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Free «COMPARE AND CONTRAST, AMERICAN MUSIC» Essay Sample

"American Woman" is a single recorded by two different groups by Lenny Kravitz (an American rock musician) and The Guess Who (A Canadian rock band). Lenny Kravitz had "American Woman" as his fifth single in his album "5" released on December 29, 1998. His record label was by Virgin Records America and won Lenny two Grammys for the Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.

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In the single, Lenny Kravitz worked with digital technology sounds like synthesizers and tape loops. It was inspired by songs from the 70's like funk and soul mixed with rock styles. Some of the digital products he used included: DigiDesign Pro Tools, Monster Cable, La Bella Bass Strings, D'Addario Strings, and E-Mu Systems Products. In terms of instrumentals, he used: acoustic and electric guitars, Fender Rhodes piano, Clavinet, mellotron, saxophone, just to mention but a few. The single was written by Bachman, Cummings, Kale, and Peterson and was voted number 49 in the American charts.

 
 
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The Guess Who, also rock musicians from Canada, produced the hit single like "American Woman" in the late 1960's. This song was adopted in a karaoke version in the movie "The Cable Guy". 'American Woman" was produced when the band had moved towards production of hard rock music and this single earned them a number one spot on the American charts. The y used instruments such as percussions, congas, bass guitars and slide guitars. In contrast to Lenny Kravitz version, the production of this single was not digitalized hence relied solely on the manually played instruments. However, both parties produced rock versions of "The American Woman".

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The Guess Who and Lenny Kravitz, though they were both rock artists, Lenny produced a rather mild version of "American Woman as compared to The Guess Who. The Guess who was more of hardcore rock artists and they entirely used manually generated tunes in regard to Lenny Kravitz who used some digital products in the production of his version of "American Woman". This clearly indicated the difference in times of the two artists in  terms of the means of their music production but this however did not stop them from coming up with the hit single. My general idea about both of these singles differentiated in style is that the singles served the audience of their time hence their public appeal as well as mine was achieved.

 
 
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Another single produced by two different artists is exemplified by "The Mountain Road". This single was composed by Michael Gorman but different tunes were produced. These tunes were produced by individuals like Natalie MacMaster, Joe Ryan, Sean Hernon, Pottinger, Bohola and others. In our case, we shall compare Gorman's version and Pottinger's version of the tune from "The Mountain Road". The title of this tune refers to an actual mountain road in Sligo, Gorman's home country. Michael Gorman played six parts of this song while the later versions incorporate a few just like Kevin Burke who plays only three of the parts. Gorman played it metronomically in sessions bringing the intricate rhythm accredited to bowing. A sample of the way he played the instrumentals is shown below:

X: 1
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: reel
K: Dmaj
F2 AF BFAF| F2 AF EFDE| F2 AF BFAF| G2 FG EFDE|
F2 AF BFAF|F2 AF EFD2| FAA2 BAFA|BABd eddA|
d2dA BAFA| d2 de fgfe| d2 dA BAFA| G2 FG EDFA|
d2 dA BAFA| d2 de fgfe| d2 dA BAFA| G2 FG EFDE|

However, Pottinger produces the tune in a "whistle-friendly version". He uses fiddles and other instruments with a wider octave range as compared to that of Gorman. In the long F# that keeps popping, he rolls it and slides up to it from E. He plays it in three different ways, AB AB etc, AABB AABB etc and ABC ABC.

When we look at both of these examples, "American Woman" and "The Mountain Road", we see the varying styles used by different artists on a single song or tune. Nonetheless, modifications or renditions that follows up on an original track either makes it better or worsens it. In this regard, all the styles used in the above songs seem to heighten the appeal of these songs.

In conclusion, similar songs may be adopted by different artist in different styles. These styles may vary in terms of genre or in tunes. Nonetheless, the production of multiple songs by the same title by different artists seems to erode aspects of originality. This is in view of the fact that working on a pre-made tune would limit an artist in terms of originality.

   

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