Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)
Type: Popular Music
Musical Elements: Tone Colour, Pitch and Dynamics & Expressive Techniques
Students are required to notate using digital software such as Sibelius or Finale, the chorus melody line from bars 19 (anacrusis) to bar 26, using the sheet music of the Track and Field version. Students are to alter the key from Ab to A, and are therefore required to alter the pitch of each note, include a key signature, chord symbols and ensure the rhythm is entered correctly. Students are then also required to hand this in as a physical form, and pdf file and also as a midi file.
In groups of 3-4, students are to arrange “Running Up That Hill” and perform it to the class. Students are required to use their preferred instrument such as vocals, guitar, piano and so on, and focus on recontextualising the dynamics of the piece and must use a variety of expressive techniques to sustain interest. Tone colour must be considered, and also pitch is relevant when recreating the piece as it is expected that instruments will in used in different ranges to furthermore sustain interest. Students can use their compositional activity as a guide, as well as the resources provided. It is worth considering other interpretations of the song, like those provided below.
In groups of 3-4, students are given a piece of butchers paper and some markers and are asked to compare the various renditions of “Running Up That Hill” provided and put it to paper (different colour pen per cover version). The group will then present this to the class. Students are to be given a job each, such as ‘the researcher’, ‘the designer’, ‘the speaker’, the leader’, to ensure everyone has a task. Students are to draw upon the elements of Tone Colour, Pitch and Dynamics & Expressive Techniques in their written response, which is best written down in a concise manner.
Sheila Whitely describes “Running Up That Hill” as having a lush instrumentation. Drawing upon the resources provided and prior knowledge of the musical elements, discuss whether or not you agree with Whitely’s statement and provide examples from the excerpt. Also, comment on the use of technology within the song, drawing upon the chosen musical elements, and provide evidence. Students could be shown the Fairlight CMI (which is an early example of a sample based synthesiser used by Bush in “Running Up That Hill” as a melody line) videos. Students could be drawn to a group discussion about the effect that this kind of technology had and continues to have on music, getting them to draw on musical examples they are familiar with.