How I Hear It – Beethoven & Van Halen


My Nashville trip has been eventful and much longer than expected.  My one week has turned into three.  I need to get back north and as tempting as it is, I won’t quote or paraphrase Paul McCartney and “Get Back.”

When I was learning classical music, and classical music theory (known to many as simply, “music theory”), what helped was comparing classical music to what I knew much better and made more sense to me, namely, rock music or pop music.  The more I learned about music and different styles of music, the more I explored and then compared classical with those other styles  –  first soul/Motown, then jazz, folk, blues, country, world music (although I had been hearing that earlier without knowing I was hearing world music) and eventually hip hop, trip hop, acid jazz and anything else with or without a name.

When I listen to music, it usually reminds me of other music.  When I first heard Van Halen When It’s Loveit reminded me of the opening of the first movement of Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 (as well as a few other rock and country songs).  That is because they share the same somewhat unusual (for rock and pop) chord progression.  There are four (4) chords heard clearly in both, although in Van Halen, the chord progression is heard twelve (12) times, whereas in Beethoven, it is heard only three (3) times.  This chord progression is based on four (4) bass notes from the major scale – the 1st pitch followed by the 5th, followed by the 3rd, followed by the 4th:  1   5   3   4.  Three of these four bass notes are the roots of the chords:  1    5    and 4.  The “3” is the 3rd of the “I chord.”  This chord, therefore, does not have its root as the lowest sounding note in the chord.  It is an “inverted” chord, and there are are far fewer inverted chords in rock and popular music than in classical music.  The somewhat-unusual-for-rock chord progression is  I   V   I6   IV  (pronounced, “One.  Five.  One six.  Four.”)

Van Halen  –  When It’s Love

That     I   V   I6   IV   progression is heard four (4) times at the opening and eight (8) times near the ending of When It’s Love:

I N S T R U M E N T A L     A T      O P E N I N G:

0.00 – 0.09

0.10 – 0.18

0.19 – 0.28

0.29 – 0.38

N E A R    T H E     E N D    O F     T H E    S O N G:

4.02 – 4.10

4.11 – 4.20

4.21 – 4.30

4.31 – 4.39

4.40 – 4.49

4.50 – 4.59

5.00 – 5.08

5.09 – 5.19


The majority of Classical music is not as repetitive, in terms of a singular repeated chord progression, as popular and/or country music.  But the    I   V   I6   IV   progression is heard at the outset of the first movement of Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4.

Beethoven  –  Piano Concerto No. 4, Mvt. I

S O L O    P I A N O:

0.42 – 0.48

O R C H E S T R A    (without piano):

1.00 – 1.08

P I A N O     &    O R C H E S T R A:

11.43 – 11.51

Do these sections from Van Halen and Beethoven sound similar?  They are identical in terms of harmony and bass melody, and chord progression.  This intrigues me but probably very few other people, and I was even warned not to write this post.  Oh well.  I did.  I will not write posts like this often but I love the idea of parallels between music that at the surface should have little in common and I believe that hearing these parallels leads to a better understanding and appreciation of music.  I intentionally avoided explaining the elementary music theory and music theory terms and nouns above because I do not think an understanding of music theory is necessary to hear these specific parallels between Beethoven and Van Halen, and the education/explanation would take too long for a single post.

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Here is the full orchestral score of Beethoven – Piano Concerto No. 4, Op. 58.  Thrillingly to me and sadly to some, the printed musical scores Beethoven composed can be copied for free, i.e., they are in the public domain – one does not need to ask the copyright owner permission to use this music because the copyright term has ended.  No one gets paid when one downloads the scores to these excellent compositions.

One of my favorite and most used music website is IMSLP – the Petrucci Music Library.  It should be the first place one visits to study and download music.  (I intentionally left out some details in that last sentence.)

A slew of bagpipes playing tangos in a forest – My Favorite Tangos (Part 1)

I’m loving my vacation in Nashville – my first Christmas not in Massachusetts.  It’s been great to catch up with friends and former students (from here and New Jersey), hike Radnor Lake, see the new stuff in Nashville and launch into some business.  All of my business is also fun, so I keep on “fun-ing,” as Sheriff Andy Taylor once said.

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A question to which I often return  –  what is tango?  Should the question be, “What is a tango?   Is tango a dance?  Is tango music?  Is tango both music and dance?  To me tango is music and the accompanying dance.  To others I’m sure the idea of an “accompanying” dance, meaning the visual subservient to the aural, is offensive.  Music is meant for many as something to accompany dance.  For me it’s music – the invisible art form that grabbed and OCCUPIED me as a child  –  first.  Other stuff – film, video, TV, advertising, ballet, dance, opera, musicals, etc. – is often secondary and there to serve music.  I’ll more often stick with what I think is this contrarian view  –  let the invisible (music) rule and let us serve her/him/it/them.

And as a musician who likes tango but is not an expert in tango, a simple rhythmic figure that tells me, “this is tango,” comes to mind.  When I hear a specific rhythmic pattern that repeats, I think “tango.”  To do a disservice to tango and a deep explanation, the pattern takes place over four (4) beats, numbered, 1, 2, 3, 4.

T A N G O   is  not:

1                2                3                4                1                2                3                4

T A N G O  can be this:

1                2   and    3                4                1                2   and    3                4

T A N G O  can be this:

1                2   and    3                4   and     1                2   and    3                4   and

T A N G O  can be this:

1                2                3                4   and    1                2                3                4   and

And here is an explanation from Howcast of how to (dance) tango.  It states that the tango pattern is

1                2                3   and         4   

Here is a collection of tangos – sort of a HOW TO / HERE THEY ARE collection of tango.

For me, this   –

1                2                3                4   and  1      

 is my favorite tango and the repeated rhythmic figure which I first associate with tango.  I think there are not many examples of tango in rock (music).

Three (3) of my favorite tangos in rock are:

The Beatles  –  Ticket To Ride

The Doors  –  Moonlight Drive

The Police  –  Roxanne

At a future point, I will delve further into more of my favorite tangos (maybe an annotated list with links) and a discussion of that massive tango collection linked to above.  I’d also like to explore the effects of tempo/speed, as well as instrumentation and loudness on our definition and perception of tango.  For example

if a slew of bagpipes play tangos in a forest and no one hears them, is it still a tango?

Other favorite tangos of mine were recorded by Astor Piazzola, Gato Barbieri, Sting (in addition to “Roxanne”), The Doors (in addition to “Moonlight Drive”) and Burt Bacharach.

What are your favorite tangos?  Your favorite tangos in rock?  Are there examples of tango in country?  Jazz?  Urban?  Soul?  (Is there still “soul?”)  R & B?

I hope you enjoy the first Sunday in 2013  —–

E. Michael

Big Butter & Egg Man, Banana in Your Fruit Basket, Grinding Mill and other carnal songs


I should’ve been shocked but, post-Tea Party, was only mildly surprised to read that in 2013 a Utah school district canceled an upcoming high school performance of “All Shook Up,” a musical that features the music of Elvis Presley.  Elvis The Pelvis was controversial in the mid-1950’s and it seems that some parents in Utah want to keep that shock and controversy alive.  Elvis has the power to still cause hate and fear for anything biological that he might represent or arouse.  These concerned conservatives have succeeded at stopping this immoral, raunchy musical/spectacle  –  surely Utah is cleaner for their actions.  To me this is reminiscent of Tipper Gore’s Parent Music Resource Center back in the 1980’s, but this new Utah group seems more reactionary and antiquated.

There are so many other better targets, I feel, that these conservatives have overlooked, and I’d like to offer a few more songs for their excruciated listening and study pleasure.  These activists should strive to rip out the roots that caused the Elvis problem to grow and yield the frightening crop and moral decay of contemporary society.  (I think Aristotle also blamed bad music for the moral decay of his time.)  Who could listen to Elvis and then want to lead a chaste life and lifestyle?  If these parents work together perhaps they can get millions more to stop singing about sex.

Here are some songs I recommend they pursue.  Somehow these songs are still available for listening and purchasing pleasure (deviance) in 2013.  I hope Puritans and Talibanistas everywhere will labor to learn more music and discover the world of metaphors.  Perhaps they’ll be able to have these and more carnal songs squashed.

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“I want a butter and egg man. Won’t some great big butter and egg man want me?”

Why does this woman sing so emphatically about wanting a man who possesses BIG BUTTER and EGGS?  Is she headed down a dangerous dairy path?  With all that is known in 2013 about a diet high in cholesterol, this song might already be maiming young minds but could the butter and eggs be representative of something more than food?  Is this a tongue-in-cheek metaphor?

Louis Armstrong  –  Big Butter and Egg Man

Memphis Minnie talks to Kansas Joe McCoy about the broken down mill….

“Can’t get no grindin’ tell me what’s the matter with the mill?”

And this was decades before Cialis.  If only this couple could have had our 2013 chemicals, that could have been one happy and functioning mill.

Memphis Minnie  –  What’s The Matter With The Mill

Why would someone write and sing a song about a pencil and its lead, and lack of lead?  Without lead, one can’t write.  Or is all of this pencil and lead talk metaphorical?

“I met a hot mama, I want to love her so bad

I left all the lead in my pencil I had

Now the lead’s all gone, oh the lead’s all gone

Oh the lead’s all gone, this pencil won’t write no more”

Sadly, the man also realizes that, You sure can tell when a man’s pencil is wrong, his mama’s always shiftin’ from home…”

Bo Carter  –  My Pencil Won’t Write No More

The Beatles recorded the John Lennon song, “Girl,” on their 1965 album, Rubber Soul.  Just what is John so forcefully inhaling five (5) tokes/times in the song, at 0.24 – 0.25, 0.54 – 0.56, 1.23 – 1.25, 1.53 – 1.55, and 2.23 – 2.25?  Marijuana?  And what are the Beatles singing at 1.01 – 1.20 ?  I think the lyric is “tit” stated 64 times (foreshadowing Paul’s song, “When I’m 64?”).  I don’t think the Beatles are engaged in metaphors in “Girl.”  This is young and direct.

“tit  tit  tit  tit      tit  tit  tit  tit      tit  tit  tit  tit      tit  tit  tit  tit

tit  tit  tit  tit      tit  tit  tit  tit      tit  tit  tit  tit      tit  tit  tit  tit     

tit  tit  tit  tit      tit  tit  tit  tit      tit  tit  tit  tit      tit  tit  tit  tit     

tit  tit  tit  tit      tit  tit  tit  tit      tit  tit  tit  tit      tit  tit  tit  tit”

That would make this seemingly innocent song, “Girl,” the ULTIMATE song about sex and drugs.  Or if not sex and drugs, a woman’s breast and the increasingly legal soft drug, pot-i-juana.

The Beatles  –  Girl

Finally, Bo Carter sings another song about his brand new skillet, burning his bread, and arranging to add his fruit, in particular, a banana, to her fruit basket.  Surely this song is only about cooking, dairy products and fruit arrangements.

“Now i got the dasher, my baby got the churn

We gonna churn, churn, churn until the butter come

Then I’m tellin’ you baby, I sure ain’t gonna deny,

Let me put my banana in your fruit basket, then I’ll be satisfied”

Bo Carter  –  Banana In Your Fruitbasket

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Wishing everyone a buttery, fruitful 2013    : )




Laugh, Wince & Wonder Why – Eduard Khil, Eric Idle, Barbara Boxer & Paula Abdul


I couldn’t bring myself to do one of those thoughtful, retrospective, introspective pieces about what took place in 2012  –  who died and the value of what they left behind, etc.  I like to read, view and hear those introspective, retrospective thoughtful year-end pieces but didn’t want to write my own. I thought, instead, to quickly find five (5) of my saved YouTube videos to view today, only one of which would be apropos to 2012.  The five (5) of these as a totality epitomize my day thus far.

The cloudy sky of the cover is as vague and indefinite as my December 31, 2012 and view of 2012.  The colors of the photo do not seem real  –  the place, time of season and day also seem as untrue and uncertain.

As for the following five (5) videos  –  they make me laugh, wince and wonder why.  I hope you’ll like them too and try to make them comport to your New Year’s Eve’s desire(s).  Only the first video, featuring Eduard Khil, is appropriate as a reminder of people who died in 2012 and left behind a legacy.  In the large list of great people who died this year  –

George McGovern, Daniel Inouye, Dave Brubeck, Ravi Shankar, Adam Yauch, Etta James, Robin Gibb, Jack Klugman, Andy Griffith, Sally Ride, Nora Ephron, Phyllis Diller and more  –

I never saw the name of Eduard Khil.  That is one of the reasons I had to include Mr. Khil here.  And as we like to say in Cambridge, “Я очень рад, ведь я, наконец, возвращаюсь домой.”

Now, to the uplifting audio and visual.

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This is the famous Eduard Khil performance which became one of the greatest Internet memes in 2009.  He seemed so happy by the success of this video  –  to me, Eduard and the video were quite heartwarming:

Eduard Khil  –  “I Am Glad, ‘Cause I’m Finally Returning Back Home”

This might be the story of Sonseed.  This is one of those famous-for-the-wrong-reason bands and memes.  Get down with your bad white-boy authentic reggae Christian self:

Sonseed  –  Jesus Is A Friend Of Mine

One can never get enough of The Rutles, a great, pre-Spinal Tap rockumentary.  I love the issues of parody, satire and copyright infringement that float throughout “The Rutles.”  The witticisms get even better when one studies the entire film and especially the cameo appearances in the film by particular Beatles, Rolling Stones and others:

The Rutles  –  I Must Be In Love

Barbara Boxer is deadly serious in this video. Paula Abdul is not.  Congratulations to the creator of this mashup:

Barbara Boxer & Paula Abdul duet  –  How About A Lot Of You Coming In?

“Always looks on the bright side of life.”  This is one of the most renowned happy endings to a mass crucifixion:

Eric Idle  –  Bright Side Of Life

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Just the audio and visual:

Eduard Khil  –  “I Am Glad, ‘Cause I’m Finally Returning Back Home”

Sonseed  –  Jesus Is A Friend Of Mine

The Rutles  –  I Must Be In Love

Barbara Boxer & Paula Abdul duet  –  How About A Lot Of You Coming In?

Eric Idle  –  Bright Side Of Life

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Wishing you a great 2013!

The Russian Monster Fill, Bath Bombs, Tervis, Twitter + the letter “B”


Having fun here in Nashville.  Fun party two nights ago with great friends and one of my best friends who also doubles as one of the music legends in Nashville and the USA.  If you missed that last link, here it is again.  Listen to Bill Pursell Rachmaninov Marty Robbins.  I just used “Rachmaninov” as a powerful and intrusive verb to describe what Bill does to Marty Robbins’s straightforward 3-chord country song, “Take Me Back To Tulsa” (by means of his sextuplet laced Russian monster fill).

Started out the morning at a coffee shop – the Frothy Monkey.  Then to do some business and the business for a friend.  That was fun as it took us inside the magnificent Schermerhorn Symphony Center in downtown Nashville, one of the best halls acoustically anywhere.  (I had the great opportunity to hear Peter Serkin perform Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, and a few weeks later at Schermerhorn –  Schermerhorn is a much better venue).  We made an embarrassing 7-8 minute video, starting onstage and then progressing/regressing through some backstage fancy rooms.  Fancy fancy.  I should link or upload the video to this blog but not if good sense and adequate judgment prevails.

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Last night I learned about bath bombs and Tervis shakers.  The bath bombs excited my excessively girly girly friend, while the Tervis shaker we found at Bed, Bath & Beyond in mall-infested Williamson County, was a Patriots shaker.  I’ll now be able to make my Irish versions of caipirinhas here in Middle Tennessee using my new New England Patriots Tervis shaker.

Back to these are a few of my favorite Twitter things.  When the dog bites, when the bee stings.  I’m still stuck on that Mary Poppins’ song.  This time  – the letter “B.”

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Dr. E. Michael Harrington



My Favorite Twitter Accounts:   The letter “B”

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Good tweets but I’d rather they get more stiff, uptight and British.  Must BBC6 Music News like “gossip?”  Huh?  “Your music news fix, including exclusive interviews with all the big names, the latest gig news, behind the scenes insights, festival updates and gossip.”


Insightful technology writer for Huffington Post.  I’m on her Vibrate My iPhone 5 Now list and always look forward to her articles.  And she had the wisdom to interview me once.


Beatallica started as a concept – “what if Metallica were a Beatles cover band?”  That was brilliant and so was the manifestation of what Beatallica does  –  a brilliant parody/mashup of both groups but performed live.  I became good friends with Beatallica in my role as their expert witness.


“The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University – exploring cyberspace, sharing in its study, and helping to pioneer its development.”  What’s not to love about that mission statement?


Bethany Simpson is “LA Media Director with equal interest in creativity and logic.”  And she follows me on Twitter and is a joy to read.


They count, quantize and know what’s what and who’s who on P2P networks.


Big Gay Ice Cream is how to

1. run an ice cream truck (trust me – I spent 3 summers as an ice cream man)

2. do gourmet ice cream

3. travel to great neighborhoods in Manhattan (what isn’t a great neighborhood in Manhattan?)

4. interact with the public by means of Twitter

5. be gay


If you have that music/music industry affliction, you have to pay some attention to Billboard and its Twitter accounts.  Damn shame when that happens.  : )


I’ll write it again:  If you have that music/music industry affliction, you have to pay some attention to Billboard and its Twitter accounts.  Damn shame when that happens.  : )


The 3rd time is the charm:  If you have that music/music industry affliction, you have to pay some attention to Billboard and its Twitter accounts.  Damn shame when that happens.  : )


Boing Boing is wicked cool –  always featuring things you didn’t know you’d love to know.  Today’s top two (2) headlines:  “Porcupine Bites Skier” and “Malls Are Dying.”  (I’m sorry to hear about the skier, but I hope the mall story is true.)


The Boston Symphony Orchestra is the world’s best orchestra.  Calm down you Chicago and Berlin types.  You’re great too but….  Where was it I grew up?  Chicago?  Berlin?  No, Cambridge and Framingham.  The Boston Symphony Orchestra was our hometown team.  Ergo, we win.


Brad Paisley is an extremely-talented songwriter, guitarist, musician (usually different than the other nouns I’ve provided in this sentence), singer, lyricist.  And he does Twitter very well.  Exceedingly well.  (I’d guess that this is the first time in my world that I’ve used the word, “exceedingly.”)


From his Twitter account:  “Digital Librarian.”  Kahle is just a digital librarian in the same way that Gonzalo Rubalcaba is just a pianist.  


“Webinars and video for professionals and their communities.”  I especially like them because I was one of their one-hour webinars.  (E. Michael Harrington at BrightTALK, June 9, 2009)


“The latest business news and analysis.”  Business Insider is always a great read.  Even if you have no interest in business, you will enjoy BusinessInsider.

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As always, I welcome your feedback on best Twitter accounts, as well as recommendations/suggestions for music, tech, law, communication and business ideas.


Wish Lantern on Love Circle, Newtown & Sandy Hook, Merry Christmas, Kill City Space Ship & Invasions are Not Just For Aliens Anymore


Wish Lantern on Love Circle, Newtown & Sandy Hook, Kill City Space Ship

and Invasions are Not Just For Aliens Anymore

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I got impulsive and chose to come to Nashville for Christmas.  It is my first Christmas ever in Nashville.  All of the others were in Massachusetts.  It’s great to be back here with friends although it’s not like Christmases I’ve known.

I had a surprising and enriching Christmas Eve last night with close friends and then went out to The Stone Fox in Nashville.  At 3 AM or so, we went to the beautiful hilltop with a great view – Love Circle in Nashville  – to light off a wish lantern.

I left Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester MA at 2 PM (it was a late decision, obviously) on Saturday and drove southwest on Rt. 128, past two malls in Peabody MA.  Rt. 128 had traffic backups for miles in both because of Christmas shoppers and the entire state was too crowded.  I had to even avoid the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) because of congestion.  I reached Pizzeria Uno near the Connecticut-Massachusetts border in Sturbridge MA by 5 PM – nightmarish driving conditions for a traffic-phobe like I.

I then drove to a friend’s house in New Jersey, but first with a stop in Newtown and Sandy Hook, CT.  Newtown CT has always been one of my favorite little towns.  I’ve driven through it hundreds of times in the past 30 years as it is a picture postcard perfect little town – hilly, tranquil, scenic, and light years removed from the noise of any metro area.  This is a somewhat accurate representation of Newtown and western CT.  The only way to make it more Newtown-ish would be to make the commercial’s accompanying music more like Charles Ives “Concord Sonata – Mvt. III “The Alcotts” (even if the Concord Sonata is about Concord, Massachusetts).  Newtown is away from I-84 and a great alternative to interstate driving for a few miles.  But two nights ago was much different.  It is now crowded with media and attention.  I can’t describe how it felt  –  very sad. It would be hard to explain all of the feelings I had, and would take too many words.  A cliche comes to mind  –  make sure you appreciate what you have and let the people you love know that you love them.  That works especially well at Christmas time too.

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I was honored to have music and video composed to honor my 40th blog post.  Quite unexpected but really cool.  It is the work of Kill City Spaceship and is entitled Mike’s Fortieth Blog.  This music was composed based on the great E G# C F# A opening chord of the Beatles’ song, “All I’ve Got To Do.”   Kill City Spaceship informed me that the music composed to honor my blog post was based on that E 11 #5 chord and its four (4) inversions.  Composing a work based on a musical motif, which involves compositional technique and development, is too often unknown to the general public, and foreign to the world of pop songwriting.  But just as musical styles can overlap, so too shouldn’t theories of music and composition. More on those rich subjects later…

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Merry Christmas, love, peace and joy to everyone!

Best Chord Ever – Part 1 – The Beatles “All I’ve Got To Do”

I have revised this post by adding many more links to recordings found on YouTube (the Beatles’ “personal pronouns period” songs), definitions from and Wikipedia, and links to if one is interested in purchasing The Beatles’ With The Beatles or Weather Report’s  I Sing The Body Electric.

This is the rainy Tuesday morning (December 18, 2012) in Gloucester after the New York Jets self-destructed on national television last night.  It is also the 40th blog post at  One way to celebrate would be to show a video someone made of me composing at the piano.  There will be a video below that will emphasize what I want to discuss today.  The  best chord ever.  At least for today, this is the best chord ever.

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I love chords.  I’ve often composed at a piano by playing one chord, isolating it and thinking about where the sounding pitches want to go next, and then maybe writing the new chord that resolves the pitches from the first chord.  The first chord was a commanding boss that demanded to have its way.  The second chord, in the scenario I am describing, is a slave – it has no choice but to be and do as the first chord demands.

Or repeating or rearticulating my first chord.  Maybe the first chord wants to just linger and eventually fade away.  If it was really good, maybe it’s time to repeat it.  Or maybe it’s time for a series of chords led by this great chord.  The intervals in the chord can be unfolded and turned into melody, and maybe this melody will be harmonized by this chord or subsequent transpositions of this chord.  This type of composing can lead to countless areas and new musical expression.

In this post, I’m considering a chord one only hears in one context  –  in one particular song.  Without this chord, the song wouldn’t be as good.  But this great chord doesn’t fit in its context.

Listen to the first sounds, i.e., the first chord, in this Beatles song:

Beatles – All I’ve Got To Do

The chord has no business being here.  Or in any pop song.  Could this chord be heard in jazz?  I don’t think Ornette Coleman would use this chord.  I don’t think Thelonious Monk would have either.  Cecil Taylor?  Maybe Cecil Taylor would use it.  Early Weather Report?  Yes, maybe.   I could imagine this chord/hear this chord in Vertical Invader from side 2, song 1 of Weather Report’s second album, I Sing The Body Electric.   The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Eminem and Kanye – nope, they wouldn’t use it.  The Beatles used it.  Once and only once.  The chord is used only at the opening.  Never again in any Beatles song.  Not in outtakes, bootlegs.  Nowhere.  Damn.  Or as Miles Davis would have said, “DAY-UHM.”

So, here is one of the best chords ever.  You hear it arpeggiated at the opening.

It is solo guitar  –

no singing

no bass

no drums

no keyboards

Only guitar playing this mystical chord:

Beatles – All I’ve Got To Do

The chord consists of these five (5) notes:

 E  G#  C  F#  A

The Beatles used this most advanced, dissonant and mystical chord only once and only here on their second album.  This was during their personal pronoun period.  The early Beatles’ song titles were filled with personal pronouns –

From Me To You

She Loves Me

And I Love Her

Love Me Do

All My Loving

Please Please Me

P. S. I Love You, etc.

Their lyrics too were very simple.  So, why with all of this simplicity and direct boy-girl expression, did they use this complex  chord?  The chord does not reappear in All I’ve Got To Do, the With The Beatles album, or any subsequent Beatles song or album.

Does this chord appear anywhere else, i.e., in any songs?  I’ve never done a search for it.  I think I would be searching for a very long time for this chord.

My point of this post  –  this is a GREAT CHORD.  It’s so striking and unusual.  It adds a lot to this song even if it is only used once – actually, once in the Beatles’ lifetimes.  As a little kid when I first heard All I’ve Got To Do, I thought the chord was scary.  As I got older it became mysterious, or in Boston speak, wicked cool.  What do you think of this chord?

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Don’t read this section  –  (jump down to the final sentence).  It is the most music theory I’ve delved into yet in these forty (40) blog posts.

I made sure to avoid naming this chord.  This chord can have a few names  –  it can be…

E 11 #5  (pronounced “E eleven sharp five”) – this is probably the most acceptable name of names.  (To be literally correct, the pitch “C” should be re-spelled as a B#, pronounced B sharp, but most non-Western Classical musicians would rather see, hear, think and speak “C” than “B#.”)

F# min 9 b5 in 3rd inversion (pronounced F sharp minor nine flat five in third inversion) – a very foolish name but accurate description.

An F# min 9 b5 in 3rd inversion would also be an F# half diminished 7 with an added Major 9, again in 3rd inversion.  Again, a foolish name but accurate description.

This chord  is also the verticalization of the upper tetrachord of the A melodic minor ascending scale functioning as a dominant in A minor with the added 3rd from its resolution to an A minor chord.  Blah blah.

In pitch-class set theory, the chord is the pitch class set, 0 2 4 5 8.  Its most compact arrangement is:  E F# G# A C, which really spells out the upper tetrachord of the A melodic minor scale with an an added natural 3 of the A minor scale.  (I hope you didn’t read this section.)

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I want to explore other “best chords ever” in the future.  Do you have any best chords ever/favorite chords?

I Had Almost Given Up On You – This Chord Didn’t Want To Change (Part 1), 14-Style Bliss


file0001884539324It’s December 14, 2012.  Friday, the 14th.  Not Friday the 13th and not 12/12/12/ or 12-12-12.  But there is still some symmetry to today’s date:

12 – 14 – 12

But by that way of thinking – with the month as 12 and the year as 12 (not 2012) – there are 31 days of this nice symmetry, a fact I’ll ignore after this sentence ends.  Except to sarcastically say (write) that today is probably a great day to get married or give birth and I wish those people a lot of 14-style bliss.

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The title of this post, I Had Almost Given Up On You – This Chord Didn’t Want To Change, came to me a few minutes ago.  I was at a deposition once for the Expert from the opposing side.  She/He was talking too much (that’s always fun as too many words can get one in trouble – just look at the trouble I could cause myself  – the Expert who types/spouts/rants/posts too much!).  Back to our story….  In a very long ramble, the Expert went way beyond simply answering the question – she/he stated that it is unusual for a chord to last more than 8 measures/8 bars and that in one of her/his cases she/he looked “far and wide” for songs that featured chords this lengthy.

My immediate reaction was —-  do you listen to music?  There are a lot of songs, and famous songs, that stay on one chord for long times, more than 8-meaures even.  And there are great songs that have only one (1) chord.  (If a song has only one chord, it can be considered “chord-less.”  I’ve gotten into this before in other posts, so I’ll refrain from developing this discussion.)

Back at the deposition, these songs, that feature extended time on only one chord, came to my mind IMMEDIATELY that day.  And then many more songs came to mind.  This isn’t something for which a musicologist should need to search “far and wide.”

What follows are the songs that first came to my mind that feature significant static harmony.  What are your favorites?  (And let’s keep musical styles/worlds that do not have harmony, such as Indian classical music, out of the discussion as that could be considered, “cheating.”)

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One of the most famous songs that stays on one chord for a long time is the first and only song I know responsible for the name of a great band and a magazine.

Muddy Waters  –  Rollin’ Stone  (1st new chord occurs @ 2.05)

The Doors created one of those “must-know” ubiquitous guitar riffs with the opening of “Roadhouse Blues.” This guitar riff and song open the album, Morrison Hotel.  Morrison Hotel is the origin of the famous name, “Hard Rock Cafe.”

Doors  –  Roadhouse Blues  (1st new chord occurs @ 1.19)

One of Hendrix’ best known songs and longest recorded jams featured Steve Winwood on organ.  This is from Electric Ladyland.

Jimi Hendrix  –  Voodoo Chile  (1st new chord occurs @ 2.52)

A shorter blues, also from Hendrix’ Electric Ladyland.  This is the album where Hendrix demonstrated his great knowledge and love of the blues, and especially Chess Records blues.

Jimi Hendrix  –  Voodoo Child (Slight Return)  (1st new chord occurs @ 1.43)

Not a great Steppenwolf song, ironically, because it needed to change chords sooner.

Steppenwolf  –  Sookie, Sookie  (0.06-0.56 features only one chord)

Because it is Little Walter, the harmonica playing is superb, and the lyrics are either subtle or screaming at you, depending on your familiarity with blues.

Little Walter  –  Mellow Down Easy  (1st new chord occurs @ 1.20)

There are a lot of other songs that feature chords that last for more than 8 measures.  As one who is often CHORD-CENTRIC and has a bias towards thinking harmony before other aspects of music in my own composing, I think it’s a great idea to go to the other side.  To study music that is contrary to your thinking and preference.  This is also a great practice for life, in my opinion.  Do what is not normal, expected or comfortable and see where such an adventure will lead you. (That is a good topic for another post, or many other posts.)

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Again, the songs:

Muddy Waters  –  Rollin’ Stone

Doors  –  Roadhouse Blues

Jimi Hendrix  –  Voodoo Chile

Jimi Hendrix  –  Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

Steppenwolf  –  Sookie, Sookie 

Little Walter  –  Mellow Down Easy 

Johnny Cash, Danzig, Life in Vizify, Today is not 12/12/12, Social Media Reveals I’m 65/132 Brazilian


12/12/12 Twelve Twelve Twelve Zwölf Zwölf Zwölf is now gone.  I want to wash that 12 right out of my hair.

Q.  Best way to get rid of 12?  A.  13  Welcome to December 13, 2012.  There will only be one of these.  This is probably the best day to get engaged or give birth.

Time for a thirteen (13) song:   Johnny Cash  –  Thirteen

There are other thirteen songs  – Frank Zappa, Bata Kanda, and Chuck Berry, but I want to hear Johnny Cash sing Danzig.

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I got my Vizify account, 2012 version, on Tuesday.  They were wise to get it out before 12-12-12.  If we have social media, we must have social media metrics.  And bells and whistles.  Vizify does all of that well, and fortunately, our lives can be reduced to a few pages.

Before I broadcast my life in Vizify, I should note that Facebook has now taken to their version of metrics a la the encapsulated annum-in-review model.  If all goes right with this link, and if Facebook will allow you access, here is the Facebook version of my 2012 life in Vizify.

All of this Vizify activity  –  the entire 11-page report  – could only happen if I was very active in 2012 in





and I granted the app permission to these four (4) life measure-ers, and remembered all four (4) of my very long alpha-numeric melodic passwords.

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A  C  T  I  V  I  T  I  E  S

S   H   O   P   S         &      S   E   R   V   I   C   E   S

This objectively shows that I have my life in order as I’ve taken more trips to liquor stores than banks, pharmacies or “others.”  I’m proud that I’ve been to more “record shops” than gas stations, liquor stores, pharmacies, banks and “others.”

Grocery store  –  292

Gym  –  117

Electronics  –  73

Bookstore  –  41

Record Shop  –  40

Gas station/garage  –  36

Liquor store  –  28

Other  –  Shop  –  26

Pharmacy  –  22

Bank/Financial  –  21

A  C  T  I  V  I  T  I  E  S

F  O  O  D

My taste in food is superb.  I think of myself as, to borrow a now-famous adjective, SEVERELY Brazilian.  But via social media snooping-metrics, I am only ALMOST Brazilian.  By these snooping standards, I am barely more American than Brazilian by 67 to 65.

And then my next outside-the-home eating is pizza, Middle Eastern and so on.  It’s best to just list it:

Coffee shop  –  190

American  –  67

Brazilian  –  65

Pizza  –  55

Middle Eastern  –  41

Greek  –  40

Seafood  –  37

Bakery  –  32

Mexican  –  29

Sandwiches  –  24

Italian  –  23

A  C  T  I  V  I  T  I  E  S

O  T  H  E  R

The rest of the year is completed by this compilation.  When I wasn’t eating pizza or trying to pass for a Brazilian, here’s what I did:

Home  –  473  (To create & recite a completely original expression – “There’s no place like home.”)

Medical  –  215   (I was spending great time with my Mom.)

Hiking Trail  –  151  (Most of this was at Callahan State Park in Framingham.)

Road  –  142   

Academic Building  –  123

Park  –  106  (If not 820-acre Callahan, it would have been Ramapo Mtn State Forest in New Jersey.)

Bridge  –  92   (This was mainly the Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River.)

Hotel  –  47

Dog Run  –  44

Hospital  –  43   (Precious time with my Mom.)

Church  –  38

We live life, share our activities and interests, measure them and then broadcast what we’ve been sharing all year along with the Vizified measurement.  This year’s activities are made to look nice.

I love people and social media but still don’t reveal everything.

May your 13th be wonderful!






Happy 12 12 12, Twelve Twelve Twelve, Zwölf Zwölf Zwölf, Dodici Dodici Dodici, Doce Doce Doce, Douze Douze Douze

Wayne Shorter, Bo Diddley, George Strait

What day is it?  December 12, 2012?  December 12, 2012 can be abbreviated as 12-12-12 or 12/12/12 or 12.12.12 or spoken Twelve Twelve Twelve, Doce Doce Doce, Douze Douze Douze, Dodici Dodici Dodici, Zwölf Zwölf Zwölf or hundreds of other ways.  If you’ve been near social media, you also know that this will be the last repetitive date ever.  (That’s true only if a 13th month is never added to our calendar.  There could be a 13th month because like copyright terms, Viagra and Cialis, there’s always someone who wants to lengthen something.)

12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12

In keeping with the number 12, I’d like to offer favorite songs of mine that have something to do with the number 12.  The easy and predicatable thing would have been 12-tone (twelve tone) music.  But I’ll resist the easy and go for something more eclectic  – songs about “12” and tweets about “12.”

I posted a riddle last night –  what do Wayne Shorter, Bo Diddley and George Strait have in common?  As far as I know, the answer is that each recorded a song whose title contains the word, “Twelve.”  These three (3) songs have little else in common except for the number twelve (12) in the titles.  That’s it.  Riddle solved.

12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12

Wayne Shorter  –  Twelve More Bars To Go 

In an instrumental, do you know if Wayne Shorter is referring to 12 bars of living, 12 bars of playing or 12 bars on my way home?

Bo Diddley  –  The Clock Strikes Twelve

This is one of Bo Diddley’s more unusual songs – an instrumental.  Yes, that is Bo Diddley playing violin.  This is not the braggadocio Bo – no “cobra snake for a necktie” kind of thing.

George Strait  –  Four Down And Twelve Across 

“awkward puzzle, fill in the blanks…”  One can easily make that phrase deep or leave it as something pertaining to a board game.

12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12

This started out to be twelve (12) tweets about 12 12 12, and then I found a few more I wanted to copy.  If 12 is good, more than 12 is better.  Here are more than 12 tweets about 12 12 12.

The Daily Yomiuri ‏@DailyYomiuri

The time in Japan is now 12:12 p.m. on December 12, 2012…that’s12:12, 12/12/12.

01/01/01✔ 02/02/02✔ 03/03/03✔ 04/04/04✔ 05/05/05✔ 06/06/06✔ 07/07/07✔ 08/08/08✔ 09/09/09✔ 10/10/10✔ 11/11/11 ✔and today 12/12/12.

ぴょんまこ ‏@yugurenofuku

12/12/12 12:12 \(^o^)/

David Pogue, Technology writer for The New York Times, repeated what some of my recording engineer friends had already said last night:

David Pogue ‏@Pogue

Hey, tomorrow is National Sound Check Day! 12/12/12… (What will you be doing at 12:12:12?)

Two (2) 12-12-12 sports tweets:

Randy Cruz ‏@cruzr83

The Lakers may not be thrilled with 12/12/12 tomorrow since they’re 12th in the Western Conference.

Happy 12.12.12 — NFL QBs wearing #12 have won 15 Super Bowls. That’s more than double the next-best mark (#16 has won 7)
These are not happy happy joy joy tweets.
Tomorrow is 12-12-12 which means I’ll have to blood sacrifice twice as many goats as I did for 6-6-6. 🙁
The Mayan Calendar predicted that on 12-12-12 there would be some really bad tweets about 12-12-12. Like this one.
Pretty cool how on 12/12/12 in 1912 no one said anything at all because we’re idiots now.
Happy 12.12.12., YouScoopers! What are the 12 Philippine issues that are most important to you? #SabihinMo
12/12/12 & 12/21/12 will be the most annoying days in Twitter history.
A designed tweet.  Too bad the 12 12 12 thing looks more like 10 10 10.

┊┊┊┊#HAPPY12─12─12┊┊┊ ┊┓╭╮┊┊╱┓╭╮┊┊╱┓╭╮┊ ┊┃╭╯┊╱┊┃╭╯┊╱┊┃╭╯┊ ┊┻┗┛╱┊┊┻┗┛╱┊┊┻┗┛┊

 Final tweets.

Путин обратится к Федеральному Собранию 12.12.12: Буддийские астрологи считают эту дату…

Twelve~Twelve~Twelve~make it memorable in a positive way. Be especially nice to ~Twelve~ people, complete ~Twelve~random acts of kindness ☺


12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12    12

I got my Vizify account yesterday.  My life, thankfully, can be reduced to a few pages.  I hope talk about social media and metrics tomorrow.  No more twelves!