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I am a Los Angeles-based twentysomething. I have a profession, and I have a secret life in music, and this blog isn't about any of that. I like Blogger because I can't read what you're thinking.

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Monday, December 27   >>

SO IT TOOK ME ROUGHLY 10 YEARS TO REALIZE THAT I'M HAPPIEST ON MY BLOG WHEN I'M WRITING ABOUT MUSIC TECHNIQUE AND THEORY
Melisma in its simplest form is a vocal technique in which a series of notes is stretched into one syllable. Its roots can be tracked back to gospel, blues and even Gregorian chant; Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder used it sparingly early in their careers.

[...]

Melisma may have run its cultural course. Ms. Carey, Ms. Houston and Ms. Aguilera, to name its three main champions, are most associated with the period from the late ’80s through the late ’90s: an era now largely associated with money, ostentation and American power, especially during the latter half of the ’90s. Their brawny vocal approach and lush, widescreen records reflected their times as much as the Clinton-era Wall Street boom.
Pretty fascinating take on the radical style shifts of our pop idols. Read the entire NY Times piece on the death of melisma here. A must-read.

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Re: My new R&B fake book

I've played all of Babyface's hits this weekend (aside from 50% of the book, which may have annoyed my neighbors).

The most surprising thing about playing his songs was the fact that all of his songs are written with the most bare basic chords. I was weirded out by how much fun I had playing them considering the fact that I thought all pop-soul songs were written primarily in jazz and funk voicings. Not with this guy. He's just a melodic mastermind, and knows he doesn't need to compensate with lush arrangements.

Playing his songs impacted my perspective in writing. Perhaps not writing with a cooking mentality is not the best way to work: marinade, cook, garnish. Babyface thinks of the garnishes first, then makes everything work around that. It's scary how simple his songs are. Like Beatles-simple.

A weird chord change is one to the iii. It's not utilized enough. It's a great shift in mood. Dropping to a iii is like immediate depression. Lots of iii chord shifts in Babyface's music. I will buy his discography tonight.