowering the pitch, audiences could feel the depth and darkness of the underworld. Here, text painting generated a sense of tension and anxiety among the audience. Another place where the performer uses text painting is when he sings “softened the heart of the King of Shadows”, he actually softened his voice to make audiences emotional. Besides text painting, dynamics of the music changes along with the performer’s vocal dynamics. In other words, when he sings it softly, the music was light; when he sings it loudly, the music itself was loud. It makes the opera consistent instrumentally and vocally.

The song I chose was Lorde’s “Liability”. I noticed that she uses a lot of text painting when she sings. She used a really low pitch to sing lines: “The truth is I am a toy/ that people enjoy/ ‘Til all of the tricks don’t work anymore/ And then they are bored of me”. I think when Lorde uses a low pitch, she wants to express a feeling of sadness and sorrow. In contrast, she uses ascending pitch to sing “I know that it’s exciting/ Running through the night…”. The way she sings matches the meaning of the lyrics. There is a strong comparison between the lines both lyrically and musically. Also, when she sings the line “disappear into the sun”, she sings the word “disappear” really light as if she’s going to disappear.

Jakeia’s Blog entry 3

In recitative “Tu Sei Morta” I noticed many text paintings. Some examples that stood out to me was when he started singing his voice is soft but then it changes and gets deep when he starts singing “deepest abyss”. When Orpheus sung that part it was like he was trying emphasis how deep the abyss is through is voice. Orpheus then starts to sing louder and then once he starts singing the word “death” his voice becomes very deep. I could her his feelings and emotions through his voice when singing the word death. I also notice when Orpheus was singing “farewell” his tone got really loud.  When he sung “farewell” I could hear the sadness and how hard it is for him to say goodbye.  I think Monteverdi musically directs the emotional impact of the song by using instruments like a organ, heart, and violins. Also I feel as though Orpheus showed a lot of emotion when he was singing. Through his facial expression and body language. I was able to see how sad Orpheus was through out the song.

The song I chose is Roar by Katy Perry.  This song has a lot of text painting examples. When Katy starts off singing her voice is low and mellow and she is talking and singing the words at the same time. In the part I chose she starts singing louder when she says “I got the eye of the tiger….” Katy then shouts when she says “roooaaarr.” In the beginning of the song she explains how she “use to bite her tongue and hold my breath.” She basically use to keep her mouth shut and not say anything because she was scared to speak up and speak out.  She thought her only option was to just agree with that particular person. But now she is sick of it because this person pushed her to her breaking point. They kept knocking her down but now she finally got up and now she is going to yell and  “roar”.     The music gets louder when she starts singing  “roar” in the chorus part. I could really hear her emotions through her singing and her trying to roar like a lion and speak out..

Blog Entry




In Tu Se Morta, there are several instances where text painting was used to highlight certain visualizations. An example can be seen when Orpheus sings “you are dead, my love.” During that instant, the music in the background is played in a slow, sad tone. This is used to emphasize the emotions that are needed to be portrait. Another example is when he says, “While I am still alive,” during this moment the tone of the music is very calm and soft, until he says “alive” in which the harpsichord rises in tone along with other instruments. I believe the  calming then a sudden raise in dynamics symbolizes the realization of being alive, almost as if the music is coming to life.  Monteverdi also uses the minor key in order to emphasize the sorrowfulness of the story. However, he also plays some chords in a major key in order to manipulate emotions at some instances.

The song I chose is “Oh My Soul” by Casting Crowns.

Part of the chorus says “There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know.” While saying God, he is emphasized through the elongation of the word. The word stands out in the sentence, which to symbolize a higher being.  While of the song says ” A part of the song the lyrics says “Can he keep me from going under.” During the ending of the statement while saying “going under” the music seemed to be fade away. It goes from the drums, piano, guitar, and violin, all start to stop playing one by one, until the piano is left playing a single stretched out note.

The music and the lyrics go hand in hand to present a story being told. This is a christian song, therefore, it would reflect a spiritual need and longing to God, which portrayed clearly through the lyrics. The lyrics is saying that even with the troubles of this world, no matter what a person is going through they are never alone because God is always with them.  Some of the text painting is not only portrayed through the music and lyrics but also through the visualization and movements of the dancing that is occurring in the video. While saying “going under” the dancer falls to the ground while the music decreases in dynamics. The author uses such visualization to highlight the music and lyrics of the song, as if he is taking the listener through a roller coaster through his journey.

Blog Post 3

After listening to Tu Sei Morta, one can hear text painting in this recitative. The first text painting I noticed was at the beginning of the song when the singer sings “Tu se’ morta, mia vita, ed io respiro?”. This translates to “You are dead, my life, and I still breathe?” When singing these lyrics, there is a sad or gloomy atmosphere. You can hear the gloom in the singer’s voice as well. In addition, “Per mai più non tornare” (never more to return). At this moment, the music starts to get higher. You can see a clean difference from the beginning.


One song that comes to mind is “Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake – Love Never Felt So Good” The lyrics I will examine is the following:


“’Cause, baby, every time I love you, in and out of my life, in out, baby,

Tell me, if you really love me it’s in and out my life, in out, baby

So, baby, yes, love never felt so good.”



At this moment in the song, it gets a bit more upbeat and funky. In the music video, you can see a lot of dancing and happy faces with smiles. When Michael Jackson sings, “yes, love never felt so good” at the end of the chorus, the timbre of his voice changes. In a way, one can say he was trying to sound “sexy”. Even when he ends the chorus with “good”. When you hear “good” you think of the best, or something to look forward to. Love is good. There is no humor in this song, but there is definitely a lot of fun and is a song to get up and dance to. The word painting is very subtle but it happens noticeably each time Jackson ends the chorus.

Blog Entry #3

In the song/play Tu Sei Morta – L’Orfeo, Monteverdi uses a lot of text painting to express how the characters are feeling in the play. The first case where he uses text painting is at (09:08) when he says the lines, “I will go down,” During this line, the tempo of the music slows down because he used the word down. The entire mood of the song shifts after he says down and the music shows it.  We have the second case at about (09:02) when the man sings “If my songs have any power,” the tempo of the music fastens as soon as he says power. The timbre also becomes louder.  Another way the song is musically impacting the emotions is constantly repeating words, especially about his sadness and anger. This creates sympathy for the man as we see him continue to struggle with getting the death off his mind. Also, some words are slowed down to emphasize on the upsetting mood of the song.


I chose the new song from Sam Smith “Too Good At Goodbyes” because it conveys a lot of emotions.


At (01:16), Sam Smith says the word, “Hurts” and you can hear the tone change when he says it. He also takes a longer time to say the word possibly implying he was hurt for a long time. Also, his voice becomes jittering and shaky once he says it. Listeners understand how much pain Sam Smith with the way he says ‘hurts’.  The piano also stops playing when he uses this word. Finally, we hear a long pause after he is done using the word. Another time Sam Smith uses text painting is during (01:37) when he uses the word ‘Dry.’ The entire line is “Every time you leave me, the quicker the tears dry.” When using ‘dry,’ the tempo of the beat quickens and he says the word really fast. He is doing this to show that he is getting over people faster who hurts him in relationships.


I believe these two are the most important words in the song because the entire song is about a break-up. When you first get your heart broken, it seems like a very long and painful experience. After a while of constantly getting hurt, you come to realize that there are a lot more fish in the sea. This is why break-ups become a much more painless experience. I think these are pretty subtle because I didn’t pick up on it until I focused really hard on the words and the music at the same time. There is no humor involved because this is a very serious topic for Sam Smith.

Blog Post 3

In Tu Sei Morta, there are a couple instances in which the singer uses text painting to further emphasize what he is saying. One example of this in the song is when the singer says the word power in the 9th minute. When he says the word power, he raises his fist, and almost flexes to show that he is filled with power. He did this to show him gaining being powerful to the audience. Another example is in the time of 9.33 where he says the word stars and looks up into the sky. Since the lyric says at the stars, the singer makes the artistic decision to look up showing the crowd some text painting. Besides the text painting, Monteverdi musically directs the emotional impact of this song by looking more happy or sad as he sings. When he wants the audience to be happy, he makes a happy face.

An example of a modern-day song that does this is the song “Natasha & Bolkonskys” from the play Natasha pierre & the great comet of 1812. In the song they say Constrained and the note has a lot of dissonance. The person who designed this was trying to show tension with the people in the play, so they had the note become very tense and sounds unsettling. It is quite obvious what the artists are trying to do because the note is quite unsettling, and they say the word constrained.

Blog Entry III


An example of text painting in this song is when the soloist sings/says, “Addio terra, addio cielo e sole, addio, (Farewell, earth! Farewell, sky, and sun, farewell).”  These lyrics have a slow tempo but sounds or volume increases a bit when it comes to “Addio”.  This intensifies the song by demonstrating that the “addio” must be emphasized. Other lyrics that represented text painting is when Orpheus sings/says, ” N’andrò sicuro a’ più profondi abissi, (I will surely descend to the deepest abyss),” this line is sung with a lower pitch than the rest of the song. This part of the song signal a sad point in the song which is why it drops here. The repetition and elongation of certain words assists the dark and depressing mood Monteverdi tries to portray along with dramatical pauses that occur. the emotional impact of  this song by repeating certain lyrics, or having certain pauses between lines.


I chose the famous song Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. The piece of the song that will be focused on it the intro:

“Is this the real life?/Is this just fantasy?/Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality/Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see/I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy/Because I’m easy come, easy go, little high, little low/Any way the wind blows doesn’t really matter to me, to me”

The first set of lyrics, “Is this the real life” is meant to be in the form of a question, so to mimic the tone of asking a question Freddy Mercury ends life in a higher pitch than the preceding words. A better example would be when the word “landslide” is sung. The word is held out and “slides” into the next set of lyrics, “no escape from reality.” The next line, “open your eyes, look up to the skies and see,” gradually increases, mimicking the sensation it opening up, like a pair of eyes. Another occurrence is with the words, “little high, little low,” the pitch of the voices along with the music goes “up” then “down” with the words high and low. Lastly an electric sounding wind is heard with the the words “wind blows” as well as the singer(s) holding the “s” in “blows” to give the effect that they are “blowing” as well.

Blog Entry 3

Monteverdi incorporates word painting in many parts of his piece, specifically at points where he questions the absurdity of a life without his love. I chose “Tu se’ morta, mia vita, ed io respiro?” Which translates to, “you are dead, my life, and I still breath?” The other phrase I chose was, “Per mai piu non tomare, ed io rimango? No,” The second phrase translates  to, “never more to return, and I remain?” What makes these phrases important is the stress with which they are performed. The piece as a whole is accompanied with dark music and it compliments the piece not to drown out the performance, rather it sets the feeling and helps deliver the emotional cues for the audience by emphasizing notes after melismas. His singing of the first phrase and the melisma placed on respiro highlights his emotional distress, confusion and pain that he remains alive without the love of his life. Monteverdi’s first instance of word painting shows us that we should pay close attention as we notice Orfeo continues to sarcastically ask, “is this for real, am I really left alone without her?” In the second phrase chose, Orfeo clearly projects the line and the beginning of the following in an aggressive tone that is declarative. His voice finally explodes at the absurdity of a life without his wife. Musically, Monteverdi assists in the impact Orfeo delivers by playing a dramatic, aggressive pair of notes following the end of Orfeo’s singing.

Monteverdi musically directed the emotional impact by having the accompaniment play a piece that reinforced the darkness but complimented parts of emphasis such as right after melismas. The theme of the piece was dark, sad and aggressive at certain parts. While the dark and sad themes were consistent the piece also included spurts of hopefulness such as his singing of showing his wife the stars upon their return and a sense of acceptance when Orfeo accepts the possibility of not returning from the journey.

I chose to highlight a jazz song by Panic! At The Disco. I chose to highlight the bridge which states,

There’s never air to breathe
There’s never in-betweens
These nightmares always hang on past the dream

The majority of the song is the music accompanying the voice of Brendon Urie; however, the bridge delivered a clear concise message of the binding factors that made the hardships of life all the harder. Each line gets louder and I believe he does this to continue building the emotional impact until his melisma of the “dream. ” The bridge expressed factors that we all understand make situations more drastic even in the face of everyday life details. I believe his  final melisma and singing the vibrato to the last breath was intentional and served to express his exhaustion with the stressors. I believe the large gap with the band playing after his melisma was intentional to allow the emotional impact to settle in the audience.

Blog Entry 3

In example of text painting in this recitative is when the artist says ““Addio terra, addio cielo e sole, addio”.  In this lyric, the tempo is generally slow but sounds or voulme increases a bit when it comes to “Addio”.  This intensifies the song by demonstrating that the “addio” must be emphasized. Another lyric that represented text painting is when Orpheus says “I will surely descend to the deepest abyss”,  which is sang at a lower pitch relative to the rest of the song.  This indicates that the lyrics is signifying a “low/sad” moment in the song.  Monteverdi musically direct the emotional impact of  this song by repeating certain lyrics, or having certain pauses between lyrics to signify the intensity or the impact of the lyric that it has in the song.


The song “Company” by Drake, is a song that shows text painting.  In the song, Drake is saying how he is only unfaithful because he needs company when his love is not around.  He says that he does not care for these girls, and that he is just lonely.  However, he still recognizes that this makes him a “dog”, or a person with who is selfish and unfaithful. In the song, there is sounds of dogs barking in the background, as he is saying that he just needs company.  Also, in a verse of a song he says “On some DMX shit, what these bitches want from a n*gga”, and the the sounds of the dog intensifies.  DMX is also known for the dog sounds, which is why he might’ve also incorporated the dog sounds.

Blog Entry 3

An example of text painting is portrayed as soon as the music video begins when Orpheus finds out that his wife, Eurydice is dead. Orpheus sings ” You are dead my love. While Orpheus is singing, the music in the background expresses a sad tone which is being played by the harpsichord. The beats are elongated as well which adds a gloomier tone to the music. Another example would be when Orpheus sings ” I will bring you back with me To see the stars again” At first when Orpheus was singing about the death of his wife the mood was dark and sad now Orpheus is trying to stay strong and bring his mood back up. The beats are no longer elongated and are shorter now but stay consistent with his tone of voice. The harpsichord is played on a elevated scale now as the beats go from sad to happy. Monteverdi has a group of people with their heads down and the lights dim to portray the sadness of Orpheus’s singing  and direct the emotional impact.

In this song Post Malone’s  tone of voice is proportional to the background music that is playing. Between 0:13 and 0:23 the mood is at its lowest point ad Post Malone repeats the word ” I don’t want to die too young” Thus the beats are played from the sad part of the piano and are elongated just like they were when Orpheus was singing. The lights are dim and peoples heads are down exactly like they were in Monteverdi’s piece. Interesting because when it comes to death and funerals the analogy of those moments are that every one usually has their head down and the lights are always dimmed. The representation is overt because he doesn’t exactly show a video of someone dyeing but he does show moments where the mood is down for instances when the lights are dimmed and everyone’s head is down. Beside the singing and the background music Post Malone doesn’t use another sound effect other than music .


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