Song

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American jazz singer and songwriter Billie Holiday in New York City in 1947 Billie Holiday, Downbeat, New York, N.Y., ca. Feb. 1947 (William P. Gottlieb 04251).jpg
American jazz singer and songwriter Billie Holiday in New York City in 1947

A song is a musical composition intended to be performed by the human voice. This is often done at distinct and fixed pitches (melodies) using patterns of sound and silence. Songs contain various forms, such as those including the repetition and variation of sections.

Contents

Written words created specifically for music, or for which music is specifically created, are called lyrics. If a pre-existing poem is set to composed music in classical music it is an art song. Songs that are sung on repeated pitches without distinct contours and patterns that rise and fall are called chants. Songs composed in a simple style that are learned informally "by ear" are often referred to as folk songs. Songs that are composed for professional singers who sell their recordings or live shows to the mass market are called popular songs. These songs, which have broad appeal, are often composed by professional songwriters, composers, and lyricists. Art songs are composed by trained classical composers for concert or recital performances. Songs are performed live and recorded on audio or video (or, in some cases, a song may be performed live and simultaneously recorded). Songs may also appear in plays, musical theatre, stage shows of any form, and within operas, films, and TV shows.

A song may be for a solo singer, a lead singer supported by background singers, a duet, trio, or larger ensemble involving more voices singing in harmony, although the term is generally not used for large classical music vocal forms including opera and oratorio, which use terms such as aria and recitative instead. [1] A song can be sung without accompaniment by instrumentalists (a cappella) or accompanied by instruments. In popular music, a singer may perform with an acoustic guitarist, pianist, organist, accordionist, or a backing band. In jazz, a singer may perform with a single pianist, a small combo (such as a trio or quartet), or with a big band. A Classical singer may perform with a single pianist, a small ensemble, or an orchestra. In jazz and blues, singers often learn songs "by ear" and they may improvise some melody lines. In Classical music, melodies are written by composers in sheet music format, so singers learn to read music.

Songs with more than one voice to a part singing in polyphony or harmony are considered choral works. Songs can be broadly divided into many different forms and types, depending on the criteria used. Through semantic widening, a broader sense of the word "song" may refer to instrumentals, such as the 20th century Songs Without Words pieces for solo piano. [2] [3] [4]

Genres

Art

Art songs are songs created for performance by classical artists, often with piano or other instrumental accompaniment, although they can be sung solo. Art songs require strong vocal technique, understanding of language, diction, and poetry for interpretation. Though such singers may also perform popular or folk songs on their programs, these characteristics and the use of poetry are what distinguish art songs from popular songs. Art songs are a tradition from most European countries, and now other countries with classical music traditions. German-speaking communities use the term art song ("Kunstlied") to distinguish so-called "serious" compositions from folk song ( Volkslied ). The lyrics are often written by a poet or lyricist and the music separately by a composer. Art songs may be more formally complicated than popular or folk songs, though many early Lieder by the likes of Franz Schubert are in simple strophic form. The accompaniment of European art songs is considered as an important part of the composition. Some art songs are so revered that they take on characteristics of national identification.

Art songs emerge from the tradition of singing romantic love songs, often to an ideal or imaginary person and from religious songs. The troubadours and bards of Europe began the documented tradition of romantic songs, continued by the Elizabethan lutenists. Some of the earliest art songs are found in the music of Henry Purcell. The tradition of the romance, a love song with a flowing accompaniment, often in triple meter, entered opera in the 19th century and spread from there throughout Europe. It spread into popular music and became one of the underpinnings of popular songs. While a romance generally has a simple accompaniment, art songs tend to have complicated, sophisticated accompaniments that underpin, embellish, illustrate or provide contrast to the voice. Sometimes the accompaniment performer has the melody, while the voice sings a more dramatic part.

Folk

Folk songs are songs of often anonymous origin (or are public domain) that are transmitted orally. They are frequently a major aspect of national or cultural identity. Art songs often approach the status of folk songs when people forget who the author was. Folk songs are also frequently transmitted non-orally (that is, as sheet music), especially in the modern era. Folk songs exist in almost every culture. The German term Volkslied was coined in the late 18th century, in the process of collecting older songs and writing new ones. Popular songs may eventually become folk songs by the same process of detachment from its source. Folk songs are more-or-less in the public domain by definition, though there are many folk song entertainers who publish and record copyrighted original material. This tradition led also to the singer-songwriter style of performing, where an artist has written confessional poetry or personal statements and sings them set to music, most often with guitar accompaniment.

There are many genres of popular songs, including torch songs, ballads, novelty songs, anthems, rock, blues and soul songs as well as indie music. Other commercial genres include rapping. Folk songs include ballads, lullabies, love songs, mourning songs, dance songs, work songs, ritual songs and many more.

Sporting

A sporting song is a folk song which celebrates fox hunting, horse racing, gambling and other recreations.

Although songs about boxers and successful racehorses were common in the nineteenth century, few are performed by current singers. In particular fox-hunting is considered politically incorrect. The most famous song about a foxhunter, "D'ye ken John Peel" was included in The National Song Book in 1906 and is now often heard as a marching tune. A. L. Lloyd recorded two EPs of sporting ballads; "Bold Sportsmen All" (1958) and "Gamblers and Sporting Blades (Songs of the Ring and the Racecourse)" (1962). The High Level Ranters and Martin Wyndham-Read recorded an album called "English Sporting Ballads" in 1977. The Prospect Before Us (1976) by The Albion Dance Band contains two rarely heard hunting songs.

Lute

The term lute song is given to a music style from the late 16th century to early 17th century, late Renaissance to early Baroque, that was predominantly in England and France. Lute songs were generally in strophic form or verse repeating with a homophonic texture. The composition was written for a solo voice with an accompaniment, usually the lute. It was not uncommon for other forms of accompaniments such as bass viol or other string instruments, and could also be written for more voices. The composition could be performed either solo or with a small group of instruments.

Part

A part song, part-song or partsong is a form of choral music that consists of a secular (vs. ecclesiastical) song written or arranged for several vocal parts. Part songs are commonly sung by an SATB choir, but sometimes for an all-male or all-female ensemble. [5]

Patter

The patter song is characterised by a moderately fast to very fast tempo with a rapid succession of rhythmic patterns in which each syllable of text corresponds to one note. It is a staple of comic opera, especially Gilbert and Sullivan, but it has also been used in musicals and elsewhere. [6]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Music</span> Form of art using sound

Music is generally defined as the art of arranging sound to create some combination of form, harmony, melody, rhythm or otherwise expressive content. Exact definitions of music vary considerably around the world, though it is an aspect of all human societies, a cultural universal. While scholars agree that music is defined by a few specific elements, there is no consensus on their precise definitions. The creation of music is commonly divided into musical composition, musical improvisation, and musical performance, though the topic itself extends into academic disciplines, criticism, philosophy, and psychology. Music may be performed or improvised using a vast range of instruments, including the human voice.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Choir</span> Ensemble of singers

A choir is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform. Choirs may perform music from the classical music repertoire, which spans from the medieval era to the present, or popular music repertoire. Most choirs are led by a conductor, who leads the performances with arm, hand, and facial gestures.

Musical composition An original musical piece, or the process of creating a new piece

Musical composition can refer to an original piece or work of music, either vocal or instrumental, the structure of a musical piece or to the process of creating or writing a new piece of music. People who create new compositions are called composers. Composers of primarily songs are usually called songwriters; with songs, the person who writes lyrics for a song is the lyricist. In many cultures, including Western classical music, the act of composing typically includes the creation of music notation, such as a sheet music "score," which is then performed by the composer or by other musicians. In popular music and traditional music, songwriting may involve the creation of a basic outline of the song, called the lead sheet, which sets out the melody, lyrics and chord progression. In classical music, orchestration is typically done by the composer, but in musical theatre and in pop music, songwriters may hire an arranger to do the orchestration. In some cases, a pop or traditional songwriter may not use written notation at all and instead compose the song in their mind and then play, sing or record it from memory. In jazz and popular music, notable sound recordings by influential performers are given the weight that written or printed scores play in classical music.

Sheet music is a handwritten or printed form of musical notation that uses musical symbols to indicate the pitches, rhythms, or chords of a song or instrumental musical piece. Like its analogs – printed books or pamphlets in English, Arabic, or other languages – the medium of sheet music typically is paper. However, access to musical notation since the 1980s has included the presentation of musical notation on computer screens and the development of scorewriter computer programs that can notate a song or piece electronically, and, in some cases, "play back" the notated music using a synthesizer or virtual instruments.

Monophony Musical texture

In music, monophony is the simplest of musical textures, consisting of a melody, typically sung by a single singer or played by a single instrument player without accompanying harmony or chords. Many folk songs and traditional songs are monophonic. A melody is also considered to be monophonic if a group of singers sings the same melody together at the unison or with the same melody notes duplicated at the octave. If an entire melody is played by two or more instruments or sung by a choir with a fixed interval, such as a perfect fifth, it is also said to be monophony. The musical texture of a song or musical piece is determined by assessing whether varying components are used, such as an accompaniment part or polyphonic melody lines.

The music of Bangladesh spans a wide variety of styles. Bangladesh claims some of the most renowned singers, composers and producers in Asia. Music has served the purpose of documenting the lives of the people and was widely patronized by the rulers. It comprises a long tradition of religious and regular song-writing over a period of almost a millennium.

An air is a song-like vocal or instrumental composition. The term can also be applied to the interchangeable melodies of folk songs and ballads. It is a variant of the musical song form often referred to as aria.

Ukrainian music covers diverse and multiple component elements of the music that is found in the Western and Eastern musical civilization. It also has a very strong indigenous Slavic and Christian uniqueness whose elements were used among the areas that surround modern Ukraine.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Music of Azerbaijan</span> Overview of music traditions in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijani music is the musical tradition of the Azerbaijani people from Azerbaijan Republic. It builds on folk traditions that reach back nearly 100 years. Azerbaijani music has evolved under the badge of monody, producing rhythmically diverse melodies. Music from Azerbaijan has a branch mode system, where chromatisation of major and minor scales is of great importance.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Music of Albania</span> Music coming from the country of Albania

The music of Albania is associated with the country of Albania and Albanian communities. Music has a long tradition in the country and is known for its regional diversity, from the Ghegs in the North to the Tosks in the South. It is an integral part of the national identity, strongly influenced by the country's long and turbulent history, which forced Albanians to protect their culture from their overlords by living in rural and remote mountains.

Accompaniment Part of a musical composition

Accompaniment is the musical part which provides the rhythmic and/or harmonic support for the melody or main themes of a song or instrumental piece. There are many different styles and types of accompaniment in different genres and styles of music. In homophonic music, the main accompaniment approach used in popular music, a clear vocal melody is supported by subordinate chords. In popular music and traditional music, the accompaniment parts typically provide the "beat" for the music and outline the chord progression of the song or instrumental piece.

The music of Iran encompasses music that is produced by Iranian artists. In addition to the traditional folk and classical genres, it also includes pop and internationally celebrated styles such as jazz, rock, and hip hop.

Sephardic music is an umbrella term used to refer to the music of the Sephardic Jewish community. Sephardic Jews have a diverse repertoire the origins of which center primarily around the Mediterranean basin. In the secular tradition, material is usually sung in dialects of Judeo-Spanish, though other languages including Hebrew, Turkish, Greek, and other local languages of the Sephardic diaspora are widely used. Sephardim maintain geographically unique liturgical and para-liturgical traditions.

Lute song

The term lute song is given to a music style from the late 16th century to early 17th century, late Renaissance to early Baroque, that was predominantly in England and France. Lute songs were generally in strophic form or verse repeating with a homophonic texture. The composition was written for a solo voice with an accompaniment, usually the lute. It was not uncommon for other forms of accompaniments such as bass viol or other string instruments, and could also be written for more voices. The composition could be performed either solo or with a small group of instruments.

The music of Crete, also called kritika, refers to traditional forms of Greek folk music prevalent on the island of Crete in Greece. Cretan traditional music includes instrumental music, a capella songs known as the rizitika, "Erotokritos," Cretan urban songs (tabachaniotika), as well as other miscellaneous songs and folk genres.

Art song Vocal music composition, usually written for one voice with piano accompaniment

An art song is a Western vocal music composition, usually written for one voice with piano accompaniment, and usually in the classical art music tradition. By extension, the term "art song" is used to refer to the collective genre of such songs. An art song is most often a musical setting of an independent poem or text, "intended for the concert repertory" "as part of a recital or other relatively formal social occasion". While many pieces of vocal music are easily recognized as art songs, others are more difficult to categorize. For example, a wordless vocalise written by a classical composer is sometimes considered an art song and sometimes not.

Creole music

The term Creole music is used to describe both the early folk or roots music traditions of rural Creoles of Louisiana.

The composition of art song in England and English-speaking countries has a long history, beginning with lute song in the late 16th century and continuing today.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ukrainian folk music</span> Music genre

Ukrainian folk music includes a number of varieties of traditional, folkloric, folk-inspired popular music, and folk-inspired European classical music traditions.

Vocal harmony Style of vocal music

Vocal harmony is a style of vocal music in which a consonant note or notes are simultaneously sung as a main melody in a predominantly homophonic texture. Vocal harmonies are used in many subgenres of European art music, including Classical choral music and opera and in the popular styles from many Western cultures ranging from folk songs and musical theater pieces to rock ballads. In the simplest style of vocal harmony, the main vocal melody is supported by a single backup vocal line, either at a pitch which is above or below the main vocal line, often in thirds or sixths which fit in with the chord progression used in the song. In more complex vocal harmony arrangements, different backup singers may sing two or even three other notes at the same time as each of the main melody notes, mostly with consonant, pleasing-sounding thirds, sixths, and fifths.

References

  1. Luise Eitel Peake. 1980. "Song". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians , sixth edition, 20 vols., edited by Stanley Sadie, Vol. 17: 510–23. London: Macmillan Publishers; New York: Grove's Dictionaries. ISBN   1-56159-174-2.
  2. Ozzi, Dan; Staff, Noisey (11 April 2018). "RLYR's 'Actual Existence' Is 40 Minutes of Beautiful Chaos". Noisey. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  3. Bernardinelli, Federico (8 August 2018). "El Ten Eleven : Banker's Hill Eleven". treble. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  4. "Interview with Jasper TX | Sweden Experimental interviews". www.tokafi.com. Retrieved 26 January 2019.
  5. Baker (2007). A Dictionary of Musical Terms. Read Books. ISBN   978-1-4067-6292-1.
  6. "Patter song", OnMusic Dictionary, Connect For Education, Inc, accessed 2 May 2014

Further reading