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For Forum members with the time and interest, I ask that you listen first to the song presented here as performed by two famous singers. Please avoid the very long verse by beginning Ella Fitzgerald's version at 0:58 (and apologies for the annoying advertisement)

Ella: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LL97LbLQcoQ

Frank Sinatra does not sing the verse (and doesn't bother you with a commercial)

Sinatra: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijYzhQDUGYU

The thing to notice is that virtually the entire chorus is based on a single chord. It drones on, sounding like it must have in the 1940 Rodgers and Hart musical Higher and Higher, from which it originates. The arrangements are so rudimentary that they don't seem to line up with the intelligent irony of the lyrics and the elegance of the melody.

In other words, this selection from the Great American Songbook deserves a much richer, more nuanced harmonic structure, and I hope you'll agree that it gets it here:

.................... soundcloud.com/aleckrand/rodgers-and-hart-it-never-entered-my-mind It Never Entered My Mind (link no longer valid)

Naturally, there is no guarantee that you'll like this new approach and if you don't, let me know that too, but include some specifics. For instance, you might say, "Hey, Bubba, you cain't saing a lick!" Well, I know that, so let's consider this objection already posted. However, no one can claim that I don't hit that low C at the end fair-and-square.

Aleck Rand: arranger, guitar, fretless bass, MIDI vibes, vocal

RealDrums: Jazz Brushes

Dean

Last edited by Andrew - PG Music; 09/26/17 01:01 PM.

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Sad to report that you function at a level of musical knowledge so far over my head that I don't even understand what problem you are trying to solve (even after you explained it and gave two concrete examples. )

And since I never understood the problem, it follows that I also don't have the discernment to appreciate whether your changes accomplished the stated goal. Which I never fully inferred.

But, I sure do like the way your compositions sound! I'm just smart enough to know that good things are going on in your songs, but not smart enough to understand what or why.

Not quite the review you were looking for, is it?

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Well I do like your version and think your guitar brings a nice addition to the arrangement. Regarding the chorus, the original treatment of the chorus was less distracting than your version where the gaps of silence actually accentuated the bass/brushes drop out drawing attention to the music rather than the vocal focus the arrangement intends.

My musical knowledge is on par(r) with Pat's (Pun intended) so I can only speak of my emotional reaction. Great arrangement and production. I always enjoy your submissions as you never fail to impress.

Charlie


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Pat, my answer to the question posed at the end of your review:

It is precisely the kind of review I'm looking for. It's all content and your astute self delivers it with the usual precision. It may be as thorough a response as I'm going to get on this one.

However, there is a way to restate the problem so that my original presentation becomes clearer:

You cannot use BIAB to generate the intended accompaniment to this tune no matter what chords you type in.

There are no RealTracks that can to generate the fretless bass part (although there is a fretless bass RealTrack in an unrelated style); no RealTracks that can generate a coherent solo on any instrument (unless days worth of cutting and pasting is your cup of tea). In fact, without the RealDrummer I wouldn't have had the minimal credentials to even post it.

On the other hand, if I had used Frank Sinatra's arrangement, it would have been a piece of cake for BIAB. So, the problem boils down to: Why is that?

On another topic, if I haven't done it already, congratulations on your retirement. I hope it delivers the goods the way mine did.

Dean

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Dean,

In the same sense that Floyd's (and many others') observations about his/their own songs tend to be illuminating to the rest of us, please consider the fact that you are well positioned to raise the general music acumen of this group.

Your statements about music are clearly profound and well-considered... and I think it is true to say that most of us are here to learn from those who know more... you being pretty much at or near the top of the heap in terms of musical knowledge. But therein lies the problem. You are so highly developed musically and intellectually that you can't speak at our (or maybe I should exclude everyone else and say "at MY") level of comprehension.

Believe it or not, I have a high desire to understand the points you want to make.

At the risk of encouraging you to demean us by addressing us as inferiors (which I don't believe you would ever do) I hope for a middle ground where the teacher in you comes to an understanding of the class's knowledge base, then starts building from there. (Good luck on that.. its a diverse class.)

Your last post approaches that goal. It tells me that you added a layer of complexity to the song that draws its excellence from the application of human intellect. I understand that concept, and I want to know more.

What you have been doing is great: you outline a theoretical musical principle, give an example, then expound on it. That's classic academia. My suggestion is that you continue doing the same, but with more fundamental principles.

Beyond those generic requests I am powerless to be more specific.

I am VERY happy that you are on this forum, and I would hate for you to get discouraged and leave for lack of meaningful communication with the rest of us. Having said all that.. even if you never manage to find a common denominator of thought here in the forum, you still inspire all of us by the exhibition of sheer skill in all of your posts. Just the awareness of what is possible... that in itself adds immeasurable value to the forum.

On a different note: thanks for your retirement well-wishes! Maybe it will "deliver the goods" if I can just keep from having the days swallowed up by the internet. ;-(




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Hi Dean,

no musical theory here.
Just like it. Beautiful playing and singing.
And you really hit that last note. Impressive.

Guenter

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Dean,

I listened to Ella.

I listened to Frank.

Icons. Who wouldn't like 'em. And very typical orchestration for both of them.

I expected you to do a good job of your own version. But... fully expected that in comparison you would be third. No offense intended, but... c'mon... Ella! and Frank!

I was knocked over.

Your version sits on an even par with either of the other two. Your vocal is superb. Your arrangement is better - more musical.

Best thing I've ever heard you do. Bravo.

floyd

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Floyd,

Pat had a long and probing response that I've been thinking about all day - and still am - but when I looked at your review I had to get to that first. You know those deeep bows, torso down against the legs, that make an expression beyond words? I can offer that in return for your kindest of words. And know that they're coming from probably our most creative and skillful performer.

Not just that. You added another insight: musicality. Very hard to pin down. Pat mentioned complexity, also very hard to pin down.

I don't know if you were around when Dick Clark's American Bandstand was on TV, but the kids danced to the pop tunes of the day and were then asked for their opinion on the song. There were exactly two and only two answers:

(1) I like the beat, and
(2) It was easy to dance to.

Well, this ain't no American Bandstand, man. Here you get real answers from strong brains that help me learn something. Thank you.

Dean

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Guenter,

The best kind of thanks is when the person you're thanking gave you the idea that you used with success.

I didn't forget your remark about having another version of Lush Life to compare mine to, and that's why I put those two versions of My Mind right up front. But I never thought anyone would be comparing me to Frank and Ella.

Whenever I discover something that I think is really cool - in this case an arrangement - my first instinct (after jumping up and down with excitement) is: "I've gotta show this to someone!" But one of the three or four things I've learned in life is to attach no expectations to how that "someone" will react, especially in an area as subjective as music.

Guenter, thank you for that idea and for your kind remarks.

Dean

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Pat,

Again your corrosive insights force me to reveal something to the Forum and, this time, no kidding around.

I was a teacher: A teacher of the most feared and despised of all academic subjects, from Freshmen to Grad Students. The best I can say about the quality of my classroom performance over the decades, the best spin I can put on my ability as a teacher is this:

I sucked.

And I have the evidence to prove it in the form of decades of SET (student evaluation of teaching) questionnaires. I was like a bad stand-up comic forced to work at the same crummy club, night after night, to an audience of a handful of Teamsters. The only difference between them and the classroom was that the Teamsters would have thrown things at the stage. The kids merely passed out on their desks, or collapsed into the aisle after a night of too much partying.

I had mentioned that I had learned maybe three or four things in life and here is a second: It isn't possible to thrive in a career that you're no good at. You can try, but in the end it will be highly unpleasant, leave you without memories, and take a heavy toll on your health. When I retired prematurely in 2008, a doctor had told me that I had no choice but to retire.

My (no longer secret) reason for being in this Forum is its therapeutic value. Maybe I can crowd aside an empty past by showing folks what I consider "cool stuff" and not suck at it. What a concept!! Instead of the inert classroom - any questions? comments? nothing at all? (silence) - I get serious feedback, real questions, real answers. I think everyone has their own secret reason for being in the Forum, besides just singing a few notes. Here you have mine, and I never got around to addressing your main points. But I will. With thanks to you and all the members of this wonderful Forum,

Dean

PS The single downside of the Forum for me is that I don't get the time to do more listening and commenting. There's fabulous stuff going on here and I'm missing a lot of it. But I'm workin' on that.

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Dean, Your version stands up well against the others. I actually like your chord progression better. I admit I don't have your level of theory, but every time you post something I learn more. I even Googled re-harmonizing. I thought I knew what it meant but I wanted to make sure. In a way you've got a whole new song here. One thing's for sure- Your guitar playing sure don't suck and neither do your arranging skills. I enjoyed it. Tom

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Dean, (AKA "Sensei" from this day forward)

I simply don't believe you could possibly suck at teaching yet be so extraordinary at music performance. "SUCK" is an attitude that tends to take over someone's life, affecting every aspect of it. If you truly "sucked" it would certainly have affected your music.. but your music is amazing!

I have my own theories about spoiled college kids, partying on Daddy's dime then giving the teachers evaluations that are exactly as bad as their grades. My theory is succinctly summarized as follows: Those SET questionnaires say more about the kids than they say about you. Period. If anythings sucks, it is the "dedication to task" of the average college kid.

As to the completely different question of whether teaching as a career was toxic to your health: YOU'RE A MUSICIAN FER CRYIN' OUT LOUD! Any musician forced to earn a living any other way besides music is unconditionally allowed to hate the other job! All musicians everywhere agree on this. (which happens to be exactly the reason why I recently decided to exit my job prematurely... I want to play music, and the inability to scratch that itch was certifiably toxic)

By the way, I went back and listened to this latest song in light of other forum members' comments, and there may be hope for me yet. Don't give up on me. I'm ignorant, but but teachable.




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re: therapeutic value

Sensei, Maybe you just need to write a country song about spoiled drunken college brats. Don't hold anything back. You can use all the bad words, and none of us will notify the moderator. ;-)

You might even start to like country music as a result. wink

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HI Dean ...

This might be a bit long and rambling, please bear with me (Alan)!

I've read all the previous comments/reviews/curiosities and, most importantly, their need (not just desire, but need) to improve their musicianship. I found every one of them, and your replies, most interesting and valuable.

I had a real long reply here but have shortened it substantially. What I was trying to say in all the gibberish I deleted was, I think all of us know a lot more than we realize. In the absence of formal musical education, we make up our own references and terminology. We know what we mean but hardly anyone else would!

A quick set of examples, using "G" as the tonic. I'll give the ascription I used and then translate them into legitimate terminology:

"Go to the back chord of the key" Translation: "Go from G to D" or "Go from the tonic to to the 5 chord"

"Go to the forward chord of the key" Translation: "Go from G to C" or "Go from the tonic to the 4 chord"

"Go to the up chord of the key" - translation: "Go from G to A" or "Go from the tonic to the 2 chord"

There were dozens of others I made up. My point is, we probably know a lot more than we realize about music theory, we just know it by different ascriptions and terminology. Many of us find the technical terminology scary and daunting. I find that music, math and foreign languages (with the few exceptions that exist) are all very similar in one respect ... they all have an established syntax for the most part. In English, if we add "ed' to the end of most verbs, it makes it past tense almost every time. So we know what will usually happen when we add that "ed" at the end of a verb. In math, if we double the quantity of something, we will have twice as much. It's an accepted rule. In music, if we increase the fifth note of a chord by two half-steps, the major chord becomes a 6th chord, regardless of the nomenclature of the tonic chord. That syntax applies almost every time in in those three arenas. Realizing the syntax of music has dramatically increased my understanding of it.

I am far below your knowledge and skill level, but every time I listen to one of your compositions, I learn something knew. You're creative, think out of the box (sometimes way out of the box!) and most of all for me, you are innovative. Your superior skills and musical intellect don't intimidate or scare me ... they make me work my a$$ off so I can say, "Yep, now I'm one tenth as good as Dean, whereas six months ago I was only one eleventh as good. Thank you for making me work so damned hard!

What I enjoyed about this work by you is that your new arrangement of the chorus kept life in the song, re-energized it (much as a key modulation might) and kept my ears wanting to hear more because I know you're going to do something that blows me away. There's nothing hum-drum about your musical compositions. I never know what to expect in the next bar or the next verse, but I know it's gonna be great!

BTW, I was a teacher, too! I taught Geometric Optics (mostly has to do with the physics of light behavior) at the University of Missouri - St. Louis.

Wishing you well and looking forward to your next project!

Alan

(Di's sleeping but would want me to say "Hi" on her behalf, too)


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Alan,

This response deserves more than just thanks. I had been meaning to send you a PM with a particular question, and I'm gonna do it shortly.

Dean

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Hey Charlie,

Thanks for that nice compliment. And I see you've got one of those rare Gibson McLaughlin 2-neck guitars, one of them a 12 string. I wonder if you string it like I string my 12, with identical pairs of strings (2 sets of Ernie Ball Super Slinky 0.08s). In other words, no octaves like in folk 12's. Man, there you have one baaaaaaaad sidewinder to let loose from its cage.

Later,

Dean

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Thanks for your nice compliment about my Gibson Double Neck. It is quite rare. One of only 46 made and one of only 12 done in the white finish. You can learn more about its history by checking out its story and research done by the PBS program Antiques Roadshow several years ago. Here is the link:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadshow/archive/200902A30.html

You'll notice my avatar is a photograph taken by a PBS photographer during the filming.

The 12 string has two different gauge string sets that are tuned an octave apart. They are ernie ball strings.... good guess.

If you ever visit Myrtle Beach, SC let me know and you can drop by an play it a while. That would be a thrill to hear.

Charlie

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Hi, Dean ! :))


I echo what the others have said
except that I do not find anything
else to say than that you are
the most skilful musician I´ve heard
so far on this forum especially in
the genré of jazz (that I hold for as
the most difficult of them all, requiring
a quite different and special talent)!
Your playing is far above what most of us could
ever hope to reach ! Your vocals on
this and your latest posts is also
just the right type for the kind of
jazz you are mastering ! It is an honor
to have got to know you and an even
greater one to have had you playing
your "out of this earth" solos on many
of my modest tunes !
Just great, Dean !

Cheers
Dani

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Well, I was going to listen but Soundcloud doesn't seem to want to play this morning.... maybe later.


You can find my music at:
www.herbhartley.com

Add nothing that adds nothing to the music.

You can make excuses or you can make progress but you can't do both.
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Hey you rascal! Where you been? Dani, your words are ever so kind but what about that ... er ... you know, a certain tune, something about being in ... what was it?

Dean

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