rolling-stones

4 for IV: Introduction

Rock musicians just can’t resist a plagal progression, and I think I know why.   Perhaps it’s part of their nonconformist nature. Classical/concert and rock/pop music share more in common than most people from either side would be willing to admit, and whether it is done consciously or subconsciously, rock music contains several of concert music’s established traditions regarding melody, rhythm, and other musical elements. There are obvious differences, particularly regarding timbre and orchestration, but one of the more subtle points of departure between the genres is their approach to the chord built on the fourth scale degree of the given key (consisting of scale degrees 4, 6, and 1), which will be referred to hence forth as a IV chord (traditionally, diatonic triads are referred to by Roman Numerals, using upper case for major chords and lower case for minor).   In classical music, the IV chord is, outside of the tonic (I) chord, the most versatile diatonic harmony, but it is most frequently used as a predominant chord. A predominant chord, as its name would imply, introduces dominant (built on scale degree 5; a V chord) harmony. However, the IV chord is used less commonly as a predominant more »

Dylan

Forever Young: The Shocking Power of Bob Dylan’s Live Vocal Performance

I had been looking forward to this past Friday night ever since my birthday nearly a month ago.  My wife got me a ticket to see the Chicago performance of the Americanarama tour, which is the heavily touted nation-wide tour that features My Morning Jacket, Wilco, and, of course, Bob Dylan.  I had never seen MMJ before, but I own all their studio albums, and I’ve heard they put on an amazing live show.  Wilco is one of my favorite bands, and although I have seen them live, I was excited to get to see them again.  Both groups easily lived up to expectations, and add in a blistering 30-minute opening set by The Richard Thompson Electric Trio, and you already had a memorable evening. As is so often the case, Dylan was another story.  I had also never seen him live, but my path to his music was less direct than it was with the former two.  It took me awhile to open up to his music, but you don’t go through life as my father’s son without at least developing an appreciation for Dylan’s music.  I have come to thoroughly enjoy Dylan, and I certainly have a profound more »