The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset

In depth study of Vocal music

Focusing on

  • Context
  • Style
  • Instrumentation
  • Structure
  • Tonality
  • Melody
  • Harmony
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The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset

Context

  • The song is a 1960's Britpop song
  • It was actually written in 1967 by frontman, Ray Davies
  • The lyrics and the sound are typically British
  • 1960's Britpop bands like The Kinks and The Beatle influenced 1990's Britpop bands
  • The song show technology advancements at this time through the fade-out at the end
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The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset

Style

  • The song is typical of Britpop in several ways:
    - Instruments used
    - Lyrics
    - Blues influences
    - Catchy 5 note hook
    - Lack of "real words" in Backing Vocals
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The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset

Instrumentation

  • Lead Vocals
  • Backing Vocals
  • Lead Electric Guitar
  • Rhythm Acoustic Guitar
  • Electric Bass
  • Drums
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The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset

Structure

  • The song is in Strophic form
  • Each verse has the same melody
  • The structure is as follows:
    - Verse 1 (16 bars)
    - Middle 8 (8 bars)
    - Verse 2 (16 bars)
    - Middle 8 (8 bars)
    - Turnaround (2 bars)
    - Verse 3 (16 bars)
    - Outro
  • Each verse follows this form:
    - A
    - A
    - B
    - A
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The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset

Tonality

  • The Verses are written in E major
    - Section A using E major pentatonic
    - Section B using E major
  • The Middle 8's are written in B major
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The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset

Melody - Verses

  • The song starts with an anacrusis for two beats
  • A syncopated, pentatonic, 5 note hook is heard played by the lead guitar
  • The hook is then put into a sequence, a 4th lower
  • Therefore, the main melody shape is descending
  • In the B section of the verses this main melody is fragmented and separated by rests
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The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset

Melody

  • Mostly conjunct with a few leaps
  • Syllabic
  • There are no chromatic notes in the piece, it's all diatonic
  • The melody in the Middle 8 is syncopated
  • The song ends with a phrase similar to the 5 note hook
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The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset

Harmony

  • A very simple harmony in the song
  • The A sections in the verses use Primary Triads
  • The B sections in the verses use Secondary Triads
  • For the most part, the harmony is very dominant, finishing on chord V
  • At some points, including the intro, a walking bass can be heard

(NOTE: Primary Triads: E, B7, A)

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Primary Triads

Texture

  • The texture through out is melody and accompaniment
  • For the most part, that is homophonic
  • There are examples of imitation in the piece between vocals and backing vocals
  • There is also a walking bass
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