Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-15-2010

Abstract

My arrangement of “One Man Wrecking Machine” (OMWM) is structurally very similar to the original arrangement of the song by Guster. It follows a very standard rock/pop song structure: introduction, verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, verse, chorus, outro. I have specifically chosen to retain this structure because I believe that it is a logical progression that tells a story and retains the interest of the listener. In the Guster version, the piece begins simply with just a few voices. During the first verse, there is only a single vocalist and the bass line. As the piece progresses, the number of voices and the complexity of their parts build until they reach a climax during the solo. After the solo, there is a dénouement. A verse begins with only the lead vocal line and bass line. This is followed by a chorus with most of the voices again, and then a brief outro. This structure retains listener interest throughout the whole piece because it follows a story arc. There is exposition, development, climax, and dénouement. The listener remains engaged to see where the story is heading. Similarly, my arrangement builds in complexity until the end of the solo section. To create this complexity and listener interest, I do a few things. First, I start with fewer voices and add more as the piece progresses. Next, rather than simply repeating the verse for a third time after the first chorus, I modulate the key twice. This thwarts listeners’ expectations as to what is coming next and adds harmonic complexity. After this, the song returns to the original key for the chorus, but uses a mixed meter of ¾ and 4/4 time (mm. 55‐58) to break up the repetition of 8‐beat phrases which predominate for most of the piece. The song climaxes with the solo section leading into the bridge (mm. 93‐100), and then it returns to a smaller number of voices for the recapitulation of the verse and chorus.

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