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Eurovision Song Contest 2010

This year’s Eurovision Song Contest had a few surprising turns. Ending today, the winner of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest was a singer from Germany by the name of Lena Landrut with her song, “Satellite”.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esTVVjpTzIY

The Eurovision song contest has been a very popular creative competition which takes place in Europe. Countries get to battle it out by getting their famous song writers from all over Europe to write specially-written songs for the chosen artist to compete.

Last year, the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest was a Norwegian classically trained violinist, Alexander Rybak. Because of the victory, Norway got to host this year’s contest. Since Germany won this year, the next Eurovision song contest will be held in Germany.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiH4BFTELME

The Eurovision Song Contest originally began in Lugano, Switzerland in 1956. The voting for the contest was determined by telephone votes from viewers as well as judges from each nation. It was reported that this year, Norway had spent a total of 32 million (USD) and claimed that they could not afford to host another one again due to financial struggles. The unstable economy has contributed to the participation of certain countries. For example this year, countries like Hungary, Andorra, The Czech Republic and Montenegro had to pull out this year because their budgets were cut severely. However, Hungary stated that the cost was not the issue but would be interested to participate in the contest again in the future.

Alot of bias is also present in the election of the winner of the Eurovision song contest. Countries that had a grudge against each other would give each other 0 points, majorly effecting the genuine outcome of the winner, whereas countries that were allies give each other full points.

Placement for Eurovision Song Contest 2010:

1. Germany
2. Turkey
3. Romania
4. Denmark
5. Azerbaijan

Journal Entry #3: Hijacked Hits

In Michael Coyle’s essay, he explains the difference between cover songs and hijacking songs. It had been a popular method for white artists during the 50s to gain sales and reputation by hijacking, or exploiting, the talents of black musicians. Covering songs, however, is different from the term hijacking because it refers to another artist who interprets the song and gives an homage to it. Covering songs takes the original artist’s work and they are able to atleast give credit back the original artist and make their own interpretation of it , however hijacking is a different story. Hijacking hits was a primary way for white artists to exploit the talents of the black artists, which at the time was a highly controversial subject because they weren’t given the same equality in social justice and therefore racism was carried over to many areas including the music industry.

What I feel after reading this article was that covering songs involve a much more deeper connection to the artist who’s covering it and the original song. A good example of this would be to think about the top orchestras in the world today – they perform classical music by composers that lived centuries ago. However, every orchestra’s playing of a Beethoven symphony is not exactly the same as the other orchestra. That’s because the conductors take their time to analyze the music but at the same time they give their own interpretation to the music – as if they are trying to convey their own “this-is-how-I-feel-when-I-listen-to-this” style. It doesn’t digress completely away from the original intention of it (like hijacking would do) but it takes the music and gives it a more thought-out approach. For example : “Why do I feel this way when I hear that piece? Well because I believe that’s how Beethoven intended to convey to the audience and I will show you why. To me this song is about ____.” Therefore artists who cover songs can give it a new twist – play it either fast or slow, pop-y or not, theres still atleast some acknowledgment and link to its original format.

A more modern example would be a band named Deadsy who did a cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” (and also Rush’s “Tom Sawyer”). What I’ve noticed (other than the fact that they do credit the original band for the song) is that even though the original was a more upbeat faster song, Deadsy had decided to give it a more slow, laid back and industrial twist to it (and also played around with some synthesizing).  Although the two styles are a bit different, the Deadsy cover doesn’t completely ignore the fact that the song has to stay true in its vocal, guitar and bass lines. But their more artistic and interpretive approach was that they are able to incorporate a synthesizer keyboard which does small improvs on top of the melody.

Authenticity is such a raised issue today that many people can regard “taking another person’s song” as distasteful (such as sampling also). But I feel that authenticity is important, but what also is important is that we, as listeners and musicians, are able to take what we hear and improve on it. Afterall, classic western music composers centuries ago did this in some of their famous works in order to pay homage to another artists’ work. (For example, Beethoven has dedicated many of his early piano sonatas to his famous predecessors, Mozart and Haydn. He incorporated their style, themes, melodies into his works.) But back then, it was considered an intellectual thing to do!

Final Research Paper Topic

What is known is that boy bands are usually three to six members in a group that are physically appealing to the public in terms of looks and dress. The demographic and target audience for boy bands usually tend to be teenage girls. The band members sing together in songs usually one by one or by creating vocal harmonies that resembles the arrange of a small choir – the only difference is you don’t have an SATB chorus, but most likely voices that make up the bass, a baritone, tenor or counter tenor since they are male. Although boy bands are sometimes disregarded as a significant or “innovative” subject when it comes to music, it is also important that we understand arranging vocals that give a certain “sound” when put together is extremely difficult – not to mention the fact that the singers in the boybands have to be able to sing ALONG with one another on different pitches. Usually when you have a vocalist he or she is just one voice carrying the melody against the musical accompaniment, but when you have more than one voice singing in harmony it is actually harder than singing solo. What comprises of a GOOD harmonic vocal arrangement is the ability for the singers to be able to listen to the other voices in his/her surroundings and be able to pick out specifically the note that he or she must sing in order to complete the harmony. It is not an easy thing to do especially coming from an experienced choral/group singer such as myself.

On my final research paper I would like to discuss the rise of boy bands and how it had influenced a whole generation of teenage culture and especially teenage girl culture during the 90s (and also some early on). I would also like to discuss what influenced or gave rise to these boy band trends and how did it change our teenage life, beliefs and social life.


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