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Ivories
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: IvanSC]
      #670931 - 23/10/08 05:59 PM
Quote IvanSC:


Wonder what the chappie who posted that load of old bolleaux you responded to does for fun?




Translates Latin poetry into Sanskrit.

Quote:

As a matter of interest the stuff about where the root takes you rprogression is very relevant to bass players.
I have long said that the bass player ultimately decides the harmonic structure of a tune in pop music.




Just what Rameau said.


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IvanSC



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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Spyder2]
      #670970 - 23/10/08 08:35 PM
Quotey -wotey:As a matter of interest the stuff about where the root takes you rprogression is very relevant to bass players.
I have long said that the bass player ultimately decides the harmonic structure of a tune in pop music.
LIike you said,:un-quotey-wotey.

and I was replying to the post by Ian, saying just that.

It`s a minor point but it is relative.

I`ll get my coat.....

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Ian Stewart



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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Spyder2]
      #670999 - 23/10/08 09:23 PM
Hi Ivories, I think we have met. I think we travelled back together from the CASS conference in Cardiff a few years ago, in Steven's car, as all the trains were cancelled. I try not to rely on my memory though.

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fletcher



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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: IvanSC]
      #671002 - 23/10/08 09:29 PM
Quote IvanSC:


I have long said that the bass player ultimately decides the harmonic structure of a tune in pop music.
LIike you said,
You think you`re in A major?
Have an F# in the bass and tell me you`re still in A major!

Mu-hahaaa!




Yes Ivan, and playing the wrong note with such great confidence the audience assume the rest of the band are playing the wrong chord, that bass is dangerous instrument in the wrong hands!


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SunShineState



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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: IvanSC]
      #671007 - 23/10/08 09:41 PM
I'm a fan of the George Martin theory - music is art - you start with a blank canvas and have the right to create anything you want -there is no right or wrong.

So the notation and theory is just a way of recording what has already been composed, from an era before we had tape recorders and DAWs - and is therfore now redundant!

I'll get me coat


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hollowsun



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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: SunShineState]
      #671028 - 23/10/08 11:03 PM
Quote SunShineState:

So the notation and theory is just a way of recording what has already been composed .... and is therfore now redundant!



Whoooops!!!

Notation will be used for some time to come to allow future musicians to play music. George Martin used traditional notation all the time.

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Wurlitzer
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Spyder2]
      #671038 - 23/10/08 11:36 PM
SunShineState -

Can I just clarify, at no point did I say, or mean to suggest, that the "X-Factor modulation" is wrong because it contradicts some traditional "theory". I didn't even say it was wrong, as such.

To my ears, most (not all) examples of this are "wrong" because they sound cheesy, cliched and ultimately ineffective, like I can hear the composer fishing around for cheap tricks rather than just relax and enjoy the music.

But this has nothing to do with analysing it, it's just what my ears tell me. And in some cases it works better than others, like anything.

Also, when I outlined how this modulation doesn't fit into the classical scheme of modulation to cloesely related keys via pivot chords, I wasn't suggesting for a moment that that scheme is "right", and the modulation up a semitone somehow "wrong" for that reason. I was simply trying to clarify that they are different techniques, emerging within different traditions trying to do different things.

This can be a helpful thing to do because if you don't do it, people can get the bases of techniques they use wrong - basically viewing them from a style base that they don't belong to. An example in this very thread - the idea of trying to effect the X-Factor modulation "smoothly" and "correctly", by preceeding it with its dominant 7th. In fact what I was doing was the opposite of what you protest. I was saying DON'T bother about doing that, because that's applying a classical mentality to it that is foreign to the style.

Ultimately to me it's ALWAYS about the result, what my ear tells me, and "if it sounds right, it is right".

But knowledge of technique and theory can help us to arrive at that. That's why all the great masters studied it - it ain't coincidence.


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Ivories
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Ian Stewart]
      #671041 - 23/10/08 11:47 PM
Hi Ian. We may have met, but it wasn't at a conference in Cardiff, because I'm sure I've never been to one. Shame!


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IvanSC



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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: SunShineState]
      #671082 - 24/10/08 06:43 AM
Quote SunShineState:

I'm a fan of the George Martin theory - music is art - you start with a blank canvas and have the right to create anything you want -there is no right or wrong.

So the notation and theory is just a way of recording what has already been composed, from an era before we had tape recorders and DAWs - and is therfore now redundant!

I'll get me coat




(grin) well at least I stopped short of saying it was redundant!
But yes I do still think there is a tendency for paper-driven musicians to overlook how it all started.
And I suppose the theory is that people with not-so-good ears can read and play a manuscript rahter than struggling to just follow the recording as those blessed with better ears can.

FWIW I use ear and manuscript, so I really don`t have an axe to grin done way or the other.
By the way, what had you been drinking the other night? (grin)
I have a double dose of depping on bass for a country band coming up and may well need a good anaesthetic/perception alterer/mood lightener.

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The Bunk



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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: IvanSC]
      #671087 - 24/10/08 06:55 AM
Quote IvanSC:

Quote HandM:

...on the subject of key changes, anybody seen John Otway in action?? Halfway through a song, he announces "key change!!" Everybody stops. He puts a capo on the guitar somewhere like the second fret and starts again. Wonderful!




John is a national treasure.

Him & WWB in their heyday were a sight to see!




Agree; the man's a legend!
He's touring at the moment; might go and see him in Putney tomorrow. His support act is some band I've never heard of but which is featuring....wait for this....Lloyd Grossman.


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Ian Stewart



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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: SunShineState]
      #671108 - 24/10/08 08:12 AM
Quote SunShineState:

I'm a fan of the George Martin theory - music is art - you start with a blank canvas and have the right to create anything you want -there is no right or wrong.




There is good music and bad music though and I have personally had enough of hearing people who produce bad artistic works justifying it by saying "this is how I feel" etc. Another point is personally I don't think of myself as an artist, I always feel I am a craftsman. I have more in common with a stonemason than say Tracy Emin.

Quote SunShineState:


So the notation and theory is just a way of recording what has already been composed, from an era before we had tape recorders and DAWs - and is therfore now redundant!




Notation will always be around. I have just recorded a work for 6 violins, 2 violas and soprano saxophone. It would have taken years for each musician to learn their part by ear rather than just notating it so that they can sight read it. Notation becomes as much a part of you as reading words. When you write lyrics do you notate them on paper? Or do you say that's been done, notation is redundant so you only recorded them on a computer and refuse to write them down?

However rock music is obsessed with precedent the same as any other.Try to get a rock band to do something different, they are often as stuck in their ways as another group of musicians can be.

i think everyone should be able to read music. Being a musician and not being able to read music is like being a translator who doesn't know the future tense. It really is not that difficult to learn.

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Rousseau
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Spyder2]
      #671138 - 24/10/08 09:24 AM
Tracy Emin is an artist?


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Ian Stewart



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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Rousseau]
      #671146 - 24/10/08 09:45 AM
Quote Rousseau:

Tracy Emin is an artist?




Exactly, I would say Tracy Emin is an artist rather than a craftsman (craftsperson?).

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IvanSC



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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Ian Stewart]
      #671150 - 24/10/08 09:50 AM
Quote Ian Stewart:


i think everyone should be able to read music.It really is not that difficult to learn.




=1 Ian.
I read very slowly these days as I don`t really keep it up, but was taught to sight read bass parts (easy I know) in a few days.

Always a useful skill at any level.
You can nick a much better class of riff....


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Ivories
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: SunShineState]
      #671330 - 24/10/08 04:01 PM
Quote SunShineState:

I'm a fan of the George Martin theory - music is art - you start with a blank canvas and have the right to create anything you want -there is no right or wrong.

So the notation and theory is just a way of recording what has already been composed, from an era before we had tape recorders and DAWs - and is therfore now redundant!

I'll get me coat




Notation isn't really a way of recording what you've composed, it's a way of telling other people how to play it - it's a method of communicating with other musicians, rather than with an audience. Notation can be a way of recording music which is too long or complex to be played by ear (no matter how good your ear is), or which is too difficult to play without a long period of practising it first. Either way, some music is best learned by ear and some is best learned from notation. Good musicians can do both.

Theory is not the same thing as notation. Notation is simply a method of communicating (although its existence does predispose musicians to favour certain things). The phrase "music theory" is rather unhelpfully linked in some people's minds with graded music theory exams, which are primarily exams on the standard conventions of notating music. However, theory is a much broader than this, and can be any attempts to generalize or make rules about how and why certain things in music work. As we've seen earlier in this thread, there are a lot of different theories of music, and some are more relevant to some types of music than to others. Some theories of music contain a lot of prescriptions about how you should compose (those may have been the ones George Martin didn't like), but others don't. Whether you like theorizing about things is a personality trait, or perhaps a learning style - some people can compose best by obsessively analysing every note, whereas some people are completely intuitive. I've a feeling that the musicians who analyse and obsess about their music are the ones who really break the rules, whereas the ones who go with the flow tend to produce stuff that's more conventional, but that's only a feeling - it's not based on analysis of any evidence or theory.


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The Korff
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Ian Stewart]
      #671337 - 24/10/08 04:23 PM
Quote Ian Stewart:

Quote Rousseau:

Tracy Emin is an artist?




Exactly, I would say Tracy Emin is an artist rather than a craftsman (craftsperson?).




I would say that she's a pretentious bint.

Have you ever read that ghastly column she writes for the Independent On Sunday? I've never seen such contrived crap written anywhere else in all my life.

And I've read every novel in the Sweet Valley High series...


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Andrew Cleaton
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Spyder2]
      #671360 - 24/10/08 05:21 PM
Check out the old boogie-woogie pianist, Jimmy Yancey. Pretty much every tune he recorded ended in Eb - no matter what key it started in. Makes for some "interesting" car crash modulations!

Andrew


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SunShineState



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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Spyder2]
      #671361 - 24/10/08 05:22 PM
ok so I was kidding bout notation being redundant

However I do have a problem with theory if it suggests there are strict "rules" that you have to follow - call me a rebel but I believe that many of the best things in life are created by breaking or bending the rules - which of course also means u have to have rules to break etc blah de blah


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Ian Stewart



Joined: 24/10/05
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: SunShineState]
      #671370 - 24/10/08 05:59 PM
Quote SunShineState:

call me a rebel but I believe that many of the best things in life are created by breaking or bending the rules




No, I would call you a conformist. You seem to be saying you take the rules and then break them - so what you do is defined by the rules, admittedly a negative version of them.

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hollowsun



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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: SunShineState]
      #671385 - 24/10/08 06:40 PM
Quote SunShineState:

call me a rebel but I believe that many of the best things in life are created by breaking or bending the rules



So many people think they're being rebels but actually - without realising - conform to well established musical 'conventions' ... the I, IV, V progression for example ... or the I, relative minor, IV, V progression - both the backbone of rock and classical.

I give you Pachelbel's Canon....

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=JdxkVQy7QLM



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jrbcm



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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Spyder2]
      #671407 - 24/10/08 08:27 PM
Nice clip Hollowsun

Anyways, anyone care to name a single composer that ever stuck to 'the rules'?

Even Pachelbel put that nice little C natural in there


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Wurlitzer
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: jrbcm]
      #671417 - 24/10/08 09:08 PM
Quote jrbcm:

Nice clip Hollowsun

Anyways, anyone care to name a single composer that ever stuck to 'the rules'?




You'd need to clarify which rules you mean, and like I said before I don't really acknowledge the concept, because I think the way the great composers were trained was more about principles, and learning that certain combinations of notes have certain effects, some of which are more widely usable than others.

But if we take for example the most commonly cited "rule" of baroque and classical harmony - the "rule" against parallel 5ths and 8ves, then yes, we can say that Bach, Handel, Haydn etc virtually never broke it. Particularly Bach: if you leave aside thorny questions of what happens when one 5th is diminished etc, you can look through page after page of the chorales or volume after volume of the cantatas and just NEVER find one.

Many other rules are abstractions from general principles. For example many people are taught that parts in SATB harmony should never cross. This is absurd as in the works of the masters (including Bach), they do often. What the "rule" should really say is that the surest way of achieving smooth, controlled harmony that's easy on the ear, is to not let the parts cross. When they do cross, you tend to notice, and that means you need to really know what you're doing or the effect will be random and confusing.

Yet another thing I've found is that many rules suffer from not taking into account phrasing and context. The worst in this respect are the many rules that have been derived from cadential harmony in hymns, completely oblivious to the fact that it is like that BECAUSE it's cadential harmony. For example, people are taught that there should never been a gap of more than an octave between any two voices, except occasionally the tenor and bass. If you look at the Bach chorales, he often takes the alto and tenor more than an 8ve apart, but ONLY ever in the middle of a phrase, never at a cadence. Why? Because the priority at a cadence is harmonic stability - it's the point of atability in the phrase, after all. The priority in the active course of the phrase is often something different.

The same thing applies to many other rules - about treatment of the leading note etc - they are derived from the places in the music where, because of factors of phrasing, everything works most conservatively. People then mistakenly think they must never do that thing ever.

HOWEVER, I'd still say that these people, misguided though they may be, are no more misguided than someone who isn't aware of the principles at all. In an ideal world, everyone would be taught by enlightened, musical teachers who properly understand this stuff and can relate it to context and meaning. Sadly that's not usually the case, and people just get given half-truths and over-simplifications, and are left to carry on from there by themselves.

But I don't think wilful ignorance is the answer either.


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Wurlitzer
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: jrbcm]
      #671425 - 24/10/08 09:24 PM
Quote jrbcm:

Even Pachelbel put that nice little C natural in there




Er, I don't think he did.

Call that "artistic licence" on the part of the performer.


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Michael B
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: SunShineState]
      #671427 - 24/10/08 09:26 PM
Quote SunShineState:

ok so I was kidding bout notation being redundant

However I do have a problem with theory if it suggests there are strict "rules" that you have to follow - call me a rebel but I believe that many of the best things in life are created by breaking or bending the rules - which of course also means u have to have rules to break etc blah de blah




There's a rule that states that there 12 inches to a foot - all rules do is establish a consistency - so that if Archibald plays a 'C' chord and Puff Daddy plays one too - they'll consist of the same elements. The consistency helps co-operative efforts. Anyone else could 'break' a rule and state that a 'C' major chord consists of the notes bA B D and they could play it that way - but no one else would bother with it.

The way I see it - rules are there simply for guidanc. But to establish our rebellious influence we lust for change. But it's all been done before. In fact we might be more likely to be accused of breaking the rules by stating we're not going to 'break' the rules

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jrbcm



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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Wurlitzer]
      #671438 - 24/10/08 10:06 PM
jrbcm Quote:

Quote Wurlitzer:

Quote jrbcm:

Even Pachelbel put that nice little C natural in there




Er, I don't think he did.

Call that "artistic licence" on the part of the performer.




Heeya mate, C Natural in all it's naked white glory

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_nPyLLedfAs




Ah yes, indeed... I never get that far through the piece, feeling not dissimilarly about it to the chap in Hollowsun's link.

Quite correct... or not, according to which version of the rule book you are following.

Edited by Wurlitzer (24/10/08 11:12 PM)


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hollowsun



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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: jrbcm]
      #671439 - 24/10/08 10:19 PM
Great little vid for following the MS.

But Paravonian was spot on in his rant .... the cello part's so bloody boring to play that your link dropped it after the violas and fiddles started building ... like "sod the cellists - they can go on auto pilot now"

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Wurlitzer
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Ian Stewart]
      #671542 - 25/10/08 12:08 PM
Quote Ian Stewart:

I would be interested in Wurlitzer's views on how a knowledge of baroque/classical conventions affects his appreciation of music now.




Applying knowledge from classical music to modern popular styles can be enlightening in two ways. Sometimes, with "educated" composers like say Gershwin or Brian Wilson, you can analyse a lot of things in a pretty-much classical way and they make direct sense.

More often, however, there are fundamental differences of apporach that need to be taken into account, and it's these very differences that shed an interesting light on BOTH style areas, leading one to a greater understanding of the deepest presumptions of the composers concerned - the things that people who are confined to one style or the other just take for granted.

Some of the things you soon come up against, comparing the two styles, are:

1. Classical music from the period of Bach onwards was written by fully educated composers after a thorough apprenticeship in melody writing, harmony and counterpoint, with everything being written on paper and the ability to relate sound and symbol taken for granted. Only a minority of popular music was writtne by the same kind of composers. Much of it was written by people with a small amount of technical training, combined with a good ear and musical intuition. Some was written py people with virtually no technical training at all.

Of even more interest to me is the way the inputs of these various kinds of musicians can combine in a single work or recording. Take a 10-piece funk band playing a fusion version of a jazz standard, and you might have a song that was originally written in a completely trained and "classical" way, a keyboard player who understands all that and can arrange it accordingly, a guitarist and bass player who don't but have learnt how to follow such tunes by ear, a brass section who all went to music college and read everything that the keyboard player arranges for them, and a singer and backing vocalists who know no music theory at all and can't read, but can work out fantstic harmonies that fit the arrangement purely by ear and feel.

2. As a corollary to this, the relationship between melody/scale/mode and harmony is often very different in popular music from the way it works in classical music. By the time of Bach, the system of composing based around major and minor scales in the diatonic system was so mature that composers could conceive of every details in totally unified melodic and harmonic terms. That's not to say that there aren't situations where the two have different and contradictory priorities, but just that even in such cases, there were established and codified ways of dealing with them. Take for example the melodic impulse of the leading note to rise to the tonic, versus the harmonic impulse to achieve a full, sonorous chord at the cadence. Bach's solution to this was the typical fall from the leading note to the 5th of chord I at the cadence, to the point where it became an established procedure or mannerism all its own.

By contrast, in many popular styles the melodic/modal and harmonic impulses are still largely separated along the lines above: Educated composers, arrangers and players of harmonic instruments often understand harmony in a quasi-classical way and try to make it work as such, but uneducated singers and players of melodic instruments, working by ear, tend to be more tuned in to mode and linear factors.

The results of this melodic/harmonic disjunction can be felt everywhere, and you can't even begin to understand jazz, blues, gospel, soul etc. until you take this into account. One of the most common examples is how in many simple 12-bar blues forms, say for example the 12-bar 50s rock and roll songs of Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Elvis etc, the vocal part and any sax improvisations just work through a minor pentatonic or blues scale with virtually no regard for how that scale fits, or doesn't, with the underlying chords. The chords are usually in a major key, though with the addition of blue 7ths etc, and the melody in the minor pentatonic on the same keybote. So if in C for example, when the chords move to G7, the melody will quite likely just keep going down the C minor blues scale, oblivious to the clashes this makes with the leading note in the G7 chord.

(I say "oblivious", but in a sense of course it's the opposite - those clashes are part of the style, and what gives it its essential grit and earthiness. You can always tell overeducated arrangers working within styles like that without understanding them, because they try to round these factors off and make them more "correct").

Jazz is even more interesting because you more often get the two backgrounds - educated harmonic musician and "feel"-based melodic musician - united in the same individual. If you listen for example to Duke Ellington's "Things Ain't What They Used To Be", you can tell it was composed by an actual composer because at bar 5 when the 12-bar form goes to chord IV7, the melody actually moves in sequence up a 4th rather than just staying where it is. OTOH, when it goes to chord V7 four bars later, the melody goes (in C):

C - Bb - G, C - Bb - G etc. etc.

ie, it reverts to the predominance of the melodic/modal impulse, accepting the sound of this clashing with the B in V7, buried somewhere in the piano or guitar part.

The way jazz moves between these two modes of operation - working everything out so that the harmony and melody are one, or just letting them go their separate ways, is fascinating to me, and adds a whole element to it that is dissonant, gritty, capricious, unpredictable and delightful, that doesn't exist in classical music. You can always tell when classical people try to approach jazz without "getting" this element, and that's when you get over-polished, insincere, polite "dinner-jazz". To me, Glenn Miller for is an example of this. "In The Mood" is a good example of a tune that follows the technical classical procedures of arpeggiating through the chords absolutely correctly - even voice-leads them - but sounds unspeakably naff because it's done with absolutely no feel for this alternative melodic/modal impulse.

3. Most popular styles of music are much more melody-centric than musch classical music. Most of the time the vocal or top line is key to everything, and there's no pop music equivalent of the Art Of Fugue! Thus a lot of harmony works "outwards" from the melody, rather than "upwards" in support of it. For example backing singers will often harmonise a tune just by following the same contour a third and a sixth higher or lower, with adjustments as necessary,
and some brass harmonisations can work much the same way. At the same time, you might have piano or guitar-based harmony which DOES operate independently from the melody, and coordinates (or not) with this horizontally-conceived vocal/wind harmony in various ways.

4. Classical music from the period we're talking about is basically written down in precise detail and the notes are never changed (with the odd exception like continuo parts). Popular music by contrast contains improvisation, both in terms of how the harmony is voiced, and fully improvised solos etc.

5. Following on from 3 and 4 above, COUNTERPOINT is far less important, and far less strictly conceived, in popular music. Because the focus is much more continually on the top line, detailed counterpoint is less important, and because the music is often not written down, and often improvised, you simply CAN'T achieve the level of contrapuntal control that classical composers did. Thus the fact that consecutives largely don't matter etc.

Really this comes down to Ivories's point above - about what the injunction against consecutives was really about. It was about achieving a consistent sense of the number of parts. In popular styles, the various instruments supporting the melody aren't really being heard as independent lines the way they are in a Bach chorale or fugue. They're more like ingredients in an overall kind of rhythm-section "soup", that adds up to one basic musical element. Where the parts are distinguished, it tends to be more through rhythm than counterpoint. Though of course this is not so true in "composed" jazz, ef big band music. So there's a continuum of thinking from no sense of counterpoint at all through to pretty-much classical counterpoint.

6. Many popular styles are based on driving repetitive dance-based rhythms, whereas most classical music (while often derived from dance rhythms) was designed for sitting down and listening to. This is significant because the rhythm provides most of the sense of forward motion that in classical music has to be helped by the (functional) harmony, counterpoint, phrasing etc. Thus my point above about the subdominant axis in blues and gospel, relying upon rhythm to provide the momentum that is provided by the dominant axis in 18th century musical architecture.

That's why these styles can get away with being simpler in these respects, and often if you look at ballads - from Ellington to the Beatles to Stevie Wonder etc - they ARE more harmonically complex, partly because there's more time for the ear to take in the harmony, and partly because it's necessary to keep them interesting. I - IV - I - IV - I - IV - I is fine when the chords are going by fast, with lots of guitar elaboration, furious drums and you're up and leaping about to it. It can wear a bit thin however when you take out the drums, halve the speed and sit down and listen.

These - and probably other - factors seem to me like fundamental differences in the way classical and popular musics work, and many people on both sides go wrong in trying to approach the other without taking these into account. Of course there are shades of grey everywhere. Some classical music is less contrapuntal or more dance-based than some other, and jazz is often almost quasi-classical in conception. That's what makes the whole thing so interesting.


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IvanSC



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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Spyder2]
      #671544 - 25/10/08 12:10 PM
You HAD to ask! (grin)

Love you r posts and your passion, Whirley.

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hollowsun



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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Wurlitzer]
      #671589 - 25/10/08 02:09 PM
Quote Wurlitzer:

You can always tell when classical people try to approach jazz without "getting" this element, and that's when you get over-polished, insincere, polite "dinner-jazz".



Indeed.

I used to have a wry chuckle when my daughter was given a 'jazzy' piece to play for her early piano grades (there was always one in the choices available for each grade) - so far removed from 'jazz' (or pop/rock/whatever)... just a slightly syncopated beat. And I'd have another wry chuckle when I saw her teacher thinking it was quite 'groovy'.

And I used to cringe when her junior school or youth orchestra tried to 'rawk' with a medley of pop tunes - out comes the adult to play ponderous, appallingly tuned drums and the conductor is at the front getting all jiggy!!!

Thankfully, she's moved on beyond that now.

And that's not to knock all classical musos because a lot of them do 'get it' and can badass groove with the best of them (if not better) but there is an aspect of that field that doesn't. The problem is....

They think they do!

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SunShineState



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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Spyder2]
      #671613 - 25/10/08 03:39 PM
Quote:

The results of this melodic/harmonic disjunction can be felt everywhere, and you can't even begin to understand jazz, blues, gospel, soul etc. until you take this into account. One of the most common examples is how in many simple 12-bar blues forms, say for example the 12-bar 50s rock and roll songs of Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Elvis etc, the vocal part and any sax improvisations just work through a minor pentatonic or blues scale with virtually no regard for how that scale fits, or doesn't, with the underlying chords. The chords are usually in a major key, though with the addition of blue 7ths etc, and the melody in the minor pentatonic on the same keybote. So if in C for example, when the chords move to G7, the melody will quite likely just keep going down the C minor blues scale, oblivious to the clashes this makes with the leading note in the G7 chord.

(I say "oblivious", but in a sense of course it's the opposite - those clashes are part of the style, and what gives it its essential grit and earthiness. You can always tell overeducated arrangers working within styles like that without understanding them, because they try to round these factors off and make them more "correct").





We are on the same page! -this is exactly the sort of thing I meant - these rock and rollers created some great music - which was driven more by passion and feel than musical knowledge, yet I'm sure some would try to say it's wrong and try to "correct" it because it doesn't fit nicely with classical theory! Obvious example being pentatonic melodies over major chords as you suggest.

This is exactly the point - these guys had every right to create their music the way they did - why should they conform to classical theory which is really only some other composer's idea of how it should all work from the past. If we had all observed classical teachings maybe it would have been like stopping evolution, and there would be no blues, jazz, rock and roll, Lennon/McCartney etc etc


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Wurlitzer
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: SunShineState]
      #671635 - 25/10/08 04:47 PM
Quote SunShineState:

This is exactly the point - these guys had every right to create their music the way they did - why should they conform to classical theory which is really only some other composer's idea of how it should all work from the past. If we had all observed classical teachings maybe it would have been like stopping evolution, and there would be no blues, jazz, rock and roll, Lennon/McCartney etc etc




Totally.

This is why when learning about "rules", "principles", "procedures" or whatever you want to call them, it's absolutely vital to learn WHY those rules exist and what they are trying to achieve. Then you can use them, as appropriate, when you're trying to achieve something similar, and confidently ignore them when you know you're trying to achieve something else, to which they are irrelevant.

That's always my approach in teaching.


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Ian Stewart



Joined: 24/10/05
Posts: 3638
Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Spyder2]
      #671641 - 25/10/08 04:54 PM
SunShineState, I wish you would loose this grudge against classical theory, you are largely arguing with yourself. Classical theory was inextricably linked with practice and you are taking it out of context. Certain harmonic progressions, inversions, voicings etc and melodic forms work well when sung by an unaccompanied choir in a church, some do not. They are NOT grammatical rules that make a language comprehensible, they are NOT rules that say "don't walk on the grass", they are principles that guide the composer. During the period, when a lot of these rules were formulated there was still a huge difference between various composers and some were way out for the time, such as Gesualdo. You are coming at this several hundred years later without knowing the context.
Unfortunately your lack of understanding of these principles is coming out in your posts such as "Obvious example being pentatonic melodies over major chords as you suggest." The pentatonic scales works perfectly of a major chord, but which one? Wurlitzer was referring to the Eb pentatonic scale over a C7 chord.
However different scales over chords have been used by classical composers such as Bartok, it is not unique to Rock and Roll. In Malta, where I went to school, there was an improvised style of singing where the guitars played European chords and the voice sung in a North African scale that utilised quarter tones.
However you seem to be under the impression that all classical composers are rule bound conformists without realising how extreme some classical music is. Schoenberg's 12 tone system, Berg's combining of tonality with serialism, Stockhausen's total serialism, Terry Riley's largely improvised psychedelic influenced music, Lou Harrison's use of natural tunings and melodies influenced by folk and Oriental music, John Cage's aleatoric music - the list goes on and on. The rock and roll you talk about is harmonically limited compared to most classical music, however that is neither good nor bad in itself.

Quote:

which was driven more by passion and feel than musical knowledge




Classical composers also have "passion and feel", its just different. Wurlitzer has explained how terrible certain classical musicians can be when they play pop or jazz; just the same as the terrible attempts I have heard of jazz musicians trying to play classical music.

Quote:

these guys had every right to create their music the way they did




Exactly, just the same as classical musicians have the right to base their compositions on principles several hundred years old.

Quote:

yet I'm sure some would try to say it's wrong and try to "correct" it because it doesn't fit nicely with classical theory




I have never met any classical musicians who have said that. Some classical musicians find the harmony of some pop music uninteresting, the same as some pop musicians find classical music doesn't have as prominent a rhythm as rock. Some people don't like jazz because there is too much improvisation.

Quote:

If we had all observed classical teachings maybe it would have been like stopping evolution




I don't understand that. There are principles of classical composition which you can study, or ignore, you choice. But ignoring them doesn't make music good anymore than following them will produce good music.

Your complete and utter misunderstanding of how classical musicians think, or how classical music education operates is astounding. Like Don Quixote you are tilting at windmills that exist only in your own mind.

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Conory
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Spyder2]
      #671653 - 25/10/08 06:20 PM
The kings of "let's whack it up a semitone for the last bit" has to be Joe Meek's Tornados. I bought a 2CD compilation a few years back (purely for nostalgia's sake, you understand)and almost every one of the instrumentals, including Telstar, goes up for the last verse. How they actually got from one key to another wasn't always pretty either.

Ah, those were the days!!

cue Ivan



--------------------
www.myspace.com/conory
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=804557


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jayzed
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Spyder2]
      #671680 - 25/10/08 09:09 PM
The story I read was that Joe Meek was tone deaf. Probably an exaggeration (I have yet to meet someone who is tone deaf, as opposed to someone who thinks they are because singing doesn't come 'naturally' - whatever that means). Anyway, if he were it might explain some of the semi-tone up key changes!
I agree with several posters who say that there are examples of this abomination that work. The thing is, most of them don't.
As has been stated, 'rules' aren't absolute but are there as guidance, so if I was to consider writing a song which breaks the semi-tone key change exculsion 'rule' (and I might just take it up as a challenge) I would be very careful about trying to avoid the cheese factor, unless this was something I wanted in the song. Cheese appears to be something that people like sometimes, otherwise there'd be no Boyzone or Girls Aloud ballads.

I really appreciate all the philosphical, historical and theory information. As someone with a very patchy musical education (and then mostly in contemporary forms) I find this stuff fascinating.


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BenJS



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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Spyder2]
      #671817 - 26/10/08 12:28 PM
On a a completely different note (geddit?!) has anyone heard the new-ish Kaiser Chiefs song Miss a Beat -modulates from a G Maj Verse to F Maj Chorus -pretty crazy for a pop song I say

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6UH4IDnjpk

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SunShineState



Joined: 01/09/04
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Spyder2]
      #671857 - 26/10/08 02:58 PM
Quote:

SunShineState, I wish you would loose this grudge against classical theory, you are largely arguing with yourself.




I have no grudge against classical music or theory whatsoever, but I think you have to admit it is seen as some sort of "high" form of music that outranks popular music and is therefore regarded as more pure and correct, I absolutely relate to Wurly's thing about arrangements, and I'm sure we've all seen instances of extra or different chords being added to songs when they just weren't there, because the arranger considers them more "right" according to theory.

I am an unashamed fan of forms of popular music, which is in many ways more simple theroetically than classical music, but often streets ahead in other ways. When I talked about evolution I mean that evolution takes place in music just like language and other things - things evolve and rightly so - I'm sure for example that some modern guitar TAB music has features that are not properly catered for by standard notation.

Why do you accuse me of not understanding - when I just have a different opinion or disagree - is classical theory above debate?

Back to the key change question, sometimes it's nice to introduce the change with some passing chords or other device, but it's equally valid to just make the change - in this case the element of suprise is what gives the desired effect, and you don't need to explain this as some form of modulation, the chorus just starts again in a different unrelated key - get over it


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Ivories
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: SunShineState]
      #671917 - 26/10/08 06:46 PM
I don't know if classical music is lower, higher, better or worse than popular music, but it's certainly different in certain respects. I think every contributor to this thread has recognized this - if anyone has argued that a rock or jazz musician was "wrong" to use a certain progression, then I've missed it.

One of the points I was trying to make on an earlier post was that "classical theory" doesn't exist as a single entity - there are lots of different, sometimes overlapping theories, and they aren't necessarily consistent with each other. Far from suggesting that it is "above debate", I think that several contributions to this thread have argued that classical theories only make sense when they are discussed and considered in some depth; more importantly still, they are only useful within a context, which usually means a specific musical style or genre.

I don't think it makes sense to refer to a chord being better or worse "according to theory" - there is no single authority within what you have described as "classical theory" that can arbitrate what is right or wrong in a universal sense. The musician always has to make a choice. Sometimes the choice is informed by a deep understanding of the theoretical issues or principles involved(rarely, simply "rules"); sometimes composers don't know about these, or choose to ignore them. The alternatives are making an informed choice between musical possibilities or an uninformed choice (and I'm not suggesting one is better than the other - often when I'm composing I have temporarily to switch my "theoretical brain" off, otherwise a bout of writer's block ensues).

You're right that music changes - the same is true of music theory. I'm not sure that evolution is the right word - in the last hundred years or so it's been more of a fragmentation, with any number of different movements going on within music of all descriptions. I think musicians are now much more aware of the plurality of styles than they were historically, which means that our understanding of theory is contextual. By that, I mean that in the first half of the twentieth century, some musicians still attempted to formulate theories which were relevant to all music. In the last 50 or 60 years (generalizing a bit), academic music theory has consisted either of attempts to explain specific musical styles of the past, in a contextually-aware way, or of attempts to find a rationale for new approaches to composition, without necessarily linking it to anything from the classical tradition.

I don't think anyone has criticised you for liking popular styles of music (I certainly wouldn't). I think it's true that the post Ian laid into showed a lack of understanding of what "classical theory" is about, and possibly also that you misunderstood some earlier posts in this thread. In my view there is no need for popular musicians to be defensive about using chord progressions that aren't used in classical composition (and were therefore banned in 18th- and 19th-century composition textbooks). However, I think understanding more about the subject could only help.


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Wurlitzer
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: SunShineState]
      #671962 - 26/10/08 09:14 PM
Quote SunShineState:

I have no grudge against classical music or theory whatsoever, but I think you have to admit it is seen as some sort of "high" form of music that outranks popular music and is therefore regarded as more pure and correct




Seen by whom, out of interest?

I certainly don't think any of the classical musicians I've known see it that way. Possibly the only people I know who take that line are parents of children that I've taught. They often seem very attached to the idea that learning classical music is "proper" education and that messing things up with jazz and pop will lead to a quagmire of sloth and chaos. I try to explain to them that in many ways there's more musical intelligence involved in learning how to follow a chord chart, play a progression by ear or improvise using an appropriate scale and style, than there is in slavishly learning to reproduce a printed part exactly and then just doing what the conductor tells you to do. But they resist.

But by and large this seems to be an attitude of people who don't know much about music. Most of the people I've know who have studied classical music to a high level have become (a) very aware of just how much skill it takes to improvise, play in a band by ear or write a good song, and (b) totally in awe of the people that can do it.

So I can see Ian's point that - while you're perfectly right that classical theory-snobbery is unjustified - you may be overestimating how much of that snobbery there really is out there, and trying to prove a point that everyone else pretty much takes for granted anyway.


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Wurlitzer
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Spyder2]
      #671964 - 26/10/08 09:18 PM
Oh, and has anyone noticed too, that classical musicians - performing musicians, I mean - generally seem to know almost nothing about theory?

If you really want to find the ultra-abstracted theory-obsessed idea-nerds in music, jazz is where you gotta go.


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Ivories
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Re: Keychanges - basic rules? new [Re: Wurlitzer]
      #671973 - 26/10/08 10:07 PM
Quote Wurlitzer:

Oh, and has anyone noticed too, that classical musicians - performing musicians, I mean - generally seem to know almost nothing about theory?




Yes and no. I think it goes partly with different instruments: there's a sort of continuum, with organists and one end, and possibly trombonists/tuba players at the other. However, in one of the groups I play in, I only have to mention a word like cadence, or dissonance, and the flute player starts throwing things at me.


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