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#645443 - 03/07/21 07:35 AM [User Showcase] Spooky Pachelbel
Registered: 12/26/20
Posts: 45
BryMusic Offline
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Registered: 12/26/20
Posts: 45
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
File:Spooky Pachelbel.SGU
Key=D , Tempo 75, Length (m:s)=2:46
No intro. 24 bar chorus, from bar 1 to bar 24. Repeat x2 choruses
No Melody
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.

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#645453 - 03/07/21 08:53 AM [User Showcase] Re: Spooky Pachelbel [Re: BryMusic]
Registered: 01/06/20
Posts: 1500
Loc: Illinois
CaptainMoto Offline
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Registered: 01/06/20
Posts: 1500
Loc: Illinois
Too much info for me..........I just thought it sounded good.

moto
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#645466 - 03/07/21 11:48 AM [User Showcase] Re: Spooky Pachelbel [Re: BryMusic]
Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 9826
Loc: Florida
floyd jane Offline
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Registered: 08/10/12
Posts: 9826
Loc: Florida
A pleasant listen. Well mixed.

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#645500 - 03/07/21 03:56 PM [User Showcase] Re: Spooky Pachelbel [Re: BryMusic]
Registered: 03/07/18
Posts: 3554
Rustyspoon# Online   content
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Registered: 03/07/18
Posts: 3554
BryMusic,
Some unusual and unexpected twists in this experiment. Listens well.
Thank you for sharing.

Misha.

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#645522 - 03/07/21 07:27 PM [User Showcase] Re: Spooky Pachelbel [Re: BryMusic]
Registered: 12/08/11
Posts: 6284
Loc: Edmonton, Ab, Canada
Scott C Offline
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Registered: 12/08/11
Posts: 6284
Loc: Edmonton, Ab, Canada
Lovely song. Very pretty melodies floating around in the song. Well done..

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#645533 - 03/07/21 11:20 PM [User Showcase] Re: Spooky Pachelbel [Re: BryMusic]
Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 5792
Loc: Originally Missouri ... Now Al...
Al-David Offline
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Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 5792
Loc: Originally Missouri ... Now Al...
HI James ...

This was such a nice listen! Warm to my ears. As I often do, you also play around with chord progressions/patterns to try to find unusual but pleasant sounds that unexpectedly work quite nicely together. Mission accomplished! Thanks for another terrific listen! Take care ...

Alan
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#645563 - 03/08/21 06:31 AM [User Showcase] Re: Spooky Pachelbel [Re: BryMusic]
Registered: 12/26/20
Posts: 45
BryMusic Offline
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Registered: 12/26/20
Posts: 45
Thanks for all the kind comments!

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#645643 - 03/08/21 02:44 PM [User Showcase] Re: Spooky Pachelbel [Re: CaptainMoto]
Registered: 01/28/12
Posts: 3443
Loc: Murgon Queensland Australia
Rob4580 Offline
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Registered: 01/28/12
Posts: 3443
Loc: Murgon Queensland Australia
Im with the Captain. I did enjoy the chord progression and yes it
does sound good.

Originally Posted By: CaptainMoto
Too much info for me..........I just thought it sounded good.

moto

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#645705 - 03/09/21 12:11 AM [User Showcase] Re: Spooky Pachelbel [Re: BryMusic]
Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 4723
Loc: Sacramento, California
dcuny Offline
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Registered: 09/27/10
Posts: 4723
Loc: Sacramento, California
Sounds like you're enjoying your adventures in modal substitutions.

Good sound - the music feels connected, the mix is good, and the instruments fit together well.

Basically a lot of words to say it sounds nice. wink
_________________________
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My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?

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#645739 - 03/09/21 05:55 AM [User Showcase] Re: Spooky Pachelbel [Re: BryMusic]
Registered: 05/27/19
Posts: 1516
Loc: Dallas, PA, USA
BabuMusic Offline
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Registered: 05/27/19
Posts: 1516
Loc: Dallas, PA, USA
Ya had me at Spooky & Pachelbel, but lost me a bit in the negative harmony. It reminded me of something Miles Davis once did: wrote a tune in one key and had the bass play it a fourth higher. Whatever you did, the negative harmony really had a positive effect on the sadness you were after. YES! Had to listen a couple times to get a better understanding. Interesting note: Pachelbel's Canon in D that so many use in weddings was written after his wife and daughter were killed in a carriage accident.
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My website: http://martystraub.com/

using Band in a Box, Reaper & Cakewalk

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#645764 - 03/09/21 10:33 AM [User Showcase] Re: Spooky Pachelbel [Re: BryMusic]
Registered: 12/26/20
Posts: 45
BryMusic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/26/20
Posts: 45
I know the discussion was a bit long-winded, but I was trying to "briefly" (ha ha!) describe how I arrived at this composition. The TL;DR is that I applied the "negative harmony" trick incorrectly but ended up with an even more interesting result.

In case anyone is interested here's a good video describing the trick I was *trying* to apply:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHH8siNm3ts&lc=z23nz1jofrnpyfpob04t1aokgad5o5xsizoywriv2zierk0h00410

I have yet to try my discovery of modulating up to the minor scale of the 5th note of the original scale on other tunes to see if this effect has any universality to it.

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#645765 - 03/09/21 10:40 AM [User Showcase] Re: Spooky Pachelbel [Re: BryMusic]
Registered: 12/10/09
Posts: 1170
Loc: Washington State
bluage Offline
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Registered: 12/10/09
Posts: 1170
Loc: Washington State
An interesting musical theory experiment for sure. To my ears the music sounds more bittersweet and suggestive of something lost. It could be a soundtrack for a scene in a film wherein a female character composes a 'Dear John...' letter to a less-than-inspiring lover smile.

Regardless, the Real Tracks add a sweetness and stateliness of instrumental performance to the production that invited repeated listening.
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#645784 - 03/09/21 11:43 AM [User Showcase] Re: Spooky Pachelbel [Re: BryMusic]
Registered: 12/26/20
Posts: 45
BryMusic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/26/20
Posts: 45
I had a girlfriend who was killed tragically over 30 yrs ago and as it happens, Pachelbel's Canon figured prominently during that time frame. That's probably why my initial spooky reaction to the Am modulation.

After many listenings that effect has diminished, and now I hear more and more beauty on each listen, with a tinge of bittersweetness.

bluage: It's funny you mention the "Dear John ..." setting. That's exactly what my wife thought on first listen.

I should mention I still hear the "call and response" aspect of this, and so if I focus on that too much the spookiness returns.


Edited by BryMusic (03/09/21 11:48 AM)

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#645824 - 03/09/21 02:58 PM [User Showcase] Re: Spooky Pachelbel [Re: BryMusic]
Registered: 07/11/15
Posts: 3846
Loc: Missouri
Torrey Bliss Offline
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Registered: 07/11/15
Posts: 3846
Loc: Missouri
BryMusic, nice progression! The major to minor shift after the intro is a clever little twist! Maybe this will develop into a full song at some point! Take care, T
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www.soundcloud.com/torrey-bliss
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#646201 - 03/11/21 06:21 PM [User Showcase] Re: Spooky Pachelbel [Re: BryMusic]
Registered: 11/11/12
Posts: 4324
Loc: Iceland
Icelander Offline
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Registered: 11/11/12
Posts: 4324
Loc: Iceland
Like some have mentioned, the term "spooky pachelbel" had enough pull on its own to get me in here (experimenting with known music is a weak spot for me), but the content itself certainly didn't disappoint either.
And I found that, perhaps fittingly contrastingly, while it may not be wise to run this one more than once, you rather have to in order to even begin to grasp & appreciate the concept crazy
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#646254 - 03/12/21 01:55 AM [User Showcase] Re: Spooky Pachelbel [Re: BryMusic]
Registered: 06/05/12
Posts: 14483
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
AudioTrack Offline
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Registered: 06/05/12
Posts: 14483
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Nice effort

Pleasant and melodic with all the right deliveries.
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#646293 - 03/12/21 07:24 AM [User Showcase] Re: Spooky Pachelbel [Re: BryMusic]
Registered: 12/26/20
Posts: 45
BryMusic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 12/26/20
Posts: 45
Thanks everyone for the comments.

Am loving how BIAB let's you explore musical possibilities.

I'm wondering if this modulation to the "5th minor" key has the same impact in other progressions. I'll certainly be trying them out!

With the few songs I've done so far entirely in BIAB, I'm finding that with a lot of patience and perseverance in curating the random phrases (I know they're not entirely random) that BIAB spits out for chord sequences you can create some very pleasing music.

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