I like using Band in a Box to experiment with different aspects of music theory. I love being able to mess around with various chord progressions and see how they would sound with a full band behind them. As case in point is the following experimental tune I created in Band in a Box:
YouTube Link: Spooky Pachelbel
This is a straightforward right-out-of-the-box application of the following style. No changes to the default mix or anything:
****** Song Summary *************
Title: Spooky Pachelbel
Key=D , Tempo 75, Length (m:s)=2:46
No intro. 24 bar chorus, from bar 1 to bar 24. Repeat x2 choruses
No Soloist track.
Song is saved with Volume, Pan, Reverb, Chorus, Bank0,
Style is _ROMANCE.STY (Dramatic Country Pop)
RealTracks in style: 1036:Bass, Electric, NorthernRockBallad Ev 065
RealTracks in style: 2335:String Quartet, Rhythm PopHall Ev 085
RealTracks in style: 1595:Guitar, Acoustic, Fingerpicking Pop8thsSteady Ev 065
RealTracks in style: ~1676:Guitar, Acoustic, Fingerpicking CountryBrent Ev 065
RealDrums [in style:NashvillePop16^2-a:Sidestick, HiHat , b:Snare, Ride
Here are the notes as given in the description of the YouTube video on how and why this tune was created:
This music was borne out of an experiment in using "negative harmony" -- at least that was the intent. The idea behind negative harmony is to substitute the notes of a scale using another set of notes that serve as counterparts to the original notes, giving you the ability to add more flavor and spice to your music
For example, take the D major scale (D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#). One type of negative harmonic substitution would be to replace those notes with (A, G, F, E, D, C, Bb) -- which are the notes of D minor (and F major), but backwards and starting from A. From this you can construct new chords to use as replacements. For example, the notes in a D chord (D, F#, A) would be translated into (A, F, D) which is inversion of Dm. An A chord (A, C#, E) would be translated into (D, Bb, G) which is an inversion of Gm. And so on. Usually, you do this substitution on just a few of the chords in your song to add a bit of flavor. But you can try substituting all of the chords.
Let's try this with the famous chord progression for Pachelbel's Canon in D -- (D, A, Bm, F#m, G, D, G, A). If you substitute the notes of each chord using the process given above, you'll end up with the chords (Dm, Gm, F, Bb, Am, Dm, Am, Gm).
When I tried these substitutions, I got them wrong without realizing it, inadvertently applying the note substitutions (A, B, C, D, E, F, G). This happens to be the A minor scale -- the parallel minor of the 5th degree of D major (A is the fifth note of D major). Using these notes for substitution, the transformed chord progression for the famous canon becomes (Am, Em, F, C, Dm, Am, Dm, Em).
I plugged this new chord progression into the software program known as Band in a Box (produced by PG Music) and selected a string quartet style. Band in a Box then generated a set of backing tracks from these chords. The results were quite amazing.
In the music provided in the video, the first eight bars have the original chords of Pachelbel's Canon. I follow this with two eight-bar sections using the transformed A minor chords, and then repeat all of this once. This is to allow you to contrast the originals chords with the transformed chords and the harmonies implied therein.
When I first played back this music, two things stood out: (1) Band in a Box created backing tracks for the first eight bars that have a remarkable resemblance to PachelBel's Canon. (2) The modulation to A minor is striking, the jump startling in a weird sort of way. The music instantly becomes sad, and a bit eerie. It's like you are hearing a warped "mirror image" of the original canon.
Another way of describing this effect is that the music comprises a conversation between two separated souls -- one who is still alive on this earth, expressing their emotions of grief and remembrance with the beautiful and lovely harmonies that Pachelbel's Canon is known for, and then the other soul replying across "the veil" with ghostly echoes -- very sad, very lonely, and very spooky.
So spooky that when I was first experimenting with this, I played the A minor section over and over, letting Band in a Box generate new phrases from the chords. I was soaking up this new progression. But after a while, the music became unnerving. I started getting chills down my spine. I had to actually stop listening. Unfortunately, that ghostly music stuck in my head like an ear worm. The only antidote was to listen to the original canon, to get the ghostly, other-worldly harmonies out of my head.
I give this last paragraph as a fair warning: You may not want to listen to this song for very long!
Actually, though, after many listening sessions, the spooky effect has diminished. I've gotten used to the weird harmonies -- as long as I don't think about them in the wrong light.
Oh, about the original negative harmony: Plugging the chords (Dm, Gm, F, Bb, Am, Dm, Am, Gm) into Band in a Box yields music that's certainly sad (being in D minor). However, the chord progression doesn't flow all that well, and you don't get that spooky feeling from it -- at least I don't. But going instead to the parallel minor of the 5th degree (A minor here) certainly creates an uncanny musical experience.