The Most Important Chord Progression in Modern Music - Spitfire spits crap.

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by Ad Heesive, Sep 27, 2020.

  1. Ad Heesive

    Ad Heesive Rock Star

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    The Most Important Chord Progression in Modern Music - Spitfire spits crap.

    Disclaimer: this post is just about debunking pretentious garbage.

    This video

    I'm commenting on just the first 3 minutes of this video - watch it and vomit!

    Aside:
    - I think Spitfire's instruments really are brilliant - I have no complaints about how great they are.
    - I think their accompanying commentaries (in videos like the one above) are just bullcrap

    Why does this piss me off? Because it's full of pretentious error ridden clap trap.

    Jump to punch line:
    This reminds me of 'ultra clever' teenagers claiming that their generation invented denim, music, and sex - (you know, all the stuff their parents have never heard of) - and then raking in their 'in-group' prestige points by being the first to tell other less well informed teenagers about these amazing new discoveries.

    Just bollox!

    Take a very simple chord sequence like [F, G, Aminor], or [C, D, Eminor]
    In the video he uses [Db, Eb, Fminor] - but it's the same sequence.

    This guy has pretentiously elevated this simple chord sequence to the status of 'the most important chord progression'
    He then claims that the trailblazer users of this chord sequence are his favourite trendy avant-garde
    pseudo-classical sources from the 70's and 80's
    (and he even somehow manages to think the 80's came before the 70's)

    and yet this chord sequence can easily be found in very popular pop songs from the 60's and were really no big deal - just good pop songs.
    e.g.,
    All along the Watchtower (Bob Dylan 1967, Jimi Hendrix 1968)
    The Fool on the Hill (The Beatles 1967)
    Probably many other older pop songs too if anyone could be bothered to look,
    and I'm sure Jazz fans could find it used in Jazz decades earlier,
    and I would also bet my life on being able to find this chord sequence somewhere in Bach or Mozart.

    That's it - I'm just pissed off with people pretentiously sounding knowledgeable when they're ignorant.
    and especially pissed with off with people claiming that 'their generation' - 'their favourites' are the originators of stuff that's been around forever.

    Repeated punch line...
    This reminds me of 'ultra clever' teenagers claiming that their generation invented denim, music, and sex - (you know, all the stuff their parents have never heard of) - and then raking in their 'in-group' prestige points by being the first to tell other less well informed teenagers about these amazing new discoveries.
    I'm happy to admit that all of this is just a very biased personal rant...
    (and is almost certainly riddled with less than logical observations - so please do contradict me)

    What got me into looking at this was two things.

    [1] The actual instruments being put out from Spitfire Audio are actually wonderful
    I have no complaints at all about their wonderful achievements in producing instruments.

    [2] The range of their instruments now associated with composer Ólafur Arnalds
    They are forever bragging about the association with this BAFTA-winninq composer.
    So I felt obliged to listen to Ólafur Arnalds work. I tried 5 different albums and was (to put it mildy) bored to death. I found it to be mediocre at best.
    It seemed to be aimed squarely at a pretentious pseudo-classical audience and just fell into no-man's land. It seems to have a musical content that is inferior to everything I love in classical music
    and a 'quirky sound' aspiration that is inferior to everything I love about modern sculpted sound in pop, rock, electro-various, etc.
    It just failed on both counts, but I can easily see how the crossover audience could be seduced.
    The classical purists might hear it and think "ooh interesting quirky sounds" having never heard what modern music can deliver in real modern sound sculpting. They would allow the quirky novel (to them) sounds to distract them from noticing how mind-numbingly dull the compositions are.
    The electro fans might hear it and say "ooh nice chords", and be 'taken in' by how 'portentous' it sounds, and then somehow excuse the fact that the 'novel sounds' are actually old-hat and lame.

    So, what bugs me about that is how each component (composition and sounds) is elevated pretentiously to this crossover audience who get seduced by the aspect they're not familiar with.
    (I hope that makes sense to someone - please feel free to ridicule)

    This style of pretentious mediocrity then spills over into that video where the guy is talking about the origins of this mighty domineering chord sequence.
    (what the rest of us call a 'bleedingly obvious 3 chords' sequence)
    He calls this 'amazing' chord sequence 6, 7, 1.
    That's a fair enough notation (but certainly not my favourite)
    He fails to explain that the 6, 7, 1 is (as in) a minor key.
    Personally, I think it is far easier understood as Aeolian mode
    and far easier to notate as the IV, V, vi chords from a standard major scale
    e.g., F, G, Am (in key C or Am) or C, D, Em (in key G or Em)
    (doesn't that seem easier? why translate to 6, 7, 1 and then introduce complications like it's a b7 )

    But the fun actually starts when he 'all knowingly' tells us the origins of this sequence.
    At first he claims it has its roots in the 70's from Steve Reich's Systems Movement (how trendy)
    But then he 'pseudo graciously' says...
    "I'm wrong it has its roots in a Tangerine Dream score for a movie Risky Business"
    (but that soundtrack was produced in 1983 !!!! how is that before the 70's?)
    Have you ever noticed that any ignorant prat can exaggerate what they claim to know
    by first inventing a mistake and then pretending to graciously admit they were wrong!

    So he concludes...
    "We have to credit Tangerine Dream as the trailblazers with this very domineering chord sequence"
    and all this time he seems completely oblivious to the fact that this chord progression was used in these songs...
    All Along the Watch Tower (Bob Dylan 1967) and made famous by Jimi Hendrix 1968
    Fool on the Hill (Beatles 1967)

    The above songs were just 'bloody good pop songs'
    None of them had all this pretentious claptrap commentary wrapped around them.
    It is just three very obvious chords !!! - used brilliantly by pop artists.
    But in 2020 some idiot upstart loves to sound pretentious and claim that it took a brilliant pseudo-classical avant garde movement in the 70's to first generate this amazing chord sequence, which just happened to be preceded by a trendy electro-pop outfit which (magically) preceded the 70's effort with their 80's composition.

    What a load of bollox!
     
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  3. Smoove Grooves

    Smoove Grooves Audiosexual

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    You say C or Am, yet when I jam with gospel or blues cats and they shout out IV, V, VI in C, then the 'Nashville' system wouldn't work unless you dictated C instead of Am. Because a IV, V, VI in Am would be Dm, Em, Am maybe.
    So you were correct with your prior sentence!:
    Which is kind of how the Nashville sytem works, but I admit I encounter different, bastardised versions of it between different artists from different genres.
    So I'll say now I'm not au fait with the system myself, but I generally get what each person means, and somehow end up playing what is expected of me!

    Interesting points you make about these guys.
    Getting a bit strange. Clever, creative guys no doubt, but do seem either a bit up themselves, or just intent upon trying to brainwash us now.
    Lots of people just creating any old pointless video content to advertise themselves.
    +1 to Bollox.
     
  4. TaxiDriver

    TaxiDriver Platinum Record

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    I also find a lot of their stuff ..umm, quite inspiring. And they developed sort of SF TM sound, which is quite an accomplishment. There is also a lot of crap, but nobody can be perfect all the time I guess. Especially pushing the Olafur, Drama,.. "toolkits" into superfluity.

    And then there is a rant by Christian where he complains how Discovery channel owners want to renegotiate all the contracts, taking away the royalties model (and I guess just pay&run for something generic).

    FFS, I am not good at English, but what does a "tool-kit" mean? Eventually everything is going to sound more or less the same, if you use the same building blocks.. and now he is complaining because every wannabe composer can make that two-notes-squeaky-chambery-sounding sausage for those sub-mediocre drama series (and is happy for making a couple of bucks).

    Anyway, I just wanted to say - I am so happy Christian is a part of SF team! He keeps my wallet in a somehow sane condition. If it wasn't for him, I would probably buy another five SF libs. This way I have to forget he has anything to do with them in a first place. What can you do - most of us artists are oversentimental..

    And yes, it's a "thing" now - not only in music - other arts and crafts too. Re-inventing the wheel and promoting it as something new, when most of that is now probably an almost hundred years old "thing". And in music you can even end up in line with the likes of Palestrina or Orlando di Lasso, lol..
    +1
     
  5. Prendergast

    Prendergast Member

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    I remember one of the Marsalis Bros. stating in an interview (back in the 90s), that all the basic and even modern changes in jazz can easily be found in the works of J.S. Bach. Recalling what i've learned when studying classical music, he's right.
    I often ask myself, where are the Bachs of today?
     
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  6. LordSin

    LordSin Newbie

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    Being truly innovative is very hard, particularly in an oversaturated industry. "There is nothing new under the sun"
     
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  7. Valnar

    Valnar Kapellmeister

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    is:
    - a deceptive cadence in the relative key (IV V vi)
    - a simple variation on the cadence (iv v i)
    so i dont really get what makes it the most important progression, he just preceeds to talk about his libraries and a handful of musicians using it so i guess its just good ol clickbait
     
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  8. phumb-reh

    phumb-reh Platinum Record

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    I'm no expert on this, but one could easily say stuff like I-IV-V or ii-V-I would be more "important" (whatever that's supposed to mean).
     
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  9. phumb-reh

    phumb-reh Platinum Record

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    It's worthwhile to remember that (at least) Wynton Marsalis is very much a jazz traditionalist who pretty much ignores everything from bepop onwards (this is not to shit on him, he's a very knowledgeable person otherwise)

    I'd be hard pressed to find stuff from composers such as John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Harry Partch, Iannis Xenakis or even Frank Zappa in Bach's repertoire.

    So there has been innovation and still is, but it's not exactly mainstream pop music.
     
  10. Toccata

    Toccata Guest

    Hey guys! (I used to have an account, had to re-signup)

    If I may add a bit about this important progression; the earliest example I know is Corelli's Opus 2 (1685), though I believe it began earlier in the church and quite possibly originated as a solo violin progression (I'll explain later). It is a popular progression in Italian and French baroque music.

    The OP is correct, the scale numbers are ^4-5-6 not ^6-7-1. It's a major mode progression that had its place in the middle of a composition. Actually, the full progression usually begins with a ^3 on the preceding weak beat, but this youtuber drops the ^3 as he starts on the strong beat naturally. What is interesting to note is the static figuration in the right hand is exactly how the progression was used hundreds of years ago:

    Here is the progression from Duphly's Allemande (c. 1750). Even if you can't read music you can see the rising ^3-4-5-6 bottom notes (beginning on the weak beat) and the static figuration in the right hand:
    [​IMG]
    This is the reason I think it began on a violin, the stationary upper parts with an ascending lower string is a violin technique—here's an example of the progression played on a solo violin from a Nardini Violin Sonata (1769). See the ascending bass notes and the stationary upper part.
    [​IMG]

    As noted by the replies above, there are other more popular, more influential progressions, but this progression has three features that make it important to contemporary musicians and listeners: (1) The right hand often centres on the tonic chord (see both examples above) making it strongly anchored and thus, easily understood. (2) The bass rising in a direct line is easy to follow, and the repetitive pattern as a whole is easy to grasp. (3) The termination on the minor chord following the two major chords gives it a bittersweetness.

    I think it is the bittersweet feeling which is what draws people in. Baroque music is too complex, classical is too optimistic, jazz is too discordant, for popular taste which has, at least in America, been largely determined by the opinions of 13-25 year olds. This progression is open and relaxed. It sits on a cloud. It doesn't strain in any unusual, unnatural way or tax the ear with excessive musical detail. In a way it symbolizes the human condition: the rising hope of youth ^3-4-5 and the sorrow of death ^6. The minor sigh. It is often used both by anthemic producers (Chainsmokers) and epic composers (Hans Zimmer) in this context: to express profound jubilation (but often with a tinge of sadness like the typical cliche 'This is your moment' with an unspoken 'you'll never get it back') or grief and melancholy.

    I compiled some of my favourite baroque ^3-4-5-6 progressions for you to judge starting with Metallica's Blackened which lays out the ascending bass in a bare form. Then the Duphly example I posted above. And examples from Forqueray, Handel, Wagenseil, Vitali, Corelli, Locatelli, and Couperin. Notice the progression often appears in pairs and concludes with a ^3-4-5-1 (galant clausulae) progression. I start each clip a little before the progression enters so you'll have time to prepare your ears. Listen for the ascending stepwise bass, it does not always appear in equal note values.


    Were you capable of recognizing the progression in context and forming an opinion on its execution? Modern listening habits have largely abandoned making these finer distinctions. Yet the power of traditional western art music still moves us, even if we no longer have the words — we have the heart.
     
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  11. KungPaoFist

    KungPaoFist Audiosexual

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    Relax guys, Christian isn't for the well educated and self-confident composer. He is a guru for the wayward Jedi.
     
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  12. Drake Jack

    Drake Jack Newbie

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    Can you please list all the pieces you used here.
    Mainly the one at 1:50
     
  13. 23322332

    23322332 Platinum Record

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    Bach doesn't have anything to do with jazz, right. But what's up with Partch, Xenakis or Zappa (the last one being polystylist)? Why do you even mention them - they were not jazz composers.
     
  14. Toccata

    Toccata Guest

    :00 Metallica - Blackened
    :26 Jacques Duphly - Allemande (from 1st Book of Keyboard Pieces)
    :39 Antoine Forqueray - La Leclair (from 2nd Suite)
    :56 George Frederic Handel - Delirio Amoroso, HWV. 99 - I. Introduction
    1:15 Georg Christoph Wagenseil - Symphony in B-Flat, WV. 438 - final movement
    1:33 Arcangelo Corelli - Sonate da Camera a trè, Op. 2, No. 2 - I. Allemande
    1:48 Pietro Antonio Locatelli, Concerto, Op. 1 No. 1 - III. Largo
    2:20 Georg Christoph Wagenseil - Symphony in B-Flat, WV. 441 - final movement
    2:56 Tomaso Antonio Vitali - Trio Sonata, Op. 1
    3:21 Francois Couperin - Les Bergeries (from 6th Book of Keyboard Pieces)

    The ^3-4-5-6 progression in the clip begins at 1:17. But also listen at 0:50, the same progression appears in the minor mode which produces a darker, almost even menacing effect. In the context of a full song, the progression has a beautiful hypnotizing quality about it, as though time has frozen.
     
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  15. Smoove Grooves

    Smoove Grooves Audiosexual

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    Disclaimer: I am neither for or against the over usage or abuse of this chord progression, and I do not necessarily condone the creation of candyfloss schamltz that fills the airwaves, even it helped to buy a house.
    @Toccata Great comp of examples. Thanks.
    Reminds me of this from my old friend Joel Edwards, with Matt Schwartz.
    Their 'Give It Away' was a 6, 4, 1, 5. But 'Deepest Blue' fits our discussion.
    And remember we had had Mylo's Drop The Pressure, which was influenced by Miami Sound Machine's Dr. beat.
    Fun little journey in video form below. Poor audio of Dr. Beat, but the video is so wrong if you watch it. There's a flasher in a mac in a hospital, a failed headspin, and Gloria Estefan gives birth to a radio.
    Let's just forget about Madonna's 'Holiday' which also fits with Deepest Blue and Mylo!

    So, this chord progression was most important TO ME in that it helped me become friends with Andy Gangadeen who worked on Joel's showcase gig for Deepest Blue, and then through Andy a bigger list of contacts grew! The keys player was Jamiroquai's dep and 2nd keys player, so that helped something else too.
    And it's only now that I just realise I didn't know Joel when I first heard Deepest Blue and the chord progression on the radio for the first time! :woot: :wtf:
    What IS this chord progression really?
    Is it the meaning of life hidden in code?



     
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  16. Toccata

    Toccata Guest

    Hey guys, thanks for listening! (I just got some copyright strikes from soundcloud so I replaced the previous files with a different player—it's still the same audio files) Quick word on contemporary usage,

    Because modern musicians drop the weak ^3, they are left with an uneven number of chords to fill 4 measures. So it's typical to hear the fourth measure as either repeating ^6 or descending back down to ^5. Here are some contemporary examples of the progression.

    0:00 Forever by Labrinth (^4-5-6-6)
    1:20 Spirit of Life by Blackmill (^4-5-6-6)
    2:48 Cornfield Chase by Hans Zimmer (^4-5-6-5)



    Cornfield Chase by Hans Zimmer seems to have the most influence on the youtuber, including the upper 'twinkling' part. Compared to the classical examples, you’ll notice just how far we’ve fallen musically. In each modern example the progression IS the song. Many contemporary musicians are not capable of connecting different ideas of various length, mood, and intensity into a coherent, functional whole. The solution has been a form wholly constructed by piling additional fragments and effects over continuous repetition. Seems, the spirit that spits on tradition and “the rules” for self-expression hasn’t created new cutting-edge musical stuff as much as it has stripped the old musical stuff of its complexity and creativity. To leave on an optimistic note, perhaps there will be a renaissance merging the best of the old with the new.
     
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  17. famouslut

    famouslut Audiosexual

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    Thanks, @Ad Heesive, Christian gives everybody that sand in the shorts feeling, I'd argue. He actively makes me hate his brand and even the lovely, cuddly Paul Thompson doesn't dispel it much =(

    To find out he's quite ignorant, too, doesn't come as a great shock! He was quite a bit less loud (silent in fact) when I asked him directly about his and Paul's conflict of interest in the "Don't pay composers / protest Discovery channel nao!" silliness. Still moar in his exploitation of musicians (BBC orch) etcs.
     
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  18. refix

    refix Producer

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    +1 for clickbait.

    bach was instrumental in, at least, finalizing a modulatory diatonic framework that still, in many ways, persists to this day. he was in a prime position to pluck the low hanging fruit. it was an evolutionary process, but also simultaneously revolutionary in opening up the realms of modulation and strict diatonic harmony with a mind to chromaticism. these steps were, and still are to a certain extent, bound to physical constants that are to do with acoustic properties and harmonic resonances of strings, tubes, etc. the only revolutionary change that i see since then is electronica in all its varied forms. my guess i that you would have to look there for the 'new-bach'. not so much the composers and producers that adhere to conventional means, but to the innovators, experimenters, etc. seeking new malleable structure. i do not hold out much hope for this process though.

    i would prefer 'conventions' rather than "traditions" in this context. "the rules" were made to be broken, as long as you know "the rules". bach broke rules (though i see the limitations of this argument). if a musician can justify their process and prove some sort of validity, who is anyone to argue?

    in lieu of directly asking the composers of what their process is. rigorous analysis should at least, with sensitivity to the lineage they choose to refer to, point to their intent. unless the sole intention is to give an uncharitable critique. if a person does not see the validity, of say... serialism (or the other more 'mathematical' modern techniques), i think it is more their problem to resolve -- time has already devoured them. none of these idioms have survived, or broken through, to be significantly popular in a contemporary context as to effect anything in any real way. they are the stuff of music geeks to fume over for eternity. certainly there may be shoulders on which to cry the eternal tears, but ultimately they fall to the dry, broken ground which once held fields of fertile crops to horizons feasted eye; now arid, barren and overwrought. it is music geeks auto-erotic petite mort. time to move on, this place no longer values life.

    i am not in his lane and have no desire to be in his lane, but in a general sense, i have some leery, 'side-eye' action on some of his comments in the past. i respect his crappy tastes, but i get the feeling he would return the favor on my crappy tastes. perhaps this is unfounded; it makes things 'difficult'. those peoples jobs are to push out 'wallpaper' to a strict time schedule. i do not envy them. the more they can reduce, deny, and simplify actually benefits their process. it may become a mindset over time. not that it truly matters.

    the future of music finance is like watching hundreds of fully laden trucks all barreling towards to a single lane tunnel.
     
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