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Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?- Moby
The album cover for Moby's album "Play"
The song is in quadruple metre (four beats in a bar). The accompaniment of the main section is based on a mostly unchanged drum loop with an emphasised backbeat (beats 2 and 4). The synthesised strings have sustained chords. There is syncopation in the other instrument parts including vocals. A silent bar (apart from echoes) adds variety.
In the piece the harmony is very simple and only uses 6 chords. The first chord sequence, which is used for the first verse, uses the chords Am,Am,Em,Em,Gm,Gm,D,D. Chord sequence 2, used for the first half of the chorus, uses C,C,Am,Am,C,C,Am,Am and the chord sequence for the second half of the chorus uses the chords F,F,C,C,F,F,C,C. Moby didn’t use any theoretical techniques to compose the harmony, he just played chords and listened to which ones would sound nice.
Use of Music Technology
Moby used sampling to get the recording of a 1950’s gospel choir but after trying to remove the backing noise he decided to leave it in as it adds to the emotion of the piece. It also acts as a sort of percussion. Panning and EQ are also used for each part. There is also a sense of reverb and delay being used in vocal sample 2.
At the beginning of the piece Moby starts off with quite a sparse ostinato with just the synthesised piano and the vocals making the texture homophonic. After a while the strings come in and so does the drum machine. Near the end, the texture becomes more sparse until it is back to the ostinato it was at the beginning.
In the piece there are no live instruments being played. All of the sounds of the instruments were created using a synthesiser. The instruments included strings, a piano and some drums (created by a Roland drum machine).
At the beginning the piece is in C major, but when the female vocals come in the key changes to A minor. The keys of C major and A minor are related scales with A minor being the relative minor to C major.
The piece has two main melodies, the male vocals and the female vocals and both are samples from a recording of a 1950’s gospel choir. In the background of the samples you can hear background noise like traffic, this is because Moby tried to remove it from the background but decided not to because it gives the piece a unique emotion.
The piece starts off in mezzo forte and then crescendos up to forte when the female vocals come in for the first time. After the bars rest in the middle of the piece the vocals come in piano and then come in forte when all the other parts come in. Near the end of the piece the male vocal go to mezzo forte again and then decrescendo down to pianissimo to give the effect of a fade out at the end.
The piece has a very simple structure based around 2 simple chord sequences arranged in eight bars. The piece is built up by adding parts and is then dismantled after the bars rest so we are left with the sparse ostinato that we had at the beginning.