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Version of “It Never Entered My Mind” (and “Minor Swing”!)

Spontaneously jammed out this solo version of this classic jazz ballad to celebrate my birthday on Saturday in appropriately middle-aged fashion. It’s slow and a bit rubato; had fun with the harmony and voice-leading.

In other jazzy endeavours, I took advantage of a broken thumbnail a little while ago to work on my flatpicking on a steel string and finally got this bit of Django Reinhardt’s “Minor Swing” solo up to tempo for the first time:

Music Theory Musings – “Don’t Fear the Reaper”

Although I’ve known (and loved) the song most of my life, I just noticed the other day how clever the key change to the solo is in the Blue Öyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” – it goes from A minor to the chromatic mediant key of C minor using common pitches. The song is in an Aeolian A minor, with a pedal point on G natural (a minor 7th above the tonic – similar to the pedal on E in F# minor in “Wonderwall” a couple of decades later) throughout most of the song, ending on a fermata Am7 chord just before the solo enters with a G in the right speaker.

When the lead guitar enters, unaccompanied, playing arpeggios, the C from the Am7 chord is reinterpreted as the 5th of an Fm chord in the first arpeggio (F Ab C) . Guitarist Buck Dharma then moves to a G7/F arpeggio (F-G-B) keeping his bass note (in the guitar line – there’s no electric bass yet) consistent – these become iv and V[4/2] in the new key. We then get a solo in a functional C minor when the full band re-enters, where leading notes are raised (i.e. using the harmonic minor scale). It ends with a sustained G natural (^5 in C minor) – the pedal point in the main A minor riff – as we return to the song. 

It’s pretty tricky rhythmically as well – it all lines up in 4/4, or at least adds up to multiples of 4, if you count the arpeggios as eighth notes starting on 1, which means the cymbals enter on 1 after four bars and the full band enters on 2 after another four bars + one beat. The trick is that the arpeggio pattern is a three-note pattern accented in 4/4 so the barlines and chord changes always land in different spots in the pattern and it actually runs for a total of 33 eighth notes (eight bars + one beat). The drums are a bit unpredictable during the ensemble playing under the lead guitar but the bassist mostly keeps us anchored with the quarter-note pulse. (One can compare the intro of “Dust in the Wind”, where the melody line on the second string is a six-beat, three-note pattern C-B-D but the C-Am chord changes under this melody only occur every eight beats so the melody-harmony relationship is constantly changing.)

Merci encore, La Villa Strangiato

Thanks again to Gregory Kampf, host of CHUO’s francophone/bilingual progressive rock and modern jazz show La Villa Strangiato for playing “S(h)immer” on last week’s show. The show has been archived here: The piece appears towards the end.

Merci encore, Gregory Kampf, de diffuser « S(h)immer » sur l’émission de rock progressif et jazz contemporain La Villa Strangiato sur CHUO la semaine passée. On peut écouter l’émission (du 5 août) ici: . Mon morceau se trouve vers la fin de l’émission.

Review in Ottawa Life

Thanks to Owen Maxwell of Ottawa Life Magazine for such a positive review!:

IIn an instrumental journey, Sundar Subramanian knows how to keep you focused and along for the ride. “Daydream” never loses momentum, instead it finds an intriguing change of pace by breaking into the exact tones we think of while resting on a sunny day on the grass. And the way you’re drifted through these is a truly warm and inviting experience. The deeper notes on “Processional” give the album a great low-end, that plays more to a break-like quality, but in its last minute it really finds a sense of direction too. The cold and blown out feelings on “December” shift into an electronic haze, with Subramanian’s styling definitely going into their own experimentation but still maintaining an emotional footing. The sense of quiet on “Breeze” however, is one of the most tense listens on the entire record, as the call and response of the guitar and feedback play gloriously against each other.

Scores for Sale/Partitions en vente

Scores for Dissociation and Needing Space are now available on my merch page on Bandcamp. They are sold in PDF format. I may be contacted for a paper copy.

Les partitions pour mes compositions Dissociation et Needing Space sont en vente sur ma page Bandcamp. Elles sont disponible en format numérique. Si vous préfériez une copie en format papier, envoyez-moi un courriel.