For this culminating task/independent study assignment, I have chosen an individual artist to write my report on and analyze. The very talented and gifted artist I have chosen is Ed Sheeran. The purpose of this assignment/report is to analyze Ed Sheeran and his song called “Thinking Out Loud” from the album, X, using the 6 elements of music.
Ed Sheeran Introduction
Ed Sheeran is a singer/songwriter and musician. He started off his journey of music at a young age, playing the guitar. Not too long after, he began writing original songs. After officially becoming a teenager, he moved to London to try to progress in his music career. His extraordinary creativity and beautiful voice resulted in hundreds of live performances. He received lots of fame with his online performances. In fact, Ed Sheeran achieved an amazing experience. He reached number one on iTunes. This occurred before he ever signed with a record label. His story does not just end there, there is still a long story about Ed Sheeran and he still has several future opportunities to take and more memories to make.
Ed Sheeran was born on date of February 17, 1991 in Halifax, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom. His real name is actually Edward Christopher Sheeran. To the world, he is known as Ed Sheeran. At a young age, he began playing the guitar. This is where his love for music had begun. His skills started to develop at a young age, showing future music talent. At the age of 11, Ed met a famous singer-songwriter named Damien Rice. Ed went to one of his shows, where he met Damien backstage. Damien Rice became his inspiration. This young musician had found a source of inspiration from another famous artist. Damien had given Ed a suggestion that highly inspired Ed, causing him to do what he was told to. Damien stated to Ed to write his own music, and Ed set off to do so. The next day, Ed began writing his own music. It was not long before Ed started progressing in his musical career. He created CDs and sold them as well. In March 2005, he arranged his first official EP, named The Orange Room. This was one of his biggest and memorable accomplishments. With this accomplishment, his outstanding faith and commitment lead him straight to London. At only 14 years of age, Ed headed to London for the summer with high hopes and faith that he would be able to achieve major gigs in the big city. Ed left his house with his guitar and set out to pursue his music career.
Journey in London:
After arriving in London, Ed was highly occupied with recording and playing the local singer songwriter circuit. He also released two albums fairly quickly: a self-titled record in 2006 and another named Want some? in 2007. He became some famous artists opening performance. He opened for the acts Nizlopi, and the Noisettes and Jay Sean. Ed released another EP named You Need Me, in 2009. In this year (2009), Ed played over 300 live shows. In 2010, Ed made the leap to the next level in his musical career, and it came through online media. Online media became a pathway that he used with great success and capability. After Ed posted a video online, he got achieved the attention from a famous rapper. Ed was asked to go on the road along with him, as his opening performance. This resulted in Ed receiving an even greater online fan base. This also inspired Ed to create and write several other beautiful and original songs. These songs ended up creating three new EP’s all created in 2010.
The Next Step:
In 2010, Ed headed to the United States. There he found a new fan in Jamie Foxx, who asked Ed to come on his Sirius radio show. Later on, in January 2011, Ed created and released another EP which was his last EP as an individual/solo artist/musician. The record reached number 2 on iTunes. Within that same month, he signed to a record label named Atlantic Records. With this record label, Ed released his major debut studio album, called +. This album became an instant hit and loved album all around the world. In addition, they sold over one million copies of the album in only the U.K during the first six months after the album was released. He also started co-writing some songs for greater famous and well-known individual and group artists. These people included One Direction and Taylor Swift. He even tagged along with Taylor in her 2013 arena tour. Ed’s musical career was now at an extremely high level considering how he only started off with a guitar, and now he is an extraordinary artist. His next achievement had taken place in a movie called The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. “I See Fire”, a song written by Ed was featured within this movie. In June 2014, his next album called X, made its appearance, debuting at number 1 in the U.S. and U.K. It featured three top ten singles: “Don’t”, “Photograph”, and “Thinking Out Loud”. These were some outstanding achievements Ed had earned, but one of the greatest achievements was yet to come. In 2016, Ed won two Grammy’s: Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. On a roll, Ed took a break to spend time on his third studio album called, ÷ (divided). During the month of January 2017, Ed released two singles from the album: “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill”. The songs debuted at number 1 and number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. In March 2017, Ed released ÷ (divided). He followed up with an announcement about a 2017 world tour. ÷ broke the record on Spotify for first-day album streams. This was an incredible achievement. Ed’s album had a record of 56.7 million views within only a time period of 24 hours.
Royal Honors and Opportunities:
On the date of December 7, 2017, Ed receive an incredible honor. He was made a participant of the British empire due to his services to music and charity.
How Ed’s interest in music began: At a young age, he began playing the guitar. This is where his love for music had begun.
All the instruments Ed plays: He plays vocals and guitar.
Ed’s influences and Explanations:
Damien Rice – After meeting him, he started writing his own songs.
Derek and the Dominos – Eric Clapton made him want to play the guitar.
Eminem – His favourite rapper of all time.
The Game – One rapper he constantly thinks of as a leader/looks up to him.
Van Morrison and the Chieftains – He is a major Van Morrison fan.
Foy Vance – He was a huge fan since he was 14 to 15 years old. He asked Ed to join him during the recording of “Guiding Light”, which was one of Ed’s proudest moments.
Rory Gallagher – The first song he learned on the guitar was “A Million Miles Away”.
Name of Ed’s first album and Year of Release: The Orange Room, released in March 2005
Genre of Music Ed Plays
Ed’s music he plays is well suited for his personality. The genre of music Ed plays is a mixture between acoustic pop, folk, and hip-hop.
The song I have chosen to analyze is “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran. This song is found from the album called X.
The 6 Elements of Music
6 Elements of Music
The controlled movement of music in time. It effects how long the tone is played, the speed with which tones are heard (tempo), and the regularity or irregularity with which tones are heard.
The physical frequency of sound. It is the highness or lowness of sound. Pitches are normally joined with rhythm to create a melody.
The quality or tone-colour of sound that is characteristic of its source and that makes it different.
How loud or soft a sound is heard. A certain level of sound may remain constant, or it may change.
The complexity of a musical composition. The word is used because you can add different layers to create a musical “tapestry”. Three types of texture: monophonic, polyphonic, and homophonic.
The overall structure or plan of a piece (musical map). There are many types of form. Three types of form we discussed: binary (AB), ternary (ABA), and rondo (ABACA).
The notes are a combination of both short and long. This is because there are times where he uses longer notes at the end of a line/verse. He builds up to his chorus using shorter length notes and uses longer length notes at the end. For example, when he says “Maybe just the touch of a hand. Well me, I fall in love with you every single day. I just wanna tell you I am”, he is at first using shorter length notes and at the end, ends it with a longer length note. The tempo of the song is slow to medium. The songs verse starts off slow and then builds, getting a little faster to the chorus. For example, the songs 2nd verse (“When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades”) starts slower and each line gradually builds, and gets slightly faster, leading up to the chorus (“So, baby, now”). I would not say that this song has a fast tempo. The music video it self is a dance video, where the two people are slow dancing. This is another piece of evidence that proves that the song is at a slow to medium tempo. The tempo is a mixture of andante (moderately slow) and moderato (moderate speed). This song also has a regular beat.
The pitch of this song is high. Ed’s voice gradually gets higher as he moves up each note in the scale while singing the chorus and the verses. An example would be the first verse going transitioning into the chorus. Starting from where it says “When your legs don’t work like they used to before” to “So honey, now, take me into your loving arms”. If the notes are going step by step up the scale, then the notes move in conjunct (by step) motion. This song moves in conjunct motion. The pitch and the rhythm both join together, creating the melody of this song.
The instruments used in this song where: vocals, drums, electric guitar, and the piano. All these instruments could be heard and identified all throughout the song.
The dynamics of this song was mezzo forte (medium loud) and forte (loud). The majority of the song is played in mezzo forte, but when the chorus comes along, the dynamic level changes to forte. There are several crescendo’s and decrescendo’s in this song. The dynamic level gets softer and louder between each verse and the chorus. The verse crescendos into the chorus, the chorus decrescendo’s back into the next verse, the verse crescendos into the chorus, and the chain continues. The dynamic level in this song, does not remain constant all throughout from the beginning to the end. The dynamic level changes between each verse and chorus. Every verse in the song starts off at mezzo forte and crescendo’s (gradually getting louder) to forte. The song also includes accents (attacking the note louder). The accents are used to emphasize certain sections within the song. For example, there are accents at the beginning of the chorus. This is used to emphasizes how Ed is addressing his loved one in the song.
The texture played in this song is polyphonic. Polyphonic is the simultaneous combination of two or more melodic lines. The reason why this song is polyphonic is due to the reason of how the musical instruments have a unique rhythm, putting the vocals to the side. It is a composition of the vocals and the harmonies. Most of the song is Ed’s voice accompanied by the electric guitar, but in some areas of the song, the drums and piano join in, accompanying them.
This song has a recognizable form, which is binary (AB). Binary is when two musical ideas alternate. The music must end on the 2nd idea (B). The two alternating ideas in this piece are the verse and chorus. The song starts off with a verse “When your legs don’t work like they used to before. And I can’t sweep you off of your feet. Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love? Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks? And darling I will be loving you till we’re seventy. Any baby, my heart could still fall as hard at twenty-three. And I’m thinking about how people fall in love in mysterious ways. Maybe just the touch of a hand. Well me, I fall in love with you every single day. I just wanna tell you I am” (A). Then, it continues straight to the chorus “So honey, now, take me into your loving arms. Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars. Place your head on my beating heart, I’m thinking out loud. And maybe we found love right where we are” (B). After the first verse and the first appearance of the chorus, it goes to the second verse (A). Then, it goes to the chorus, and the song comes to an end (B). As you can see, the song consists of two ideas and it ends on the 2nd idea, which in this case is the chorus.
Why the Song is my Favourite Song
“Thinking Out Loud” from the album called X, is my favourite song that belongs to Ed Sheeran. There are a few reasons to why I love this song. The first reason is that I admire the way he changed the dynamics in the song and emphasized certain sections. This made the song more enjoyable for my personal self because it gave the song an upbeat feel to it, even though the song was at a slow tempo. I also love this song because the lyrics flow together very smoothly, especially with the guitar and piano playing along with the vocals.
Why I like Ed Sheeran
I love the artist, Ed Sheeran, because of the emotion in his songs, his journey for his career, and his vocal abilities. The emotion put into his songs is outstanding. I like how he puts emotions into the lyrics of his songs, making them more meaningful. In his song, “Thinking Out Loud”, the line “kiss me under the light of a thousand stars” shows so much love and emotion. Another idea I love about the emotions in his songs is how it is always related to the theme/message of the song. If the song was about the end of a relationship, like the song “Happier”, he conveyed his message of heartbreak and loneliness through the emotion of anger. You could hear the anger and emotion in his voice, making the song very impactful. I also really enjoy the story about his journey for his career. I loved the commitment in his journey. When Damien Rice said to write your own music, Ed went home and did. I also really love his courage and faith that he held alongside with him. Ed travelled to London, hoping to get gigs, which to me is something only someone with high levels of faith and courage can do. Lastly, I highly love Ed’s vocal abilities. Ed can hit high notes with ease, making his voice sound even better. In the song, “Thinking Out Loud”, he uses high notes with absolute perfection. Another factor about his vocal abilities that I think is great about him is how he can execute crescendos and decrescendos with stunning vocals. The song, “Happier”, includes several crescendos into high notes and decrescendos. This must take lots of effort, especially since he is a male. In conclusion, my favourite artist is Ed Sheeran as a result of the emotion in his songs, his journey for his career, and his vocal abilities.Conclusion
In conclusion, Ed
Sheeran is a wonderfully talented artist. His achievements made are outstanding
and his career journey is a creative story, just like his albums and songs. His
beautiful and memorable song, “Thinking Out Loud”, is a perfect and outstanding
piece of music. This report has analyzed both Ed Sheeran and my favourite song
of his. I have learned a lot of information about musicians, musical careers,
and the brilliant work their creativity makes in the form of music and art.
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