“Love on Top” by Beyoncé Knowles is one of the most iconic songs ever written. I’ve been listening to this song on the TV ever since I was a little kid. However, my newfound knowledge of music theory changed the way I view the song and listen to music as a whole forever. Six months ago, I didn’t think much of Love on Top; I appreciated the slight change in sound between the choruses but my appreciation started and ended there. Now, I listen to it and I hear the “stop phenomenon”, I hear the dynamics of each consequent chorus get louder and I appreciate the work that went into that song ten times more than I did six months ago.
In Love on Top, Beyoncé slightly modulates her voice a half step higher every time she says “Stop, finally you put my love on [^] top” which is also an example of text painting because she tops her pitch every time she says it. According to the site http://musictheoryprof.com/2015/03/decoding-the-love-on-top-modulations/, “The song opens up in a C Major, and its intro establishes a chord progression that will be used (with slight shifts of the rhythm of the A♭Maj7 – Gm7 chords) throughout the song in its verse, chorus, and a transition that follows the chorus..” as seen in the music sheet below. The tempo is andante, and figuring from the kick drums, the time signature is simple quadruple. The song is quite loud, perhaps forte. Its instrumentation includes vocals, drums, synthesizers, guitars, electric piano, and horns, which combine to create a lively and energetic instrumental that you can happily dance to.
This is a representation of how I listen to music now. I don’t just listen for the sake of it. I listen for nuance: tempo, dynamics, emotions, instrumentation, lyrics. I’ve learned that being able to understand all those boosts my enjoyment of listening to music. The only thing that still evades me is the meter. I try to tap along and listen to the drums to figure out the time signature but I am not always correct, but it shows that I don’t listen to music the same anymore.
Article by Huey