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21st century Harmony books


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What are the best 21st century harmony books to read? Ones that have explanations for Beatles progressions, The Police, pop music conventions, Radiohead, etc... Basically a mix of conventional harmony and evolution of harmony use from 1960's onwards.... Thank you!
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  • 3 months later...

That's a great question. As of my knowledge, as a harmony and theory enthusiast and teacher, there are no books that focus on advanced 'pop' musicians in an academic way. The beatles, and even more so radiohead, often use sophisticated harmony in brilliant ways, that'scultivated from the modern classical and jazz vaults of knowledge. What, in my opinion makes them so brilliant (lets focus on radiodhead) is that since they have no stylistic constraints, they can do what they want essentially, they can pick and choose. Where as classical and jazz, as taught traditionally in books, usually uses an inclusive methodology, for example, this is a modal tune, so we are going to make it all modal. Radiohead, often uses a theme, vocal or instrumental, and then fits stuff around it. The descending line in the "rain down" section of paranoid android is so linear, but the result, after consideration of harmonic choices, is sweet, as it starts in Cmin and quickly moves to Dmin. Not a traditional pop move. Their listening habits are obviously wide ranging and their exposure to music is huge, so after hearing a certain 'effect', I would assume they look into it and try to apply it. I have found a wonderful correlation that I'm presently analyzing now between the 'pyramid song' by radiohead and Olivier's Messiaen's 'Louange à l'éternité de Jesus'. What song from radiohead interests you the most? I love to talk harmony and radiohead. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgcfklsEXOo

 

I attached a reduction of the 'rain down section'. Notice how everything, in its own world, moves smoothly. This is the application of both delicious voice leading and counterpoint. And the best part is that the layers enter one after each other.

paranoid android middle section.pdf

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I'm interested in the Beatles scores book too. Does it contain the full transcription of the studio songs (full arrangements, orchestral instruments)?

And what about the book format and the notes size? Is it so hard to read? There're a lot of complaints about this in the feedbacks. I'd use it for analysis and not for playing.

 

Thanks.

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It's definitely not for perofmance. Yeah, full transcriptions, but not orchestral score. Sort of like piano reduction when needed. Like, you're not going to have a detailed score of what horns 1 and 3 are doing differently than horns 2 and 4 on 'a day in the life'.

But it has all the harmonies, and bass lines, keyboard pars etc,

Don't listen to the complaints too seriously. Anyone who thinks the book holds more negatives than positives is clearly a grouchy party pooper. Yes, the score is small, but sitting there and reading along while strawberry fields is playing, outweighs any shortcomings.

The book is amazing.

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  • 4 weeks later...

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