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These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionListen to some of Taylor Swift's one-note melodies Taylor Swift has dozens of melodies that centre on a single note.
It's easy to get distracted by her celebrity, but Taylor Swift is a once-in-a-generation songwriter. From the very beginning, she's displayed a knack for melody and storytelling that most artists never master. Take, for example, her first US number one, Our Song.
Written for a high school talent show, it's a fairly typical tale of teenage romance until the final lines: Notably, the lyrics insert the musician directly into the narrative - something she developed into a tried and tested trope.
But Our Song also establishes another of Taylor's trademarks: These static vocal lines, where she sings at one pitch for a sustained period, crop up on all of her her albums - and increase in frequency when she switches lanes from country to pop. You can hear it on all four songs she's released ahead of her new record, Reputation, which comes out this Friday.
It's most apparent on the lead single, Look What You Made Me Dowhere the entire chorus is delivered in a sinister monotone. But it's less of a cop-out than you might think, and here's why. Taylor Swift's career is built on being accessible.
She might have 10 Grammy awards, but she recently invited loyal fans to an album playback at her oceanfront mansion in Rhode Island. Inwhen she was 18 years old, she accompanied another fan, Whit Wright, to his prom in Alabama.
She regularly delivers handwritten notes and gift packages to her Instagram followers. Repetitive melodies that centre around a single note are part of that appeal. They emphasise her relatability by mimicking the cadence of speech.
It helps that her lyrics are effortlessly conversational and vernacular.
The impression is that you're hanging out with a friend, chatting about boys and it's almost always about boys. Taylor uses the device most often in verses, shifting the chords beneath her voice to give the melody a sense of movement, in the same way that moving a light around the room casts different shadows.
When the chorus soars up the musical scale, it's like a rush of energy. The emotional highs become even higher. And, as I am not the first to point out, she has a flair for melodrama. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Operas like The Barber of Seville also use static melodies, known as recitative, which replicate the rhythm of speech Taylor didn't invent these one-note melodies, of course.
Gregorian chant, one of the earliest recorded forms of Western music, was predominantly monotone. Let's scrub out the word "might".Staff: Parents/Students Staff: Parents/Students.
Taylor Swift has dozens of melodies that centre on a single note.
BBC Music reporter Mark Savage finds out why. It's easy to get distracted by her celebrity, but Taylor Swift is a once-in-a.
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