Off Key (music theory content)

Ruth Vadi ruth_vadi@HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Jul 28 11:22:25 EDT 1997

>)..)but isn't much of the "modern art" of such greats as Picaso =
>describable as just this type of disharmony? In poetry, how about the =
>whole stream of conscience school and it's intentional disassociation?
>or a rose is a rose.. is a rose..
>While I realize that this is not a part of an accepted musical form
such =
>as the Blues, we might see just such an evolution of a new musical =
>genre.. harmonious disharmony if you will.. I seem to recall that much
>of early rock was described this way.. In fact some heavy metal, =
>headbanger and Rap seems to fall into this category..=20
>BTW I am not referring to accidental off key such as Albert Collins was
>apparently guilty of, but an intentional discacophony (sp) with it's =
>unsettling effect, for that effect.. Have you ever noticed how the =
>tuning up of an orchestra seems to grab the attention of the audience =
>and settle them in for the actual show?
Yes, Bill, music is full of tension creation and resolution.
That's exactly what the I-IV-V chord progression in blues is all about.
Maybe this is a good time to explain a little music theory.  "Pride and
Joy" is in E, which is the I (one) chord.  Songs usually start and
always end on the I chord of the key in which they're played.  B is the
V (five) chord in the key of E because it is the fifth note of the E
scale.  In "Pride and Joy", at the end of each verse, right before
Stevie goes back to the beginning of the verse, there are two chords.
The first one is a C7, then he slides down to a B7. If you didn't put
the B7 in after the C7, it would sound like something was missing.  The
C7 chord is the tension-creater, and the B7 is the resolution to the
tension.  When the verse starts over he goes back to the E (I) chord
again, so the E resolves the B7 chord, also known as the "turnaround" in
blues.  If you didn't start the verse over or end it on an E somehow, it
would sound unfinished.  It's like the end of "Shave and a Haircut." It
is almost impossible to sing "shave and a haircut" without adding "two
bits" at the end.  "Shave and a haircut" is the tension-builder, and
"two bits" is the resolution.  A 13-chord is quite dissonant and has to
be resolved.  I have never heard an entire song made up of only
13-chords but I bet it would sound strange.  13-chords are mostly used
in jazz but are also used sparingly in blues.

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