Blue-Bird, Valerie Capers 2001

I’ve been working thru Portraits in Jazz by Valerie Capers at work, and decided that Blue-Bird, which I played recently, had a chord progression that would be fun to describe with Functional Analysis. Here’s a Recording The notes from the composer describe this piece as a chromatic blues in bebop style, and Theme and Variations…

In the Springtime, Betty Jackson King 1976

Today’s analysis is a song by Betty Jackson King, “In the Springtime.” Here’s a recording. I have performed this piece as the pianist a couple months ago, and I am also working on the vocal part. This song definitely evokes an older style than 1976 for me; I think that the Shakespearean text with generic…

Night, Florence Price 1946

Continuing in music I’ve been practicing (both voice and piano in this case). Below is a youtube video of a performance, and the score is available for purchase here. (I will be showing chunks of the score that I engraved so that I could change the key, so the music font will be different than…

Killing in the Name Analysis

CW for the lyrics; swears, allusions to police violence The next video in the chronological random grab bag of songs I want to analyze is Killing in the Name, by Rage Against The Machine.* This song is originally from the early 1990s (I saw 1991), but the message is unfortunately still relevant. In hopes of…

Satin Doll Analysis

*Disclaimer: Schenker was a terrible human. For people who might not know, I was influenced by Schenkerian Analysis in that I like see how chord structures might be more or less surface level or used prolongationally, but I don’t have any kind of insistence on a certain background structure, I don’t really look at melodic…

Heu me domine, Lusitano

This motet was published in an appendix to a Music Theory treatise in 1553.* It is for 4 singers. The text is included at the end of the post. You can read a bit about the composer, and listen to it here. Like I said last week in my post, I did this analysis predominantly…

New Analysis Project

Musical analysis is something we do when we want to understand music better, whether for appreciation or learning to perform or emulate a certain piece or composer. Western Music Theory has long disregarded music that doesn’t fit inside its predetermined box. I grew up in this environment and studied primarily pitch analysis, specifically chord analysis.…

Writing updates

In the past I’ve gone thru cycles where I either wrote music or wrote words, but not on average, both. For awhile, I wasn’t really doing either, just trying to get established after moving, finding jobs that might be even remotely related to my specialties. So, I haven’t been writing about Theory or Analysis, but…

Elements of Music

I realized recently that most of my writing is aimed at people who are interested in reading music, or might have some reference to enter into music theory that way. However, many people are interested in talking about music intelligently that may not have time or resources to devote to learning to read, play an…

Rondo Form

Rondo is a type of musical form that is super flexible. Its identifying feature is a recurring melody section that returns multiple times, interspersed with contrasting sections. Sections are usually given a letter to represent them, so some common examples are identified as ABACA, ABACABA, and ABACADA. This can go on for quite a bit,…