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Pete Atkin >> Music >> All The Dead Were Strangers
(Message started by: Pete Atkin on Today at 09:07)

Title: All The Dead Were Strangers
Post by Pete Atkin on Today at 09:07
Some time last month Andy Love posted the following to the Midnight Voices Mk.I --

Tinkering with a guitar is about as far as my musical skills go. The other
day I thought I'd have another try at "All the dead..." which defeated me
the last time I plinked away at it.  This time, by the way, I cut the time
necessary for me to change from F to (what I think is probably) A9 from more
than five seconds to less than three!  Anyway, I became fascinated with the
Dm-to-Db change - the one on which the word 'strangers' sits.  It struck me
as pretty unusual and it got me to a-thinkin' 'why would he choose that?'
       Then it struck me that the notes at that particular point reminded me of the
stereotypical ghostly voice in an old horror movie, maybe.  You know, the
ones where a victim comes back to haunt a murderer....out of the misty
darkness comes a disembodied two-noted voice calling:  "Eeed-waaaard.
Eeed-waaard".   So was this PA writing the dead strangers'  voices into the
song?    I may be way off the mark, there, but it works for me!


Well, yes, that's a good example of "if it works for you..."  I think I know what you mean, Andy, but no, that wasn't in my mind -- though of course I suppose it could have been part of my subconscious thinking, because what you're describing (again, I'm inferring a bit here -- see below) is what's probably the most instinctual bit of music human beings have, namely the two-note 'tune', the second note lower than the first, the one you sing when you go 'coo-ee', or the 'nee-naa' of the ambulance siren (a descending minor third, a drop of three adjacent notes on the piano, or three frets on the guitar).  I think I heard or read somewhere that whatever kind of musical system they develop, just about every human culture on the planet uses this.  
    EXCEPT that in this case the drop is four semitones/frets (a major third).   That doesn't deny your observation, Andy, it's just less common in this sort of instinctual use. maybe because the four-note interval seems less open, less of a question.   If you think this is preposterous, just try a 'coo-ee' both ways and see.

    As to how I came to think of the change from D minor to D flat major, well, both chords contain an F natural.  But then so do G7, and F sharp major7, to name but two.   I don't know.   It's just what you hear in your head.

Title: Re: All The Dead Were Strangers
Post by Gerry Smith on Today at 12:47
Pete wrote :  As to how I came to think of the change from D minor to D flat major, well, both chords contain an F natural.  But then so do G7, and F sharp major7, to name but two.

Come come, an E sharp in the case of F sharp maj7 please!! :-)


Gerry




Title: Re: All The Dead Were Strangers
Post by Pete Atkin on Today at 13:31
Oops, quite right, of course.   Should have said G flat maj 7th.  

(How good that we can now indulge in this kind of esoteric exchange without having to worry about irritating those who don't speak the language.)

Title: Re: All The Dead Were Strangers
Post by Gerry Smith on 12.08.04 at 00:05
Pete wrote: (How good that we can now indulge in this kind of esoteric exchange without having to worry about irritating those who don't speak the language.)

Quite so.  Keeps it all so well tempered!

Gerry

Title: Re: All The Dead Were Strangers
Post by Gerry Smith on 12.08.04 at 02:01
esoteric=Greek, those within). Exoteric, those without. The term originated with Pythagoras, who stood behind a curtain when he gave his lectures. Those who were allowed to attend the lectures, but not to see his face, he called his exoteric disciples; but those who were allowed to enter the veil, his esoteric. Aristotle adopted the same terms, though he did not lecture behind a curtain. He called those who attended his evening lectures, which were of a popular character, his exoterics: and those who attended his more abstruse morning lectures, his esoterics.
www.bootlegbooks.com/Reference/PhraseAndFable/data/425.html


Ah well, never was a morning person anyway...and never blown my horn behind a curtain tho' others have stuffed curtains into it!

G

Title: Re: All The Dead Were Strangers
Post by safe6tet on 15.08.04 at 21:47
Pete wrote:
<<I think I heard or read somewhere that whatever kind of musical system they develop, just about every human culture on the planet uses this.  >>

There's a very interesting book by Deryck Cooke ( the chap who finished Mahler's 10th) called "The Language of Music" where he examines every interval in the scale, taking examples from different works throughout history (usually settings of words) to show that when, for example, a composer wishes to express a certain kind of emotion, he will almost always use a certain interval. He dismantles Mozart's 40th Symphony and Vaughan William's 6th to show this and while you may not go along with him completely, his thesis, i.e. that there is a language of music is very interesting. Probably out of print now but worth looking for.

Ian C

Title: Re: All The Dead Were Strangers
Post by Theo Clarke on 16.08.04 at 16:31
Deryck Cooke's "The Language of Music" was reprinted in 1989 and is still in print as a paperback at 18.99. It is ISBN 0198161808.  A second hand copy should be under a tenner. I have a worn first edition somewhere and I will sell it as soon as it turns up since I see that it now retails at 40.00.

Theo

Title: Re: All The Dead Were Strangers
Post by Chris Reichardt on 16.08.04 at 22:45
As Billy Swan once sang, " I can help"  :)

http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=310104874 6.99 + p & p

http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=296793554 8.00 + p & p

http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=324946082 8.00 + p & p

http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=31265122018.99 + p & p(new)

Happy hunting  :D


Title: Re: All The Dead Were Strangers
Post by Ian Chippett on 01.09.04 at 21:23
Although the obvious key of this song would appear to be G major (the opening chord of the verse) practically all of the song is in F major (it actually starts with the chord of Db). Writing and copying the charts must have been a lot of fun...

I wonder if Clive will write a similar lyric about Iraq (let's hope he won't have to). But that's off-topic...

Ian C



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