Music education always & always looking forward.

Direct Modulation in Feist's "Tout Doucement"

Do you love Feist?  I love Feist.  I'm not sure that I would recommend her as a total vocal example to my chorus kids, but she does do some unique things with her voice.  Her vowels are strange but they're not quite shallow...I have a hard time describing her voice from a technique standpoint, but her voice certainly carries.  I love her solo stuff.  I love her singing in Broken Social Scene.  I'd like a new album from her, but we'll see.

In case you really needed more Feist than this lovely ditty (a Blossom Dearie cover), here is a link to a video of her singing a modified version of her hit "1 2 3 4" on Sesame Street.  

“Tout Doucement” - Feist

Intro: Leslie Feist, who uses only her last name in her solo recording career, is a Canadian singer-songwriter who has been nominated for several Grammy awards and won many Canadian Juno awards. “Tout Doucement” is a cover of American jazz singer Blossom Dearie, who released the song in 1957. Feist's version appears on the US/UK version of her album Let It Die, as well as other international versions and the bonus material version released by Interscope Records, but not the original album version released on independent Canadian label Arts & Crafts.

Analysis: The song works through a standard pop chord progression in Bb. The song does not follow standard pop lyrical patterns, with no chorus (sections structured as AABAB, both harmonically and lyrically), and then at the end of the second B section, the song changes keys previewed by the V chord. The B section ends on an F chord, and after the B section has been expressed a second time, the vocal line moves up a half step – an unusual move as many modulations are prepared by instruments – to F#. The new key (B major) is then solidified at the start of the next A section. Prior to that, F# works as the V of the new key, creating a new key introduced by a V-I cadence.

Considerations for Teaching: This song is sung entirely in French. The translation discusses living life slowly and embracing love. It contains no inappropriate subject matter or language.

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Classical Sample in Chumbawamba's "Tubthumping"