My father, Armond Blackwater, and I sketching out "Down So Long" for an upcoming album. I'm playing my Les Paul through his Fender Deluxe. He's playing the Wurlitzer and singing. The click track is a preset beat from a cheap Zoom drum machine. My guitar is a little out of tune, and it sort of meanders at times, but I think it gives a solid foundation to start from, and would be a decent "open mic" performance in general.
And no, it's not actually supposed to sound like the original. We make it ours, in much the same way that the Doors themselves borrowed from blues men before them.
Last Edit: Jul 15, 2013 13:58:34 GMT -5 by ashcatlt
Post by JFrankParnell on Jul 23, 2013 18:57:20 GMT -5
plus 1, like, etc
I remember every little thing...as if it happened only yesterday. I was barely seventeen, and I once killed a boy with a Fender guitar. I don't remember if it was a telecaster or a stratocaster, But I do remember that it had a heart of chrome and a voice like a horny angel.
It's a lot of fun to do, whatever comes of it. Really, it's just an excuse to play with all of our toys. I don't think I've actually miked up a guitar amp for recording in almost 20 years. So far we've been doing the scratch tracks in the basement, but eventually at least some of the songs are going to get some Hammond tracks, and we'll have to move upstairs, pick one of the three organs, and plug it into the Leslie. Then I get to figure out how best to mike a spinning speaker!
Another aspect that's fun is that the doors tend not to follow "the rules" when it comes to keys and things. It turns out that for all my experimental madness, I'm actually pretty rigid when it comes to theory. Pick a scale and stay there, and all the notes and chord should fit it. Even (or maybe especially) if that scale is "nonstandard", once it's established I tend not to deviate. It's always been difficult for me to follow chord changes that skip keys or modulate. My brain just says "That's the wrong note!" and gives up on trying to make sense of it.
But the Doors do it all the time! This song is just 12 bar blues, but some of the others that we've been doing - "Strange Days", "Alabama Song", etc... I've been forced to think about these things in new ways, very much like the things that 4real is posting about in the maj-to-min thread and things. Listening for voice leading, embracing chromaticism, hearing the melodies and movements that are happening rather than getting stuck in the block chord mentality.
With that, I also have a bit more leeway in the kinds of things I get to play here. For a long time, I've been essentially the rhythm section. Playing in a rock band with no drummer, I was forced to play certain things not necessarily because I wanted to, but because there needed to be something on that beat or whatever. With the piano rhythm, and eventually actual percussion tracks, I've got more room to play just the notes that the arrangement needs, or wants, to explore textures and dynamics in something of a new way.
We're having good fun. I'll probably post some more in the not too distant future.
Last Edit: Jul 25, 2013 13:54:36 GMT -5 by ashcatlt
There's no explicit M to m movement in this song, so I'm going to keep the discussion over here.
Alabama Song as played by the Doors:
The verse is just 3 chords: Am F#m D7
These chords just don't fit into any one key. It's almost in A, sort of feels like Am, but you might even call it some permutation of G. The A is common to all three chords, there's a movement from the E to the F#, and then there's the chromatic line from the C in the Am to C# to D. Depending on voicing though, you can kind of get a "trill", or "up and back" sort of thing C - C# - C
Then there's a chromatic walk down to the choruses, which make no damn sense at all!
F E Oh, moon of Alabama We now must say goodbye G G7 C C7 C We've lost our good old mama And must C7 F have whiskey, oh, you now why
There's a bit of chromatic walk down there - A, G#, G, parallel to the F, E, D, and a sort of C, B, C, Bb, C thing happening up top, but it all kind of depends again on the voicing you choose to play, which lines you choose to follow. Could just as easily be seen as A, B, C, B, C, Bb, A, or whatever... All kinds of things going on. Really, though, it mostly fits in C, as one of those choruses based off of the IV being a fairly typical IV - V - I - IV thing with the E (would normally want to be Emin, the iii chord, the relative minor of the V chord) as kind of a "passing tone" drawing us to the G. C7 technically doesn't fit in CMajor, though it would fit in F, but then the G wouldn't be right... It almost hints at a Maj>min thing, and if we squint and call it the key of F, this would be that IV to iv thing from the other thread. It's actually kind of ambiguous at that point, and caused some arguments. We had to listen to the album version a couple of times to finally convince my father that there is no Cm in there, nor a Bb of any kind...
F E Oh, moon of Alabama We now must say goodbye Eb F We've lost our good old mama C C7 F And must have whiskey, oh, you now why.....Yeah!
(Get the idea?? ) well, keep going the same way)
This one is a bit more explicit in it's chromaticism, literally just walking down chords by half steps before settling to what feels a lot more solidly to be a I V V7 I cadence in F major.
The original version of this song is all horns and things - monophonic instruments which each follow their own melodic lines, harmonizing almost "randomly" with one another, and only creating any sort of chord because of their interaction with one another. It really is a different way of looking at things from the kind of country/rock banging out chords because that's how it goes kind of mentality that we often fall into. It's something that I actually do a fair bit of in my own music. I've never been able to play the sort of intricate arrangements that 4real works up, with independent movement on multiple strings and any kind of accuracy, so I've kind of "made up for it" in the studio by recording just one or two strings at a time. And that leads me to thing of the "parts of the chords" in terms of individual, monophonic, melodic movements while at the same time considering the overall harmonic picture.
I have always done a whole lot of driving, and because I can't stand "contemporary music" of any kind, and don't really need to hear "Cat Scratch Fever" or Fleetwood Mac ever again, I end up listening to a lot of classical music. Then too, when I lived in New Orleans there were the great jazz horn bands and especially during Carnival all of the marching bands and things. In these styles of music there are again a lot of horns and winds which are incapable of producing more than one note at a time (but don't tell a free-jazz sax player that, he'll take it as a challenge!) and even the orchestral strings don't usually play more than one or maybe two notes at a time. Each instrument really wants to have its own kind of "coherent" line to play, while supporting (to some degree) the harmonic whole.
Interesting post and great that you are looking at things from aperhaps 'more sophisticated' way than 'block harmony' and discovering things from these kinds of explorations...
I'd not go so far as to suggest that it does not have some 'internal logic'...I tend to feel for something to be 'music' and 'work' there has to be an internal structural sense for it to be 'understood' and enjoyed, even if it seems 'strange' or foriegn or not be able to be described how it is working through a lack of understanding or 'tools' to describe it.
It does have an interal sense and as in the Maj-Min thread that is only one harmonic effect, there are many others (I recently posted a tune that discusses 'secondary dominants' for instance).
Some of this kind of thing comes from other traditions and combinations. It tends to be a bit easier on the keyboard with all the notes laid out like that to think in terms of 'lines' and traditional four part harmony and the like. In fact, a lot of 'jazz' type things, but even more so in something like bach and classical music, might not superficailly make harmonic sense in terms of 'block harmony' because notes are suspended over in teh melody or other lines into the next bar or harmony 'change' through other voices.
So in 'love me tender' there is a bar that has an E7#5 which one might thing...oh..'jazz chord' or flavour but in fact that bar is C-Gm6-A7#5-A7--D7 (key of C) . One might equally say that makes 'no sense'...but really, the F note carries over in the melody which accounts for the #5 and is like an extention, very much like on most of the V chords the first one is a sus4 with the C note carried over in the melody and resolving on the second beat. Again, it is all about sepearate voices which are not in lockstep with the harmonic 'time' or simple triadic 'block' formulas.
Anyway, I'd not heard of the Alabama song but can spot a lot of 'traditions' in there, maybe a bit of caberet style and other such things...
Now, the movement Am-F#m-D7. Well, we'd not balk at the movement Am to D7...we'd explain that as a dorian vamp, very much like santana would play say for instance. You are right one might think of it as a chromatic movement in steps of C-C#-D if one wanted and makes sense 'logically' to the ear. If you made the A major and took out the 7th in the D7 so A-F#-D we'd not think twice about that as a fairly vanillla diatonic (not chromatic) sequence in A major. There is teh 'effect' one 'feels' similar to the 'picardy third' of the minor becoming major...in this case not Am becoming A major, but Am becoming F#minor. Then there are the elements of blues and jazz that often uses dominant 7th chords instead of majors and of course the flattened third over a one chord. And it is a 'bluesy' song after all.
It's not typical, but the combination of these elements, the logical diatonic bass moveemt of I-VI-IV is very familiar and can carry the alterations of dom7 harmonies and even the minor I in place of the major I. These kinds of notes are just a few ways one might make 'sense' of such a sequence off the top of my head, not a definitive analysis that would take many hours and transcribing and notation and thinking.
Similarly, if we were to see the verse as Am, an F chord would not be 'unexpected...such as in stairway to heaven as an example or any number of minor songs. Similarly, in blues we would not think twice to heare the chord bVI chord to V...eg F-E in A...very typical cadance turnaround in the blues borrowing from major and minor as do blues melodies. And of course, a cliche in 'spanish music' too as an example...a half step above makes anything sound 'spanish'...In this tune it is perhaps extended. Or, one could look at it in terms of being a part of C...F,G7,Am etc, all imply C. C is of course the relative major to Am so not really that far 'out'...it's just not common in this kind of context or the usual 'blues' or 'pop' song...but there is an underlying 'sense'...
Most 'jazz chords' are in fact just suspensions and such and not so much a 'block' harmony but a consequence of a melody note over a block harmony making an 'extended' chord...and if the chord is say a 'secondary dominant' (ie V of V) then that chord will ahve chromatic tones (not in the 'key') in it and possibly a suspended melody note...such as in that 'love me tender A7#5 which would not seem to relate to the key of "c"...especially with a C# in it, it does make 'musical sense' it is not at all 'random'...
That is not to say that one needs necessarily to knw the 'theory' or that theory dictates the 'rules'...it's actually far from it, it can expend options...but knowing it is not entirely necessary (though it makes things easier often), even if things are 'found' apparently randomly, one can usually find the underlying 'sense of it.
And, you are getting the idea, often the most bizzare things can be explained with voice leading and individual voice movements. Some of Bach for instance (so before classical music) in things like fugues say, make the most bizzare 'chords' should you try to 'name them' in block harmony style, as they are simply a consequence of say four melodylines that coincidently make these 'cluster' of notes but make perfect 'sense' linearly...that is melodically.
Anyway, very rough that, but the GF frustrated I am typing, so better get on with the day and will explore it more if interested or have questions or thoughts...there are not 'wrong' ways to understandf things, usually there are multiple layers of understanding. But the coolest most interesting sounds and tunes can be found or made in this kind of deeper understanding of such things. Glad you are getting the idea and finding joy or wonderment in the process...
Mr D.I.Y. Sustainer ;-) [/IMG]New Project...'jazz strat' ... Seagull project and mini PA amplification