The Piece Worth Listening To?
Can you relate to the instant feeling of listening to a good song? Goosebumps or chills you critic the piece point out what parts of it you like or dislike. Music criticism has been around for years putting readers into the lens of someone else and see what was their thought or reaction of the piece was. So five listeners here have listened to this one piece by Martin Luther named “Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott.” Martin Luther was a professor, composer, and a figure of the Protestant Reformation. Luther went against the Catholic Church on it’s practices and beliefs, this led him to staple 95 theses on the church. He did teachings of the bible even after this, and wrote music with those who followed him. This piece he composed is being played in a church during mass around this time, Luther’s piece was made in 1527. The year is around the Renaissance period, and our five listeners are all from different time periods. The listeners named Giovanni Da Palestrina, Claude Debussy, Joseph Haydn, Abel Testafye, and Brian will all think different about this piece and why did they react the way they did. Reading what these five listeners thought about this piece will show an inside look into the lens of the listener and what each listener heard.
Our first listener is Giovanni Pierluigi Da Palestrina a Italian composer that composed during the Renaissance period. Palestrina had a influence on the development of the Roman Catholic Church. Listening to this piece Palestrina’s face instantly looked like he recognized the piece. He sat properly and didn’t give much a reaction, a very serious man, but for the beginning to this piece got his attention. He instantly thought about the polyphonic texture. The multiple melodies he hears reminds him already of his time period helping the church and composing his pieces of work while listening. Both composers creating pieces of work for religious purposes leads Palestrina to talk about the song’s melody. He discusses how the melody of the song is moving step by step. He hears the beginning and how the singers and people attending the church add onto the piece. He hears it as the piece processing every few seconds to being stronger. For Palestrina the two musical details matter to him, because he believes they are the most important in his lens. He has composed music pieces for church, and relates how his work and others sound to him. He understands the purpose of the piece in his mind is to bring people together and be in sync at an important time for a religious purpose.
Our next listener is Claude Debussy a French composer who composed operatic and played the piano very well. A very famous composer and influential of the late 19th century and early 20th century. Debussy listens to the piece’s rhythm, the repeated pattern of the choir’s part when the children sing. He was impressed by the vocals of the young choir that sung in a peaceful matter. He has had a time in doing operas, and opened his eyes to the children keeping in sync when singing the words to the piece. He showed happiness across his face for he could hear the small voice of the young, trying to keep the high notes perfect. Another texture he heard along was the harmony, as he concludes that the choir at one point had several voices singing different notes. That there were two separate notes singing in the choir and it was so significantly put together so well that both notes ended together at the same time. For Debussy these two factors matter to him, because he use to play piano for women and children for fun, so he enjoys listening to the piece of the soft spoken voices in the piece. He composed many piece’s, but this stood out to him from the rhythm to the harmony.
Another composer who is also a listener is Joseph Haydn. Joseph Haydn is a Austrian composer, mostly famous for being an important figure of developing classical music in the 18th century. From his many instrumental developments and composed music has earned him the title of “Father Of Symphony.” As he listens to this piece he sway his hands and follows the tempo of the piece a slow paste piece. Haydn enjoys the tempo of the piece for it fits the scenario. The environment and tempo of the song fit together and he thinks about the tempo not being to harsh, and sounding peaceful for the audience to listen. That the steady paste should sound peaceful and holy. The next thing he thinks about it the piece’s dynamics, and how moderate they are. He enjoys that the piece is at a soft dynamic level. That the tempo along with the dynamic have played along together well for this piece. The both musical factors matter to Haydn, because this piece was created before the father of symphony himself. The musical creation created roots for him to achieve, and also show the similarity. Symphony is usually played in a full orchestra, so the subtle piece does not feature very dramatic intense tempo or high dynamics.
The next listener is a very famous modern day star Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd. A musical rapper/singer in the genres for RnB, pop, and rap. He has set records high and became an instant star following his four mix tapes released on Youtube. Tesfaye listens to the piece and feels chills on the back of his ears, he says the pitch is what is standing out for him. The pitch of this piece gave him chills, because the pitch is the rise and fall of the voices. He is fascinated, since he himself uses the high pitches of people’s voices in his music.That the high notes that stay at a steady rate sounds like something he would include to play background to one of his songs. He also measures the time of a note, saying the duration of the piece makes it special. The duration of the piece of each note are similar in time he listens, and continues that the time length is not over extending. The two musical factors he listened and gave were important to Tesfaye, he believes the pitch of a note and the duration of that note can make or break the piece. He was agreeable as to why the piece lasted a few minutes and still preformed well for everyone to sing along.
The last listener is a typical rap teenager named Brian. Brian is 22 years old studies at Queens College listens to old and new school rap, hip hop, and produces SoundCloud mixes when he can. As for a listener he does not judge he simply fits into any music he enjoys. He listens to the piece presented and sits still staring into no where, hands crossed, and gives a face of an okay. He looks more into the piece’s text and then he points out the translated part of “He is well on our plan with his spirit and gifts, Take the body.” Brian states that the quote is very inspirational and influencing to bring people together. That those following the faith take the time to sing a piece that states those singing are part of the plan making. The next musical factor he pointed out is the instrumental thing only played which was the classical organ. He describes it looking like a piano with huge pipes connected to it created a great intro into the piece. He stated that the instrumental followed a pattern of notes before the notes were to be sung and intercluded the instrument again between the next few notes by the choir.
These two factors really stood out to him, because he hears factors like these in modern day rap, where rappers use pieces with simple texts with huge meanings, and a instrumental either in it’s background or it’s own part of a piece. Brian sees a potential song in the making with a few cuts and edits he can instantly create a new piece.
From the lens of all listeners, we took a look into what each listener hears. What each listener thought about the piece and what musical textures stood out for them. What they believe was important and what elements of the piece stood out to them on a personal level. They had different reactions and different opinions on what they thought about, and explained as to why it matters to them. The closer look into each listener demonstrates the many viewpoints they are for one piece.
- Martin Luther, Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott https://youtu.be/z_1mGdHVBNg
Reading about the five listeners thoughts and opinions on the piece who would you more likely rely on for their opinion on your music taste? explain why.
– Joana Benavides