Tuesday, January 20, 2015

More Random Musical Notes



1. Chuck Berry was right when he said "I've got no kick against modern jazz, except for when they play it too darn fast." Too much speed can take the groove out of a song. To rectify that problem, I recommend that the bass should play in half time during fast tempos, and concentrate on forward propulsion. Let the other instruments fly around.

2. There's a similar problem in modern classical. Modernists tend to use the percussion section as an accent, using cymbals and tympani to create crashing exclamation points beneath loud dissonant chords. Composers should think of using percussion in a more grooving way.

3. Contemporary popular country is like an inverse of what we call alt country. In popular country, the singers employ a really thick twang while the guitars sound like mainstream classic rock. In alt country, the singers sound closer to rock, while the instruments sound more twangy and traditional, using pedal steel and mandolins, etc.

4. One key to the sound of the Rolling Stones is the liberal use of pick up notes, that is, phrases that lead up to the downbeat of the song or verse, usually with Keith's guitar, or Mick Taylor's (or both). This provides a relaxed sense of forward motion. Think Tumbling Dice.

5. Before hip hoppers were sampling, jazzers were doing it in real time in improvised solos, inserting notes and phrases referencing another song, thus sending the rhythm section in all different directions as the implications of the quote are explored, implicitly and explicitly. The same goes for the mind of the listener.


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