Sunday, February 14, 2010

Georgia On My Mind

Written in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell, made most famous in 1960 by Ray Charles, and Georgia's state song. Cool.

I do not have it in me to learn a second song tonight, as it's midnight, and my nose is cold, which is always a sign that I'm about to get sick if I don't take care of myself. Weird, right?

A few notes on the recent songs:
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" - same 4 chords over and over. Yesss. Reminds me of a shirt I saw on a guy on the subway - showed the guitar tab for D, G, and A, and underneath it said "Great. Now go start a band."

After working on this song a little bit, I'm not surprised that Paul Anka covered it, swing-style. The melody of the verse is really interesting, and attractive to jazz musicians in that it doesn't plod on strong chord tones on strong beats in the square, unattractive manner that jazzheads find so loathsome. Nice instrumental-esque major-6th leap - "on guns" and "and bring", to use the lyrics from the first verse. And way to wail on the 2nd scale degree: "hello, hello, hello...". Well done, Kurt. I want to take a little time and listen more closely to other arrangements - Tori Amos, Patti Smith, Anka, maybe others - and see what they did. Cool song.

"Your Song" - thanks to Moulin Rouge and Ewan McGregor for introducing me to this song. Harmonically, kind of the opposite of "Smells" in that the chord progression is not very repetitive, as pop songs go. Also the original version is very piano-centric - another contrast (by the way, I had a really good time using the distortion guitar sound on my new keyboard with "Smells"!). I don't have much else to say about this song right now.

"Georgia" ... compare and contrast with "New York State of Mind". Nostalgic place songs (though "Georgia" may have been written with Hoagy's sister in mind - thanks, wikipedia!). Notice the first few chords: I - III7 - vi ... (a common enough progression, I grant you). The first phrase of the melody centers around the third scale degree. That's about it, really. But it was something I noticed when I was working on "NYSOM" a few weeks ago, and I thought of it again tonight. Ray Charles was one of Billy Joel's musical heroes, and the songs remind me of each other. And they both have the word "mind" in the title. That must be it.

All right people, I have returned to the land of music theory geekery - clearly I am feeling better. Valentine's Day included brunch with five other strong, vibrant, fabulous women. Then some work, and then - oh! I forgot. I was supposed to take a dance class, but I was the only one who showed up (the class is small anyway because this teacher only started teaching recently, and I guess everyone either wants to be having sex or drinking on Valentine's, depending on their relationship status) ... so, since my dance teacher is in the throes of ending a decade-plus long relationship that makes my breakup look like a mild case of the sniffles, we went for a drink and talked about boys instead. But first I played the cowbell and some salsa montunos with the drummers for a little while. Fun! I need to play with drummers more often.

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