Jenny Kiss’d Me – Critique

Our third blog assignment is to critique this performance of Jenny Kiss’d Me by Eric Barnum.  Do you enjoy this performance?  If you do what about it do you enjoy?  If you do not enjoy this performance, tell me specifically what you don’t like about it?  Think about intonation, rhythmic articulation, stylistic elements such as dynamics, phrasing, tempo.  Do you like the choices they made?  This assignment must be a 5-7 sentence paragraph to get full credit.

This assignment is worth 10 points and is due Monday October 2nd at 11:59 pm. The rubric for this assignment is found here. Remember please use only your first name and last initial and put what class you are in under your name.  I will also accept a written version of this assignment.

You will receive 2 extra credit points for each post that you comment on. The comment must be at least 2 sentences to receive the full credit. The most you can receive in extra credit is 6 points.

I love you more than I love the coming of fall!!

Mrs. R

42 thoughts on “Jenny Kiss’d Me – Critique

  1. The Syosset High School Choir’s version of “Jenny Kissed Me” by Eric Barnum was definetly above average, but you can hear so much more potential that is in this choir. For starters, the first three “Jenny Kissed Me’s” sounded very similar without any increase of emotion, the only reason why it got louder is because some girls chimed in on the last one. The sound started mature but as soon as they hit the “jumpings” at measure ten, the mature sound was gone with some very strong “eee” sounds replacing the “ing.” Personally, I did not like the choice of making the “jumpings” legato especially with their immature sound, it made it sound elementary level in those moments. By the same token, there were no dynamics! It only got softer and louder when a section joined and the double fortissimo at the end was incredibly weak. I think that they should have replaced the pause before measure 23 and put a more dramatic one before the double fortissimo at measure 46, if they wanted that effect in the song, I believe that is the only appropriate spot. As far as blend goes, there was one soprano voice with a strong verbrato and a male tenor voice that stood out. They were on pitch and sounded great, but I found myself just listening to them for portions because they sang with the most emotion. The rest of the choir should have either stepped it up or the two stronger voices should have backed down. On a high note, the “put that in” and ” love to get” we’re very mature and you could tell that they really worked on those spots because those were the best moments of the song. Overall, I believe they stayed at a reasonable tempo and were articulate, but definetly have room for improvement for a more mature and diverse sound.

  2. After listening another other high school choir like our own perform “Jenny Kissed Me,” I had some praise for the performance, as well as several critiques. First, at the very beginning of the song, the “Jenny kissed me’s” we’re all sang at a nearly equal volume, rather than increasing in volume and intensity. The group’s lack of dynamic contrast in the piece showed in many more instances, including the “jumpings” at measure 10-13, and especially at “sweets into your list” at measure 29. The volume, rather than going from piano up to the crescendo to fortissimo at 35, stayed at a mild mezzo forte and increased suddenly to fortissimo at 35. Also, the lack of staccato on the “jumpings” from 10-13 stood out to me. However, I think that the most standout part of the piece was when there was a sudden stop after measure 22, leading to a very slow performance of measures 23-26, rather than heeding the bolded “a tempo” at 23. Despite these negative aspects, the group still managed to maintain very good and mature-sounding vowels throughout the piece. Overall, the absence of musicality in the form of dynamics and out of place tempo changes made this a sub-par performance for me.

    • I also believe that the dynamics were lacking, but if they had perfected them, the sound would have been much better.

    • The lack of staccato on the ‘jumpings’ surprised me as well. It didn’t give it the same effect as it would have.

    • I agree that the sudden stop after measure 22 was not a good element of the song. It was too abrupt.

  3. This choir did a very good job in this performance, but I still thought that they were lacking in other areas. I found that legato for the “jumpings” did not fit very well and would have sounded better staccato. I did not like how the director cut off the group right after measure 22, it made it sound like the song was over. At measure 34, a soprano sang the word “me” in a very odd way which stuck out a lot and a tenor kept sticking out because of his vibrato. I think the group did a very good job of slowing down at measure 34 to 39 and blended very well at that section of the song. I thought the tenors and altos sounded great at 40 and 41, but I did not like how they crescendoed rather than decrescendoed. The most noticeable thing for me was definitely the lack of dynamics, which is why I only found this performance to be decent.

    • I agree that it would have sounded better if the group made the piece more staccato. It would have given the song a more exciting vibe.

    • I agree that the legato somewhat ruined the idea and concept of the song. Singing staccato seems more fitting and sounds better in this particular song

  4. I enjoyed listening to this group sing, but i have several things I thought did not work very well. First of all, their vowels were very warm and not tall at all. Had they made the vowels better, the entire song would have sounded much better. further, the stop at measure 21 was weird and stopped the flow of the song. There was also a bad blend within the group. The female voices were overpowering, but that may only have been because of the weak tenor sound. However, this group also has a lot of potential and could greatly improve their sound.

    • I also agree that the women were a little too overpowering of the tenors. They didn’t give them a chance to have their parts stand out but it also couldn’t been all the tenors’ fault.

    • I 100% agree with this!! The vowels heavily contributed to the group’s overall immature sound. Especially in comparison to the video from the University of Oregon that Isabel mentioned in her post, this group lacked a well-blended tone.

  5. Although this choir did do a good job, some simple fixes could’ve improved it and made it so much better. The first thing I noticed,which is also one of our biggest problems, was the dynamics. Right off the bat, the switches, especially in the first few measures, should’ve been much more drastic. The lack of strong dynamics throughout their piece seemed as though they were a bit bored. One thing that especially bothered me was the extended rest that the conductor instructed at measure 23. It split up the song in a weird way and for someone who had never heard this song before, could’ve been interpreted as the ending,honestly. It ruined the effect that the decrescendo gives going in to the more emotional part of the song. The one thing that really super bothered me was the extreme tempo change at measure 29. It just sounds so awkward and overdone.With a bit more work, this group would sound great.

  6. I agree with Jason, the choir did an amazing job but still their were some critiques that had to be made. First of all vowels were horrible because of enunciation of “Jenny”. Second dynamics didn’t really dramatically change for the most part which really sucks. In addition the “Jumping” that each section sings was too long of a jump. I thought it would better as being short and you know a little bouncy. Lastly I believe the ending lacked that wow factor and what I mean by that is that they didn’t have that crescendo that gave the ending a dramatic effect. Overall this choir was good but to make them amazing they should critiques a few more things.

  7. I believe that this choir did a good job with “Jenny Kiss’d Me,” but I believe that many changes could be implemented to improve the quality of the piece. For instance, the song dragged on in many places with little emotion. This song is supposed to be exciting. However, the choir was very still and lacked emotion in their voices and faces when they sang it. Furthermore, the altos and tenors in measures four and five were very quiet, and could not be heard well enough. Also, I did not like the pause that the group took at measure 22. It made the song feel fragmented and not put together. Finally, the groups could have made the song more exciting by saying the word “jumping” throughout the song more staccato instead of legato. However, I loved the ending of the song because I could hear all of the different sections equally.

    • yes I definitely agree with your point about staccato and legato!!! I noticed that too; I think the legato made the song not as exciting as I believe it should be

    • I completely agree with you, I didn’t like the pause at measure 22 either. I think that, rather than create suspense for the change in tempo, the pause took away from the abruptness and surprise that should have accompanied that transition.

  8. This choirs take on “Jenny Kissed Me” was very impressive but there was some things that didn’t seem right. First off, I noticed that there was no blend and I heard a couple of voice stick out like a sore thumb, they had a problem with the vowels that made it sound flat as well. It also seemed very choppy at “jumping from the chair she sat it.” One major thing that really stuck out that the whole song seemed to be sung in one dynamic which is very frustrating to listen to because there is no emotion being represented. And I didn’t like that they sang “but add” at a mezzo forte. Overall I thought it was a good sound but a mediocre choir for sure. They did nothing that separates them from a mediocre choir from an outstanding choir.

  9. This rendition of Jenny Kissed Me was really good but had so much more room for potential. I felt that the tenors and bases could have had a much more prominent role in the song. The director didn’t really let them shine when they were on their own. The sopranos in my opinion had an almost “opera-ish” voice which drowned out the guys. I also didn’t really enjoy the random slow downs of the tempo because it doesn’t really fit the song. The pause after the third “sat in” was kind of awaited as well. However, I still believe that this was an amazing rendition on Jenny Kissed Me!

  10. I did not enjoy this performance of Jenny Kiss’d Me, because I noticed many things that didn’t appeal to me personally. One of the first things I noticed is that the collective group had little to no emotional connection with this song, making the message difficult to be understood by the audience. Frankly, even though I know what this song is about, I was having a lot of trouble interpreting the meaning during this performance. The dynamics used in this performance didn’t help as well. One would think that even if the choir couldn’t relay the message, perhaps the music itself could. However, I think some of the emphasis of phrasing was placed incorrectly, which made the meaning of the song even more difficult to understand. Following this video, a performance by the University of Oregon Chamber Choir was suggested, so I watched it right after. I immediately noticed a change in emotion by the performers, as well as a drastic change in use of dynamics and tempo changes, which made the song truly mean something. After comparing the two, the difference in tonal quality and technique was undeniable. The high school choir did not match vowels with each other and I don’t think the maturity of their voices fit the mature idea of this song, which gave me another reason to dislike this performance.

  11. Overall the performance was not bad but because they did not pay attention to detail, the song did not portray its full potential. To begin, there was very little dynamic contrast in the three opening “Jenny kissed me”s. There was almost no difference between their piano and mezzo piano so it felt as if there was no build or excitement. Most of the vowels did not sound pure and words such as time, sweet, and love sounded immature. The group was imbalanced when singing “say I’m weary, say I’m sad” since I could only hear the sopranos and barely any alto. Finally, I did not like the crescendo when the tenors and altos sang “but add” because I feel as if that statement is better portrayed as quiet and excited rather than loud and powerful.

  12. This choir’s version of Jennie Kiss’d Me had some good parts but there were also many critiques that can be made. For example, right as they started singing i noticed that the sound was not mature at all. Also, when the Altos and Tenors begin to sing the line “jennie kiss’d me” over and over again, the beginning sound was a bit hesitant and their volume didn’t mix. In general, it sounded like there were certain spots in the song in which the singers weren’t blending at all. Also, I noticed that the sopranos were very over powering and it was taking sound away form the other sections which mean that they should really be focused on blending more. To add on, the dynamics didn’t fit the song and didn’t fit the tone either. The song was also sung with very little emotion that took away the excitement from the theme of the song. Though there is much room for improvement, this version of jennie kiss’d me did have some good spots such as the ending: when the choir came out strong and all voices were represented.

    • YES!! The lack of balance most likely contributed to the immaturity of the sound, and I honestly think balance is key if we want to sound mature and have specific parts, such as the ending, stand out in pleasant and confident ways.

  13. Syosset High School’s performance of “Jenny Kiss’d Me” was decent. I enjoyed many parts of it, such as when the basses and sopranos came in during the beginning on the high E and had a good sound. I also liked their crescendo on “sweets into your list…put that in”. However, there are many aspect that needed improvement. Their dynamics in the very beginning were lackluster, and I disliked how the sopranos were legato on “jumping..jumping”, but the tenors weren’t. The three times the guys say “jumping from the chair she sat in” were identical, and they performed the rhythm wrong. The director chose to have a big pause before “time you thief”, and I think it was overdramatic and unnecessary. The tenors and basses were doing the same rhythms as the altos and sopranos during “say that health and wealth have missed me”, when they’re not supposed to be together. The tenors were not fortissimo during the climax. Finally, the final time the altos and tenors come in after “but add” was piano, but I could only hear a handful of people actually singing. Overall, I would rate the performance a 5/10.

  14. I felt as if this performance was average. The beginning wasn’t synched and it threw off the sound. I strongly felt as if the singers were “soloing” more than blending. I heard many a voice stick out, which is unwarranted for in a song like this. The dynamics of the piece didn’t seem to fit. The legato in the jumping somewhat defeated the purpose of the segment and the sudden tempo change was kind of messy. I also noticed a member playing with his glasses and suit during the song, which distracted from their sound. However, i felt as if they ended nicely. This rendition was not my favorite, but it is evident that they put forth effort.

    • I agree with this!! I truly believe that the staccato during the “jumping” part adds so much to the excitement of the piece, and they did not portray it so.

  15. Although this group had many positives in their performance of “Jenny Kissed Me”, there are still some points in the song that were not personally alluring. First, there were voices that stuck out which destroyed the overall blend. In addition, I would prefer staccato versus the legato during the “jumping jumping”. Having the “jumping jumping” legato causes that section of the song to be less intense and exciting. Furthermore, the huge pause right before the phrase “time you thief” was quite awkward and ruined the flow of the song. The groups dynamics were very lacking and did not have much contrast throughout the song. Vowels also became very weak as the song went on. Overall, I think this group did an average job in their performance of “Jenny Kissed Me”.

  16. There were INNUMERABLE aspects of this choir’s performance that I was not in agreement with. What stuck out most to me was the lack of dynamic contrast. At the start of the recording, it was already very noticeable that the three “Jenny kissed me”‘s of the first three measures were indistinguishable regarding volume; as discussed in class, words and phrases repeated in songs should never be sung exactly the same. Furthermore, the collective group did not blend, especially due to its immature tone. While some of the sopranos had a more operatic tone, many of the other, lower parts did not elongate their vowels in the same way, causing the students’ voices to ultimately bead and clash together. This was extremely prevalent in the choir’s pronunciation of words such as “love”, “say”, and “old”. In addition, I felt that the group did a poor job of expressing emotion to engage the audience. For instance, the choir did not crescendo ONE BIT during the measures approaching the final “Jenny kissed me”, essentially failing to build excitement towards the ending of the song. In my opinion, this choir’s delivery of “Jenny Kiss’d Me” was rather elementary and unsatisfactory; although I believe Vocal Ensemble has more potential, we can all definitely take advantage of this choir’s mistakes to better ourselves as musicians.

  17. I personally, do not like Syosset High School’s performance of Jenny Kiss’d me. The tempo is all over the place, the blend is not consistent, and there are many stylistic elements that I didn’t enjoy listening to. First, they start off with an uneven blend and bad vowels. They have a very immature sound but it’s obvious to hear that they try to make it more mature. Second, there is an awkward pause between “chair she sat in” and “time you thief” that gives the song a weird empty space. I also don’t like their legato for the “jumping, jumping’s”. It makes a sloppy and un-put-together. The tempo gets far too slow which is very out of place for the song. Other than those major things, I enjoyed when the tenors and altos came in at measure four, it was one of the only times I heard good blend.

  18. Over I think the Syosset High School Choir’s version of “Jenny Kissed Me” by Eric Barnum was a good performance. There were a talented choir but could use some work. Firstly, throughout the song, some of the parts were overbearing and you could not hear, for instance, the altos. They also could use work on their cut offs and being more clean. Overall I think they were good but needed more time time to perfect their piece.

  19. Although there was definitely room for improvement in this piece, I thought they did an overall good job, and many of the criticisms I do have may be partially biased considering we are so used to singing this piece a specific way in class. However, in relation to how we are used to singing this piece, there were many differences. The main concerns of this piece are dynamics, rhythms, and vowels, much of the same problems we are having in class as well. Dynamically speaking, the “jenny’s” between measures 1 and 2 lacked dynamic contrast, which is something quite prominent due to us working on this specific problem in class, which is similar to the piano at measure 23, which both this choir and our choir lacked. BUT the dynamics at 41 when the altos and tenors came in quietly were superb. The rhythms throughout the song were fine, however, I did have a problem with the pause at measure 23. I understand it’s a rallentando, but going into that measure in a more legato style seems so much more natural, maybe because we are biased and have been doing it that way in class the entire time. One thing i did love concerning the rallentandos was how together and in unison the group slowed down, making the cutoffs crisp and concise. Finally, the vowels. Honestly, after the first few measures, the vowels were atrocious, especially concerning words like “Jenny” or “jumping,” making the tone much more immature than I’m sure the group was, however, this problem is one our group has as well. Overall, there are many similarities between our group and this group, however, there are also simultaneous differences easy to spot.

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