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Ethnography: Musical Performance Essay

951 words - 4 pages

Music is an interesting thing. When musicians perform there are plenty of elements to be observed that are not recognized easily to an untrained person. Musical performances contain interactions going on between the performers, audience, music, and space. These come together to create a great performance. The vast majority of people in the audience do not even realize how much there is to be observed during a musical performance. While attending a concert by the Wentzville Holt High School Symphonic Band I was able to evaluate the musical sound, contexts of the performance, and interpretation of the performance.
When observing musical sound there’s plenty of different factors to notice ...view middle of the document...

During the performance there were many overtones, but always one dominant tone, which has to do with the tone and timbre of the note. According to Patterson, “Overtones are additional sounds which enable the listener to differentiate between different instruments even while they are playing the exact same pitch.” The overall tone quality of their performance was very good. The music sounded evenly distributed and it was easy to differentiate the sounds coming from the different instruments. In the performance the band played three songs. Two songs having a quicker rhythm while the other one had a slower rhythm. During the performance there was an ongoing steady rhythm. Also there was a portion of the song that sounded different, then after about fifteen seconds the song went back to the previous sound. This is an example of a melody. Cory Brueggeman told me that, “Melodies are made of combining rhythmic patterns and pitches to produce a distinctive sound.” When the band started playing the song started in a soft tone and then music began to build and it hit a point where the loudness of the song was at its peak. After it had reached the peak the music began to get louder and softer. This is a perfect example of the linear from of a song. Patterson said, “Linear form means a piece of music having a precise beginning and ending.” Overall the musical sound of the performance was enjoyable and satisfying to the ears.
Another import aspect of every performance is the context of the performance. The performance I witnessed was a Thursday evening in April. Even though, I also listened to it many of times at a rehearsal held the night before. The band members wore uniform outfits. The guys wore black tuxes and the girls wore black dresses. The band contained many different instruments,...

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