Category Archives: Music Theory

some slippery chromatic harmony indeed:)

ok….ew…. (juicy and delicious harmony I do say)

cminor… arpeggiate (HEY, facebook says that is spelled incorrectly. it ain’t.) (perhaps I’m wrong…)
c minor (more like a low C, without any other notes, in what”sounds” like a minor context…)
, arpeggiate the bassline up C Eb F# then Ab… the melody DOWN Eb—–C—— (at same time.

so it’s c minor, then C diminished, then it adds an Ab,,,, making it sorta Ab 7…sorta…(it’s real sus-y.)
c# diminished, into d Half-diminished, D F A C, resolving, as if it were a V chord ( a diminished one) up a perfect 4th to
G Major, with B in the bass, First Inversion….

repeat down a half step….

b minor, into b dim, into G 7, soooorta,
to c diminished, into C# half-dimished, then, as if it’s a diminished FIVE chord, (yes, “lol”) move it up a perfect fourth to F# Major, over a A#, first inversion….

guess what this is….
I didn’t write it.
guess what it is…

It’s Wagner, from Gotterdammerung,

the WALTRAUTE scene, from Act I.


5:26 on the 19th track of the opera, in the middle of the Waltaute Scene, as Waltraute explains to her sister Brunnhilde the dire situation at Valhalla.


Wo, didn’t realize I was kinda a drill-sergeant

wo… weird…
thought I just had:

when it comes to MY teaching, I just thought almost instantly of many examples where, when “I” teach, the following notion is true:

“It’s not my job to make you feel good.
It Is my job to make you do what you DO good (being play music in my case.)”

(you can argue that there is nothing too wrong about making students feel good, indeed.)   just saying.

some music theory of the rhythmic variety

somehow tonight while playing music with some friends I managed to find myself playing

7 notes to the dotted quarter note, in 5/4.
meaning, when the guy playing in 5/4 (it was actually 5/16 (4 bars) against quarter notes (five of them of course)
meaning I played 14 notes every three quarter notes, so

YEAH, when the guy playing in 5/4 had played 3 bars, 15 quarter notes, 60 16th notes…
I had played 70 notes in the same space.

SIX AGAINST SEVEN, i.e, 3 against 3 and a half

fuck yeah

sometimes I like the raw material…

sometimes I happen to like the raw materials of something (jazz, funk, my favorite harmonies of choice, etc.)

so in those cases, I don’t “mind” if what is “done with” them, FORM-wise, is TYPICAL, cause I like the material that is actually being used. (think of a guy who likes meatloaf (not me) who doesn’t care in what form meatloaf is presented in, nor how much, for it’s meatloaf and meatloaf is his thing.)

I’m trying to say two different things here… something tells me this is going to come across as rather incoherent… here goes.

other times,
I dislike very much the FORM, the way something is PRESENTED… it’s IMAGE, too.
I dislike it as ARBITRARY, and “kinda uncool and uninteresting.”

yes, raw materials liked by me could help this situation, but here’s another idea:

*I typed the end of this, anticipating what I’d say…. then came back and- can’t get my thoughts organized, and now they involve using “lower” (what’s lower?) art forms IN “higher ones” (what are “higher” ones, and could there BE a more “white/western-centric approach to ANYTHING…?

to be continued after I think about it

the end:

thus I agree with Beethoven from the end, which if I remember correctly (I do, and Thanks DR. RUBIO)
“CONTENT DETERMINES FORM.” (at least more so than it once did.

to do otherwise, is to agree with “no child left behind” and any other one-size-fits-all JIVE ASS CONFORMIST approach, which

it’s getting late.
we really need to do what the hell we want.
when we’re gone…. we won’t want anything no more, nor be able to do it.

let’s GO! let’s GO!!!!!

not caring about being understood, when-

when caring about being understood, indeed, when being understood, is less important than learning your craft.

I mean, think of a baby, or a child, or a creative adult or something.

a child isn’t concerned with whether anyone will care what it’s doing when it drops, say, a spoon.  it’s interested in GRAVITY and HOW IT WORKS, and the results of it’s actions, not others.


-about music, and compromising and doing things in good enough ways, rather than the HONEST kind, where “I” am EXPERIMENTING, and LEARNING what doesn’t work and WHY….

why would I care to make things allegedly easy for typical people to understand?
why not indulge my curiosity and fancy?
if I cared about that, I’d just write boring block chords instead of TRYING things, to SEE what HAPPENS.

most uncreative, simply obedient.

why be that way?

I shall not, and am not.

(this was specifically about composing, music at that, and that there have been times when I have written chords “my” way, not the conventional way, or have orchestrated things in a way that seems interesting TO ME< NOW, and not in some “accepted” way.

I mean, really, why should I care if others “approve” of what I’m doing?

“promotes the advancement of inferior tones”

so I just read in a Schoenberg book, on page 6, (I read such books very slowly, for when they end… the fun is gone, so of course, draw it out…)

the term

“promotes the advancement of INFERIOR TONES.”

that of course shows a bias not unbefitting classical harmony of the olden days,
a bias towards things making “sense” in the old sense, and in traditional hierarchies, sort of like gender roles, or any other system of judging people’s worth by how they compare to “some other” people, or worse, how well they “conform” to some “system.”

fyi, fuck such things.


MY POINT is the following thought, is my reaction to that quote from Schoenberg, WHICH IS:

regarding the advancement of inferior tones, or superior ones, or even the labeling of tones as superior or inferior,

on the notion whether advancing an inferior tone is some kind of bad thing unless done in a certain context…(grrr, my anger is barely beneath the surface, for many reasons…)

“That Depends,
on whether you wish to
1. submit to the system, defining yourself by it
2. work within the system, albeit a bit less subserviently than option #1
3. gradually move to change the system, or
4. DESTROY IT, or, at least,

this reminds me of a quote, I think….. no, just a saying, from some book, which said that debate on the following subject had raged since “EMMERSON.”, R.W. (off hand, don’t even know without google when he was…)
something like:
“what do artists owe society, and what does our society owe artists?

that’s not the quote, only sorta…


I’m partial to options 4 and 4a, myself.

firstreactions/Structural Functions/Schoenberg

-FIRST SENTENCE of Schoenberg’s Structural Functions of Harmony AND I QUOTE:“A triad standing alone is indefinite it it’s harmonic meaning”

we had a discussion once, in which “I” thought that c minor, could be ANYTHING of ANYTHING… and he thought it was more powerful AS the opening chord of, say, Beethoven Piano Sonata Pathetiqe, C minor, #8.

First page of this book also shows not one but FIVE Examples from WAGNER, INCLUDING the very “POWER OF THE RING” motif…. DANG.

he says:

a succession (of chords) is aimless, a progression has a specific goal in mind.

I have taught about this in my classes, with the instinctual aim of liberating “successions” from the judgement of negativity due to not BEING progressions.

the last Leitmotif in Gotterdammerung…

! is “The Redemption Motif”
the LAST ONE, in Gotterdammerung, in The Ring?

though I’ve always considered that penultimate “IV iv” 
DURING said motif, seconds from the end, to be just that, a IV, to a iv, (to the I of course soon)
is it not in fact one of those insidious ring-related motifs, perchance that of
“The Power of The Ring”????

relations of four chords a minor third apart are

-MY how cool the relations of the four chords a minor third apart are…

surely it’s just coincidence, somehow.

HOW LONG have composers made use of these?

Alan Silvestri and John Williams both did, (back to the future, star wars,) but fuck me, who else did?  and not just two major keys a minor 3rd apart, but three or four, preferable those such as