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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    And Pat Metheny questioned Joni's authenticity at a 1989 master class, Royal Conservatory of the Hague (paraphrased): 'I worked w/Joni Mitchell. She said she didn't care what the names are for her chords. Can't get behind that'.
    Joel, I enjoyed your whole post. I'm confused by this part. I don't know what "authenticity" means here.
    Joni's not caring about the names of her chords doesn't seem to me to a matter authenticity (or its lack) at all. Lots of musicians with very good ears don't care about the names of chords (or notes, for that matter): it's all sound to them, not names.

    Pat Martino was playing professionally in his teens (and at a high level) without knowing the names of all the chords he played. He said he picked them up off records---lots of Wes Montgomery records, IIRC---and they were sounds to him. Knowing their names would not have been a benefit to him. (He later needed to learn some of these things to communicate with other musicians but he didn't need to know it to play the music.)

    Bruce Forman talks somewhere about playing with a pianist who used some tasty voicings. Bruce wanted to learn them and asked the guy about them. The guy had his own sorts of names for them, the only one I recall off hand was "baby doll". I think the others were a "doll" of some sort or other. That's how he thought about them. That's what he actually called them to another pro player. Those names meant nothing to Bruce, of course. He had to suss out the voicings, analyze them and then give them conventional names. But the guy who came up with them did not need that.

    Either way, I don't see what this has to do with authenticity one way or the other.

    What am I missing?
    Was Pat saying she wasn't an authentic musician?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Joel, I enjoyed your whole post. I'm confused by this part. I don't know what "authenticity" means h
    Well, of course I'm not inside the man's brain, but it's a good guess he was looking askance what he saw as at Joni's willfull ignorance, and falling into that oft-fallen into trap of avoidance of knowledge b/c somehow it will impede the pure, if you will, 'childlike' creative flow. (I used 'authenticity' b/c she did).

    I'm a huge fan of her work, and there are few more 'authentic'. But Pat does have a point---if I read him right: self-limitation of knowledge is anathema to artistic growth---or growth in any field. Learning bolsters intuition. Only the naive or very insecure---or simply misled---artist would disagree with that. You don't have to use every can of paint, just stock 'em and know at least something about what each does.

    Learning is a life-long undertaking. Can't wait to get up tomorrow and learn something new...

  4. #53
    But Red Rodney's comment to Phil Schaap re Charlie Parker's purported limited theoretical knowledge ('every time I'd ask what something he played was, he'd say "Bb 7"') supersedes even what I just wrote: 'It's what you got, not how you got it'.

    (You may have heard: not everyone's a genius. And geniuses still have to study. They just zoom through the basics quicker)...

  5. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    Well, of course I'm not inside the man's brain, but it's a good guess he was looking askance what he saw as at Joni's willfull ignorance, and falling into that oft-fallen into trap of avoidance of knowledge b/c somehow it will impede the pure, if you will, 'childlike' creative flow. (I used 'authenticity' b/c she did).

    I'm a huge fan of her work, and there are few more 'authentic'. But Pat does have a point---if I read him right: self-limitation of knowledge is anathema to artistic growth---or growth in any field. Learning bolsters intuition. Only the naive or very insecure---or simply misled---artist would disagree with that. You don't have to use every can of paint, just stock 'em and know at least something about what each does.

    Learning is a life-long undertaking. Can't wait to get up tomorrow and learn something new...
    I don't know. I didn't hear the conversation, I don't know the context. Joni was a fabulous musician. I don't think her lack of knowing chord names hurt her any. She said "Life is for learning" so I don't think any of this should be taken to mean she didn't care about learning. We should all be so stunted in our artistic growth as Joni Mitchell!

  6. #55

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    Meh names, who cares?

    they're just labels.

  7. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Meh names, who cares?

    they're just labels.
    I needed the names. My mind works that way. My mom---who I admit is an extremely difficult person---has been able to play whatever song she wanted to without knowing one note name from another, much less chord names, since she was in the fourth grade. She played in churches and for school functions. She would open a hymnal to the right page but couldn't read the music, she just played the song. Obviously, she could not play things she had not heard. But then, she didn't want to.

    She does know where middle C is. If I ask her what she is playing in she will find middle C and alphabet upwards or back and say, "E but in the black." She just knows the sounds. It's all sound to her. To her recognizing the notes of a melody on the piano is as easy as seeing different colors in a Crayon box. She has no theory of color and wouldn't sit still to listen to anyone else's. She doesn't understand why anyone would need a theory to play music when it seems so much more easier to just play it.

    The mean reason to know the names is to talk to other people about music.

  8. #57
    [QUOTE=MarkRhodes;1036622]I don't know. I didn't hear the conversation, I don't know the context..../QUOTE]

    When I have time I'll find the spot. Worth watching anyway, good presentation...


  9. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    But Red Rodney's comment to Phil Schaap re Charlie Parker's purported limited theoretical knowledge ('every time I'd ask what something he played was, he'd say "Bb 7"') supersedes even what I just wrote: 'It's what you got, not how you got it'.
    I agree. And Joni's got it.

  10. #59
    Never said she didn't.

    (I analyzed Chelsea Morning in my slowly evolving book American Song Redux). She's a favorite. And I love those weird-ass chords.

    But I stand by my credo about learning being life-long and willful ignorance anathema to artistic (and general) growth...

  11. #60

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    [QUOTE=joelf;1036725]
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    I don't know. I didn't hear the conversation, I don't know the context..../QUOTE]

    When I have time I'll find the spot. Worth watching anyway, good presentation...

    It's at 46:00

  12. #61

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    [QUOTE=Lobomov;1036806]
    Quote Originally Posted by joelf

    It's at 46:00
    Thank you for pointing that out!
    I get his point that knowledge won't spoil creativity but I think it's asinine for him to suggest she would have been a better musician if she knew the names of the chords she played. (It may be sacrilege to say on a guitar forum but I consider her by far the greater and more important artist.) But it's not worth arguing about. She's a great songwriter and this thread is bout songwriting.

  13. #62

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    Are there people who think Pat Metheny is more important than Joni? I mean, seriously?

  14. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by christianm77
    Are there people who think Pat Metheny is more important than Joni? I mean, seriously?
    In all honesty Pat Metheny just claimed that Joni would have been a better musician, if she had not shunned theory

  15. #64

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    Today on Twitter a person named Justin McElroy started a lenghty thread as follows:
    Nobody:
    Me: in the history of Disney animated movies there have been exactly 18 types of songs, and i'm going to tell you about each of them.

    Twitter

    He doesn't describe the songs in musical terms but in terms of story function. A few examples:

    This Is The Movie (26 entries):- It summarizes the theme of the film or says its title several times- It is at the beginning of the film (exception: Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas) - It is first sung by a chorus, or an unseen or minor character (exception: Pocahontas)

    I Want (26 entries): - It is sung by the main character (exception: the Frozens, Ralph Breaks the Internet)- It is a monologue, sung alone — or to animals! — expressing their greatest desires

    I’m The Villain (18 entries):- It’s sung by the villain (exception: Cruella De Vil) - It always comes after the I Want songs- It usually expresses the villain's desire, but can also be mocking the main character

    We Should Bone (17 entries):- Never happens in the first-third of the movie (exception: One Song, Love is an Open Door)- Can be a duet, monologue, montage, OR a separate character egging things on- If a man is singing, he’s either egging things on, or in a duet

    Cheer Up, Kid! (17 entries):- It’s always sung by a supporting character who likes the protagonist - The theme is always positive- It generally builds up to dancing or fevered choreography, with an element of "let's put on a show!"

    The core songs of great Disney movies are in the This Is The Movie/I Want/I'm The Villain/We Should Bone/Cheer Up Kid! categories, particularly once the Disney Renaissance starts. But there are five other song types that are very important to the Disney canon.....

    Those interested can follow the link above and read the whole thread.
    I was surprised someone took the time to listen to all these songs and categorize them.
    Not only that, he made a nifty chart of his findings.

    Songwriting Rules of the Road (at least in, and ONLY in my opinion)...-disney-songbook-table-elements-jpg








    Disney movies are a place where songwriters can place their work and if they do, it shall surely draw a great deal of attention. According to Google, 12 Disney songs have earned Grammies since 1991. The only one I have heard is "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" from "Lion King" but I don't go to movies much. I suspect those among us with children have heard (and over-heard) songs from Disney movies and might do worse than to give some thought to what makes them tick.

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    In all honesty Pat Metheny just claimed that Joni would have been a better musician, if she had not shunned theory
    Correct. But I don't grant that that is true. She created a lot of great music. She obviously knew how to do that. That's what counts.

  17. #66
    We all made our points about Joni, Pat, knowledge, intuition. Well, and more than once.

    Time to move on---please...

  18. #67

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    Chord progressions.
    Songwriters use them.
    I-vi-ii-V is the backbone of many a standard, and I-IV-V is the basis of many a blues (and many a rockabilly / early rock'n'roll song).

    Which progressions are you partial to?
    Do certain progressions suggest definite moods to you?

  19. #68

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    Progressions - I like a surprise or two in a progression, something that grabs the ear and makes me wonder what was that.

    I tend to like disguise the ii V 's, such as Dm7 C#m7#5 C13 Bm7 E7b9

    I like progression that seem to be in more than one key. I also like Gospel style chord progressions. Something like

    ||Emaj7 / C#m7 /| Dmaj7 / /Gmaj7 / | F#m7 / G#m7 | A6 / A/B / | E / F#m7/E / | E etc

  20. #69
    I write from titles. Those are germs for everything. The title is in the 1st melodic germ, or near it usually.

    I notice certain favored harmonic habits, but they don't figure in the conception of a song, at least not in a leading way. When it happens it all happens together, as an entity. The details are tweaked (and lots of time spent on) later, and they may include a preferred harmonic color to underline a word or mood.

    In the past 10-15 years I notice I favor 3rd-less and 7th-less chords. They are opaque, and even in a song I'm leaving room for a solo, and the player has more options. I also like 7b9 sus, say on a root. Must be my Yiddisha soul.

    But we have to be careful not to fall into formulaic thinking---happy/sad, etc. and the chords many hacks or even good writers immediately 'punch in'. Going against the grain---in harmony; rhyming or not; etc., etc. can lead to discovery and unusual and appealing sounds and strategies. It can lead to failure, too---but at least you tried, and didn't coast.

    I've written many pieces in many ways and styles. I have habits and 'signatures', sure, but they don't lead me. The idea does...

  21. #70
    I should add: style supersedes a lot of things---and there's a time and place for experimentation. I wouldn't try to fit the above-mentioned into a blues.

    Which leads to another point: the harmonic language,whatever it be, must be consistent. Writing a whole tune with mostly D or C2 chords, a sudden 7th chord sounds out of place. And it's a mistake a lot of writers---especially neophytes---make...

  22. #71

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    A funny bit about the I V vi IV progression


  23. #72

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    If you want to play along with the above, it's in E, so: E B C#m A

    I really like some songs that use this progression: Let It Be, Beast of Burden, No Woman No Cry...

  24. #73

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    Something Irving Berlin did was to write two melodies over the same changes, introducing them separately and then repeating them together.
    Here's an interesting article about that, as well as a notable example, "You're Just In Love." (Donald O'Conner and Ethel Merman)

    A Guide to Musical Theatre Quodlibets – (and How to Write Your Own) – major to minor


  25. #74

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    Here's another example of that. My mom told me that she and my dad sang this together while dating.


  26. #75

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    An Adam Neely video about quodlibet which addresses the question why so many pop songs can be sung over the changes of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing." Here, Smashmouth's "All-Star is used at the beginning which is interesting because it is NOT sung over I- V-vi-IV progression in its original version.

    Irving Berlin often wrote two sets of lyrics for one set of changes but others have put together separate songs that were not written by the same composer or intended to be sung together.



  27. #76

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    About singing. A short article on the five main vowel sounds for singing.
    As songwriters, we may not be great singers but if we want people to sing our sings, they need to be singable.

    EEE, AY (as in hay), AH, OH, and OOOOO.

    http://www.musicprodigy.com/news/art...of-all-singing

  28. #77

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    also the vowel sound of guh or mum or love or glove.

    To me the diphthong way of singing love as in lah....ove, sounds pretentious unless one is singing opera.

  29. #78

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  30. #79

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    Learn to love your voice. (But as Ringo said, "It Don't Come Easy.")

    How to Find Your Artistic Identity Through Your Singing and Songwriting Voices • SongFancy

  31. #80
    A singer recorded my song and sang 'lay down...' instead of 'lie down..' The 'y' in lay bumps into the hard 'd' in down. Plus she didn't sing the melody right. 1st recording w/the lyric, and now other singers will think that's how the song goes. Drag.

    But
    she's a sweetheart, paid me above ASCAP royalties---and nobody owes anyone nothin'...
    Last edited by joelf; 06-01-2020 at 04:11 PM.

  32. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    A singer recorded my song and sang 'lay down...' instead of 'lie down..' The 'y' in lay bumps into the hard 'd' in down. Plus she didn't sing the melody right. 1st recording w/the lyric, and now other singers will think that's how the song goes. Drag.

    But
    ? she's a sweetheart, paid me above ASCAP royalties---and nobody owes anyone nothin'...
    Congratulations on having your song recorded by a pro.

    The long "I" in English ("eye") can be hard to sing. When Judy Garland sang "I Feel A Song Coming On" and got toward the end where the title phrase was repeated, she stopped saying "I" at all and it's more like "Ah", which is much easier to sing.

    "Lay down" works well in "Lay Down Sally."

  33. #82
    My lyric was '...So I can lie down in shelter...'. 'Lay down' doesn't make it--I'd never write that for a song about lying down in comfort, away from storms and troubles. Fine point, perhaps, but it matters.

    Yeah, I'm getting some recorded action on my songs, and interest from singers. Very slowly. Lyrics help a lot, you can only say so much with notes. Anyway it's different, and opens one up to a different kind of listener. When I was writing only instrumentals I got nice props from my betters (Phil Woods played my chart and played through everything I sent. He became an unofficial coach. Benny Golson and especially Bill Finegan were in my corner. Bill tried to help me career-wise). I'm grateful, of course---it meant so much to me and added up to self-confidence. But now it's time for some income, and recordings so there's something left of me after my near-66-year-old ass shuffles off to Buffalo. I'm drug with the music biz, but still trying to create and reaching out to recording artists, especially singers b/c I'm a lousy singer and that doesn't help my case.

    Keep hope alive! Long as I get better and keep learning. The process is where it's at...

  34. #83

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Congratulations on having your song recorded by a pro.

    The long "I" in English ("eye") can be hard to sing. When Judy Garland sang "I Feel A Song Coming On" and got toward the end where the title phrase was repeated, she stopped saying "I" at all and it's more like "Ah", which is much easier to sing.

    "Lay down" works well in "Lay Down Sally."
    Mark, yes, that's the way to sing the diphthong "I" as in ah ee, it has both sounds. A long held "I" is a long ah followed by a short ee. Not sure I could sing it otherwise or it just sounds like ah or ee, it really need both sounds. "I" also needs both sounds as a spoken word.

    I both struggle with my voice and enjoy singing. When I'm going to record my voice, I do warm up exercises first. Also, I'll sometimes pre-record the melody with my guitar as guide tones that I hear in my monitor mix while I record my voice. Whatever it takes to get it done. Singing live though, no training wheels for that.

    Warm up... I have patterns in MuseScore that I sing vowels to, I use headphones and a mic. I find it best to have the feedback that the mic and headphones give me.

  35. #84
    You always have to go with what sings. It's like an extension of the logic of what trips off the tongue in speech---Lennon-McCartney; Livingston-Evans.

    I learned some things, aside from the aforementioned Jimmy Norman, from a force of nature named Ann Ruckert. I paid to be in her class for a month. She was about getting people to sing---together or individually. I resisted at first b/c I embarrass easy if something's not my 'thing'. I brought a vocalist to the 1st class to sing my songs, and Ann was offended. But I loosened up after a while and didn't sound that bad. But she also made us aware of what sings and what doesn't in her critiques.

    I also read a lot of books by or interviewing songwriters. Sondheim can be a hyper-critical little bitch---but he's also brilliant, and very successful (artistically) at the craft for 70 years. One of his credos I've adopted: 'Dull and smooth, rather than clever and awkward'.

    That speaks volumes---and sums up why we rewrite. If you didn't leave at least a few of your ideas on the legal pad or in Word b/c they just didn't help or fit the song you just don't get it...

  36. #85

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    My lyric was '...So I can lie down in shelter...'. 'Lay down' doesn't make it--I'd never write that for a song about lying down in comfort, away from storms and troubles. Fine point, perhaps, but it matters.
    .
    I remember the distinction: to lie is to recline; to lay is to place.
    But for a singer, if "lay" is more singable, then "lay" it shall be.
    And if you don't want that, don't give 'em the option! (Don't write "lie down" in the first place. There are other ways to say that.)

    When I was giving homilies in Catholic church I checked my writing for any use of "are our" (as in 'what are our priorities?'). I was afraid I might bark it like a dog: "arr arr!" So I just avoided that. I found another way to say it. Singers can be touchy about things THEY find tricky to sing. (It's not the same for everyone.)

    Correct grammar matters much less to singers than does singability.

  37. #86
    I wasn't at the date, or I'd have corrected it. It was my ass for not noticing it on her demo.

    I'm reading a lot of war stories of songs being ruined or misunderstood in both volumes of Paul Zollo's interview collection, Songwriters on Songwriting. Some name names, some don't. There are a lot of ways to ruin songs on recording than singing a wrong vowel. The 1st recording of a song is a document---and mistakes/misunderstanding of meaning may be aped---or assumed to be right. That's what songwriters who are covered, or write for others, dread. The recording is the final verse. It's the 1st tree you hear fall in the forest.

    A former Dylan roadie I knew regaled me with stories of Dylan laughing at perceived meanings in his songs. Visions of Johanna was supposed to be about the downfall of America. Dylan chuckled as he told this guy he was only writing about people waiting for some friends to come over...

  38. #87

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    I'm reading a lot of war stories of songs being ruined or misunderstood in both volumes of Paul Zollo's interview collection, Songwriters on Songwriting. Some name names, some don't.
    My library just re-opened yesterday. (It had been closed since March.) Pat Pattison's book on rhyming awaited me, as well as Zollo's "Conversations with Tom Petty." Look forward to both. Read Zollo's 'songwriters on songwriting' years ago but don't retain much. A re-read is in order.

    Songs are funny things. So many moving parts----the melody, the rhythm, the chords, the feel, the lyric, the vocal...

    Actually, something we haven't talked about is the difference between the days when The Sheet Music was the song and days when The Record is the song. A lot of great records might seem trite when reduced to sheet music but as records, they work like gangbusters.

    A favorite example. One of my favorite records of all time. The groove and the vocal carry the day. The lyrics are no great shakes. ("I don't care about your thoughts / I just want to satisfy your faults" ??? Some give that rhyme as 'faults / pulse'.) But man, this record kills.


  39. #88

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    Rhyming dictionaries.
    Do you have one?
    Do you use it?
    I have a paperback edition of Clement Wood's.

    Just heard about wikirhymer, which one can try free. I gather it's a subscription service but I haven't looked into the details.

    WikiRhymer - World's best rhyming dictionary

    I suppose one advantage of this would be that you can have it with you wherever you have a mobile device. That's a benefit. (I'm not recommending it; I'm very much a homebody and think one good rhyming dictionary is enough for me. But some pro songwriters say they find it useful.)

  40. #89

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    A bit more about wikirhymer (from the site):

    >>>>To access ALL WikiRhymer data, you must "Go Pro." It's only $14.00 per year and there are no Adsense ads either!
    Non-Pro users can only see the first 3 sets of end rhymes, the first 3 sets of near rhymes, and the first 3 sets of near end rhymes for any single word search. While we do "load" the "best" rhymes in those first 3 sets, non-Pro users are missing out on 10s of thousands of good rhymes.<<<

    #sands of perfectly good rhymes!

  41. #90

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    Some songwriters work with pop stars....


  42. #91
    Yes to all: I use rhyming dictionaries and thesauri, dictionaries. But I'm in a new phase now, trying to not be as reliant on rhyme. (I actually find it works best for comedy, like Irish bar waltzes I've written only lyrics for). Not worrying about rhyme can help tap into the unconscious---let it rip, figure it out after.

    Yeah, a record can make a song---also, alas, mask its weaknesses.

    Back to writing, though: Whatever works, use it. And tell the inner critic to shut the f^^k up! You'll give him the floor at the detail tweak phase...

  43. #92

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Rhyming dictionaries.
    Do you have one?
    Do you use it?
    I have a paperback edition of Clement Wood's.
    I have the same one. I use it sometimes. That and a thesaurus are good for getting out of road blocks and generating ideas.

  44. #93

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    Ascending bass lines. I like them. Some of my favorite tunes contain ascending bass lines. "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Makin' Whoopee" for starters.

    A short article on them, with examples.
    http://www.angelfire.com/fl4/moneychords/ABL.html#:~:text=Ascending%20bass%20line%20progres sions%20are,-3"%20note%20bass%20lines.

    I am more apt to use descending bass lines in my own songs---and there are more common descending bass lines than ascending ones--but that's another story.

  45. #94

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Chord progressions.
    Songwriters use them.
    I-vi-ii-V is the backbone of many a standard, and I-IV-V is the basis of many a blues (and many a rockabilly / early rock'n'roll song).

    Which progressions are you partial to?
    Do certain progressions suggest definite moods to you?
    I avoid cliche changes unless I'm deliberately trying to evoke this or that mood, and even then I much prefer to throw a twist in to keep from sounding generic. Generally, when I'm fleshing out the harmony I look for chords that have counterpoint happening between the bassline and the upper-voice leading; that stuff tickles my ears.

  46. #95

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    A funny bit about the I V vi IV progression

    You couldn't get away from that staleness in the 90s. Green Day, Bush, Better Than Ezra ... done to death.

    Once a song of mine starts sounding too much like another, I launch a rewrite, and if that doesn't work I file and forget it.

  47. #96

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpalumpacus
    You couldn't get away from that staleness in the 90s. Green Day, Bush, Better Than Ezra ... done to death.

    Once a song of mine starts sounding too much like another, I launch a rewrite, and if that doesn't work I file and forget it.
    Well, the I-vi-ii-V was done to death in the '20s and '30s and yet a lot of good tunes were written to those changes later on. (And in the '20s and '30s, of course.) It can still be used today, as can the I-IV-V progression. The song is the thing, not the chord progression.

  48. #97

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    The other night my wife and I watched the movie "The Nice Guys." It was set in the late '70s and the opening music (no vocal) was from "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" by The Temptations. Great song. LONG song (nearly 12 minutes). The hit single was shortened from the album version, and IT ran nearly 7 minutes!



    For our purposes, it's worth noting that this is a ONE-CHORD song. As was Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools" and CCR's "Run Through The Jungle," Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up", and Harry Nilsson's "Coconut" ("She put the lime in the coconut and drank 'em both up...").

    One-chord songs are rare but surely can work.











    Then there are songs that use one-chord for either the verse or chorus. (Raunchy, Give Peace A Chance, Randy Newman's Mama Told Me Not To Come, Midnight Rider, Black Friday, Low Rider)

  49. #98
    And I'm a Man...

  50. #99

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    And I'm a Man...
    Or "Mannish Boy"----same thing, just called one thing sometimes and sometimes the other.


  51. #100

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    Another one-chord blues, "Commit A Crime" by Howlin' Wolf



    Here are Jeff Beck and Mick Jagger doing at in performance at the White House.