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

Really Love D’Angelo Black Messiah

The intro of Really Love starts with a low bass note and then an orchestra joins in with spoken word in Spanish, which is panned more in the left in a soft whispery voice. Up to this point the orchestra is building in intensity. Then the orchestra fades out with a high string note that blends into a digital sound and a guitar is introduced and then is supplemented by the orchestra and continuous spoken word, still very soft, almost a whisper prevails. Reverb is put on the guitar as it plays until around 1:25 then a synthesizer, low string note, a little of low winds, and chimes helps transition the intro into theme A and it is repeated twice before vocals join in. The theme grooves with a laidback feel percussion (swung eighth notes on high-hat, snare on offbeat, kick on one and then right before the snare) and baseline (eighth note line) play very steady and repetitive rhythms. Once D’Anglo starts singing the theme is repeated twice. Then a bridge (theme B) is played giving some tension as it builds in intensity. It then transitions back into theme A that gives that resolution, which is repeated twice and then goes into theme B (the bridge). Then it goes back into theme A with a guitar solo over theme A. An interlude transitions the solo into the outro by building intensity with synthesizers that repeats the A theme into a fade. The overall song is about the same volume and intensity. It builds in intensity in the bridge section and interlude. In addition throughout the song, different instrumental elements are added making it constantly engaging and evolving.

Song Structure: |Intro|A|A|A|A|B|A|A|B|A|Guitar Solo|Interlude|Outro|

9/15 Lab materials

Please download the following zip files for use in today’s lab:


Lies_arrangement Project

Original materials downloaded from CCMixter, an online sharing site for mixes and materials, specifically this page:

by Trifonic

2008 – Licensed under Creative Commons

Attribution Noncommercial (3.0)

Work done during the lab may be shared to listen together at the following link:

Can’s section September 8th

Can section materials

Anderson Koh

Hello everyone my name is Anderson Koh. I am a senior in School of Hotel Administration. I am very interested in learning more about music production in general. I studied piano and viola for extensive years. I wish to gain a lot of skills so I can turn songs in my head to a reality.

Jerry Liu

Hi everyone, I’m a senior Bachelor of Architecture student. I’m from Vancouver, Canada. I have always played, studies, and listened to music ever since I was little. I learned piano for 12 years before college and studied music theory in both middle school and high school. I was a part of the percussion section of my high school wind ensemble for 3 years. I have been playing drums and other percussion instruments such as the cajon for over 7 years. I helped form and played drums in a band called “Chase Your Words” for 2 years before I had to come to college. I’m thrilled for this class as I have always been interested in how contemporary musics are produced, and how computer can be used as one of the most powerful and versatile musical instruments of the modern times. I have just recently started to mess around with music production software such as Ableton Live and Fruityloops Studios as well as music-mixing software such as Virtual DJ and Serato DJ. I look forward not only learning new techniques and skills in music and music production, but also expand my creativity and perception towards modern electronic music. Cheers! 🙂

Materials for Thursday lab session

One small step

Another Kevin

Hello! My name is (also) Kevin; I’m a senior in CS and an international student from Mexico. More than one member of my family has been in a mariachi band at one point or another, and a few know how to play the guitar. I unfortunately didn’t follow that path 😅. My exposure to music is only as extensive as year in piano lessons, and a few more in school choir could take me.

I like electronic music and have tried experimenting with synthesis in GarageBand and Logic and MIDIs here and there. Deadmau5, Mura Masa, Koan Sound; those are amongst my favs. They have some GREAT sounds.

Hi, I’m Andrea

I’m a senior biology/pre-med student in Arts & Sciences. I’ve been playing viola for thirteen years and I perform on campus with the Cornell Symphony Orchestra and chamber music ensembles. I’m interested in exploring how technology can be used to mix classical music with modern genres. Some of my other pastimes include biking, spending time outdoors, and art.

I am completely new to computer music but very open to collaboration. Looking forward to meeting everyone!

Nina Knight

hey everyone! I’m Nina. I’m a sophomore in A+S, double majoring in music and biology. I’ve played classical piano for about 13 years, and am continuing to do so here. I love classical music, but I also listen to a variety of artists. Some of my favorites include Radiohead, Grimes, Grizzly Bear, Beck, Bjork, Joanna Newsom….lots of things, including electronic music. I’ve really only ever played one instrument, which traditionally has one particular timbre, but I love the wide variety of sound that can be made with computers and electronic methods like sampling. I want to find out what kind of music I could make with that freedom. I haven’t really tried to learn about electronic music before because I was usually pretty busy with piano, and also a little intimidated by the technical skills necessary to do so. However, I’m hoping that taking this class will make the process more accessible and inspire me as well.

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