Alicia Keys Concert Review

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The concert I chose for this review was a 2017 Alicia Keys concert from YouTube. Alicia Keys is a singer-songwriter and musician, who is also a classically trained pianist. Some of her more popular songs are Fallin’, If I Ain’t Got You, and No One.

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The piece I chose to compare to a piece we covered in class was If I Ain’t Got You, which I will be comparing to Barbara Strozzi’s Revenge. If I Ain’t Got You is an R&B/neo-soul piece released in 2003 about the irrelevance of material things. This song was inspired by things happening around this time such as 9/11. Revenge is a Baroque era piece composed in 1651 that expresses a jilted lover’s thirst for revenge. Similar to the melody of Strozzi’s Revenge, If I Ain’t Got You features long notes followed by short, staccato notes. This creates a flow and dimension that interests the listener.

In the chorus of If I Ain’t Got You, Keys moves higher with a gradual upward contour and then moves down sharply, and the pattern continues. Strozzi’s Revenge features a slow downward contour that is followed by a straight upward motion. In addition, Strozzi’s Revenge exhibits homophony, a musical texture in which a melody is performed with supporting accompaniment. If I Ain’t Got You also shows homophony because Alicia Keys has backup singers who harmonize with her as she performs to enhance the texture of the song. In Revenge, the singer decorates the melody with added notes, getting more elaborate as the piece continues. Likewise, Keys embellishes her song as she performs it with spontaneous runs and other ornamentation.

In my opinion, this was a technically great performance as far as musicianship and artistry. Keys’ piano playing provided a proper accompaniment to her singing that both accentuated her vocals and highlighted her talent to make a pleasing experience for the audience. This performance was as good as expected, considering Alicia Keys’ musical talent and performance ability. I would rate the artistic quality of the music and performers a 10/10. The harmonies between the background vocals and Keys’ vocals were exquisite. Keys’ piano skill also provided an exceptional performance quality, as the piano music is difficult and was played in conjunction with her vocals.

Finally, a piece performed by Keys that can be related to an idea in life is Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down. The piece is a pop ballad about New York City and is a sort of sequel to Empire State of Mind. It features a beautiful contrast of an aggressive background beat with the delicacy of Keys’ vocals. The song is about working hard to make it to your desired place. This song speaks about New York City specifically, saying If I could make it here/ I could make it anywhere. I think the composer was trying to convey a message of the importance of work ethic and striving for your dreams, and doing it in a way that is pleasing to the audience.

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Alicia Keys Concert Review. (2019, Jun 24). Retrieved September 30, 2022 , from

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