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Thread started 05/30/16 6:44am

smoothcriminal
12

Any musicians on here? Looking for some harmonic analysis of Prince's music

This is something that frustrates me as a Prince fan. I can find a plethora of material and indepth harmonic analysis on the Beatles, but nothing on Prince. I'd love to see if there's anything out there with the breadth of "The Beatles as Musicians" by Walter Everett, which really digs deep into the Beatles' music from a purely theoretical perspective. Has anyone come across anything similar?

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Reply #1 posted 05/30/16 7:34am

suomynona

avatar

No, but we do have a photo thread of nearly 4,000 posts! And a bunch of speculation threads where nobody but Prince knew the answer to.

I agree. Substance is rare in the Prince community.

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Reply #2 posted 05/30/16 7:39am

jdcxc

Agree...that would be appropriate for his genius.

Here is an interesting article on various jazz musician's take on Prince music...


https://www.allaboutjazz....?width=768
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Reply #3 posted 05/30/16 9:28am

NikkiH

No I don't know any sources for that. I always said if I get in a doctoral program I would try to tackle some of it myself for dissertation purposes. I do know that Questlove did a masterclass on P at some University (NYU?) at some point, but who knows what that entailed. What's stopping you from analyzing a song yourself? A lot of the songs are easy to analyze, like Little Red Corvette, chords are pretty static.
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Reply #4 posted 05/30/16 9:32am

maplesyrupnjam

avatar

jdcxc said:

Agree...that would be appropriate for his genius. Here is an interesting article on various jazz musician's take on Prince music... https://www.allaboutjazz....?width=768

Thanks for that link. A great restrospective from some of theses Jazz cats.

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Reply #5 posted 05/30/16 9:49am

eyewishuheaven

avatar

I would happily devour such a book.

PRINCE: the only man who could wear high heels and makeup and STILL steal your woman!
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Reply #6 posted 05/30/16 11:10am

jdcxc

maplesyrupnjam said:



jdcxc said:


Agree...that would be appropriate for his genius. Here is an interesting article on various jazz musician's take on Prince music... https://www.allaboutjazz....?width=768



Thanks for that link. A great restrospective from some of theses Jazz cats.



Sure...I love the musician's perspective on P. This trumpeter has a cool insight on Miles/P/Crystal Ball/Ellington...
"I certainly hear the arguments for Purple Rain as Prince's masterwork, but for me, the Sign 'O' the Times/Lovesexy period is my personal favorite—incredible band (Sheila E killing the drums), live horns, long form narrative arrangements, totally unique song structures. (This is where you understand Miles' Ellington analogy to Prince—the songs exist in a pop context but follow their own rules, just like Duke's 30s and 40s material.) "Crystal Ball" is some seriously operatic shit—post-apocalyptic lyrics ("As bombs explode around us and hate advances on the right / The only thing that matters, baby, is the love that we make tonight"), from minimalist drumbeat heartbeats to post-Schoenberg orchestral washes (props to Prince's great orchestrator Clare Fischer, RIP), to insanely funky breakouts, "Crystal Ball" has it all—11 minutes of freak-pop perfection."
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Reply #7 posted 05/30/16 3:11pm

Cloreen

avatar

smoothcriminal12 said:

"The Beatles as Musicians" by Walter Everett, .... Has anyone come across anything similar?

.

I have those Everett books...they are a little too in depth.

.

The problem lies with Prince himself. He never was accessible to journalists looking to ask about his music. I have tons of music mags and I only have three with somewhat in depth "interviews" with Prince regarding his music. The skinny motherfucker from MPLS just never cared to share much about his craft. The Beatles and certainly the people in the studio working with them were very open about Beatles music.

.

But really what is there to know about Prince music? He'd lay down a funk groove and put some racy lyrics over it. Prince did not really push new boundaries with his music as The Beatles did. What I find most interesting about Prince music (and I wish a book would be written about this) is the sonic landscape of his records. The sounds he got from his instruments, the studio, and whatever were always interesting and stunning.

.

I still don't know what produces that ringing spiraling A note in the chorus of "I Would Die 4 U." "Cause you...BRWWWW...I would die for you....darling, if you want me to. You...BRWWWW..." I have seen live video and I know he plays it on guitar. Is it an octave? What effects? Brilliant sound. Wish I knew how to duplicate it.

.

The mystery of Prince music is not really his composition. It is his use of the studio to create the best sounding records out there. Man, such great tones on them. "Pheromone"? What the heck is the sound that drives the song's rhythm?

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Reply #8 posted 05/30/16 3:21pm

mtlfan

I agree with most of what you said but "Prince did not really push new boundaries with his music as the Beatles did."

Shut up, already... damn. Lovesexy. End of argument, and only the tip of the argument as far as Prince and pushing boundaries is concerned.

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Reply #9 posted 05/30/16 3:54pm

SPYZFAN1

From "Dirty Mind" through "Lovesexy" he was evolving. All of those records sounded different from the other (much like Miles in the late 60's to mid 70's and The Beatles from 1966 to 1970). He was constantly changing but still kept his style and sound. Even the "Exodus/TGE" music sounds different from the "D&P" record. Like Cloreen said, I wished he had opened up more in the music mags about how he created certain sounds on records..rather than saying his favorite guitar tone is a "woman having an orgasm".

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Reply #10 posted 05/30/16 4:05pm

NikkiH

Cloreen said:

smoothcriminal12 said:

"The Beatles as Musicians" by Walter Everett, .... Has anyone come across anything similar?

.

I have those Everett books...they are a little too in depth.

.

The problem lies with Prince himself. He never was accessible to journalists looking to ask about his music. I have tons of music mags and I only have three with somewhat in depth "interviews" with Prince regarding his music. The skinny motherfucker from MPLS just never cared to share much about his craft. The Beatles and certainly the people in the studio working with them were very open about Beatles music.

.

But really what is there to know about Prince music? He'd lay down a funk groove and put some racy lyrics over it. Prince did not really push new boundaries with his music as The Beatles did. What I find most interesting about Prince music (and I wish a book would be written about this) is the sonic landscape of his records. The sounds he got from his instruments, the studio, and whatever were always interesting and stunning.

.

I still don't know what produces that ringing spiraling A note in the chorus of "I Would Die 4 U." "Cause you...BRWWWW...I would die for you....darling, if you want me to. You...BRWWWW..." I have seen live video and I know he plays it on guitar. Is it an octave? What effects? Brilliant sound. Wish I knew how to duplicate it.

.

The mystery of Prince music is not really his composition. It is his use of the studio to create the best sounding records out there. Man, such great tones on them. "Pheromone"? What the heck is the sound that drives the song's rhythm?

But aren't these concepts one in the same? Using instruments in unique ways, challenging song form,yet managing to keep it all cohesive enough to entertain musicians and non-musicians alike is a marvel in composition.

What do you consider particularly innovative about The Beatles that Prince did not match or surpass? One could argue that Prince's vocal harmonies on songs like Thieves in the Temple or 7 are as amazing or even better than songs like Because? Is Crystal Ball not as innovative as A Day in the Life? Others Here With Us not as interesting Bungalow Bill? All My Dreams not as good as Across the Universe? Is Starfish & Coffee not as interesting as I Am The Waulrus?If I Was Your Girlfriend is a revelation within itself. Sped up lead vocals,slowed down background vocals,sparse production,a unique intro,interesting, intimate subject matter...who else was doing that?

Prince did most of it by himself, there was no real John to his Paul(possibly Wendy & Lisa, but I think they were mostly there to aid him in moving forward with ideas),no George Martin to fix everything up, while also playing most of the instruments. The best music sounds simple but is quite complicated, that's the key to bringing in a diverse audience of musicians and music listeners alike.

Prince played with harmony,melody,rhythm,song structure(Dorothy Parker, Joy in Repetition) subject matter(Money Don't Matter,America) , and instrumentation(Life Can Be So Nice,7,even Shy) in ways you even admit you can't figure out. There's a ton of beautiful, unique details to Prince's work that are easy to look over.

[Edited 5/30/16 16:14pm]

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Reply #11 posted 05/30/16 4:17pm

cindyt

I don't know but I just listened to I love you but I don't trust you anymore from a certain jazz festival which will remain nameless and those chords are overwhelming....unbelievable performance, really. And everything I've heard from that certain jazz festival both years I've listened to deserves some kind of harmonic analysis or performance analysis or something....wow.

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Reply #12 posted 05/30/16 4:18pm

cindyt

eyewishuheaven said:

I would happily devour such a book.

me too.

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Reply #13 posted 05/30/16 4:38pm

GirlBrother

avatar

smoothcriminal12 said:

This is something that frustrates me as a Prince fan. I can find a plethora of material and indepth harmonic analysis on the Beatles, but nothing on Prince. I'd love to see if there's anything out there with the breadth of "The Beatles as Musicians" by Walter Everett, which really digs deep into the Beatles' music from a purely theoretical perspective. Has anyone come across anything similar?



Listen to this recent episode of the Switched On Pop podcast.

http://pca.st/YXY7

They talk about the unusual chords in How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore and other muso stuff.
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Reply #14 posted 05/30/16 4:48pm

mtlfan

NikkiH said:

Cloreen said:

.

I have those Everett books...they are a little too in depth.

.

The problem lies with Prince himself. He never was accessible to journalists looking to ask about his music. I have tons of music mags and I only have three with somewhat in depth "interviews" with Prince regarding his music. The skinny motherfucker from MPLS just never cared to share much about his craft. The Beatles and certainly the people in the studio working with them were very open about Beatles music.

.

But really what is there to know about Prince music? He'd lay down a funk groove and put some racy lyrics over it. Prince did not really push new boundaries with his music as The Beatles did. What I find most interesting about Prince music (and I wish a book would be written about this) is the sonic landscape of his records. The sounds he got from his instruments, the studio, and whatever were always interesting and stunning.

.

I still don't know what produces that ringing spiraling A note in the chorus of "I Would Die 4 U." "Cause you...BRWWWW...I would die for you....darling, if you want me to. You...BRWWWW..." I have seen live video and I know he plays it on guitar. Is it an octave? What effects? Brilliant sound. Wish I knew how to duplicate it.

.

The mystery of Prince music is not really his composition. It is his use of the studio to create the best sounding records out there. Man, such great tones on them. "Pheromone"? What the heck is the sound that drives the song's rhythm?

But aren't these concepts one in the same? Using instruments in unique ways, challenging song form,yet managing to keep it all cohesive enough to entertain musicians and non-musicians alike is a marvel in composition.

What do you consider particularly innovative about The Beatles that Prince did not match or surpass? One could argue that Prince's vocal harmonies on songs like Thieves in the Temple or 7 are as amazing or even better than songs like Because? Is Crystal Ball not as innovative as A Day in the Life? Others Here With Us not as interesting Bungalow Bill? All My Dreams not as good as Across the Universe? Is Starfish & Coffee not as interesting as I Am The Waulrus?If I Was Your Girlfriend is a revelation within itself. Sped up lead vocals,slowed down background vocals,sparse production,a unique intro,interesting, intimate subject matter...who else was doing that?

Prince did most of it by himself, there was no real John to his Paul(possibly Wendy & Lisa, but I think they were mostly there to aid him in moving forward with ideas),no George Martin to fix everything up, while also playing most of the instruments. The best music sounds simple but is quite complicated, that's the key to bringing in a diverse audience of musicians and music listeners alike.

Prince played with harmony,melody,rhythm,song structure(Dorothy Parker, Joy in Repetition) subject matter(Money Don't Matter,America) , and instrumentation(Life Can Be So Nice,7,even Shy) in ways you even admit you can't figure out. There's a ton of beautiful, unique details to Prince's work that are easy to look over.

[Edited 5/30/16 16:14pm]

There are so many arguments out there that "muh Beatles" are the greatest pop songwriters / rock and roll band ever that rely on three premises: charts, breadth of influence, and chord structure, and any way you look it, those are reductive ways to approach musical greatness. I'm not slagging The Beatles - I own all of their studio albums, which is more than I can say for Prince, but hypothetically, I'd like to see any one or all of them together just try to record, say, Purple Rain. Couldn't do it. They'd get as far as the solos on "Let's Go Crazy" and look at George like, "come on, this skinny motherfucker from Minneapolis is embarassing us." There isn't a single member of the Beatles as talented on their respective instrument as Prince (and yes, I'm including vocals here), with the possible exception of McCartney on bass, who played in a different style all his own that was pretty complicated - but I bet Prince could keep up. Could Prince have recorded Sgt Pepper's, where the Fab Four relied heavily on their producer? While Prince's go-to genre was often funk, which is often built around one-chord grooves, yeah, Lovesexy is, in its own way, as complex. And let's face it, that band was a lot greater than the sum of its parts - compare Prince's output to any one of them on their lonesome.

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Reply #15 posted 05/30/16 4:53pm

bonatoc

avatar

NikkiH said:

Cloreen said:

.

I have those Everett books...they are a little too in depth.

.

The problem lies with Prince himself. He never was accessible to journalists looking to ask about his music. I have tons of music mags and I only have three with somewhat in depth "interviews" with Prince regarding his music. The skinny motherfucker from MPLS just never cared to share much about his craft. The Beatles and certainly the people in the studio working with them were very open about Beatles music.

.

But really what is there to know about Prince music? He'd lay down a funk groove and put some racy lyrics over it. Prince did not really push new boundaries with his music as The Beatles did. What I find most interesting about Prince music (and I wish a book would be written about this) is the sonic landscape of his records. The sounds he got from his instruments, the studio, and whatever were always interesting and stunning.

.

I still don't know what produces that ringing spiraling A note in the chorus of "I Would Die 4 U." "Cause you...BRWWWW...I would die for you....darling, if you want me to. You...BRWWWW..." I have seen live video and I know he plays it on guitar. Is it an octave? What effects? Brilliant sound. Wish I knew how to duplicate it.

.

The mystery of Prince music is not really his composition. It is his use of the studio to create the best sounding records out there. Man, such great tones on them. "Pheromone"? What the heck is the sound that drives the song's rhythm?

But aren't these concepts one in the same? Using instruments in unique ways, challenging song form,yet managing to keep it all cohesive enough to entertain musicians and non-musicians alike is a marvel in composition.

What do you consider particularly innovative about The Beatles that Prince did not match or surpass? One could argue that Prince's vocal harmonies on songs like Thieves in the Temple or 7 are as amazing or even better than songs like Because? Is Crystal Ball not as innovative as A Day in the Life? Others Here With Us not as interesting Bungalow Bill? All My Dreams not as good as Across the Universe? Is Starfish & Coffee not as interesting as I Am The Waulrus?If I Was Your Girlfriend is a revelation within itself. Sped up lead vocals,slowed down background vocals,sparse production,a unique intro,interesting, intimate subject matter...who else was doing that?

Prince did most of it by himself, there was no real John to his Paul(possibly Wendy & Lisa, but I think they were mostly there to aid him in moving forward with ideas),no George Martin to fix everything up, while also playing most of the instruments. The best music sounds simple but is quite complicated, that's the key to bringing in a diverse audience of musicians and music listeners alike.

Prince played with harmony,melody,rhythm,song structure(Dorothy Parker, Joy in Repetition) subject matter(Money Don't Matter,America) , and instrumentation(Life Can Be So Nice,7,even Shy) in ways you even admit you can't figure out. There's a ton of beautiful, unique details to Prince's work that are easy to look over.

[Edited 5/30/16 16:14pm]




Yeah, fuck this "The Beatles were greater" statement.


Go back to SOTT the song, and specifically the instrumental version found at the end of SOTT the movie.

Man, most musicians would kill for the Linn programming only.
Did you really pay attention to the shaker and the tamborine intertwinings?
And the second bridge, with this lush pad on top of which the distorded calliope syncopated stabs resume all there is to be said about the urban despair brought by the Reagan years?

After this, Martin Gore was so shocked he grabbed a guitar and recorded "Violator", and pretty much all of the other acts were left in the dust. I don't think you have a good sense of history.
SOTT redefined EDM.
Eat your fish, and try hard to remember what it was like the first time you heard it, and what crap was going on on the radio at the time.

"The Beatles" songs have some unexpected and creative chord changes here and there, but so do some of Prince's.

The rest is all arrangements, and the charm of a 4-track. The vocal harmonies are all Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly. I mean, if you look close, you could argue there's no more invention on The Beatles side, just influences properly digested. The stamina, the energy gives it that extra je-ne-sais-quoi. Same with Prince.

Vocally, they're simply left in the dust. Lennon and Macca do have something magical about their voices, and maybe Prince did more nasal than I wished, but he was excellent when he acted like Elvis too (the low register of the bridge of "The Most Beautiful Girl In The World", "Temptation", etc.), or like Iggy Pop ("Temptation" again, "When Doves Scream").
Ain't no way the Fabs could sing "For You". It may be multi-tracking, but we're waaay above John and Paul abilities.

And be thankful I didn't play the "When Doves Cry" card, or "Moonbeam Levels", which is proof Skipper could compose à la McCartney any day of the week. He simply chose not to.

I'm so tired of this "The Beatles are God". They had a fuckin' great sound engineer and producer, that make up for a big part of their records charm and musicality.

As stated above, The Man did it all almost by himself. I love Susan Rogers, she probably gave great inputs, but in the end, it's not like we saw his collaborators take part of something else big.
Susan Rogers is not Quincy Jones, W&L are "just" very decent arrangers/composers.

"Something In The Water", a "funk groove with racy lyrics over it" ?
What about "Adore", or "The Beautiful Ones", you moron?

Get outta here.



[Edited 5/30/16 17:02pm]

The Colors R brighter, the Bond is much tighter
No Child's a failure
Until the Blue Sailboat sails him away from his dreams
Don't Ever Lose, Don't Ever Lose
Don't Ever Lose Your Dreams
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Reply #16 posted 05/30/16 4:56pm

SENNISS

Prince was a genius. The Beatles got lucky.

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Reply #17 posted 05/30/16 5:02pm

bonatoc

avatar

SENNISS said:

Prince was a genius. The Beatles got lucky.


Eeh, easy now.
Let's not fall on the other side of the cliff.

The Colors R brighter, the Bond is much tighter
No Child's a failure
Until the Blue Sailboat sails him away from his dreams
Don't Ever Lose, Don't Ever Lose
Don't Ever Lose Your Dreams
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Reply #18 posted 05/30/16 5:09pm

Cloreen

avatar

NikkiH said:

1. What do you consider particularly innovative about The Beatles that Prince did not match or surpass?

.

2. Is Crystal Ball not as innovative as A Day in the Life? ... I Was Your Girlfriend is a revelation within itself. Sped up lead vocals,slowed down background vocals,sparse production,a unique intro,interesting, intimate subject matter...who else was doing that?

.

3. Prince did most of it by himself,

.

1. It has to do with the era in which both operated. During The Beatles era, pop music was basic guitar/bass/drum/vocal combo with the basic verse/chorus song structure. Beatles were the first to turn that on its head and be super successful. "Yesterday," for instance, was just a simple acoustic guitar/vocal song. Been done a thousand times before. But The Beatles took that and laid an entire orchestral string section over that...and released it as a 45! My point, The Beatles were able to smash the idea of what a pop song was. Pop songs were a simple construct at their time. They said let's do more.

.

Prince, on the other hand, was working during an era where song structure was already anything goes. How could he really be seen as innovative with the construction of his pop releases? No bass on "When Doves Cry"? Uhh, that isn't as groundbreaking as a Indian sitar all over a two minute pop song. No fault of Prince. He operated in an era where rules for popular songs had already been broken.

.

2. And, no, "Crystal Ball" can not be as innovative as "A Day In The Life" because "A Day In The Life" was first. And all the other examples you give -- speed manipulated vocals, sparse production, full production, background harmonies, diverse subject matter -- were done decades before by The Beatles. The whole idea of pushing a pop song beyond basic bass/drum/guitar/vocals was started by The Beatles in the '60s. Nothing after it as far as construction of a pop song can be considered innovative. The Beatles broke the mold for popular songs. Prince was operating with an already broken mold.

.

3. As for Prince doing it by himself...not groundbreaking. Paul McCartney's first solo album was all Paul -- produced by, all songs written by, and all instruments played Paul. That credit sound familiar? Prince sure wasn't the first to put that credit on an album.

.

Was Prince a once in a lifetime talent? Of course. But he really couldn't be a groundbreaking artist because the ground was already broken years before he came along. Broken mostly by The Beatles, but others too.

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Reply #19 posted 05/30/16 5:22pm

Cloreen

avatar

bonatoc said:


What about "Adore," you moron?

.

"Adore"? Oh, man, don't make me laugh. If Teddy Pendergrass would have recorded "Adore," he would have listened back to it in the studio....and thrown it right into the nearest garbage can. Go listen to Teddy belt out "Turn Off The Lights" and come back here and tell us again that "Adore" is great. Go on. I dare you.

.

And this guy is calling me a moron?

Classic.

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Reply #20 posted 05/30/16 5:38pm

Trickology

Cloreen said:

bonatoc said:

.

"Adore"? Oh, man, don't make me laugh. If Teddy Pendergrass would have recorded "Adore," he would have listened back to it in the studio....and thrown it right into the nearest garbage can. Go listen to Teddy belt out "Turn Off The Lights" and come back here and tell us again that "Adore" is great. Go on. I dare you.

.

And this guy is calling me a moron?

Classic.

Sweet Jesus, you are the worst troll ever known on the org. confused

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Reply #21 posted 05/30/16 5:56pm

bonatoc

avatar

OK, so I went, and I'm not impressed.

I had to stop at "Let's take a shower, shower together, I'll wash your body, you'll wash mine".
Ridiculous. Up with the corniest lyrics Skipper could deliver.

Vocally, we are far, far from Prince.
This is your typical Motown/Philly/Otis soup.
Good, but not that tasty, and far, far from the genius of "Adore".

"Adore" has several parts, a slow building, an extraordinary finale.
This, this is just Blaque muzak for the whities.
Your typical "I'm gonna get me some tonight" slow jam.

Skipper was right to take it from there and turn it into "Insatiable",
which is much more delicate, and I'm really not a fan of "Insatiable".

You may be not a troll, you may be not a moron,
but you may not have such good taste after all.

The Colors R brighter, the Bond is much tighter
No Child's a failure
Until the Blue Sailboat sails him away from his dreams
Don't Ever Lose, Don't Ever Lose
Don't Ever Lose Your Dreams
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Reply #22 posted 05/30/16 6:27pm

mtlfan

Cloreen said:

NikkiH said:

1. What do you consider particularly innovative about The Beatles that Prince did not match or surpass?

.

2. Is Crystal Ball not as innovative as A Day in the Life? ... I Was Your Girlfriend is a revelation within itself. Sped up lead vocals,slowed down background vocals,sparse production,a unique intro,interesting, intimate subject matter...who else was doing that?

.

3. Prince did most of it by himself,

.

1. It has to do with the era in which both operated. During The Beatles era, pop music was basic guitar/bass/drum/vocal combo with the basic verse/chorus song structure. Beatles were the first to turn that on its head and be super successful. "Yesterday," for instance, was just a simple acoustic guitar/vocal song. Been done a thousand times before. But The Beatles took that and laid an entire orchestral string section over that...and released it as a 45! My point, The Beatles were able to smash the idea of what a pop song was. Pop songs were a simple construct at their time. They said let's do more.

.

Prince, on the other hand, was working during an era where song structure was already anything goes. How could he really be seen as innovative with the construction of his pop releases? No bass on "When Doves Cry"? Uhh, that isn't as groundbreaking as a Indian sitar all over a two minute pop song. No fault of Prince. He operated in an era where rules for popular songs had already been broken.

.

2. And, no, "Crystal Ball" can not be as innovative as "A Day In The Life" because "A Day In The Life" was first. And all the other examples you give -- speed manipulated vocals, sparse production, full production, background harmonies, diverse subject matter -- were done decades before by The Beatles. The whole idea of pushing a pop song beyond basic bass/drum/guitar/vocals was started by The Beatles in the '60s. Nothing after it as far as construction of a pop song can be considered innovative. The Beatles broke the mold for popular songs. Prince was operating with an already broken mold.

.

3. As for Prince doing it by himself...not groundbreaking. Paul McCartney's first solo album was all Paul -- produced by, all songs written by, and all instruments played Paul. That credit sound familiar? Prince sure wasn't the first to put that credit on an album.

.

Was Prince a once in a lifetime talent? Of course. But he really couldn't be a groundbreaking artist because the ground was already broken years before he came along. Broken mostly by The Beatles, but others too.

1. Your argument about Prince is reductive, mentioning exactly one of his innovations. That's like saying, The Beatles weren't as innovative as Chuck Berry just because Lennon quoted him on "Come Together" that one time. Were the Beatles the first popular act to put orchestration on a pop song? Fuck no. Anyone steeped in white, boomer music history might think so, but Etta James, At Last, 1960. Ben E. King, "Stand By Me," 1961. You will find orchestral string arrangements on Sinatra, etc. For decades after big band jazz - a popular form, derided by many in the classical music set - "orchestra" and "band" were synonymous.

The Beatles innovations are well-known, let's catalog a few of Prince's: inventing a musical subgenre, then transcending it. Doing for drum programming what Hendrix did for electric guitar. Recording the first R&B triple album AND perfectly timing each disc to 60 minutes. Expanding the erotic vernacular of a musical form once synonymous with fucking more than any other artist before or since (though Zappa comes close, pun intended). Did Prince invent pitch-adjusted vocals? No. Has any artist before or since used pitch-adjusted vocals to the extent and with the same inventiveness Prince has...? For shits and giggles, let's add out-performing every other artist on the planet in a live setting (the Beatles, on the other hand, relied on Lennon's "let's make fun of the handicapped" shtick...).

2. "Nothing after it as far as pop song construction goes can be considered innovative." Did you take the chorus to "Jughead" to heart or something? You're going to say hip-hop wasn't an innovative approach to pop song construction?

3. McCartney's first solo album was all Paul. And I can name a handful of Prince albums that surpass anything Macca proved himself capable of producing his own records. McCartney's innovative years were over after The Beatles, and I like a lot of his stuff. Again, together, they were better than the sum of their parts.

"But he really couldn't be a groundbreaking artist because the ground was already broken years before he came along." You're assuming innovation, or "ground" for "breaking" exists as a finite resource in limited quantity, which it doesn't. People were breaking ground in pop music before The Beatles (ie. Ray Charles combining gospel with secular lyrics, which is as significant a shift as guitars + violas), contemporaneous to The Beatles (Dylan taking folk electric, Hendrix blowing everyone off the map on guitar, Zappa's sound collages which beat Revolution #9 to the punch), after The Beatles (I'm pretty sure the Beatles lacked the jazz chops of prog rockers and I know they never rapped - I'd call that a pretty groundbreaking revolution in popular music owing nothing to The Beatles and arriving long after).

And I agree with the poster above - The Beatles didn't exist in a vacuum. The best I can say for them as musicians is that they were fantastic at synthesizing influences and the contemporaneous sounds around them - they were willing to experiment. But they borrowed heavily from 50s rock, Tin Pan Alley, Motown, Dylan, etc. Helter Skelter happened because they wanted to be louder than The Who, they learned fingerpicking from Donovan, etc. BUT, hey, four white guys with a marketable image popular at a time with a giant Western youth population that can control the cultural landscape for decades to come. Good songs, though, to be sure.

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Reply #23 posted 05/30/16 6:28pm

Robert3rd

I like to play Moonbeam Levels on the piano. The first sentences of verse 1 and 2 follow a progression from the Lydian Mode (that's where the fourth note is raised a half step. Prince starts on the fifth of the scale (C#), moves to Bsharp (The Lydian note), and continues to the third (A#), then back to Lydian (B#), then for more fun, he sings an augmented 5th. The Lydian mode has been linked with ethereal and dreamlike qualities (something Moonbeam has in spades), and the most well known use of a Lydian interval would be the first two notes in the Simpsons opening theme song. I'd post out all the changes to Moonbeam Levels, but I'm lazy. I'll tell you that the song is in F#

One more: Gold and Purple Rain are both written in B flat major and the only difference between the chord changes in the verses is the use of Flat 7 in the bass on the second chord of Gold (B flat major over A flat) while the second chord of Purple Rain goes to the 6th (G).
[Edited 5/30/16 18:34pm]
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Reply #24 posted 05/30/16 6:41pm

Robert3rd

Also: it seems he was a fan of songs in Bb or A:

Gold, Purple Rain, Glam Slam and I Wish You Heaven? Key of B flat major.

Starfish and Coffee, 7, and Raspberry Beret? A Major

When the Lights Go Down? A Mixolydian (another Mode)

Beautiful Strange? A Minor
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Reply #25 posted 05/30/16 7:03pm

wayhome

suomynona said:

No, but we do have a photo thread of nearly 4,000 posts! And a bunch of speculation threads where nobody but Prince knew the answer to.

I agree. Substance is rare in the Prince community.

yeah, your right, too much of it. I would like to hear someone like Alan leeds or Susan Rogers have an in depth conversation about his music. Here is some thing that susan rogers said https://www.youtube.com/w...llwzQVMPyA that is intersesting.

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Reply #26 posted 05/30/16 7:22pm

GoldStandard

avatar

Didn't it take a couple of hundred years before Jesus' words and actions were analysed? razz
Nobody I know gun' bite
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Reply #27 posted 05/30/16 8:37pm

Cloreen

avatar

bonatoc said:

.

I had to stop at "Let's take a shower, shower together, I'll wash your body, you'll wash mine".
Ridiculous.



.

Hmmm. You know you are right about those Teddy lyrics. Too bad he couldn't come up with something like these Prince lyrics. These are absolutely Dylan-esque in their depth and maturity:

.

"She took off her dress, and I took a peek
I begged for a kiss, she gave me seven
Our lips touched and it feel like heaven
....
I promised myself not to come until she does
No man in this world could ever hope to last
When my baby downshifts and starts pumpin' fast"
.
Wow. It's like reading a Shakespearean sonnet.

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Reply #28 posted 05/30/16 8:52pm

Cloreen

avatar

mtlfan said:

.

1. Were the Beatles the first popular act to put orchestration on a pop song? Fuck no. Anyone steeped in white, boomer music history might think so, but Etta James, At Last, 1960. Ben E. King, "Stand By Me," 1961. You will find orchestral string arrangements on Sinatra, etc..

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2. For shits and giggles, let's add out-performing every other artist on the planet in a live setting (the Beatles, on the other hand, relied on Lennon's "let's make fun of the handicapped" shtick...)

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3. Recording the first R&B triple album AND perfectly timing each disc to 60 minutes. ...

.

.

1. Huh? You are mentioning artists selling records to the adult market. The Beatles' audience at the time was teenagers. And yet they released a song with a string quartet as the prominent instrumentation!

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2. Hmmm, so John's spastic movements were the band's big sell as a live act? Uhm, that's a new one. But to be fair I have heard from many who say The Beatles were not a great live act. And I laugh at that and say to myself, "Man, that person knows zilch about music." Uhh, exactly how did The Beatles make their mark? Get good? Become noted? I'll tell you. Performing live at The Cavern and in Hamburg. They were thee best live act on planet Earth. If they were not that then no one would ever have heard of John, Paul, and George.

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3. By the way, getting all three "Emancipation" CDs to be exactly 60 minutes is not exactly something to crow about. What that means is that Prince didn't give a shit about how the song should naturally play out. He edited those songs or needlessly extended those songs simply so they would fit a precise sixty minute mark! So much for credibility in the what's best for the song department.

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Reply #29 posted 05/31/16 6:27am

bonatoc

avatar

Cloreen said:

bonatoc said:

.

I had to stop at "Let's take a shower, shower together, I'll wash your body, you'll wash mine".
Ridiculous.



.

Hmmm. You know you are right about those Teddy lyrics. Too bad he couldn't come up with something like these Prince lyrics. These are absolutely Dylan-esque in their depth and maturity:

.

"She took off her dress, and I took a peek
I begged for a kiss, she gave me seven
Our lips touched and it feel like heaven
....
I promised myself not to come until she does
No man in this world could ever hope to last
When my baby downshifts and starts pumpin' fast"
.
Wow. It's like reading a Shakespearean sonnet.



Oh my. You R a troll.

I don't know what annoys me more, the fact that it's just been 5 weeks and there you are, lacking respect to His Memory by polluting a thread where the poor guy that opened was only looking for Lessons In Musicology, or your little despicable Mistra-Know-It-All attitude.

Fo'ch-U.

That's chinese.



The Colors R brighter, the Bond is much tighter
No Child's a failure
Until the Blue Sailboat sails him away from his dreams
Don't Ever Lose, Don't Ever Lose
Don't Ever Lose Your Dreams
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Forums > Prince: Music and More > Any musicians on here? Looking for some harmonic analysis of Prince's music