You are on page 1of 3

Connor

Johnson
9/22/14

Genre Analysis

My topic of discussion is the song Vienna by Billy Joel, which is a song that

showcases his skill & finesse with both his voice and the piano. If Vienna alone would be
specified to a specific genre, it would probably be considered a soulful yet poppy late
70s song, which features incredible vocals, very particularly crafted lyricism; laced with
pinpoint piano playing. Other songs that could be placed in this same category (minus the
time frame) would be like Elton Johns Bennie and the Jets, or John Legends All of
Me because both songs are the hardboiled combination of insanely talented singers who
accompany themselves with equally astounding piano capability.
Some conventions for this specific genre of music would be firstly a voice with a
high range, even tone, power, and a touch of soul to showcase the emotion behind the
piece. Another equally important convention is the accompaniment of a keyboard/piano
at an expert or even master like level. One of the last main components within the genre
is the impeccable writing and meaning behind the song, to the point where they are able
to showcase all of the emotion the song held for them via the words, and to top it off, the
story it tells is definitely worth a listen.
Some constraints set for this genre would be the absence of other very prominent
instruments such as a lead guitar, brass instruments, or even a flute. This is to say that the
genre is almost entirely a one man band show; man and piano. Another constraint is the
limitation of voices, for instance; someone like Bob Dylan who is one of the greatest
songwriters of all time who can only sing at a mediocre level wouldnt fit into the genre
due to his incapability as a singer when compared to the prowess that is Billy Joel. On a

Connor Johnson
9/22/14

note where Bob Dylan would be applicable to the genre is his astounding ability to write
great hits, which leads to my next constraint: a song cant fit into the genre if it contains
meaningless lyrics that are found in many modern songs of this current generation.
The Intended purpose of the song Vienna, and other songs like it is first and
foremost to entertain, because as Im sure you know, thats what most all of music is
made for. Other purposes the song carries lie in the message the artist intended to deliver
within the song, a unique sound to boast the individuality the artist holds, and a way to
showcase not only their ability, but their hard work and passion for the music they spend
their lifes work on. The intended purpose of this finite genre of soul-singing piano men
pretty much falls in line with the purpose of Vienna. These purposes are the objective of
providing entertainment, showcasing skill, individuality, and to take the listener on a
musical journey provided by the lyrics that hold a story from the artist.
Vienna accomplishes these purposes because it appeals to an extremely large
audience for all of the reasons explained above. People love someone who can sing a
beautiful story accompanied by their skill with a piano, or any instrument for that matter.
Some rhetorical devices that can be found in this small sect of music is the use of
anecdotes; I mean, thats practically what every song is. Rhetorical devices can be found
in this genres lyrics, like for any good song. These devices range from Analogies, to the
diction they use, or even nostalgia if theyre an older song that reminds you of a time you
once had. The response Vienna intends to bring about specifically falls on Billy Joels
intentions, which is understandable; a songs intention is built by the person(s) who wrote
them.

Connor Johnson
9/22/14

The intended audience for this song, and songs like it can range from a piano
enthusiast, to an average Joe who ended up listening to it from it randomly showing up
on their Pandora radio station one morning. Musics audience is anyone willing to listen
to the music while intending to enjoy the music for what it is, and provide the artist with
the needed feedback, or the praise that provides the artist with the drive to write more
songs and improve. The language of Vienna is purely entertainment and storytelling, and
what more can you expect from a great song? Vienna as a song best achieves its purpose
of entertainment by relating to the listener, providing a catchy hook that youd want to
sing along to, and when played on the radio it will reach many people before it ever gets
played for the last time.
Another genre that would be adaptable to Viennas genre of music would be a
genre consisting of music with no instrumental specifications but is carried purely by the
artists ability to sing. This genre would include songs like Bad Religion by Frank
Ocean, Oblivion by Bastille, or Adorn by Miguel. Each one of these songs consists
purely of a powerhouse vocalist mixed in with an instrumental that holds no specific
instruments. The way I would adapt Viennas soulful, pop-like, and piano dominated
genre to the genre of vocal focus would be to take someone like Billy Joel and strip him
of the piano and force him to write a song where he has to sing using all of his range, and
showcase all of his proficiency with his voice. The elements of Viennas genre that
would be altered start with the dissipation of any focus on a single instrument, and for an
instrumental to be ushered in its place. This would be followed by the complete focus on
lyricism and overall vocal expertise; how well the person can sing. Once that is done, the
genre will have been completely flopped from a one man band, to a one voice show.