Cover Songs - Essay Example

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Cover Songs While a song may contain the same structural elements as another song, oftentimes there are greatly divergent expressive patterns. One considers the nature of the cover song as a prominent example of this situation. In these instances, one musical group writes and records a song…
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Download file to see previous pages This song was re-imagined by the group Scissor Sisters. This essay examines this song in terms of its original compositional elements, as well as its interpretation as a cover song. Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ is a highly popular song from their Wall record. The song has a number of notable compositional elements. The original version of the song is highly subdued. In this way the song’s rhythm and melody are slow paced and in a down-tempo time form. One considers that the song’s very title has much in common with its musical form, as the reference to numb could directly refer to the state of the individual listening to the song, or as an adjective describing the song itself. There is the consideration that the song’s instrumentation adds to this numbness. Rather than simply relying on guitars and drums, the song incorporates a number of synthesizers and digital components. In the context of the song this is significant as it creates a space-like effect; one notes these space like elements from the very beginning at :05. It seems that the song is not simply composed in a traditional recording studio, with traditional rock and roll influences, but rather adopts futuristic and innovative concepts. These sound elements are not simply linked to the instrumentation but also extend to the vocals. While it is impossible to exactly determine, it seems that the main vocals have been digitally altered, as they take on a futuristic sonorous effect that is like traditional vocal styles. These elements then are combined with traditional rock elements, including drums and guitars. For instance the drums are highly noticeable at 1:28. Still, the implementation of this instrumentation takes on an epic and ballad like form that is unique for the rock style. Ultimately, these disparate components combine to form a highly unique and subdued composition. While Pink Floyd’s version of ‘Comfortably Numb’ is unique and subdued, the Scissor Sisters’ version is more traditional. The cover song implements an up-tempo beat. In terms of instrumentation, there is the clear and distinct use of guitar as the main means of establishing the melody and harmony. This distinct guitar sound is evident from :01. The vocals implemented in the song are created by a female vocalist. This creates a high and sharp sound that has a strong impact on song’s theme. There is an upbeat nature to the song that is carried throughout the melody and refrain. To a large extent it appears that the vocal components in the cover song assume a position of greater prominence than in the Pink Floyd version. In both songs the lyrics are the same; however the way they are articulated is very different. This difference is significant to the point that it affects the songs’ themes. For instance, the lyrics contained in the melody elements can be argued as significantly different in both songs. While the Pink Floyd version spends a considerable amount of time emphasizing the lines ‘I have become comfortably numb’ this phrase is almost a second hand thought in the cover version. Instead the song’s main hook is found in the vocal patterns leading up to this phrase. As noted, this changes the songs’ themes. The original Pink Floyd version has created an ambient or ‘numb’ theme that is directly reflected in the spacey and ballad-like vocals. This is contrasted with the theme of the Scissor Siste ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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