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The songs from Life on a String by Laurie Anderson

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LAURIE ANDERSON Andrea Ehrenberg New School University Avang Garde Opera Professor Sonya Mason October 27, 2005 The songs from Life on a String by Laurie Anderson are a great example of how a master combination of elements can create a deep emotional experience that supports the theme revealed by the lyrics. This excerpt, from the multimedia show Songs and Stories from Moby Dick, is a strong and solid work. Even when concentrating solely on the music, the multimedia experience still remains. Laurie succeeds in creating a world that appeals to mind, emotion, and all senses. This journey takes us through moods such as expectation, dreamlike fantasy, hope, and general ups and downs that constitute a holistic experience of her opera. Furthermore, an evident coherence among musical elements holds together the songs that generate a positive result. Despite the dark and cerebral tendency that characterizes Laurie Anderson, she presents us with intense moments that save the pieces from monotony. Instead, the richness of gloomy moods and dark concepts bring life to the compositions. The beat of these excerpts is a slow one and sometimes is marked by a silent space. ...read more.


Furthermore, Laurie extends her experimentation with her own voice. In order to enhance the certain moods and give character to the lyrics, she utilizes both, speaking and singing. In regards to the harmony, it is clear that it is meant to be pleasant. I find this to be a smart element, for it allows the listener to engage and be taken in an enjoyable journey. Even further, Laurie's harmonies explore spaces that stimulate hidden or uncommon feelings and sensations. Thanks to this, the mind is also stimulated and the experience becomes successfully multidimensional. As Pythagoras taught, all the universe's aspects can be represented by music, including human elements. I believe that Laurie's harmonies have the characteristic of appealing to certain truths of life. There is definitely tension in the compositions that generates expectation from the listener. However, there is no sense of urgency, but rather of natural progression and enhancement of the mind. The melody is the protagonist element of these compositions. Laurie's unique use of her voice has a huge range of tonalities and textures. ...read more.


When such content is present, it becomes the fuel, the inspiration, and the cohesive force of the outcome. In these excerpts of Moby Dick, we can recognize the content has preoccupations regarding the life, search, meaning, through the stories and songs that make up this opera. My emotional reaction when listening to the music tells me that there is something pleasant I would like to keep on listenting to. However, I don't mean pleasant in a condesending sense. On the contrary I mean pleasant in a way that the music, the lyrics, and the instruments create a world that I can dwell in while it lasts. Specially these selections from Moby Dick have left a very strong impresion. There are explorations of deep human questionings and portrayals of behaviours through the material of this novel. We encounter concepts such as search, lostness, questionings, meaning, and hope. In conclusion I believe that Laurie Anderson, after her long trayectory of experimentation, has created a universal language in which she can express herself, which is in my opinion the ultimate goal of every artist. ...read more.

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