A chart of the common chords of tonal harmony and their negative harmony mirrors. This isn’t meant to provide an introduction to negative harmony (there are already great resources on that), but instead to provide a reference chart for composers trying to incorporate negative harmonic concepts into their music. It’s also meant to serve as a prequel for upcoming posts on negative mirrors of common chord progressions, turnarounds, and jazz forms.
I found this interesting example of microrhythm while transcribing the partido alto-esque fusion groove from insaneintherain’s arrangement of Route 111 from the Pokemon R/S/E soundtrack.
This is what the groove looks and sounds like when notated on the grid:
A transcription of the Rito Village day theme from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild soundtrack. The arrangement of this is beautiful and displays an absolute mastery of timbre and feel. Each instrument is distinctly evocative; post-jazz Bill Evans sounding piano, steel string folk guitar, Studio Ghibli-esque strings, wistful clarinet. and hammered dulcimer. But they all fit together and compliment each other perfectly.
A transcription of Gene Puerling’s arrangement of “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair”, as performed by The Singers Unlimited on their 1980 record A Capella III. One of my favorite parts of this arrangement is the use of the bIII6/9sus chord as a sub for minor iv in measures 11 and 23. It has the striking feel of the bIII chromatic mediant, the big open sound of a sus chord, and the functional pull of the minor iv because they share most of the same notes.
Some of the harmony is a bit easier to hear using the Sibelius playback:
An arrangement of the iconic vaporwave tune “リサフランク420 / 現代のコンピュー” (“Lisa Frank 420 / Modern Computing”) by Macintosh Plus. I also wrote some alternate changes to add variety if there are multiple solos.
Arrangement for Soprano Sax/Alto Sax/Trumpet and rhythm section:
Generic C/Eb/Bb lead sheets:
So far I’ve been discussing some of the advanced rhythmic concepts found in the work of Dilla and other hip-hop, neo-soul, and jazz musicians. To try some of this stuff out, I decided to make my own lo-fi hop-hop beat.
In this post I want to take a look at some transcriptions of Dilla feels found in the wild to break down what they’re doing.
The transcription methodology for these tunes was to pick a four bar section where the beat is clearly audible and align it to a beat grid in Ableton. I then recreated the grooves on separate tracks by looking at the waveform to determine where individual hits occurred. When the waveform was unclear, I placed a sample in the approximate location and then adjusted it until it no longer made an audible flam against the track. For some of the songs with sampled drums, I isolated the samples and aligned them via phase cancellation.
This post includes screenshots of the Ableton live sessions and standard notation for each tune. For the standard notation, I focused on creating intuitive and easily digestible summaries of the grooves rather than notate them literally. I experimented with a couple different approaches for notating subdivisions and microtime including written descriptions, approximating to the nearest subdivision, and using special symbols to mark when notes fall behind/ahead of the written beat.
Subdivision and Swing
Swing refers to a type of rhythm where alternating subdivisions are given unequal durations, creating a long-short-long-short pattern. In jazz it’s typical for 8th notes to be swung and rock and hip-hop sometimes feature swung 16th notes. The most common type of swing is a triplet swing in which the first note has twice the length of the second note. It is often notated like this:
The Dilla feel has its origins in the late 90s with the legendary hip-hop producer J Dilla and the neo-soul/RnB/hip-hop collective The Soulquarians.