I've got a presentation tomorrow on WOWU, could use some help. - U2 Feedback

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Old 04-20-2003, 04:21 PM   #1
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I've got a presentation tomorrow on WOWU, could use some help.

Hey guys, I wish I had found this site earlier! I love U2, and tomorrow (Monday) for my Intro Music class I have to present a song and analysis to the class. I'm doing With Or Without You. I've done all of the technical analysis, like beat/meter/dynamics/texture/timbre and all that stuff.

What I need help with is a few things that my professor pointed out to me in his office hours, and I have not been able to figure out what he is talking about. He was very familiar with the song, and he said that to do a good job, I need to explain why the song is mostly very high pitched (rhythm guitar and slide guitar, tambourine), and very low pitched (that very low synthesized beat). Somehow this helps the message of the song.

I have listened to the song like 200 times and I still can't figure out why there are not many sounds of medium pitch, just those two extremes. All I know is that it sounds good. For some reason, many of their songs are designed like this and it works especially well for this song. I was hoping that people on here could just offer me some advice.

Also, I'm trying to put into words the emotions that make this song so powerful. As far as I can tell, there are two main emotions. One is his longing, represented in the "with or without you" chorus mostly, and the other is the kind of self-righteousness, almost heroism, that we feel such empathy for in the "and you give yourself away" chorus. I think that chorus really makes the song.

Anyway, sorry I ran a little long on this post. Like I said, I'm so glad I found this forum. I love U2. Feel free to respond with any insights into the song you have.

-Robert
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Old 04-20-2003, 09:09 PM   #2
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maybe you could argue that Bono's vocals are of middle pitch, so that the musical emphasis consequenlty comes from his voice.

or something... I dunno... sounds like I'm bullshitting
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Old 04-22-2003, 06:49 PM   #3
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You could bullshit about the 2 extremes representing the 2 extremes in the song. The story is about someone who can't live with, or without, the person they love. Those are the 2 extremes, not being able to live with someone, and not being able to live without them.
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Old 04-24-2003, 09:34 AM   #4
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I think the fact that the songs starts with the quiet rhythm and then escalates to the guitar parts helps build the momentum of the song. It kind of tells the story of any relationship, how in the beginning, the details and emotions involved are not that noticealbe, but as time goes by they intensify. I also feel like they convey that the beginning of the song is kind of like a conversation or a confession, the person is confiding in someone to explain their frustration, but then, as the song progresses, the emotion takes over. So the character, more or less, loses control the the point that he's not even talking, but moaning and wailing.
Then at then end, with the falsetto and guitar "solo" it's kind of like the aftermath. Post breakdown is a relief in terms of letting out what you've bottled up, but it also brings the realization that you're losing the battle. Your strength is gone, and now you can see without that stubborness blinding you. But somewhere in there, there is definitely a quiet peace. Why? That's probably left up to the listener.
Also, Edge's slide guitar is key. Check out where he climbs and decends the scales. His very first notes, very high pitched to show there's a lot at stake emotionally, and he opens the song by sliding up a full step (I think) and holding the note. It's like he's reaching for something. He keeps playing within that range and stays with the D-A-Bm-G (?), which conveys a sense of sadness in and of itself. Then just before the "give yourself away" part Edge's slide guitar decends back down. It is a good intro to Bono's singing, which is about to climb the scale, because it shows that the character is starting to fall apart and lose any self control.
I think the quiet nature of the rhythm, countered to the later vocals and guitar parts may represent how dismissable the ordinary details of daily life can be when you are going through tough emotional times. That part is, in and of itself, very intriguing and engaging, but it's hushed and less noticeable.

So now that I've ruined my reputation (since my name didn't do that already), I'm going to go drink more coffee. Good luck, and if you need a detailed explanation of Nial Stokes song descrition from "Into the Heart" let me know, I can email it or something.
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Old 04-24-2003, 10:44 AM   #5
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One more thing: In Phoenican culture, where the tamborine originated, it was a feminine instrument. Only women used the tamborine, because it was used to dance for the goddesses who were the high rulers of their pagan religions. (Not until Greeks and Romans etc came along were the almighty dieties made in men.) For example, the Dance Of The Seven Veils, done mostly famously (or infamously, as it were) was done by Salmome, for John The Baptist's head. So the tamborine has quite the obscure history. I don't know how you could use that, but maybe you can work it in.
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Old 04-27-2003, 02:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by pukebreath
Also, Edge's slide guitar is key.
Edge doesn't play with a slide guitar. Originally he probably used an Ebow, which picks up the frequency of the note played and then sends out this frequency to keep the string playing, much like a bow on a violin.

Quote:
Originally posted by pukebreath
and he opens the song by sliding up a full step (I think) and holding the note.
This doesn't happen. During the very beginning, he only uses about 3 notes. This is not a full step.

Quote:
Originally posted by pukebreath
Then just before the "give yourself away" part Edge's slide guitar decends back down.
This is somewhat true, at least for the first set of "give yourself away". There just the standard chorus guitar riff is played, the one which everyone without a musical ear even recognizes. The second set Edge uses his typical harmonics to give atmosphere.

Pukebreath i don't mean to be ripping in two what you said. It's just for this person to excell in their project they need more acurate information. I'm a professional guitar player, and I can play every U2 song. As nobody is perfect, I might have made a few mistakes in my correcting you. If I did, I apologize, no need to flame me.
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Old 04-28-2003, 09:46 AM   #7
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Flame you?! Why I...HA...

Whatever. Hopefully it help with the presentation.

But thanks for the apology...no offense taken though.
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