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Rock song anatomy


  Collected essays on individual rock songs
  Editor: Ger Tillekens
English There's a new key in town (march 2015). The musical idiom of Rock music leaves ample room for original and unexpected modulations. Douglas S. Thompson here discusses the outstanding example of the Eagles' song "New Kid in Town." In this song, tonality — while avoiding the typical modulation in the bridge section — cleverly switches from section to section in ways that strengthen and enhance the song's cohesiveness.
English Locked into the Hotel California (october 2006). The Eagles' song "Hotel California" is built upon seven simple chords. The way in which these chords combine, though, is rather complex. Interpreting the music of this song seems as difficult as decoding its lyrics. Ger Tillekens here analyses the basic chord pattern as an expanded Spanish progression that gives the song its Spanish feel and acts as to keep it locked into the moment.
English Marks of the Dorian family (november 2002). "Drunken Sailor" and "Scarborough Fair": both songs have the feel of shifting between two keys. Introducing the concept of the Dorian twin tone system, Ger Tillekens here discusses the family traits of these traditionals.
English "Not A Second Time" (august 2000). Many experts take the early Beatles' song "Not A Second Time" for a weak member of the group's songbook, mainly because of the inconsistencies between Lennon's lyrics and his voicing of the song lines. The Finnish philosopher T.P. Uschanov argues, however, that the song's strength resides precisely in this incoherence. Therefore the song, he says, offers an excellent argument for the significance of semiotics for popular music studies.
English The amazing grace of "Never Ever" (november 1999). "Never Ever", the 1998 hit song of the British girl band All Saints, is a simple three-chord song. These three chords also happen to be the so-called basic chords: tonic, subdominant and dominant. In pop and rock music songs with only these chords are hard to find. It also is a nice song. That's why Ger Tillekens uses it here for an analysis of the workings of these three basic chords.
English Building a mystery (january 1999). Some good rock songs are built on the repeated sequence of just the same few chords. Sarah McLachlan's beautiful song "Building A Mystery" offers a perfect example of such a song. It is based on the chord progression: Bm -» G -» D -» A. Almost instantly the song opens with this sequence and then it keeps on going over and over again till the end. Still, as a whole the song doesn't sound monotonous or boring. The reason: a swift modulation or key shift keeps changing the semantic meaning of the chords. Here Ger Tillekens discusses the whereabouts and attraction of this specific progression and the intricate working of the key shift.
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