Essay on Strange Fruit as Done by Cassandra Wilson

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Strange Fruit
Vocals by Cassandra Wilson
The version of the song “Strange Fruit,” by Cassandra Wilson is a piece of music that consists of 4 verses. I have broken these down into Verse A, Verse B. Verse A, and Verse A’. Cassandra’s voice is most certainly the melody of this version of Strange Fruit and is used in all 4 verses. The rhythm of this piece is a 4. The song opens in a high pitch “tinkling” piano, soft flute (that reminds me of the wind bowing) a soft distant sound of an electric guitar and the eerie background bass that has the feeling of darkness and fear. This drew an image of dark and chilling to me.
Seventeen seconds into the song an additional instrument possibly the sound of a top hat are added and enter with a
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Cassandra doesn’t sing in this part of the song but she hums what sounds like a deep ghost like, spooky, shaky sound. Her moans are soft to medium in their dynamics and slow to medium in tempo. The timbre and tempo of the, now very much heard, electric guitar sounds like a fast moving downward whiny spiral causing a sense of doom. The drum and top hat keep a slower tempo and are clearly heard but they are medium in dynamics as compared to the guitar. The texture remains quite thick and it all is definitely dissonant.
At one minute and fifty-nine seconds we begin to hear Cassandra sing the next verse. The music drops right back to mimic the first verse. Again, the music is dissonant. The piano is loud but varies in pitch between her words from heavy keys to “tinkling” keys in a slow tempo and arpeggiated harmony. Her voice remains deep, manly, and ghostlike. The bass has a deep slow tempo as well. The “thump, thump” of the drum sounds angry.
At two minutes and fifty seconds the last verse begins only rolling off the verse before with a couple of fast drumbeats, reminding me of a fast heart beat. (I did not feel there was not the normal sense of a next verse coming). This seemed very fitting for this song, tense and unexpected. The instrumental part of this verse is very much the same as I labeled in verse B.

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