'Grace' - Jeff Buckley

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  • 'Grace' - Jeff Buckley
    • Texture
      • thickens towards the end especially in the coda
      • synthesisers and strings help to vary the texture
    • Context
      • Folk music
        • usually traditional music of a country
        • often learned and performed by ear, songs are memorised and passed through generations
        • started to die in the 20th century which lead to folk revival in the 1950s
        • A combination of rock, pop, and folk made FOLK ROCK
      • Jeff Buckley
        • American singer and guitarist
        • 'Grace' was his first and only album before he dies age 29
      • Grace
        • comes from the album Grace released in 1994
        • other tracks on the album are, 'Hallelujah', 'Last Goodbye', 'Lilac wine', and 'Eternal Life'
        • a rock ballad- rock song about love in a slow tempo
    • Instruments
      • guitars, bass guitar, synthesiser, strings and drum kit
      • the guitars use 'Drop D tuning' - low E tuned down to D
      • Guitars score printed on a tab to show the finger positions of each note
      • the drums and guitar (playing rhythmic pattrns and broken chords) accompany Jeff throughout most of the spng
      • the synthesisers and strings drop out in some places: they are used to add effects or to vary texture
    • Use of Technology
      • Modulation on the synthesise at the start of the song
      • Distortion and flagging on the guitars, which helps intensify the sound in the coda
      • Overdubbing on the guitar parts, which creates a thicker sound, the extra vocal parts in the bridge are also produced through overdubbing
      • EQ in the final verse which is used to remove the lower frequencies of Jeff's voice
    • Structure
      • verse chorus form:
        • Intro - instrumental
          • Verse 1 - Voice
            • Chorus 1 - Voice 'Wait in Fire'
              • Intro - instrumental
                • Verse 2 - voice
                  • Chorus 2 - Voice 'Wait in Fire'
                    • Bridge - Voice (vocalisation)
                      • Intro-instrumental
                        • Verse 3 - voice
                          • Coda - Voice (improv)
    • Tonality
      • E minor, although ambiguous- the intro focuses on the chord of D so the key of E minor only becomes clear halfway through the first verse
    • Harmony
      • unusual for a rock song - not the standard I-IV-V chord progressions
      • many chords are chromatic and move in parallel motion(by semitone steps)
      • some harmonies are very dissonant, particularly the chorus
    • Melody
      • vocal part has a improvised quality and a very wide range of over 2 octaves
      • most vocal phrases at falling, reflecting the melancholy mood
      • frequent ornamentation in the melody line, with glissandos (slides) between various notes
    • Word Setting
      • mostly syllabic (some long melismas, emphasising certain words, e.g. 'love' in verse 1 and 'fire' in the chorus)
      • in the bridge there is a passage of vocalising - wordless singing - where Jeff uses a falsetto, technique of singing used for high notes
      • Word Painting
        • Verse 1 - 'cries' is set to falling 5th, sounds like crying
        • Bridge - 'pain' and 'leave' are very high in register and sound fraught
        • Verse 3 - 'slow' is set to a long note
        • Coda - a very thick texture is built up for 'drown my name'
    • Rhythm
      • frequent syncopation in vocal melody, rhythmically very free, as well as bass line
      • Cross rhythms are created through the use of two-against-three rhythms (quavers against dotted quavers)
    • Metre
      • 12/8 - compound metre, 4 dotted-crotchet beats per bar
    • Tempo
      • the bass drum plays 1 and 3, and the snare drum accents the backbeats (beats 2 and 4)

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