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One-Chord Songs

Margret RoadKnight 30 Aug 03 - 02:40 AM
GUEST,Les in Chorlton, Manchester 30 Aug 03 - 04:32 AM
GUEST,Ed 30 Aug 03 - 04:36 AM
GUEST,Les in Chorlton, Manchester 30 Aug 03 - 04:46 AM
GUEST 30 Aug 03 - 05:59 AM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Aug 03 - 06:04 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 30 Aug 03 - 06:23 AM
GUEST 30 Aug 03 - 09:48 AM
Leo Condie 30 Aug 03 - 09:51 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 30 Aug 03 - 11:03 AM
Alaska Mike 30 Aug 03 - 11:10 AM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Aug 03 - 11:33 AM
GUEST,Big Jim 30 Aug 03 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,DaveC 30 Aug 03 - 12:36 PM
Phil Cooper 30 Aug 03 - 12:49 PM
Deckman 30 Aug 03 - 12:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Aug 03 - 02:00 PM
M.Ted 30 Aug 03 - 02:25 PM
cobber 02 Sep 03 - 03:14 AM
GUEST,Paul Mitchell 02 Sep 03 - 07:17 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 02 Sep 03 - 08:03 AM
dwditty 02 Sep 03 - 08:49 AM
GUEST,leeneia 02 Sep 03 - 09:05 AM
GUEST 02 Sep 03 - 12:10 PM
Mark Clark 02 Sep 03 - 12:16 PM
Roger the Skiffler 02 Sep 03 - 12:22 PM
Kenny B (inactive) 02 Sep 03 - 03:36 PM
GUEST 02 Sep 03 - 03:39 PM
Mark Clark 02 Sep 03 - 04:10 PM
GUEST,Kenny B at Work 02 Sep 03 - 09:06 PM
GUEST,Jeremiah of the errant cookie 02 Sep 03 - 11:28 PM
The Fooles Troupe 02 Sep 03 - 11:43 PM
Bob Bolton 02 Sep 03 - 11:45 PM
The Fooles Troupe 03 Sep 03 - 01:29 AM
GUEST,Ewan 03 Sep 03 - 08:56 AM
M.Ted 03 Sep 03 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,Dave K 03 Sep 03 - 07:02 PM
Cluin 03 Sep 03 - 07:37 PM
The Fooles Troupe 03 Sep 03 - 08:40 PM
Bob Bolton 03 Sep 03 - 11:38 PM
The Fooles Troupe 04 Sep 03 - 12:42 AM
M.Ted 04 Sep 03 - 12:17 PM
Forsh 04 Sep 03 - 03:48 PM
The Fooles Troupe 04 Sep 03 - 11:20 PM
GUEST,the cookie deficient Jeremiah 04 Sep 03 - 11:51 PM
Mark Clark 05 Sep 03 - 12:05 AM
The Fooles Troupe 05 Sep 03 - 01:39 AM
GUEST,Dr Soul 05 Sep 03 - 03:15 AM
M.Ted 05 Sep 03 - 12:26 PM
Mark Ross 05 Sep 03 - 05:42 PM
The Fooles Troupe 05 Sep 03 - 09:48 PM
M.Ted 06 Sep 03 - 10:55 AM
Bert 07 Sep 03 - 12:15 AM
The Fooles Troupe 07 Sep 03 - 01:24 AM
M.Ted 07 Sep 03 - 01:58 PM
mg 07 Sep 03 - 02:54 PM
Snuffy 07 Sep 03 - 06:27 PM
The Fooles Troupe 07 Sep 03 - 07:55 PM
The Fooles Troupe 07 Sep 03 - 08:27 PM
Splott Man 08 Sep 03 - 11:00 AM
M.Ted 08 Sep 03 - 11:42 AM
GUEST 09 Sep 03 - 04:03 PM
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Subject: One-Chord Songs
From: Margret RoadKnight
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 02:40 AM

Any candidates?
Can only think of one off the top of my head - "Did You Hear About Jerry"/ "Timber" - which sounds fine with an Am chord.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: GUEST,Les in Chorlton, Manchester
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 04:32 AM

That John Lennon song on Sargeant Pepper, sod I can't remember what its called. Sounds a bit Indian and I think it just uses C, very effective I think.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 04:36 AM

You'll mean 'Tomorrow Never Knows' off Revolver, Les.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: GUEST,Les in Chorlton, Manchester
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 04:46 AM

Tommorrow Never Knows it is! And I guess you are correct about Revolver.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 05:59 AM

I thought you meant Within you, without you. I'd have said that Tomorrow never knows would need two chords but that's only if I was playing it. Chords are only an approximation anyway and there are a lot of possibilities. When you are dealing with songs in some modes thinking in chord terms isn't particularly helpful I find.

To further the list how about Suzie Q as played by Creedence Clearwater Revival and Soul cake (trad)


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 06:04 AM

And it's George Harrison isn't it?

You can do "Froggie went a-courting" on one chord. Good first song for a child learning guitar.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 06:23 AM

Thanks, McGrath! I'm teaching the uke to my classes and the younger kids aren't going to be ready for 2 chords for another week or so. "Froggy" will be perfect- I teach it anyway later in the year, so I'll just do it now!


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 09:48 AM

John Lee Hooker used chord changes sparingly. "Tupelo," about the Tupelo, Mississippi flood, is one chord, if memory serves.

Taj Mahal does some one chord stuff too, but no particular songs spring to mind. He says it's all about the 'groove' anyway, so it doesn't matter what you're playing, as long as it's groovin'. There's a good interview with Taj and examples of his style in the October issue of Guitar Player magazine.

Creedence's version of Susie Q is not one chord. On the third line of the verse the progression goes like this: IV-bVI-V-I. In other words, John Fogerty grinds on E (with that little 'hook' phrase) for the first two lines of the verse, then on the third line he switches to A (for 4 beats), then to C (for 2 beats), down to B (for 2 beats), and back to E.

Gene Vincent's version of Susie Q is simpler, and it may be one chord.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: Leo Condie
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 09:51 AM

a lot of the album Remain In Light by Talking Heads is one (very funky) chord.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 11:03 AM

I do The Farmer's Curst Wife in G7 with a simple, rolling pattern... the 7th note keeps it interesting. I also do John Henry with just a C chord in an arrangement (if you can have a one-chord arrangement) recorded by Mainer's Mountaineers) that made a done-to-boredom song fun to sing. It also has some memoralbe lines... "When they people out West heard of John Henry's death, they couldn't hardly stay in bed." Ever hear news that was so disturbing you coulodn't hardly stay in bed? I have... that line pretty much says a whole song full, to me.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 11:10 AM

"Lime in the Coconut" is one chord. I use C7. I finished singing it one time and a friend told me to keep playing the same chord with the same beat. She then started singing "Chain, Chain, Chain" and it fit perfectly with that one miserable c7 chord. Go figure.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 11:33 AM

One that works with a single minor chord all the way through is a version of High Germany.

Or with a single diad,leaving out the third which would determine whether it's major or minor - so with D, you'd just have D notes and A notes.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: GUEST,Big Jim
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 11:55 AM

There was a song titled (I think) "Nelly Sits A Waitin'" that is just one chord. It has to do with the American Civil War. It was sung on a record by a Norwegian group called The Windjammers.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: GUEST,DaveC
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 12:36 PM

Seems to me "Go Where I Send Thee" can be done with one chord.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 12:49 PM

Pretty Polly can be done with one chord. There's also some one chord one time fiddle tunes. Dave Van Ronk's arrangement of Poor Lazarus is pretty much one chord (and a three note bass run that adds a lot of drama to the song).


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: Deckman
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 12:54 PM

My dim memory tells me that Woody Gutherie recorded "Pastures of Plenty" with one chord. Bob


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 02:00 PM

For "Pastures of Plenty" Woody used the tune of "Pretty Polly". And according to how he felt, he might do it with a major chord all the way through, or with a minor chord - he recorded it both ways. (If you switch between the two, that makes it it as a two chord song.)


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: M.Ted
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 02:25 PM

Everything with a modal melody can be played with just one chord, or more properly, with just the fundamental and fifth as drones--


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: cobber
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 03:14 AM

Years ago we used to do Weille Waille (I'm deamned if I know how to spell it) with one chord. We had a guy in the band who couldn't play but he would pick up the guitar for that one song and someone would put his fingers in the right place and away he'd go. A lot of people thought he could play, which says something about how observant audiences can be. Another song that used one chord was Sonny and Cher's "The Beat Goes On". When I first played guitar we also played "Peter Gunn" with one chord though I'm sure there should be more.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: GUEST,Paul Mitchell
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 07:17 AM

Neil, from the Young Ones, did a great concept album. His song "KEN", a reflection on a boy he new at school, is played on just one chord (G, I think). The lyrics went..

'Ken, I've known you since you were ten.
Ken.
And you were a complete barstad then
Ken'

Quite thought provoking.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 08:03 AM

You could manage "Pretty Saro" on one chord as well.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: dwditty
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 08:49 AM

Spike Driver's Moan (Mississippi John Hurt) is one chord - at least the way I play it...the trick is in the picking. Arrrgh, now this song will be in my head all day.

Take this hammer, carry it to the captain, tell him I'm gone...tell him...............................................


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 09:05 AM

Martin Carthy recorded the ballad of the two sisters, one of whom drowns the other who then is turned into a fiddle, with a tune which takes Dm throughout.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 12:10 PM

...Gene Vincent's "Susie Q' isn't one chord either ....


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: Mark Clark
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 12:16 PM

I think all bugle calls including Taps are one-chord pieces.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 12:22 PM

Most of mine are, the trouble is no-one (least of all me) know WHICH!

RtS
(one-chord blunder)


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: Kenny B (inactive)
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 03:36 PM

http://www.mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=5788&Title=THE%20BALLAD%20OF%20AIMEE%20McPHERSON can be played using one minor chord. Roughly the same tune as Willie the Weeper.

Mark Clark
Bb Bugle calls/tunes are mostly two chords, root chord & 5th,
Eb Bugles ? have a longer range at the top end.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 03:39 PM

ANY song is a one chord song if you so wish. You play one chord whilst you sing it.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: Mark Clark
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 04:10 PM

Kenny,

I just sat down with my guitar and played Taps, To The Colors and Reveille entirely in a a Bb chord. The tunes used only the notes Bb, D and F including the F below Bb. These are the three notes in the Bb Major triad. There seemed to be nothing in those particular tunes that moves out of a Bb chord.

What am I missing?

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: GUEST,Kenny B at Work
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 09:06 PM

I normally play an intro of a tune called "Evening hymn" which is played in the UK sometimes before reveille or the last post by bugle & brass but it also fits in well with Taps. I agree that it can be played all in Bb but the F as shown adds effect imho.
Cant reach the bugle high notes now that my "lip" has gone, some also say that my ear has gone with it, c'est la vie.

TAPS in Bb ?
(Bb)Day is done
Gone the sun
From the lake
From the hill
From the sky
All is well
Safely (F)rest
God is (Bb)nigh.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: GUEST,Jeremiah of the errant cookie
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 11:28 PM

On Gordon Lightfoot's first album is a song called "Oh, Linda" done with just bass and voice. The bass just riffs around an Em7 chord. Ver' funky - and I don't believe Lightfoot's ever written anything else quite like it.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 11:43 PM

re Taps

Mark,

If you think about the musical theory of it, any tune on an instrument like a bugle without keys is in a single key - all the notes are overtones (caused by overblows - higher wind pressure or lip/reed tension) of the base note. The 5th mentioned above is part of the "gapped scale" produced by the instrument - you can "modulate" to a key based on that note if you want - you can also start and finish the tune on the 5th, producing a related mode... "plagal".

Thus also for older non-keyed instruments like trumpets, etc.

I was wondering if there was an existing thread on Two-Chord Songs, but when I had time to search the other day, Mudcat was down. Didn't want to start a new thread, if there was already one.

Robin


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 02 Sep 03 - 11:45 PM

G'day,

I remember John Greenway, visiting Australia in the 1960s, playing The Plains of the Buffalo to a single chord (Dm ... ?). Somehow, these days, I suspect this had more to do with Dr Greenway than The Plains of the Buffalo!

M.Ted:
"Everything with a modal melody can be played with just one chord, or more properly, with just the fundamental and fifth as drones-- "

Just which of the 12 modes were you imagining can be specifically called "modal"?

Normal major tunes are in the Ionian mode ... normal "minor" tunes are in the Aeolian mode ... many minors in, say, Irish use are in the Dorian mode ... lots of Scots tunes are in the Myxolydian mode ... and so on. There are lots of modes alive and well in the world's folk musics ... and they are all different in sound and accompaniment.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 01:29 AM

Thanks Bob Bolton

for saying what I should have said, but I have been hit with something nasty virus like for several months and the old brain feels rather fried at times...

Ok there were Modes that the Greeks had, but when the Church "reorganised" things into what are now called "Church Modes" there seems to be no documented agreement as to whether these reflected the old ones exactly...

The Full Church Modes List is (confusing isn't it?)

Dorian               Hypodorian
Phrygian             Hypo-phrygian
Lydian               Hypolydian
Mixolydian          Hypo-mixolydian

But they came in two flavours
Authentic Mode & Plagal Mode

Plagal modes are the modes a fourth below the authentic modes eg Dorian/Hypodorian.

The "Authentic" mode starts on the Tonic i.e.
C Dorian C-C
C Hypodorian F-F

The tenor, or reciting note, is what the chants were sung to in these modes and is found in the following manner:

In authentic modes the tenor is a fifth above the final (or tonic).

In plagal modes the tenor is a third below the tenor of the corresponding authentic mode.

And now it gets interesting....

Some of the earlier chant composers, who didn't know the above rules, composed in modes more closely related to the ethnic modes. A Byzantine nun named Kassia, who wrote chants in the 9th century, used B as a reciting note in the Phrygian, for example. (which means she didn't follow the rules above... but it's getting too heavy for me!)

In 1547, the Swiss scholar Glarean (or Glareanus) categorized the modes into fourteen possible patterns, of which he rejected two (the Locrian and the Hypolocrian) as "defective." The names he used for the C mode (Ionian, which resembles our modern major), the A mode (Aeolian, the "natural minor") and the Locrian are all modes that had been referred to by the ancient Greeks, though Apollo only knows what _they_ meant by them. The Glarean system is the basis for the heptatonic "ethnic mode" system. (7 notes + Octave)

... and that's most likely what Bob Bolton was referring to... :-)


Didactically babbling on....

"Ethnic" Modes (European) Heptatonic:

Authentic      Plagal      versions

Dorian         Hypo-Dorian
Aeolian       Hypo-Aeolian
Phrygian       Hypo-Phrygian
Locrian       Hypo-Locrian
Lydian         Hypo-Lydian
Ionian         Hypo-Ionian
Mixolydian    Hypo-Mixolydian


Least common is the Locrian, which is occasionally found in Icelandic and Greek music.

Some scholars include the Harmonic Minor, A-A with G raised, as an eighth mode. This is common in Welsh and some Semitic music. There are also modes based on this scale pattern, e.g., Phrygian with a major 3rd, often used in Eastern European dance music.

Then there are Hexatonic and Pentatonic versions.... (6 & 5 notes)

An example of a plagal, pentatonic tune is "Amazing Grace."

There are also limited-range tunes which never go beyond the first four or five notes of the scales; sometimes they include the seventh (usually as a leading tone), but not the fifth or sixth.

Welsh music, and some Irish music used the Harmonic minor extensively. The Welsh called the minor scale (possibly with the raised seventh) "Y Bragod Gywair," and there are references to "Y Bragod Gywair" in the laws of Gruffydd ap Cynan, eleventh century.

It is alleged by some researchers that pentatonic and hexatonic modes are more common in Ireland and the Hebrides.

An analysis of one collection of French songs revealed 8 major, 8 Aeolian, 3 Phrygian, 2 Dorian, and 13 Other.

In Spain, the mode most in use is the Phrygian, especially in Castile and Andalusia. In Galicia (a Celtic region of Spain), there is a wide variety: Dorian, Phrygian, Mixolydian, and Aeolian are all used, in both authentic and plagal forms.

Italian music often uses the Lydian and the Phrygian.

German music was originally modal, but the major and minor modes prevailed there by the 15th century.

In Hungary, the Dorian and Phrygian are popular.

Music of the Scandinavian countries follows slightly different models. The preferred modes are Mixolydian and Phrygian. Finnish music tends to the limited range scale, i.e., 1-4 plus 7 as leading tone, or 1-5 plus 7 as leading tone. This is observed in some Hebridean music as well. Many Scandinavian songs shift back and forth between the major and the parallel minor - another characteristic observed in a number of Hebridean pieces. In Iceland, the Lydian is the preferred mode (though all are found), and the tritone is freely used. (The interval known as the "devil in music," which had been banned by the Church in most European countries.)

Russian music makes extensive use of the Phrygian, Dorian, Major and Aeolian.

And then there is lots of discussion about "Chord Qualities", not withstanding that guitarists often do weird things ...


And I've only touched the high points of the whole topic of modalities...

So if you rabbit on about modes - most people know not what they talk about - and don't think _I_ understand it all... :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Theory obtained from various reference books, and some of this was also abstracted from

"A Brief Introduction to Modes in Early and Traditional European Music"
by Patricia Vivien Yarrow
Found on the net - source lost.


Robin
(who is NOT an expert on modes...)


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: GUEST,Ewan
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 08:56 AM

Will Oldham's song 'I Was Drunk at the Pulpit' from the Palace Bros lp 'There Is No-One What Will Take Care of You' uses just one chord.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: M.Ted
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 11:03 AM

Some how, Bob, I don't think you believe me.

It is true, or at least sort of true, that the Ionian and Aeolian modes correspond to major and minor scales, but they aren't the same. First of all, modes are not tempered scales at all--they have unequal intervals.

Next, major/minor scales are used in specific ways that the modal system did not facilitate--these mostly have to do mostly with the melodic and harmonic possibilities created by the circle of fifths--(the "circle of fifths" is impossible in a modal system).
Also, though you can create harmonies and chordal accompaniments to work with modal material, when you do this, you are modernizing them, harmonies and chords in the contempory sense,are not part of modal music.

As to Patricia Vivien Yarrow, her piece seems like a collection of bits of "internet information", some good, some not so good . For instance, if there is any evidence that the church banned the use of the Tritone because it was the Devils whatevever, I'd be interested in seeing it--we have had discussions about it here before, and folks with interest and expertise in both Renaissance and early music and church history have looked for it with no success. Also, the tritone is a fixture in the dominant seventh chord, which is a major element in most classical religious music--

To respond to Foolestroupe's comment about most people not knowing what they are talking about--Just like everybody else, I think that I know what I'm talking about. I actually studied music theory in the music school of a major University, and received state certification to teach said subject. That said, I learned more from years of playing jazz, rock, folk, and crazy ethnic music of all sorts, than was even hinted at in theory class--


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: GUEST,Dave K
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 07:02 PM


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: Cluin
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 07:37 PM

My Dog Has Fleas


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 08:40 PM

Hi,
M.Ted

Taking into account your whole message, and having noted your level of education in Music Theory...

1. "First of all, modes are not tempered scales at all--they have unequal intervals."

Yes and No...

The concept of tempering musical scales in itself really had little to do with the various modes. Basically, the Just Tuning (based purely on the cycle of fifths to generate the tones) was what was used in the days of modalities. The concept of "scales" as distinct from "modes" seemed (to me!) to come only into serious vogue about the time (preceed it it by a while) when it became possible to physically create instruments that could play all scales (keys) on the one instrument without retuning or having lots of extra keys for each note in each scale - about the time of "The Well Tempered Clavier". Prior to this, keyboard instruments had been constructed (including pipe organs) which had multisection keyboards which could produce differnt notes (eg F#) for playing in seperate keys (eg G & D Major) for instance. (example constructed on the fly without reference to reality!)

The reason for this futzing around is that Just Tuning works great for an instrument (such as a recorder) built in C Major. Trying to play it in A Major creates problems because some of the pitches are off by some cents (hundreds of semitones). This is bad enough with several of these instuments playing together in A Major, but if an instrument made to the pitch of Eb major tries to play in A Major with them, the result is horrendous!! The pitch of say, the F# is NOTICEABLY off from each instrument.

Of course an instrument like a violin (or unfretted guitar or banjo) can generate (like the human voice!) ANY pitch within its range, so playing Just or Tempered tuning is a Skill based on the ear.

Guitars, medieval instruments like lutes etc usually had adjustable frets of gut tied around the neck so that the pitches of fretted notes could be altered to fit the scale being played in. Nowadays with Tempered Tuning, the frets are fixed by the magic of mathematics.

Relevant thought: Early Banjos in US Music were unfretted!!! Think about the consequences of that on the style of the music. Other than just being able to do seamles slides.

There is a very good recent BBC TV series "Big Bangs in Music", the full reference details of which I can't recall immediately, by Howard Goodall which details such things as Greek scales (Just Intonation style) and the problems threof, and also the tempering of scales in later periods including the most influential musical instrument in tempered tuning overturning just intonations --- The Piano Accordion!

Highly recommended!

Incidentally (according to Howard) Gypsy music ignores the damn thing and the violin still plays in "Just" Tuning, although the "Tempered" Instruments playing with it just bash along in their own way ... :-) (just like the local session!)

Also to note: The hammered dulcimer. I have one, and the damn thing won't easily stay in tune to itself unless you have the post that generates the two tones seperated by a fifth EXACTLY in the right spot. Do you want to think whether that means they are "Tempered" or "Just"... :-)


Further...
"the "circle of fifths" is impossible in a modal system"
"Also, though you can create harmonies and chordal accompaniments to work with modal material, when you do this, you are modernizing them, harmonies and chords in the contempory sense, are not part of modal music."

... because after one hits 11 steps up of fifths in the "Just method" the mismatch becomes considerable - the "octave" is not exactly double the base note. This is bypassed in the "Tempered method" - BECAUSE it is intended to do just this (pardon the pun!) - so the intermediate notes are "bent" to make the magic of the mathematics work... :-) (see Big bangs above)

Anyone today "playing in a mode" on a "Tempered" instrument is NOT playing in any of the "modes" as they existed in the days of "Just" tuning.

2.
I think the link for the Yarrow item was
http://clem.mscd.edu/%7Eyarrowp/MODEXh.html
No guarantee that it is still alive.
If it doesn't work, and the item can't be found I will PM you a copy of the file. I found the link thru the SCA, so enough said! :-)
I have insufficent training/experience in scholastic endeavours on some of your comments to do anyhing but guess... :-)

Can you respond with a few "clickys" of some past threads you referred to please? (saves hours of searching!)

3.
"To respond to Foolestroupe's comment about most people not knowing what they are talking about--Just like everybody else, I think that I know what I'm talking about."

Yeah, me too! ;-)

4.
"Next, major/minor scales are used in specific ways that the modal system did not facilitate" and rest of paragraph.

The following paragraph is my "learned opinion" - :-)

I agree. Music in "Just" times was originally "horizontal" - in that like modernish Arabian/Indian/Oriental music, the "Melody" is the dominant thing - "Harmony" was incidental/accidental/serendiptious.
Western Music began to become fascinated by "vertical" concepts of "Harmony" and the limitations of the "Just" system began to be noticed. A long period of searching began for a better way, resulting in many systems of tuning until the magic of 12 and square roots...
:-) Thus Western Music parted forever from ancient musical tradations, including "Medieval Music". It is interesting that in Japan and China, the ancient system of music is falling into "disrepute" and the "temepered" system is taking over.

5.
"That said, I learned more from years of playing jazz, rock, folk, and crazy ethnic music of all sorts, than was even hinted at in theory class-- "

Yeah. I had approx 10 years of formal "Classical Music" training on piano/pipe organ. Learning to play the whistle taught me more about music theory than just pushing down keys on a keyboard... :-) And things like jazz "didn't follow the bloody rules!"

Also people like Paginini didn't "follow the rules" - for instance he began to play the violin fluently in other than first position (not totally original in this!) switching positions as the music required, rather than as in medieval style music which tended to stay static...

Music in earlier periods tended to stay in first position for stringed instruments...

Stimulating discussion. Helping to focs the mind after my recent illness (which hasn't departed fully.)

Run out of steam for the moment... :-)

Robin


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 03 Sep 03 - 11:38 PM

G'day M.Ted and Foolestroupe/Robin,

The discussion all bumps into the question of the old 'pure interval' (just) scales and the modern, accepted Western tempered scale. (Incidentally, the Chinese maintain that they developed the tempered scale a few millennia earlier!)

The use of the traditional modes was, indeed, melodic and the issue of chords irrelevant. What I was griping about was the loose way the term modal is used, often by folklorists, if not musicologists, without any further qualification, to describe specific instances of tunes - often played on "tempered scale" instruments ... or sung with accompaniment by such. It is true this is not a "true" representation of modal singing of the mediaeval era ... but an understanding of the individual modes - and a clear identification of the mode that has informed the song /singer /player is vital to properly interpreting their performance.

I'm currently editing a small book of songs from a lovely old Australian(-Irish) singer, Sally Sloane, and the old transcriptions of her songs are full of dubious key signatures and spurious 'accidentals' that arose from the collectors/transcribers not clearly understanding the modal roots of the songs. The same undefined "modal" grab-bag title appeared to be used by M.Ted ... and that's what caused me to put the question (and nominate a few of the modes any folksinger exploring the old songs should clearly understand).

Despite being played on instruments in modern tempered scales, the old songs carry a large heritage from the old modes ... and they won't conveniently go away just because they are told the old modes don't exist on modern instruments.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 12:42 AM

Hi Bob

BB: "What I was griping about was the loose way the term modal is used, often by folklorists, if not musicologists, without any further qualification, to describe specific instances of tunes - often played on "tempered scale" instruments ... or sung with accompaniment by such"

Exactly, Me too, etc...

BB: "It is true this is not a "true" representation of modal singing of the mediaeval era ... but an understanding of the individual modes - and a clear identification of the mode that has informed the song /singer /player is vital to properly interpreting their performance."

Yep.

BB: "old transcriptions of songs are full of dubious key signatures and spurious 'accidentals' that arose from the collectors/transcribers not clearly understanding the modal roots of the songs."

Trying force things into a mould, done by those who "know not what they do". Also not to be forgotten, sometimes the quavering voice of the 70 year old may not be in tune too... :-) and the words may get "Mondegreened"... or two or more songs may get jumbled together and verses forgotten... so one can understand why Mr Sharp may have tried to "correct" things... :-) after all, he thought he knew what he was doing, now didn't he? <:P

BB: "The same undefined "modal" grab-bag title appeared to be used..."

Which is also why I rambled on at great length... :-)

BB: "Despite being played on instruments in modern tempered scales, the old songs carry a large heritage from the old modes"

And when done sensitively they can sound great. Even if not done so, they can fire the imagination of a new creator...

BB: "and they won't conveniently go away just because they are told the old modes don't exist on modern instruments."

So we just do the best we can... with what we can ... :-) but the more we know about the old methods, the more depth we can impart.

And then there's the whole can of worms about songs/poetry in another language... do we translate them, or must we only do them in the original language, even if our audience doesn't speak it, or we don't understand it either? Do we just ignorantly babble them phoenetically? :)

A nice little song introduced to me by Stan Arthur (of The Wayfarers) is "El Parky Elisian" - now one of my favourite little ditties - I have the English words, but somehow the original words fit the tune better. I may end up pinching the tune for a song I am writing... :-)

Which reminds me .... there are only about half a dozen "Folk Tunes" anyway... ;-)

Err... so just what does all this have to do with "One-Chord Songs"? :-)

BTW, I found some Two-Chord Song threads... great...


And on the line of "folk tradition" method, I once listened to an Aussie born Scandavian seriously reciting an English Version of "the old tales" (that he had learned from his elders by hearing it recited) in a psuedo medieval recreationist organisation feast setting... what the bulk of the audience found so boring that they howled him down to stop, caused me no end of mirth at the attitude of the audience, who were so serious about everything they did having to be so "correctly period", that they didn't like it when "correctly period" reared up and bit them on the ... err.. elbow! :-)


Robin


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 12:17 PM

Foolestroupe:Here is one interesting thread from the past: Anyone heard of"devil tones"? for more on the never ending Mudcat modal fracas--just go to the top right of this page to the "Lyrics and Knowledge" Search Box and enter "modes" then brace yourself. You'll get a list of all the posts and discussion threads--it only takes a minute to do this, but it will allow you to kill as much time as you have-

My apologies to you, Bob, for not being more explicit in what I meant, or more careful in the use of the word"modal"--I have gone off on my own rants, making the point similar to yours, many times, and, inadvertently feel into the trap myself--

I haven't time to respond to all points, except to say that we all really seem to be mostly on the same page in relation to this.

My comments tend to be recycled from my responses to questions over the years that come up: first, from people who want to know why they find mention of modes in guitar method books in relation to jazz and rock, and/or who don't understand why there should be major and minor scales when the idea of modes ought to explain everything, or the other way around.

next, as far as tempering--from what seems to be a group of people who feel that they are being ripped off by a conspiracy to temper scales when they rightfully should have pure, just, intervals in all their music--

Then, last from the whole contingent of people who believe that music theory, notation, and even the idea of structured learning, with teaching and practice, are somehow or another a fascistic effort with the sole intent of supressing their God Given Right to Just Do It--

I use to play a wonderful Turkish instrument called the Saz--it is a folk instrument and modal as you could ever want. The thing I liked about it, other than the fact that the scale had 14, rather than twelve steps in it(two quarter tones, but not precisely), was that it had moveable frets, and the players all tuned the intervals to their own ear. Even in Turkish Classical Music, the performers set their own intervals, and different masters had different ideas about where the same pitch really was--Difficult to explain to folks who think that there one "Just" system for tuning--


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: Forsh
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 03:48 PM

How about a 2 chorder? From Brit Comedian Joe Pasqually:
C & G should do it>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I know a song that'll get on yer nerves, get on yer nerves, get on yer ner-erves, I know a song that'll get on yer nerves, get get get on yer nerves:

(keep repeating this untill fruit is thrown, or you remember the lyrics to the song you were singing / about to sing)


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 11:20 PM

M Ted: "people who believe that music theory, notation, and even the idea of structured learning, with teaching and practice, are somehow or another a fascistic effort with the sole intent of supressing their God Given Right to Just Do It--"

I do have some difficulty with those who feel that there is no need for "the dots"... I do understand the difficulty in learning anything new, but still smile inside when they wish to learn a tune and have to have someone sing or play it ... whereas I need about 5 mins (a bit longer for advanced classical music stuff!) to hack the tune on the page into recognisable shape. I DO appreciate that some people will have problems we won't list as a valid reason. One of my msical strengths is sight reading, and I was always sending everybody around me crazy when I was trying to learn musical pieces for memory tests in Exams... But I can improvise endlessly, and can sometimes just play something which I have heard in the past, not necessarily played before, "out of the blue" .. often not knowing what the hell the tune is... :-) We'e all different. But I do not like the "childish-arrogant" attitude you mention.

I have a goddaughter now 5 years old who just loves music. I took an 8 bass P/A up to her, and she wanted to play it. "Just one finger at a time" I said. No, she wanted to use all the fingers of both hands at once... like I could :-)

Which reminds me... back in the late 70's early 80's I met a guy in Amateur Theatre circles who was one of those "idiot savant" piano players.

He could play ANYTHING he had SEEN - ONCE -- played on a piano in front of him - even on film. So things that cut away from the keyboard, he could only play those parts of the tune he had actually SEEN! Couldn't read music, knew NO music theory at all, couldn't play by ear, couldn't learn any piece by design or repetition. The rhythm, etc of what he played was fine. He couldn't even tell what notes he was playing, only that the pattern fitted "here" on the keyboard, by the fact that the groups of 2 and 3 black notes were relevant to where his patterns fitted on the keyboard!

He was English. His mother used to play piano in Music Hall for a living, and she took the baby basket with her, placing it where he could see the keyboard. That was the only explanation he give for his talent.

Certainly a God Given Right! :-)

I noticed a comment from someone (considered rather talented!) on another thread who admitted that because they didn't do certain technical things "correctly" from the start, but had developed their own way of playing the instrument, and that they were finding that it was now difficult to do certain techniques others easily could because of the way they held the instrument, etc.

M Ted: "Even in Turkish Classical Music, the performers set their own intervals, and different masters had different ideas about where the same pitch really was-- Difficult to explain to folks who think that there one "Just" system for tuning-- "

So I see M Ted, from your comments, I take it that you agree with me that it doesn't matter if the instrument is in tune? <:P

Robin


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: GUEST,the cookie deficient Jeremiah
Date: 04 Sep 03 - 11:51 PM

Y'know - this is gettin' purty damn technical for a thread 'bout ONE-chord songs!!!

:-)


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: Mark Clark
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 12:05 AM

I'm really enjoying the discussion here… thanks.

M.Ted, I haven't heard a saz played in years. Back in the pleistocene period, when I was in high school, one of our classmates was an exchange student from Turkey. He played the saz rather well and often could be coaxed into playing. I loved the sound of it, the idea of moveable frets, and the fact that it had no sound hole whatever. Here is an image of a saz together with an audio clip.

Many of the families in our parish are Lebanese so I'm often treated to the sound of Arabic music and the ancient Byzantine tones of the Liturgy. I have the impression that skilled Byzantine chanters take personal liberties with the fractional intervals used in this music.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 01:39 AM

the cookie deficient Jeremiah: "Y'know - this is gettin' purty damn technical for a thread 'bout ONE-chord songs!!!"

"Damn! The more restricted the frame of reference, the more creative the bastards get!"

:-)

Robin


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: GUEST,Dr Soul
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 03:15 AM

Hank Williams, "Honky-tonking", the band comps on E - just that one chord behind the melody.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: M.Ted
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 12:26 PM

Robin,

Don't get me wrong, tuning is good--it's just that it turns out that there is no way to tune things that will make everybody happy--

As a guitar player, I am used to playing an instrument that it is impossible to tune-also, it turns out that, if you do accidently get it in tune, it doesn't sound right--Those old Tex-Mex 12-string players couldn't keep the octave strings in tune above the 3rd fret, and they always played up the neck. I was once playing some polkas with a couple friends--they kept telling me I didn't sound quite right--finally one guy grabbed the Low E octave string peg and twisted it down almost a half step--everyone agreed it sounded better--

Mark,

I played saz only until I got to know a bunch of Turkish students, all of whom could pick the thing up and play much better than I did--maybe not technically, but in terms of the "feel". Finally just tucked it away and went back to my guitar--You're lucky to have Lebanese neighbors--they have great music, great food, and they love to dance! Also, at least in my experience, very friendly and welcoming--I had a couple Lebanese musician friends that played keyboards with me in high school(both had had to learn accordian to play for church events!) and consequently I play Miserlou real well--

When I was in Philly, I was connected with the Lebanese/Arabic/MiddleEastern community, as well--A favorite tuning related story, is about a keyboard player friend who complained about the fact that the fellow who booked musicians to play for dancing at the Middle East Restaurant there used to book a Druse Oud player and an Armenian clarinet player to play together--The problem was that Armenian used Western Scales, the Druse(a very exotic religious sect from the Lebanese mountains) used Arabic Makams, complete with quarter tones and Pythagorean tuning--and he had to figure out how to play chords underneath it--


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: Mark Ross
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 05:42 PM

BUFFALO SKINNERS was recorded by Woody with just one chord, Am. And the Hank Williams song HONKY TONKIN' does have a quick change to the V chord.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 05 Sep 03 - 09:48 PM

Was only kidding M Ted... ;-)

Robin


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: M.Ted
Date: 06 Sep 03 - 10:55 AM

Damn, Robin, for a minute I thought we were onto something--I detuned my twelve and was in the process of calculating a whole new "Just" tuning system--which basically was, "Just tune to whatever pitch you want"--derived from the "Close enough for Jazz" tuning system--I was going to set up a web page and everything--


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: Bert
Date: 07 Sep 03 - 12:15 AM

If you start with an open tuning then just learning one chord will get you two.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 07 Sep 03 - 01:24 AM

Oohhh, M Ted,

You are perhaps referring to the common
"Folkenoughforclose" system as used by Folk Singers?

Sorry, I think your patent application may be overturnd by "Proir Knowledge In The Public Domain"... as we both know, people "folked up" up music long before they jazzed it up... ;-)

Although that hasn't stopped the US Patent Office in the past... :-)

Came across an interesting reference in Irish Traditional Music. Seems that it was considered bad manners to advise a fellow session fiddle player that he was out of tune. The accepted courtesy was to say

"Sean, can I borrow your wee fiddle for a moment to thry out this pice you was playin'?"

Then play a tune, and stop and say

"I'm sorry Sean, the thing's gone out of tune now while I was playin' it"

and then retune it... and pass it back :-)


Robin


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: M.Ted
Date: 07 Sep 03 - 01:58 PM

I don't know if that would work with some of the folks I've played with--they'd take the instrument and tune it back--


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: mg
Date: 07 Sep 03 - 02:54 PM

honest I tried to read through this thread but I lost interest pretty darn quick since I don't play really..but I have heard horse with no name has one chord..in fact just a couple or three notes...mg


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: Snuffy
Date: 07 Sep 03 - 06:27 PM

Da-doo-ron-ron only has three notes in the melody, but I don't know how many chords it has.


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 07 Sep 03 - 07:55 PM

Oh M Ted...

Rofl...
Robin


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 07 Sep 03 - 08:27 PM

mary garvey:

If you find the musical theory in this thread too hard to comphrend, put it aside and come back later. In the meantime you can look up one expression at a time until the more complicated things start to make sense.

Like any system of theory, there is critical mass of info you need to hook together internally before things start to make sense. I call the "speed bump" method. Once you get over the top of the bump, thing start to get easier to understand.


Say, where's Margret R gone?

She started this all madness off... :-)

Robin


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: Splott Man
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 11:00 AM

Sorry to get back to the list,

but what about Y2K by Loudon Wainwright,

though admittedly he does change key towards the end.


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Subject: /-
From: M.Ted
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 11:42 AM

"Horse with No Name" can be played by vamping on two chords:

||:EmEm/F#m7F#m7/EmEm?F#m7F#m7:||


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Subject: RE: One-Chord Songs
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Sep 03 - 04:03 PM

oops "some of the pitches are off by some cents (hundreds of semitones)".....hundredths.........


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