Posts

Negative Harmony Chord Chart

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.

Continue reading “Negative Harmony Chord Chart”

Breath of the Wild – Rito Village (Day)

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.

Rito Village – Full Score PDF

The Singers Unlimited – Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair

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.

Full Score PDF

Some of the harmony is a bit easier to hear using the Sibelius playback:

Macintosh Plus – Lisa Frank 420 / Modern Computing – Jazz Arrangement

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:

Macintosh Plus – Lisa Frank 420 Modern Computing – Full Score

Macintosh Plus – Lisa Frank 420 Modern Computing – Parts

Generic C/Eb/Bb lead sheets:

Macintosh Plus – Lisa Frank 420 Modern Computing – Lead Sheets

The Dilla Feel, Part IV: The Application (“Philodendron & Pothos” Lo-fi Hip-hop Beat)

This post is part of a 4-part series on the rhythmic style of J Dilla.
Part I: (History) · Part II (Theory) · Part III (Grooves) · Part IV (Application)


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.

Continue reading “The Dilla Feel, Part IV: The Application (“Philodendron & Pothos” Lo-fi Hip-hop Beat)”

The Dilla Feel, Part III: The Grooves (Real-World Examples and Dilla’s Influence)

This post is part of a 4-part series on the rhythmic style of J Dilla.
Part I: (History) · Part II (Theory) · Part III (Grooves) · Part IV (Application)


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.

Continue reading “The Dilla Feel, Part III: The Grooves (Real-World Examples and Dilla’s Influence)”

The Dilla Feel, Part II: The Theory (Quintuplet Swing, Septuplet Swing, and Playing “Off-The-Grid”)

This post is part of a 4-part series on the rhythmic style of J Dilla.
Part I: (History) · Part II (Theory) · Part III (Grooves) · Part IV (Application)


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:

Continue reading “The Dilla Feel, Part II: The Theory (Quintuplet Swing, Septuplet Swing, and Playing “Off-The-Grid”)”