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Author Topic:  What key?
Bill Hatcher


From:
Atlanta Ga. USA
Post Posted 9 Jul 2018 10:59 am     Reply with quote

Charlie McDonald wrote:
I did not realize they played their own instruments! Far out, Bill.


check it out. they were probably better players than they were singers. thats why they sound so different than the hi los who were very polished vocalists. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXe9AHg4CXE

here is one of the 22 versions of the four freshmen. i worked with them on this album they did here in atlanta. one of my friends was singing with them at the time. im playing bass and the back beats on guitar. a steely dan cover maxine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOFCd10MQJs
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Charlie McDonald


From:
out of the blue
Post Posted 9 Jul 2018 11:41 am     Reply with quote

That is totally impressive that they could play a club gig or arena on their own. I know I grew up getting harmony from Graduation Day and the like.
Twenty something iterations of them later, must be a good thing to keep going.

But I love Maxine. The hi singer almost captures that nasal insouciance that Becker could do. But a fine arrangement, man.
Naw, this is better than Fagen and Becker.

[I let it play after Maxine and was treated to 'I Remember You' as a four piece. Thanks for turning me on to this.
These guys would have sounded good in a high school auditorium. Or the gym.
I keep looking up at where the trombone is coming from. Singers aren't supposed to be able to sing and play Neil Hefti at the same time.
But they really digging it when the big band comes in like Kenton. Me too. Mind somewhat blown as former illusion fades.]
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post Posted 9 Jul 2018 1:29 pm     Reply with quote

Cool history, Bill. I had no idea they had so many iterations.

And nice Latin version by the Freshmen, Charlie!

I always felt that the Freshmen had more of a pure jazz approach than that of the Hi-Los, who while brilliantly arranged, had a whitebread layer of show business smarm in their delivery that sometimes undercut their music for me.

Gene Puerling of the Hi-Los later formed The Singers Unlimited - an equally whitebread group whose technical skills and intonation produced some amazing harmony singing often, with overdubs as part of the sound. Like so ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muY-KlxBSJc&list=PL25pNiAuz7oBAUqKrwgUMWoPJP7oDAf0e
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Charlie McDonald


From:
out of the blue
Post Posted 9 Jul 2018 2:34 pm     Reply with quote

REAlly beautiful.
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Skip Edwards


From:
LA,CA
Post Posted 10 Jul 2018 11:56 am     Reply with quote

Unless it's one of those tunes that really should be written out in letters, I'm all for numbers.
But please... lose the roman numerals. Regular numbers are so, so much easier to read on the fly, on the bandstand or in the studio.
Roman numerals kinda went out with Ancient Rome...
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David Sheads


From:
Pennsylvania, USA
Post Posted 10 Jul 2018 1:18 pm     Reply with quote

i'll have to respectfully disagree about roman numerals - in the nashville numbering system, sure, drop the roman numerals, and if you're playing in nashville or country music, or for producers or songwriters or other players who also work in country, sure - stick with arabic (normal) numerals.

but for folks who are coming from the jazz or classical world, roman numerals are the preferred language for leaving out the note names and just talking about the chord relationships. inversions in particular look very different between the two systems - i have a hard time interpreting inversions in nashville numbering because of having learned classical theory, figured bass, and jazz notation styles (which all play pretty well together).

if you're using a number system instead of chord note names, you should use whatever you feel is right for your audience.


as a complete aside - it was really weird when i learned about nashville numbering, specifically how some songwriters/producers/players developed a system from scratch to notate when several perfectly good systems already existed - solving a problem that had already been solved for several hundreds of years. i suppose the fact that it has sticking power is a testament to the songwriting superpower that is nashville. honestly i think most people prefer reading whatever system they learned on, and will defend their preferred method as "better" because it makes sense to them, and it makes sense to them for no other reason than because they didn't learn the other way.
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post Posted 10 Jul 2018 1:37 pm     Reply with quote

Quote:
... will defend their preferred method as "better" because it makes sense to them, and it makes sense to them for no other reason than because they didn't learn the other way.


You said a mouthful, David! I was just about to post in defense of Roman numerals as the standard.
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Bill Hatcher


From:
Atlanta Ga. USA
Post Posted 10 Jul 2018 6:14 pm     Reply with quote

the nashville number system was started by the piano player for the jordanaires if i am not mistaken like in the 50s. it was a time when most county or gospel songs were just three chords and a cloud of dust and it worked just fine. the key of the song could be changed with no problem.

i have never worked a job where this system was used. i never saw it on a symphony job, a theater job, a jazz gig a Church gig. never.

its fine to use it, but when you get into a situation where a real orchestrator has written an arrangement with lines to play and chord solos and theres more than a rhythm section you will be the odd man out if thats all you can read. even in nashville, they give you a minute to make out your own chart whatever it is you like to read.

number charts are fine, but in the last 50+ years i have been playing for a living, i have never seen a nashville number chart.

in the baroque era. all the composers would write for the keyboard players in most orchestral settings where the organ or harpsichord played what was called continuo or figured bass parts. the bass note was written and all sorts of numbers above that. the player was expected to improvise his part using the bass notes in the left hand and three note chords in the right. there was an entire school of study to teach this method. it has nothing to do with the nashville number system.

roman numerals. well you can blame public schools for people not knowing them lol. they should be interchangeable, but since they are not used much except for super bowl games and the date in movie credits, most dont know them anyway. guitar players who have studied classical guitar will know them because roman numerals are used for the fret numbers. the 12th fret is XII and so on.

please dont think i am dissing any system at all. i just have never seen it in any setting i have ever worked. i personally dont like to use it, because i like to see the letter of the chord. when i see C7#9 i immediately know the notes Bb and Eb are in play. when i see 1 7#9 i have no idea what the bass note is without looking back at the top of the page and seeing what the key is instead of at the start of each line where the key signature always lives.

also in regards to the roman numerals i just saw where that could actually be better. the roman numeral will automatically let you keep the chord separate from the other info instead of 17#9 which is all numbers, you have I7#9. its easier to see the chord and then the 7 and the #9.

i think number charts and tab has not been good overall for the musicality of steel players. if players had been reading real notes and chord symbols on real charts for all these years, there would be a whole lot more steel players who could actually function easily in more varied musical situations and not have to play dumb when a standard notation chart was put in front of them. every player should be able to navigate a piano part or a basic rhythm section chart of bass parts along with chords and notated lines and rhythm hits for drum cues. the whole world uses this and players want to use these number charts??..... whatever puts the hay down where the goats can get to it, i guess thats whats best.
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Guy Cundell


From:
More idle ramblings from South Australia
Post Posted 10 Jul 2018 10:06 pm     Reply with quote

Wonderful thread!

One useful aspect of Roman numerals is the ability to use upper case for major and lower case for minor. It conveys more information at a glance and caters for modulation. While I don't write charts using these, it is very handy for teaching or making quick notes or annotations.

ie: In the key of C major

ii = Dm
II = D major
II7 = D7
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Charlie McDonald


From:
out of the blue
Post Posted 11 Jul 2018 4:05 am     Reply with quote

It's my understanding that the Nashville system is used because it's portable, appropriate for key changes,
leaving space for interpretation and improvisation. Perhaps it's more of an amateur thing that I thought.
As a bass player who didn't learn to read music in piano because it was 'easier' to play by ear, it's been handy.
But as Lao Tzu reportedly said, the easy way seems hard. I think much of what Bill says about tab and number charts is true.
And most of what he says I didn't know; thanks, Bill.

Now I'm wondering what chart a session player would make in Nashville in the minute allowed. Of course, Nashville isn't the world.

I'm guessing that on a song like Lonely Sea, Brian would have written out the chords in letters.
What about the session players in the Beach Boys session? Would they have had a chart at all?
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Bill Hatcher


From:
Atlanta Ga. USA
Post Posted 11 Jul 2018 5:47 am     Reply with quote

here is a lead sheet from that era used in one of the sessions. this was discovered in a bunch of stuff bought in a storage shed. i would guess it was also used for publishing rights to the song. you had to have a lead sheet with the title, writers, melody and chords to copyright the song.
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Earnest Bovine


From:
Los Angeles CA USA
Post Posted 11 Jul 2018 8:57 am     Reply with quote

Bill Hatcher wrote:
here is a lead sheet from that era used in one of the sessions.



I don't think this could be what was used at the recording. For one thing, the chart is in C but the recording is in B. Also, most of the chords are wrong; for example, chords in the first 6 bars should all be like the first bar. It's not Brian's handwriting; Carole Kaye said that Brian wrote in a naive childlike way with note heads on the wrong side of the stems etc. This looks like something done rather quickly by a an experienced musician who didn't get all the chords right.
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Earnest Bovine


From:
Los Angeles CA USA
Post Posted 11 Jul 2018 8:59 am     Reply with quote

Bill Hatcher wrote:
this was discovered in a bunch of stuff bought in a storage shed.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2306391/Lost-Beach-Boys-lyrics-music-photographs-expected-sell-10m-lying-Florida-storage-unit-years.html

Very interesting. However, what we see is not from the recording. These scores (I Get Around, Surfin' USA) are for trumpet, sax, etc, not heard on the recordings. They must be for live performance.
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Bill Hatcher


From:
Atlanta Ga. USA
Post Posted 11 Jul 2018 10:24 am     Reply with quote

thats the only chart i could find on the net that might have been associated with the beach boys. you know of any?

somebody sure had some charts! lol https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVUBpzlELOg
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Brint Hannay


From:
Maryland, USA
Post Posted 11 Jul 2018 12:55 pm     Reply with quote

Earnest Bovine wrote:
It's not Brian's handwriting; Carole Kaye said that Brian wrote in a naive childlike way with note heads on the wrong side of the stems etc.

It is true that in this sheet there are quite a few notes with the note head on the wrong side of the stem.
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Andy Volk


From:
Boston, MA
Post Posted 11 Jul 2018 4:05 pm     Reply with quote

When you think about how long music all over the globe has been a largely aural tradition, the entire notion of using a written system to communicate music is relatively, very new and not very widespread until the 20th century - whether standard notation, tab, or the Nashville system. I wonder if the Beach Boys vocals were largely worked out by ear and then later notated?

I came across this analysis of Lonely Sea:

https://www.surfermoon.com/essays/mob2.html
Quote:

plaintive as a wounded seagull.
Now THAT's music criticism .... not.
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Charlie McDonald


From:
out of the blue
Post Posted 11 Jul 2018 6:31 pm     Reply with quote

Quote:
... it is not the sea that is lonely now is it.

At this point I was sorry I was reading it.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 17 Jul 2018 1:50 pm     Reply with quote

A few years back when our band was working steady we covered Hotel Ca, it was really fun but really required paying attention every stinkin note. Split guitar solos all that stuff (actually grief)

Ok, the Bass player with us, a very quality player argued what key the song was actually written in, I think the band leader just wrote Am on the set list as thats the first chord. Plus we didn't actually care. We just cared that we all played the same thing at the same time. Us two guitar players, me and Matt Cook, we didn't care we just knew that we could not get distracted or we would blow it.

All sorts of NET people claim it is in D major, ok. fine by me, but the chords are all the same. The formal key ? I don't much care. So we would have total waste of time discussions over it with the Bass player.


So how did we resolve this dilemma ?

Easy, we let the Bass player quit and the next one didn't care what the formal key was. AM worked for him !

By the way when Joe Walsh talks about Hotel C, he says he loves to play it but hates to play it ! One misstep and its game over ! Very Happy
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