Polyrhythms and other quick thoughts on Andrea's Christmas Songs
Like Corrsgirl1, I'm not a big fan (to put it mildly) of Christmas music either, but I'm always happy to hear any new music by any of the siblings.
I haven't had a chance to listen carefully, but here are some first impressions:
1) There's something unusual going on rhythmically in the chorus of Begin Again. When I try to tap my foot along with the song, I feel myself getting out of sync in the chorus. It sounds to me like the song is in 3/4 meter (i.e., count ONE-two-three), but the "God rest ye merry gentlemen..." line is in 4/4 (i.e., count ONE-two-three-four). But the song doesn't shift from meters 3/4 to 4/4; rather, the backing voices sing the line in 4/4 while the musical accompaniment continues in 3/4, so we have two different meters on top of each other -- a polyrhythm. After four sets of three beats (or three sets of four beats), the downbeats (the "ONE" or stressed beat) line back up again.
StPaddy (Michael), are you still reading this board? You're my go-to person for complex rhythms. Is that what is going on?
2) Wendy, I know what you mean about the vocals being a bit thin at times in JC. One example is the very last note of A Love Divine, where Andrea's voice cracks. I presume the band (or T-Bone Burnett) wanted a more stripped-down, less polished sound on JC and went with a more raw and natural sound on the vocals. As for TFH, I very much dislike the production, which sounds over-produced to my ears, with Andrea's voice sometimes getting lost in all the synths. I do like the warmer sound of her voice in these Christmas songs.
3) I like this version of O Holy Night, with the melody and harmonies subtly re-imagined.
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