A Little Happiness – Hebe Tian

I decided to focus my assignment on a piece that is considered the theme song for a 2015 romantic comedy that is still widely popular in Taiwan.

A Little Happiness starts with a simple four-measure 4/4 time acoustic guitar pattern that is repeated four more time. Sometime interesting I found was the building of other instruments during this time, mainly the vocals and piano. The vocals become a constant overlay starting after the intro pattern. The piano, on the other hand, gradually increases its play time as the A pattern continues to repeat. As it shifts into the B pattern, the piano not only provides harmony, but also percussion. When the chorus hits, the violin is added as an additional harmony for the piece while the piano once again takes the role of a harmonizer and the percussion. The D pattern acts as an explosion and transition into the more intense part of the song, which I will discuss later. This is also the part when the violin has a solo with percussion (drum set) and possibly a synthesizer.

After this interlude, the drum set becomes the main percussive force throughout the song, which I will indicate as the prime patterns as they are similar to the patterns before the interlude, but have a different tone to them. During the A’ pattern I did notice some clarinet or flute playing, but it was more for harmony purposes. Something I found very interesting during the prime patterns was the switching of roles. The piano took the role of the guitar during the A’ pattern while the violin took the role of the piano during the B’. During the C’ pattern, the violin and piano shared the same role. The transition between C’ and A at the end was large crescendo that returned back to the acoustic base that began the song.

I found it interesting how throughout the piece, the vocals acted as the facilitator of transition for the song, either by becoming more intense or almost relaxing to guide the instrumental part. The building of intensity in terms of volume and types of instruments was a common theme throughout the piece. I think this ties very well with the lyrics which focus on a person reminiscing about their hidden feelings for someone in their past. The acoustic part serves as an almost nostalgic and distant thought that develops into intense feelings about the memory during the more traditionally pop part. The ending acoustic part serves as a transition to end the song, but also to remind the listener about the nostalgic and memory-esque nature of the feelings portrayed in the song.

Song Structure: A|A|A|A|A|B|C (Chorus)|C (Chorus)|D (Interlude)|A’|A’|B’|C’ (Chorus)|C’ (Chorus)|A

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