Post by Late Winter on Jul 6, 2010 15:34:42 GMT -5
Interesting breakdown of the song's melodic and harmonic elements...
Bajan singer Shontelle is releasing her second album, “No Gravity”, in June of this year. Her first single from that album is a great tune called Impossible. It’s a typical verse-chorus-bridge structure. What makes it work primarily is the control of melodic shape and range. It’s a great demonstration directing modal focus from minor to major, and controlling melodic direction.
Here’s a map of Impossible’s formal elements:
Formal map of Shontelle's "Impossible"
First, let’s look at the harmonic aspect of the song. The song is in Ab major, but much of the focus is on the vi-chord (Fm). The verses feature the minor side of the tonality, with the pre-chorus moving toward Ab major. We’ve looked at other songs on this blog where the chorus will move solidly into the relative major, but not here; the chorus moves the focus back to Fm.
Verse: Fm Ab Eb7 Db
Pre-chorus: Bbm Cm Db Eb
Chorus and Refrain: Fm7 Ab Eb Db (refrain starts on Fm)
The bridge ends with a secondary dominant V/vi (C), which works curiously well with the Ab melody note.
The more interesting aspect of the song’s construction is the direction of the melodic cells that combine to make up the various melodies. The verse melodies are constructed by sequenced ascending 3rds: ['I remember'] ['long ago'] etc. The pre-chorus takes the same ascending idea, but embellishes it, following an ascending 4th ['and now'] with a longer melodic cell ['when all is done there is nothing to say']. The chorus features a further development of this ascending motif ['tell them all I know now.'] The final step of the development occurs in the refrain ['impossible'], when longer descending scale figures.
The melodic ideas work so well because the basic direction of each melodic cell is upward, and the listener is finally ready for a contrasting idea. The lesson to learn here is that contrasting does not, and should not, mean completely different. When you look at the melody notes that occur directly on the beats of the chorus, you get the notes Ab C Ab F, etc., all spaced a 3rd apart. So the chorus, even though it reverse the direction of previous melodic ideas, stays strongly connected by the use of 3rds.
The only issue I take with the song is the rather unimaginative bridge. I understand the writers chose to dissipate energy in order to connect smoothly to the verse that follows, but I think the listener was probably ready for something a bit more adventurous, especially regarding the chord progression. It might have been a good idea to explore harmonies closer to the Ab major side.
Impossible is a fine demonstration of how to control melodic shape, and construct melodies by using small melodic cells. The use of small fragments in this way gives you better control of the melody over time, and gives the listener a motif that is easy to recognize. For that reason, Impossible is the kind of song that will keep people humming. ____________________
Post by Late Winter on Jul 6, 2010 16:47:47 GMT -5
That's not long at all. LOL And you said you were interested in production and mastering? That's like a really basic overview of it. If you couldn't make it through that, I don't think you were as interested as you claimed
Post by Late Winter on Jul 27, 2010 15:07:06 GMT -5
She was interviewed on why she chose this song over Licky as her first single and what it would mean to her if it went Top 10 on The Hot 100.
But the song is already unbulleted on Pop, so I don't know about that now Wrong week to ask that
NL: Even though the pop music landscape is filled with synths and beats and partying, that song — it’s so hard for a ballad to take off — but that song transcended. What do you think it was about it?
Shontelle: I…you know…honestly, I get down on my knees and pray and sometimes cry over that because it was such a difficult thing deciding what do we go forward with. I remember everyone was like it’s between “Impossible” and “Licky,” “Impossible” or “Licky.” They started testing “Licky” and it was testing really well, but I was just like, ‘can we just leave this at the club level,’ because I really still feel like it’s not going to have the impact that I feel it really could because that’s all that’s on the radio right now, and the artists who are doing that on the radio right now are so big and so major. I was just like, this is not a good step for me in my career at all because I’m just going to get drowned out and I really didn’t want that.
It was a very scary thing, putting “Impossible” out, because I knew it was going to be one extreme or the other. Either this song was going to stand out as a ballad — I just think it’s a beautiful and brilliant song — or it’s just gonna not work because people don’t want to hear that right now and that’s the reason why all you’re hearing is the up-tempo stuff. I just had to take the risk because I thought it was important for me to stand out as an artist, period. I felt like there were no songs on the radio for people that were heartbroken. I remember growing up there was always a really good, epic ballad on the radio. At least one you would just listen to when you’re feeling down or something isn’t going right and it would just make you feel better. That song is missing from the radio. “Impossible” is that song, man. I just had to believe in it. And it took a really, really long time for it to get this type of response it’s getting now, but I don’t know what happened. It was like one day it was like an explosion and, suddenly, it just started to take off. I feel so blessed for that. I’m so happy to see that people still want to hear beautiful songs. People still want to hear songs about life and personal experiences. It just shows that it’s true and there’s a place for that. I’m going to keep making songs like “Impossible” now that I know people want it.
NL: You’re so so so close to the Billboard Hot 100 top 10–
Shontelle: Oh my gooosh!
NL: What would cracking that top 10 mean to you?
Shontelle: I mean, it’s unbelievable that I’m just this girl from Barbados and my song is even on the Billboard Hot 100 in the first place! The higher it keeps climbing, the more I can’t believe it. Every time I feel like, OK, this is where the song’s peaking, something happens and it just jumps again. I mean, if it went into the top 10, that would just rock my socks. That would just make my world. I don’t even have words to explain how that would make me feel, but that would definitely be a real milestone for me in my career. It would be a really big deal for me.
NL: Would you have a party?
Shontelle: I would so have a party! Even if it’s just with my neighbors and their dogs! I would totally have a party. I would have a party by myself in my room!
XFER: Well Ivan or whatever it is your name (lol) it's hard not to miss someone when we're so few. <3
Jul 6, 2013 19:01:58 GMT -5
XFER: Ok Ivan, come back!
Jul 10, 2013 7:48:16 GMT -5
Deleted: XFER, i am back. I have something that i think i can spend time posting here. IvanHoe Artists and Songs Chart is gonna be my main purpose here. not expecting people to read. Just me posting my ranking on all the artists i heard in my life. From famous
Jul 14, 2013 3:27:01 GMT -5
Deleted: singer lady gaga to non famous singer Chris Wallace. From One Direction to Onerepublic.
Jul 14, 2013 3:27:49 GMT -5
Pipa: So this station just popped up... www.whistlerfm.ca/ How does a city of 9,000 get a Triple A station, anyway?
Jul 15, 2013 12:03:42 GMT -5
Mrs. Fuckhead: SO BUSY WITH COLLEGE.. My god!
Sept 15, 2013 19:28:15 GMT -5
Pipa: Remember when this chatbox was the hip place to be?
Dec 20, 2013 10:43:15 GMT -5
Billy Uranus: It's time to be hip for 2014.
Jan 6, 2014 23:56:11 GMT -5
Mrs. Fuckhead: Wow has it been this long?!
Mar 8, 2014 13:58:56 GMT -5