J. Buckley: 'Grace'

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  • Created by: Lucy S
  • Created on: 03-04-13 15:01

Context

  • Jeff Buckley was born in California, in 1966.
  • Style referred to as folk rock.
  • ‘Grace’ comes from album Grace, released in 1994.
  • A few other tracks on the album are ‘Hallelujah’, ‘Last Goodbye’ and ‘Eternal Life’.
  • ‘Grace’ is a rock ballad.
  • Buckley only completed 1 album.
  • Jeff Buckley drowned in a swimming accident, aged 29.
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Instrumentation

  • Buckley is accompanied by guitars, bass guitar, synthesiser, strings & drum kit.
  • The guitar part in the score is printed in tab, which shows the finger positions of each note.
  • The guitars use drop D tuning' which means that the lowest string is tuned down from E to D.
  • Voice uses falsetto at times.
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Texture

  • Mainly melody dominated homophony but occasionally polyphonic (i.e. the voices in the middle 8 section.)
  • Drums & guitars accompany Buckley (vocals) throughout most of the song.
  • Synthesiser & strings drop in & out of music. They are used to add effects or vary the texture.
  • Texture thickens towards end of song, especially in the coda. 
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Use of Technology

  • Modulation on the synthesiser at the start of the song.
  • Distortion & flanging on the guitars, which help to intensify the sound in the coda.
  • Overdubbing on the guitar parts, which creates a thicker sound, & overdubbing of vocal parts in bridge.
  • EQ in the final verse, which is used to remove the lower frequencies of Buckley’s voice.
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Tonality

  • E minor, although often ambiguous. (i.e. introduction focuses on D, so key of E minor only obvious halfway through verse 1.)
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Harmony

  • Chromatic chords. – Sometimes move in parallel motion (by semitone steps, e.g. F-Em-E in the chorus.)
  •  Some dissonant harmonies, particularly in the chorus.
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Structure

  • Intro (Instrumental)
  • Verse 1 (Voice)
  • Chorus 1 (Voice)
  • Intro (Instrumental)
  • Verse 2 (Voice)
  • Chorus 2 (Voice)
  • Bridge (Voice)
  • Intro (Instrumental)
  • Verse 3 (Voice)
  • Coda (Voice) 
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Melody

  • Vocal part has improvised quality.
  •  Wide vocal range of over 2 octaves.
  •  Most of the vocal phrases are falling, reflecting melancholy mood of song.
  • Frequent ornamentation in melody line, with glissandos (slides) between various notes (indicated in score by diagonal line).
  • Most of word-setting is syllabic. (Although some melismas on words such as ‘love’ & ‘fire’ for emphasis).
  •  Vocalisation (wordless singing) in bridge, where Buckley uses falsetto.
  •   Word painting:
    • Cries’ set to falling 5th, which sounds like crying.
    • Very thick texture built up for ‘drown my name’.
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Rhythm

  • Bass drum plays on beats 1 & 3.
  • Snare drum accents the backbeats (beats 2 & 4).
  • Frequent syncopation in vocal melody (which is rhythmically free) & also in bass line.
  • Cross rhythms are created through the use of two-against-three rhythms (quavers against dotted quavers).
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Metre

  • 12/8 (four dotted-crotchet beats per bar). 
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