Listening Activity #4 - Take Us Away Hiromi!

Do you know many female musicians? We learn about many different people and genres like Bach, Beethoven and Gamelan music, but we don't often see many female musicians (and not singers). It's really important to see amazing female musicians performing, writing and producing their own music. Although this was filmed at soundcheck, Hiromi Uehera plays her composition 'Take Me Away' with her trio with so much feeling and expression. Just like in my post about 2Cellos, playing with energy and expression not only adds the to sound, but to the visuals too. Performances aren't just about how a musician sounds, but how a musician moves and interacts with the music, other performers and the crowd. Her facial expressions at 4:52 just show how happy and engrossed she is in the music. Hiromi and her band create many different feels through their dynamics, time signatures and structure of the tune. She uses repetition a lot in her solo by repeating phrases that she clearly likes the rhythm or sound of. For example at 3:49 she repeats an A while she changes the chords in her left hand, creating tension that's finally released when she plays a D minor chord at 4:03. She finds a phrase that she likes at 4:42 and repeats it 4 times, even letting out a little noise, letting us know how happy she is!

  • What are some of the things musicians do during soundcheck?

  • What surprised you about this piece?

  • Can you name 5 female musicians (non-singers)?

  • How does the piece fit with the title 'Take Me Away'?

  • What is the time signature from the beginning to 1:56?

  • Where is Hiromi from?

  • Even though she doesn't play it, why do you think she has a keyboard on top of the piano?

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