It's important to start by noting that music is inherently subjective. The beauty of the art form is that each listener can experience a song in a different way. That being said, it's possible to discuss music in a more objective manner by focusing on the specific elements that make...
It's important to start by noting that music is inherently subjective. The beauty of the art form is that each listener can experience a song in a different way. That being said, it's possible to discuss music in a more objective manner by focusing on the specific elements that make up a song.
When playing "Holy Ground," listeners are almost immediately hit with the percussion that makes up the core of the song. The beat is hard and fast, and it imbues the song with an upbeat, energetic quality right away. Listeners also hear a rhythmic guitar that mirrors the beat with a unique strum pattern. On top of all of this is Swift's voice. At the beginning of the song, she uses a low range of pitch and sings quickly. These vocals add to the music's upbeat energy.
At the end of the first verse, we experience our first change in the song's dynamics. Swift cuts the beat and leaves only a clean guitar and her vocals. This serves to break up the tension that had been building with the fast-paced rhythm and vocals. During this part of the song, Swift also expands the range of her vocals. This offers a needed relief to the listener and changes the texture of the song. These kinds of changes often make a piece of music feel more dynamic and interesting than it would be if the artist used the same rhythmic tools throughout its entirety.
The second verse brings back the rhythm that forms the backbone of the song. However, Swift expands her vocal range here more than she did in the first verse. This gives it a new quality and keeps the song feeling fresh. She also begins to use harmonies as she builds into the second chorus. These harmonies are light and contrast with the tight, hard beat that drives the song. They float above the song and add to its energy at the same time.
Swift lowers the power of her voice during the buildup to the final chorus. There, she hits us with every tool she's used throughout the song. She uses the beats, powerful vocals with a wide range, and harmonies. This is what the entire song has been building towards. Swift uses these tools masterfully to create a layered, energetic piece of music. The highlight of the song is the way she plays with the dynamics of her voice, harmonies, and beat.