Melodic Appoggiatura in Bird on a Wire

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
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rpan
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Melodic Appoggiatura in Bird on a Wire

Postby rpan » Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:50 pm

Am reading heavy going but interesting book by Philip Ball "The music instinct: how music works and why we can't do without it"

All the tools of the trade are covered and on p. 308 there is this:

"..One very common trigger for both tears and shivers was the so-called melodic appoggiatura: a kind of delay introduced to a relatively stable note by suspending it on a less stable one. This has a near-universal current of pathos in Western music - it features, to offer one of innumerable examples in popular music, in Leonard Cohen's 'Bird on a Wire'. That's all you get, he is off onto Albinoni for more illustrated explanation.

Only other mention so far was in an earlier section about extraordinarily repetitive nature of music and how that works out (p 125)
.."In songs, constant repetition of the melody is palliated by lyrics that carry the narrative moving ever forward: that's what keeps us listening to the otherwise formulaic structures of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. On the other hand, in rave music, Sufi qawwali, and the minimalism of Philip Glass and Terry Riley, insistent repetition creates a progressively deepening trance-like experience."

A 100 pages to go, will post any other mentions.
"We were broken then, but now we're borderline"
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holydove
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Re: Melodic Appoggiatura in Bird on a Wire

Postby holydove » Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:43 pm

rpan, thank you for your very interesting post. As I am a music student, I couldn't resist doing some further research on the appoggiatura; I found this comment interesting:

"An Appoggiatura. . . usually is approached by an upward leap.This expressive type of NCT (non-chord tone) is frequently found in music of the Romantic period, due to its powerful 'yearning' to resolve."
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rpan
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Re: Melodic Appoggiatura in Bird on a Wire

Postby rpan » Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:30 pm

Should have pointed to online demo at http://www.bodleyhead.co.uk/musicinstin ... pter10.asp Figues 10.15 cover this.
"We were broken then, but now we're borderline"
---------------------------------------------------------------------
2009: Dublin - Lisbon - Barcelona - San Jose
2010: Sligo - Florence - Marseille - Lille - Las Vegas
2012: Wembley - Kilmainham - Paris - Montreal
2013: London O2 - Lucca - Dublin
Kieren
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Re: Melodic Appoggiatura in Bird on a Wire

Postby Kieren » Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:06 am

""..One very common trigger for both tears and shivers..."

I can readily agree that musical arrangements can cause emotional reactions. I am writing here because I used almost identical words, "shivering and tearing up" to be exact, in a comment which I didn't post to another thread. (It was getting long and off topic.) Only thing is, I was writing that about Cohen's words. I have such reactions just trying to recite, or think some passages of his songs. That still begs the question of whether I'm hearing the music when I say the words. Truth is, I am. So who knows what makes me shiver? Still, I am touched by the bit of synchronicity which had two different people using the same words to describe two different aspects of Mr. Cohen's songs.

(I confess that I will have to do a bit a research to fully understand the actual material in this thread, though I have some notion. Thanks for the thought-provoking ideas.)
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