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Final Audiograph Project

This song is titled “Work Song” and it’s written and sung by the Irish artist Hozier. He released this song as a single back in 2014.  Hozier’s life has been influenced by music ever since he was a child. When he was younger, he became a member of his school orchestra and, after he graduated, he joined a choir ensemble called Anuna. As his confidence in his musical abilities developed, Hozier decided to make music of his own. In 2013, he became an official solo artist. Once he found his own sound outside of his religious influences from his childhood, he started to make music that resembles folk and blues. He released several extended play (EP) records in his name, including the song of which I analyzed for this project.

I decided to analyze this specific song for many reasons. One reason is that this song was the starting point of his debut album, and therefore, the start of his solo career as a writer and performer. Secondly, this song almost entirely is composed of minor chords. I tend to lean towards the sadder sounding songs because they usually make the lister think. I truly believe that no one should listen to music passively, and when a song makes you think, it is nearly impossible to not actively listen to it. Lastly, the song is very minimalist (the lyrics make the song, the instrumentals are intentionally placed to fill the song). There is an obvious pattern (intro, verse 1, chorus, verse 2, chorus, verse 3, chorus, ending) and each piece adds on a textural component that fills the song just enough to guide the listener through the lyrics, but not too much that the listener is overwhelmed.

Work Song

In the first seven seconds of this song, there are very few sounds that eventually build up as the song progresses. This section of the song is made up of an acoustic guitar, claps, and a female individual humming the song's melody. The woman humming is the most prominent sound in this section. The guitar is relatively soft, it is used to layer with the singer's humming; the claps are placed in the song when the female singer holds the same note for more than one beat. This section consists of repitition in that the same melodic makeup is repeated twice in this instance. With this introduction to the song, it is safe to assume that the rest of it will be mellow and sad. 

This section of the song starts off the same as Section A, however, it differs in that there is a long pause from the regular pace of the song and when the humming comes back there are different, more emphasized sounds that accompany the melody. The pause, in my opinion, causes a tension in that there is a recognition that something is about to change. There are some of the same components; for example, the clapping is still in this section, but it is louder and it echos. There are also totally new components that make up this section. This section has a base drum rather than a guitar. This drum sets up the tempo for the rest of the song, it is also where the singer, Hozier, starts to sing. 

Most of this section contains the first verse of the song. It has all of the instruments from Section A and Section B. The context of this storyline is very intense, because of this, I believe that the effects of using all of the instruments prior to this section represents the complexity of the story and adds a textural layer that is pleasing to the ear. I believe that this is the reason as to why the singer utilizes his wide range of vocal ability; to represent the highs and lows of life, specifically the life that is being told in the song. In this section, there was a brief pause between the first verse and the chorus. The song was completely silent until the piano was introduced. As the first chord of the piano was played, the song resumed and the chorus began. The piano replaces the bass drum and the guitar from the previous parts of the song. Throughout this section, the humming of the female singer harmonizes with Hozier as he is singing the lyrics.
This section starts in the middle of the song's chorus. There are two layers of vocals that harmonize in the chorus and they are both from Hozier. The one that is most prominent is his louder and higher vocals. The second is much lower, it almost sounds like he is just speaking. Once again, I believe that this was intentional and the vocal range represents the highs and lows of life that are articulated in the lyrics of the song. The fact that these two layers of vocals harmonize with each other so well yet contrast at its core is really cool. The chorus does not consist of the humming that was constant throughout the song previous to this moment; I think this is because there are already two harmonizing vocal layers in the chorus so adding another would have no purpose, and in some ways could hinder the song. The song has been very slow and mellow in order to let the listener truly hear and understand the piece, so adding another layer of vocals would just make the chorus more complex than it needs to be. Since the storyline of the song is intense, the sounds that make up the song do not need to increase the intensity, but rather flow continuously in an uncomplicated manner. As the chorus ends, the second verse begins and it is composed of the same sounds and instruments as the first verse.
This section starts at the third verse in the song. This verse starts off the exact same way as the two that were previously played, however, there was a pause and then an electric guitar was introduced. The notes that were played on this guitar harmonized with Hozier's voice for a brief moment of this section. When the chorus began, the electric guitar was gone but there was another string instrument that played for the first time. Throughout the last chorus, the viola was played and it also harmonized with Hozier's voice. Additionally, there is a tambourine present after every clap, but as the chorus begins to end, it is no longer played. As the end of the song approaches, the sounds and instruments that formulate the chorus fades out until only the claps and acoustic guitar remain. The ending of the song, in some ways, represents the cycle of life;  we end as we began because at our core, who we are as humans never truly change. As I have said before, this song is very slow and mellow so it makes sense that it would end in this manner: somber and, somewhat, simplistic.


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