Moby - Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?

This is a set of cards for Moby's song 'Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?'

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  • Created by: SMBStoker
  • Created on: 06-04-14 12:50

Context and Background

  • Club dance music refers to the electronic music tpically played in nightclubs.
  • Originated in 1970s.
  • Key features incude:
    • A 4/4 metre and a steady tempo.
    • A prominent use of electronic sounds.
    • A strong beat, emphasised by the drums and bass.
    • Short phrases and repetitive, looped sections.
  • 'Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?' comes from the album Play, released in 1999.
  • Play has 18 tracks.
  • Others include:
    • Porcelain.
    • South Side.
    • Natural Blues.
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Samples and Melody

  • Song is based on 2 samples taken from a recording made in 1953 of a gospel choir.
  • First sample (A) is sung by a male singer and is used in the verses.
  • Second sample (B) is sung by a female singer and is used in the choruses.
  • Both samples have been manipulated to change the meaning of the words.
  • They have a vintage feel because Moby hasn't cleaned up the surface noise on the recording.
  • These samples are looped to create the melody, which as a result is simple and repetitive.
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Structure and Texture

  • The song is based on a verse-chorus structure.
  • The samples are looped to create the verses and choruses.
  • After the second verse there is a breakdown - one bar's silence.
  • The texture is built up as individual tracks are introduced one by one.
  • After the breakdown, the texture becomes thinner as the piano and drums drop out.
  • They re-enter for the next eight bars, then drop out until the end.
  • Contrasts in texture are provided by:
    • Varying instrumentation for each 8-bar section.
    • The use of silence.
    • Sections with just staatic chords for the accompaniment.
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Rhythm, Tempo and Metre

  • The song is in 4/4, with a steady tempo of 98 bpm.
  • Drum loop is made up of a breakbeat that Moby sampled from a hip-hop track.
  • Bass drum plays onbeats 1 and 3.
  • There are strong accents on the backbeats from the snare drum.
  • Syncopation is used in the piano, vocal and synthesized string parts.
  • Rhythms are vaied between sections to provide contrast.
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Use of Technology

  • Moby used the following equipment to produce this track:
    • Synthesisers - to produce the string, bass and piano sounds.
    • Sampler - used for the vocal samples, as well as the breakbeat rhythm on the drum track.
    • Drum machine - to create the drum track.
    • Sequencer - to trigger the sampler and synthesizers.
  • Various effects have been applied to the music, for example:
    • Panning is used to place sounds in the stereo field.
    • There are 'electronic ghostings' on the male vocal sample when it first comes in - these are remnants of the backing singers in the original sample.
    • Reverb and dealy are used throughout the track.
    • In the second verse, echoes of the voice are created through delay.
    • The echoes have been processed with EQ to remove the lower frequencies.
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Harmony and Tonality

  • The harmony is entirely diatonic, made up of three simple, repeated chord progressions.
  • The first sample is set to the chord sequence Am, Em, G, D.
  • The second sample is harmonised in two different ways: firstly to C, Am, C, Am, an then to the chords F,C,F,C.
  • We can describe the verses as being in the Dorian mode on A, and the choruses as being in C major.
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