Posts Tagged ‘#petergabriel’

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For me, the answer is easy, but I would rather have a few minutes to talk about whatever they wanted to talk about…..  whatever was on his mind.  I would not want my favorite artist, Peter Gabriel, just to sing a few songs and leave, But to have a short conversation would be memorable indeed! His creativity, charitable works and world views would make for a very interesting interaction. My wife and daughter would love to have him serenade them with, “Here Comes The Flood.”

What about you? Who would you want to stop by? What song would you want them to sing?

I was way to young to know why or when I developed an aptitude for music.  I always enjoyed the musical landscapes around me.  Not just the notes;  with all the talk and technique, notes are still only half the picture.  But I think I can tell you when I developed an appreciation for popular music.  I have many influences but these are different times.  Again, I am not trying to be a learned historian, and as a young kid the timing of events were hazy at best and are not clear to me even now.   You were lucky to have one radio station that played your favorite songs.  Three major network TV stations and no Internet, no cable, no Wi-Fi, no downloads, no digital.  Hard to imagine now.  WE had limited choices.   But there were pockets of musicians and savvy citizens, sharing, listening and teaching, just as there are now.

If you were into astronomy, you could find lens grinders or professors or local enthusiasts that could show you the universe.  Photographers, carpenters, everyone searching for their own needs.  I started searching for new music.  I could say new styles, but in a way they were all new.  I am drifting a little here as I think back.  I have been interested in anything that was beyond ‘standard, normal, traditional, formal or cookie-cutter songs’.  Old movie musicals, TV show and commercial jingles, and the various music cultures (Country, Broadway, Classical, ancient “Pop”…) might have been cute, but after I listened a few times, there was no excitement in listening to the song.  Kinda’ like; I already know the punch line, so why listen to the joke?  I can be a harsh critic.  But fair is fair, I throw stones at my own glass house.

There have been many songs that lead up to this.  I hate to give credit to one song.  I hope I remember the name of a song from Billie Holiday called Strange Fruitrecorded around 1939.  At the time I did not know what it meant.  I was still innocent.  This was devastating poetry mixed with liquid emotion.

From this point on I knew… I knew there was some thing that could reach my core.   I don’t mean to say ‘soul’, but that is the closest and easiest word to use.  Find me at my depth and talk to me.   And that meant I could also talk to others from those depths.   I found a language and at the same time not necessarily a family, but a culture of musicians.  I still have a weakness for female vocalists that make their own way.  I am a succor for a Hammond B3 Organ and a great brass section too.  I would like to share a few of them with you from time to time.

If we look at the typical piano keyboard the visual impact is beneficial to demonstrate this big picture ….

You will eventually see the repeating pattern of white keys and black keys.  The pattern repeats over and over.  The piano is ideal because even though it is squeezed to save space, the keys and notes are linear;  to the left the notes or tones produced get lower, and to the right the notes get higher.  As we look to the center we can locate what is called ‘middle C’.   We can use this note as a good reference on the piano because it makes the key of C Major easy to see and play.  Other instruments will make it easier to see and play other keys.  This has to be detailed later, but for now, if you start playing the middle C and then play each sequential white note, you are playing in C Major.

A simple count however shows there are 12 notes between each ‘repeat’ of the cycle or each octave visually displayed on the keyboard.  That’s it.   12 notes and then it repeats.  Now that doesn’t sound too mysterious, does it?  The mystery comes in on knowing what notes to avoid.  If you eliminate the notes that are not within the scale or key you are working in, it becomes like the key of C Major on a piano; you will easily see and play the right notes.

    1       2      3      4      5      6        7      8      9      10      11      12
     C C#    Db      D D#   Eb      E      F   F#   Gb      G G#   Ab      A A#   Bb       B

In the key of C Major, it would be a safe guess based on the above, to play white notes.  It the simple chart above you can also see the numbers greyed that represents the black keys.  In this example, the black keys are not within the C Major scale.  For other scales and variations of scales, they WILL!

Generally speaking, if we are playing the C Major scale, playing black keys will not always fit in with the other notes being played.  White keys have a much better chance of ‘fitting in’ with other notes being played.

Which reminds me of a joke about musicians……..

What is the difference between a jazz band and a rock band?

The jazz band plays thousands of chords to three or four people and the rock band plays three or four cords to thousands of people!

Today as I was driving to work I heard on the radio that my musical mentor turned 65 years old today.  I can remember exactly where I was when I heard my first song by Genesis.  I was in the shower and could not believe what I was hearing on the radio.  It was unlike anything that I was familiar with and I had been a musical sponge for years!  New sounds, a driving intricate beat, lyrics that never once mentioned boy meets girl, boy loves girls, girl leaves boy or other popular themes. I was stunned and delighted.  I got out of the shower and listened to the rest of the song.  Immediately I called my best friend and he had been listening as well.  We were both truly jazzed.  Over the years I have studied and enjoyed not just the music but the recordings and the style.  I have followed Peter Gabriel ever since.  A great musician, talented performer and powerful voice and above all that, he is what I affectionately call a decent human being.

If you are not familiar with his work, I encourage you to take some time out of your busy day and on his birthday, celebrate his accomplishments. I can offer suggestions in a future post and review, but I guarantee it will be time well spent.