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Darren J. Ray

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Reply with quote  #1 
Not sure if this has been posted previously, but I found this clip very interesting. 

When you think about key changes in Beach Boys songs, this would not have been an obvious choice to me. 

Enjoy....



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Al Forsyth

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Reply with quote  #2 
I watched this yesterday - we must have the same feed.  Love how he ends this - that pop music now doesn't do anything like this as it's all production tricks, and not so much musical (that's my edited take on this). 

He picked four excellent songs and artists and ends with the ambiguous keys in Good Only Knows.  Yes it opens in A and I would agree with him on the D key, but those half and fully diminished chords add to this ambiguity as there is sliding going on and this is why any vocalist worth their salt gets this - Carl being the first of course. Brian knows how to fool us with key changes, of course after doing the famous foreign modulation on Surfer Girl.  Everything else is VERY subtle.  Then you take on something like This Whole World. This is why he is a musical genius. 
https://www.songfacts.com/lyrics/the-beach-boys/this-whole-world
Surf's Up - yet another song where things are happening. 
Brian writes intuitively BUT has to know what he is doing with the changes.  

I tried to do a celebratory write up of all Pet Sounds songs back on the fiftieth anniversary year of it here but only got as far as Wouldn't It Be Nice (which still amazes me that two keys are going on at the same time).  My notes all got too scattered to finish the job.

Thanks for putting this up so hoping we can somehow get back to talk the music here.  

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D.A.N

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Reply with quote  #3 
Right at the end there's a clip of Brian with George Martin.  I nearly missed it.

Love all four of these artists.
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Al Forsyth

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Reply with quote  #4 
And further, from Philip Lambert's book:
 
As Daniel Harrison has explained, the tonality of ‘God Only Knows’ hovers uncertainly between E and A major, starting with an introductory progression that anticipates the A major refrain but features a D# in the French horn melody that encourages hearing the A chords as IV in E.  When the verse begins it offers no clarifications using a variety of chord types an inversions. Much of the verse progression makes sense in E, but we hear actual E major triads only in second inversion, and then the refrain pulls towards A again, over the bass line later repeated in the ending.  It is reminiscent of the circuitous establishment of G major in ‘Don’t Talk’, complicated further by the competition for key primacy. After the second verse an instrumental interlude featuring wedge voice-leading gives way to a repetition of the verse progression up a fourth, thus implying A major with hints of D. The return to E is accomplished over a bass that simply continues its stepwise descent instead of circling back.  Harrison writes that ‘there is no moment in rock music more harmonically and formally subtle than this transition’.  These artful tonal meanderings help convey the sense of wonder and mystery–and insecurity and fear – in the song’s lyric.

So further, if the key signature is E, then Brian begins the verse on the four chord D.  This has me reading the P. Lambert, Good Vibrations - Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys in Critical Perspective again.  

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John B

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Reply with quote  #5 
wow, what a smart English kid! 

Don Cunningham used to do something similar in this fanzine called 'Add Some Music'.  Also, reminds me of this music professor (was it Lambert?), who analyzed 'Til I Die' in the Brian Wilson Songwriter 1962-1969, and part II DVD's through 'Love You', when he sat at a piano and demonstrated that 'Til I Die' was in no established key, UNTIL the chorus. 
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Al Forsyth

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Reply with quote  #6 
Now I'm definitely going to re-read Philip Lambert's edited book - Good Vibrations.  It's so dense with information.  It helps me appreciate Brian's music even more.  
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dancai

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Reply with quote  #7 
The thing that gets me is that BW plays "feels," i.e. chord changes, on the piano until it sounds good-- to him.  His only instruction in music theory, as far as I know, lay in analyzing and extending the arrangements on Four Freshmen records.

As the video points out, he plants subliminal devices, things that create feelings for most people, yet flabbergast musicologists.

I don't have the Lambert book being discussed here, but his earlier one, Inside  the Music of Brian Wilson, also has a lot to say about "God Only Knows."

Amazing.

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