Concert Attendance #2\


The piece that I chose for my second concert was one from the VCU Scholars Compass. It was a junior recital by Jason Garland on the tenor trombone. I chose this piece because I am not very familiar with the trombone, and I was curious to hear what it would sound like in a concert. When I listened to it, I heard a strong trombone sound, along with a piano in the background that would occasionally play on its own. The trombone played mostly long notes, varying the pitch greatly throughout as well as the volume. At times, the tempo of the piano would speed up along with the tempo of the trombone, and at other times the piano or trombone would be playing slower than the other. The trombone sound is overpowering and dense and the piano sound is light and airy so putting the two together creates a unique contrast of sounds. I liked it for the most part, but at some points I felt as if the trombone was too much. When the trombone was played at the loudest points, I felt that it was too much and it completely overtook the piano playing in the background and just sounded like a jumble of sounds. I did, however, enjoy it when the trombone was being played softer along with the piano because both sounds seemed to flow together.

Reverse Engineered Influences

The song I chose was Wonderwall by Oasis. This song was released in 1995 and was immediately a smash hit and one of the most successful British songs of all time. It was played on every alternative radio station on repeat. The lead singer of the band actually hates the song. He said that every time he has to sing it he wants to gag.  I like this song because it brings about positivity and helps you focus on the happy things in your life, whether it is someone or something that will always be there for you. I also like the melody as well, and I find it getting stuck in my head every time I listen to it.

Oasis formed in Manchester and were a huge part of the popular Britpop genre of pop rock and alternative rock that originated in the UK in the 1990s. One thing that I think is unique to this band and makes them stand out is the voice of the lead singer, Liam. There is so much feeling behind every lyric when he sings. The men in this band were sometimes described as cocky, always showing so much confidence, and occasionally a little too much. The way Liam sang was pretty much the opposite, and I think that’s why people tend to be surprised and filled with emotions by the sensitive way that he sings. I have heard covers of their songs by other people who are also very great singers, but I never got the same feeling as I did when Oasis performed it. The exact style and feelings portrayed while he sings are very hard to emulate. One of the things they are also known for is their acoustic interludes. At many of their gigs, Noel, the lead songwriter, would perform a half an hour interlude where he would sit on a stool with a spot light shining on him while he played his guitar and sang songs before anyone had heard them on record. Along with “Wonderwall”, “Don’t Look Back In Anger” was another one of their top songs, that can probably be considered their number one hit.

With Oasis being as famous as they were, it is important to look at their major influences. It is not hard to see or hear that The Beatles is one of them. Just by watching their music video for “Don’t Look Back In Anger”, you can clearly find comparisons. The intro is very similar to the piano in John Lennon’s song “Imagine” and Liam looks a lot like John Lennon in this video as well. The actual overall “look” of the two bands is very comparable from their haircuts to their clothes. I also noticed that a lot of their songs are along the same tempo and have similar sounding piano parts like in “Don’t Look Back In Anger” and “Imagine”.



The Beatles were one of the most popular bands of all time. They formed in Liverpool in 1960 and became the most influential group of the rock era. Their music was so unique and contained qualities of many different genres over time, so it is hard to put them in a distinct category. They could be described as rock and roll near the beginning, and then gradually transitioned to more of a pop-rock feel. One of the main reasons their music became so famous was because they “invented” the rock and roll two-electric guitar sound that no one could resist. This feeling actually comes from the way that are brains are wired. Different sounds result in different levels of dopamine being released, which causes positive feelings. Most people experience more of this when there are sharper and more intense sounds, which are what come from the electric guitar. One of their greatest hits was “A Day in the Life” but wasn’t fully appreciated until after Lennon’s death.

In order for the Beatles to become this successful, they had to have people that inspired them to do so. One of their greatest influences was Chuck Berry. They played at least 15 of his songs at their live shows, including “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Sweet Little Sixteen”. The Beatles also incorporated Chuck Berry’s lyrics into some of their own songs as well as ideas. Chuck Berry has a song called “Back in the USA” and The Beatles have a song called “Back in the U.S.S.R”, and the intro to these songs both involve a flight along with having similar titles.

Berry: “Back in the USA”
Oh well, oh well,
I feel so good today
We just touched ground
on an international runway
Jet propelled back home
from overseas to the U.S.A.
Beatles: “Back in the U.S.S.R.”
Flew in from Miami Beach B.O.A.C.
Didn’t get to bed last night
On the way the paper bag was on my knee
Man I had a dreadful flight
I’m back in the U.S.S.R.


The Beatles also used the same notes as Chuck Berry, just played it in a different key. Chuck Berry was a lyrical and musical genius being one of the greatest “rock-poets” of all time. Here is an example of how the notes in their songs compare:

Chuck Berry was one of the most famous rhythm and blues, rock and roll performer during the 1950’s-1970’s from St. Louis, Missouri. Many refer to him as the “father of rock ‘n’ roll and his music targeted mostly the teenage audience. What made Chuck Berry unique was his prominent use of his electric guitar setting a strong rhythm to set in line, and accent, his vocals. He wrote all of his own songs as well as played guitar for all of his recordings. His lyrics were deep and involved youth culture, usually addressing it in a comic way. He was the first rock and roll artist whose songs were relevant to the white audience without alienating his main black audience. One of his top hits was called “Johnny b Goode”.

Growing up Chuck Berry had many influences that made him become the “father of rock ‘n’ roll”. He emulated his clear vocals from Nat King Cole, and played many blues songs from Muddy Waters, which were two of his idols. Muddy Waters was the one who helped Chuck Berry make a record with Leonard Chess of Chess Records and directed him in the right direction. Chuck Berry’s songs involve many hardships, such as losing ones you love, which can be traced back to Muddy Water’s songs. In both of their songs, they are portraying themselves as the main character they are singing about, and the events that they have personally faced.

Muddy Waters was a blues musician who was born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi in 1915 who is often referred to as the “father of modern Chicago blues”. He is known for his powerful performances as a guitarist, as well as his personality on stage. His uncle gave him his first electric guitar, which marked the beginning of his career as a classical blues guitarist. In 1951, he established a band and when they brought their electric blues sound to England, that’s when Muddy Waters became a star. In his music he used microtones in his vocals, which are hard to follow. This made his music extremely hard to duplicate because of his unique sounds. One of Water’s greatest hits was “I’m Your Hoochie Cooche Man”.

As you can see, each artist can be traced back to previous artists that have impacted them in some type of way. I feel that the reason for many peoples’ successes is watching the success of others in front of you. It gives you the motivation and inspiration that anything is possible, and if they are able to accomplish their goals, then you can too. Now that I can see where the influencers of Oasis lead to, it opens up my mind to many more meanings and styles that this song could have come from. I would have never guessed that I would go from pop-rock to blues when tracing back.


Concert Attendance #1

This past July Fourth, I decided to do something different since I had already went to see fireworks the day before. I saw an event on Facebook called “Red, White, and Lights” that was an event with food, activities, a performance by the Richmond Symphony and a light show at the end, so I decided to check it out. I went towards the end when the symphony was playing and then stayed for the light show, and I’m so glad that I did. It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen. This was probably one of the most unique and entertaining symphony performances out there. First of all, I have never seen that many people together to see a symphony. Yes, many of the people were there mainly for the light show, but without the symphony playing, the light show would have been nothing. They played very happy, upbeat music, most of which sounded very familiar. Some of them made me think of typical music you would hear at events with a lot of people. The fact that it was outside was also significant because there were so many people there making other noises, rather than the audience being almost completely quiet. I was probably near the center of all the people which was probably almost 100 feet away, and I could still hear it pretty clearly; it was only slightly muffled. It didn’t seem as clear as it would have been if it were inside, but it still sounded amazing. The lights definitely added to their performance as well. It was incredible how lights and sounds can be put together and create something so entertaining. I would definitely recommend checking it out next year if you didn’t get a chance this year!

Listening Journal Week 6 #2

So with it being the fourth of July weekend, I knew I would be hearing fireworks every night all weekend. Last night before I went to bed, I heard fireworks coming from every direction all around us. Most of them were pretty far away so I didn’t really see much, but I could hear everything.  All I could here were continuous popping sounds. It sounded exactly like popcorn popping, which immediately made me hungry. This went on for about 10 minutes straight. It’s funny how to sound of an explosion in the sky can make me hungry for something to eat.

Listening Journal Week 6 #1

So, ever since I started taking this class, I’ve constantly had a lot of the songs we listen to stuck in my head, even ones that don’t have words. For some reason, I never thought I would find myself humming these songs. Usually I just get really annoying songs from the radio stuck in my head, but I actually am realizing I enjoy these songs much more than most songs that are out here today. They have definitely broadened my horizon. I just think it’s funny that for the past month, the only songs I can’t get out of my head, are the ones from our listening lists and that is fine with me, even though no one else knows what I’m talking (or singing) about. I’d have to say, it is much better than Justin Bieber.

Bike, Photo, Music Project


During the huge bike race, many different types of photos were captured. I chose an action shot, up close and personal, of a point right in the middle of the race. It shows excitement as the bikers race by quickly only a few feet away from the younger fans. You can tell that the bikers in front of the kids are going fast because some of them are a bit blurry. It conveys a cheerful mood by the look on the kids’ faces who are smiling and seem to be in the middle of clapping. They look like they could possibly be looking at a family member in the race, perhaps their mom or dad since I do not see any adults standing with them. They both seem to be looking in the same directions which makes me want to think someone very close to them is in the race. When I look at this photo, I picture upbeat, happy music playing in the background, something that brings about anticipation as the bikers are rounding a corner of the road trying to get ahead in the race. I could also see slower portions of a song being played while a moment like this is played in slow motion to build suspense.


The piece I chose was String Quartet op. 59, no. 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven, which was his second of his “Razumovsky” of string quartets.




Here’s some background info on Ludwig van Beethoven:

  • He gave his first public performance at Cologne at age 7
  • He published his first work, 9 Variations in C minor for piano before age 12
  • He started going deaf around age 25
  • After the hardest times of his life, his middle period works were more emotional expressing heroes and struggles
  • His works did not suffer due to his hearing loss, but became even better
  • He produced one of his greatest works “Ninth Symphony” three years before he died


I did not find anything significant events in Beethoven’s life that directly influenced how this piece was written, specifically the first part that I was focusing on, but I did notice that it was emotional. In this piece, it starts off quiet with quick movements. One of the amazing things about the violin is that it can make very short, quick and clear sounds, and I feel like it is much easier to do this on the violin than on most other instruments, like woodwinds for example. I kind of looked at it as a music video for the bike race, and specifically the moment that this photo was captured. I picture this song is playing from the beginning when the bikers are just starting the race, where no one is really more ahead than anyone else, and they are all together getting ready to spread out going different speeds. The music then suddenly gets louder and speeds up again at certain points. I see this as being points in the race where one biker overtakes another, or some surprising event occurs. I can see the loudest and fastest part of the music being played at a point in the race where one of the bikers in last place suddenly starts advancing and the camera zooms in on him and shows him with the anticipation of what’s going to happen next, kind of like this exact picture. There are also parts in this piece where the music is a little slower. When I hear this I think of the point in the race where they are playing it in slow motion and showing the bikers as well as all the people along-side in order to show expressions and emotion.


Musical Element What you hear (music) What you see (photo)
Melody Uplifting, exciting, anticipation, happy, violins playing, but not very strong melody Exciting crowd cheering
Harmony Happy mood, notes together sound exciting, not depressing Smiles on the kids’ faces
Rhythm Upbeat temp, slower at some points, much faster at others The bikers going at a very fast speed


Probably not going the same speed throughout the whole race

Texture Homophony, polyphony, airy at some points Bikers are accompanied by family and friends supporting them
Form Sonata allegro

Repeated themes

The fast speed of the bikers, and overall excitement


The melody is not very clear. It is hard to distinguish an exact melody, and when you think you have, it suddenly changes. It keeps you on your toes, just like the race. The melodies you can hear are very exciting and uplifting, which correlates with the photo. When I look at the photo, I see this in the excited crowds that you can tell are in motion and cheering. The harmony sounds happy which in the picture is easily shown through the smiles on the kid’s faces. The rhythm is very upbeat in most parts. In the photo the bikers are blurred, which indicates very quick movement. For the texture being homophonic, I see the bikers as the one main melody, and the fans as the chords. The support of the biker’s family and friends probably played a large role in their ability to be in this race. Without them they would not be where they are now. Just like in the song, the chords playing with the melody help make it sound the way it does in the same type of way. For the polyphonic texture, I think that the bikers on their own represent each melody that is occurring. Of course there are not as many melodies in the piece as there are bikers in the race, but each biker is on their own and is what makes up the entire race. In the song, the separate melodies make up the entire song, or parts of the entire song. The sonata form also adds to the overall excitement and really enhances the fact that the bikers are going very fast. These two pieces have a lot in common and to me, go together very well.


Listening Journal Week 5 #3

Today, I woke up to many different sounds. Outside I could hear some type of outdoor machine. It sounded like a leaf blower, but there aren’t any leaves on the ground, so I figured it had to be something else. I looked outside and couldn’t tell where that noise was coming from. During this time, I also heard noises coming from inside my apartment building that sounded very similar to the one outside. At first I heard it outside my door, and I’m pretty sure it was someone vacuuming the hallway. A couple minutes later I heard the same noise coming from above me. I’m assuming this was someone else vacuuming their apartment. For some reason the noises above always sound so much louder, like someone is trying to make as much noise as they can.

Listening Journal Week 5 #2

As I was sitting here working on my “Transmit Your Listening” assignment, my stomach was growling cause I haven’t eaten yet today. This got me thinking about all of the weird noises your body makes and the fact that you can’t see how it’s creating that sound, whether it’s the noise your stomach makes when you’re hungry or your heart beating. I’m more familiar with what your heart is doing and how it creates the beating noise from previous classes I’ve taken, and know a little bit about peristalsis in the stomach, but it’s just so crazy to me that we can hear and feel these sounds our body makes, but we will never actually be able to see our own body create them. We can always watch videos of other people’s, but we usually don’t get to see our own body in action creating them.

Listening Journal Week 5 Transmit Your Listening

Listening to the same song at a different speed or in a different key completely changes how I feel when I listen to it. It is often hard to tell that it is even the same song. Usually, I find it a lot easier to tell if it is the same song when only the speed is manipulated. It is a lot harder to tell when it is played in a different key even at the same speed because I hear completely different sounds. The only time I find it extremely difficult to figure out if it’s the same song is if it is extremely time-stretched. I don’t think I would even be able to guess my favorite song if it was stretched out that much. I actually enjoyed the stretched out version though. It was very relaxing, and I feel like it would help me focus if I were studying or working on something. All of the sounds seemed to kind of mix together since the change in sounds was so gradual.

For my version of Mozart’s String Quartet in C major, K. 465 “dissonance”: I. Allegro, I altered every aspect of it that I could. I used flutes, French and English horns, and the harp, as well as changed the speed and key.

Listening Journal Week 4 #3

Today, I went to Starbucks to get a coffee and noticed there were a lot of people either on their laptops, doing some type of paperwork or homework, or sitting there listening to their headphones. It got me thinking about the fact that many people go there to study, do homework, or read. Usually when I go there it’s not super quiet, so I’ve always wondered how people can focus in there. When I listened, I heard music that was pretty relaxing, and not distracting at all. There were other noises coming from the baristas making the coffees, which was pretty loud, but didn’t seem to distract anyone at all. When I actually stopped and listened to the atmosphere, it really didn’t seem as bad. I’m used to them rushing around trying to get everyone’s coffee, so it had always seemed like a place that would be hard to focus in.

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