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Killing Me Softly

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by

Asha Thurman

on 26 May 2016

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Transcript of Killing Me Softly

Killing Me Softly by: The Fugees/Roberta Flack
Roberta
Vocal Comparison
Roberta
Arrangement
Roberta: slower tempo, classical appeal ( piano), lingers on piano.
Turned it to major rather than minor
Instruments: changed chord structure, triangle, xylophone and maracas (studio record version)
Biography- The Fugees
An American Hip- Hop group that rose to fame in the 1990s.
The members included Wyclef Jean (rapper/song-writer), Lauryn Hill (singer/rapper), Pras Michel (rapper/ producer).
Their name came from the term refugee, meaning Haitian immigrants and because Jean is Haitian.
In 1997 the group separated, some pursuing solo careers
Biography- Roberta Flack
Born in Black Mountain, North Carolina
Was the first to win the Grammy Award for Record of Year two times in a row.
Graduated from Howard University with studies in music
Taught music and English for a year in Farmvile, NC
Work Cited
The Fugees: heavy reggae and Caribbean influences, includes rap undertones (Wyclef Jean), hip hop foundation, more laid- back tempo, strong background beat

Tone
The Fugees
The Fugees
Strong, soulful, and is carefully/ precisely sung.
Elegance
Piano = pop ballad
Can hear subtle Motown style influence
Smooth
Evokes great emotion
Distinctive vibrato throughout song
Various runs toward end of song.
Repetitive belts
Ranges from mezzo soprano to contralto
By: Asha Thurman and Naomi Smith
Literary Device
Syntax- the drawn out/ extension of each verse symbolizes the longing of one's love that is frequently mentioned throughout the song
Oxymoron/Hyperbole - "Killing me Softly"
With the addition of the piano it adds a bittersweet and reminiscent tone.
Flack creates a smooth, mellow and romantic vibe, however with her voice it contrasts a more energetic path for the song while still keeping the authenticity of the original.
Analysis
Strumming my pain with his fingers

Singing my life with his words
Killing me softly with his song
Killing me softly with his song
Telling my whole life with his words
Killing me softly with his song
The song is about her hearing a song that that her love interest is singing that connects with her on a emotional / personal level.
REPETITION
I heard he sang a good song, I heard he had
style
And so I came to see him and listen for a
while
And there he was this young boy,
stranger to my eyes
Verse 1
Verse 2
The symbolism here is saying that the song he strummed on the guitar is the song of her pain
Chrous
Background
In both Roberta and The Fugees cover they take a strong vocal approach by incorporating their various stylistic voice ranges.
“Killing me softly with His Song” was first recorded in late 1971 by Lori Lieberman.
Lieberman wrote a poem titled “Killing me Softly With His Blues” after watching Don McLean at the concert singing “Empty Chairs.”
Lieberman showed her poem to songwriters, who turned the poem into a song for her.
Lieberman’s performance of “Killing Me Softly” is very smooth and romantic.
She had feelings for McLean which could be heard in her original song.
Instruments like guitar, piano and violin along with Lieberman's soft, but high-pitched voice created a romantic, yet, sad tone.
The notion of desire and romance is portrayed in a rugged "street-romance" or "urban-love' way.
The constant vibrato complies emotion and pain
The strong beat of the drum resembles patterns to a beating heart.
The underground vibe and black slang used portrays African American culture at the time (90s R&B)
At that moment when she saw him she did not recognize him because the expressive music was reaching to her on a emotional level
Rhyme
I felt all flushed with fever
Embarrassed by the
crowd
I felt he found my letters
And read each one out
loud
I prayed that he would finish
But he just kept right on
Verse 3
He sang as if he knew me
In all my dark
despair
And then he
looked right through me
As if I wasn't

there
And he just kept on singing
Singing clear and strong
ALLITERATION
RHYME
Overall Differences
(Ah!) Yooo!
(Yeah! Yeah!)
This is Wyclef, Refugee Camp (Now)
(L-Boogie up in here)
Prazrel, (make me wanna do some base)
(Prazrel up in here ha! ha!)
Lil'Base sits up there on the base
(Refugees up in here)
While I'm on this... I got my girl L (Ah! Ah!)
One time, (one time)
One time, (one time)
Aiyo!
L you know you got the lyrics, the lyrics
Slang- which adds the urban flavor
{
Both Roberta and Fugees' version relatively have the same lyrics except the Fugees introduces a rap verse in the beginning and omits Verse 3.
The Fugees' version could be an example of how historical events and shift in the society could change the meaning of a song.
Because the Fugees version was in the 90s, and r&b music was popular at that time, it could be used as an example of how a cover song could change its original meaning over time.
Irony
Meaning thats the tempo before the flow begins, it is common lingo in rap.
Idiom

Music, like an ocean
, often carries me away!
Through the ether
far
,
or under a canopy of mist, I set sail
for my pale
star
.
Breasting the waves,
my lungs swollen
like a ship’s canvas
,
night veils from me the long rollers,
I ride their backs:
I sense all a suffering vessel’s passions
vibrating within me:
while fair winds or the storm’s convulsions
on the immense deep
cradle me. Or else flat calm, vast mirror
there
of my
despair
!
Music by Charles Baudelaire
Theme
Similarities
In the poem the theme is self-expression and overwhelming emotional connection to music.
Baudelaire feels calm and a sense of tranquility when he hears music despite the turmoil of his surroundings.
The troubling sea represents his life
Like Lauryn Hill in The Fugees, Baudelaire is emotionally connected to the music .
The sea reflects the story of his life, while Lauryn's love interest is telling the story of her life through music.
rhyme
simile
personification
"Fugees Lyrics." Azlyrics. Musixmatch. Web. 23 May 16
"Music- poem vt Charles Baudelaire." Poemhunter.com. Poemhunter, 9 April 2012. Web. 23 May 16
"Killing me softly with his song."
Wikipedia.com. Wkipedia, 6 May 16. Web,. 20 May 16
"Tempo." www.wiipedia.org. Wikipedia.org. Wikipedia, 24 May 2016. Web.
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