~ love to listen to music ~

~ supplemental songs ~

~ listening to music is what we love to do ... and with even just beat, we'll dance a step or two ! ~

~ spinning up the discs to hear the theory coolness in musical art ~
wiki ~ Stevie Wonder / Motown
wiki ~ The Beatles / London
wiki ~ Alan Lomax / Global Jukebox
~ spinning up the discs to hear the theory coolness in musical art ~

'... if every picture tells a story ... then surely every song has a tale to tell ...'

'Generosity brings joy.'

Jen Ellis

In a nutshell. Let's reverse engineer our learning method by having a real song that has 'theory elements' that we're curious about. Listening through the combined libraries of Stevie Wonder and the Beatles, each of the following song listings has a links back into the text, of a 'something' that's cool from the tune.

Find audio of these songs as you can, and work your way through. For pro leaning, performing artists, some of these might become covers of your own, and help you get on the charts with a song that has already been there and done that. Imagine that :)

wiki ~ copyright

Motown. Author's note. During a visit to Atlantic City, NJ as a kid, me sibs and I ended up at the Steele Pier. Along with being out over the ocean, the diving bell, diving horse and tons of super oldtime arcade stuff, the 'shows' that day was big doings too as the Beatles movie, "A Hard Day's Night" was playing in the movie house while 'Little Stevie Wonder' led an eight piece R & B on the mainstage. So back and forth between shows we went and along the way forming a love of the Americana 2 and 4 now Euro infused groove backing up blues hue'd messages of pure love.

The following listing of Motown compositions all found their way to or near the top of the charts. Each has unique features that we as arrangers can learn from and strengthen our own abilities to craft the words and music together and help our world continue to dance and love. Not exactly in historical order, many of these titles have been hits more than once for different artists. No reason why they couldn't be a hit again for a new artist coming up. And for the 'samplers' ... just a tone of great ideas.

wiki ~ Motown

wiki ~ Motown "Hitsville" singles

By Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney;

"Ebony And Ivory", in 'E.' This song starts with it's vocal hook.

The Beatles. "I Feel Fine", 'G' Mixolydian.

Starts with novelty use of feedback.

Stevie Wonder. "Bird Of Beauty", 'G.'

Starts with novelty instrument, eight bar intro.

The Beatles. "I Need You", in A .

Opens 2-3 then 4-3 suspensions.

Stevie Wonder. "Visions", in 'B' minor.

Opens with minor vamp / i ii i ii.

Beatles. "I've Just Seen A Face", in 'A.' Five bar intro.

Stevie Wonder. "Golden Lady" in 'Eb.'

Starts with piano then bass I ii iii #iv VII7.

Beatles. "Tell Me Why", in 'D.' Four bar intro of ii V's.

Stevie Wonder. "All In Love Is Fair." 'C#/ E. 'Lyrics start with the title of song in minor.

Beatles. "Ticket To Ride", in A. Opens with triad signature guitar riff used throughout.

Stevie Wonder. "Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing." 'D# - / B major. Starts with Latin montuno piano figure.

The Beatles. "I'll Follow The Sun" in C major.Opens with call and response between chorus and solo voices.

Stevie Wonder. "He's Mister Know It All." 'Gb major.' Starts with the song's chord main progression and bass line story.

Beatles. "Something", in 'C.' Song begins and ends with same four note motif.

classic A A B A form
nine measure A / eight bar B
key of 'C / A-' in A section / key 'A' major in B

coda is opening four note motif


Stevie Wonder. "I Just Called To Say I Love You", in 'Db.' Acapella beginning, right to solid snare drum 2 and 4 backbeat.

Review / songs. Hearing the theory as music moves along is just not for everyone. Might be the reason a lot of folks resist to learn it in the first place. But for some, there's and endless curiosity it seems. So we can get by with a little help from our friends yes ? Plus now there is videos, pod and web casts, skype, zoom and facetime on the phone and still the radio :) Yet in all of these ways to learn, knowing the 'A B C's of the pitches, and how they group up into songs, sorts out a lot of the 'what comes next' as we evolve as artists through our careers.

As Americana players we are by nature, improvising musicians. Some styles more than others, but there's a potential looseness brought to all the styles by the blues.

And while we rote learn or read our parts, there's usually room to make it up as we go along too. Especially true in blues and jazz, we each get to add our own improv pizazz, and in all the Americana styles, there's room for one's own testimony. If not and ya need some more room, consider joining up with another band too.

And as we learn our notes, scales, arpeggios and chords, and turn them into our palette, our improvisations can become a weave of the ideas that we collect along the way, through our listening. So a song's story becomes our storyline too when we improvise our own parts, and blend it into the mix.

And coupled with the enhanced enjoyment of witnessing great musical art, energized by knowing a bit of 'what's going on', and maybe even, 'what's going to happen next', we re-enter the house of a song, our communal ancient dwelling for our collective memories. Knowing that with many flowing through time with music together, all is well in the realm.

'Somepeople want to fill the world with silly love songs ...'

wiki ~ Sir Paul McCartney

References. References for this page's information comes from school, books and the bandstand and made way easier by the folks along the way.

References academia Alaska. And when you need university level answers to your questions and musings, and especially if you are considering a career in music and looking to continue your formal studies, begin to e-reach out to the Alaska University Music Campus communities and begin a dialogue with some of Alaska's own and finest resident maestros !