Thursday, October 8, 2009

melodic mechanics

Here's Kanon Wakeshima in her music video for "Still Doll." Ignoring the fact that the music video's setting and Kanon's clothes are, themselves, very Victorian (and the creepy peeping Tom of an old pedophilic geezer, who is just disturbing), the song itself is very mournful, mysterious, with a neoclassical and gothic feel. A heavy beat on the first beat of each measure makes the music abrasive for the following three beats as do the metallic echoes throughout, while the xylophonic music box and harpsichord sounds juxtapose the sharp cello notes with their more delicate tone.

Here's another video, just timed lyrics, to Emilie Autumn's "4 O'Clock." This one also has a metallic sound, emphasized with heavy percussion on the 1st and 3rd beats of each measure to mimic the ticking of a clock, making it more industrial sounding. A harpsichord also features in the middle of this composition, during the lines:

Why can we never go back to bed?
Whose is the voice ringing in my head?
Where is the sense in these desperate dreams?
Why should I wake when I'm half past dead?

Sure as the clock keeps its steady chime
Weak as I walk to its steady rhyme
Ticking away from the ones we love
So many girls, so little time

This one is an interesting song by Abney Park called "Herr Drosselmeyer's Doll" (Drosselmeyer being the godfather who made the mechanical dolls and the nutcracker prince in "The Nutcracker.") This song also has a heavy, steady beat, much like clockwork or mechanics, the downbeat percussion in the foreground in juxtaposition to the upbeat circus march playing in the background.

The first is not industrial in sound, although the heavy beat does give it a sort of mechanical feel. All three pay homage to some other form of music, though- the first and second in the classical sounds of the cello and harpsichord, and the third in the circus march, all of which were well-known in Victorian times. The prominence of the heavy beats, however, take their influence from more modern music, like industrial metal.

This does not happen exclusively in Victorian Industrial music, though. Hannah Fury is considered to be Victorian industrial, but most of her compositions actually feature piano or keyboard compositions.

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