~ supplemental songs ~

~ standards and gems ~

~ finding Americana music's colors, time and components in one composition ~

The standard. When back at music college, one professor often said there was something unique about a 'standard song, that made it a standard song.'

It had that 'something' that made folks want to listen to the story, to the musicteller, sing along even.

We survey together 100 standards and know that this something' could turn out to be anything really.

A lovely melody, solid hook, cool chord changes, jumping rhythm, great lyrics, catchy riff, draw dropping lick, even novel 'special effects', have all helped to make a song into a standard.

The gems. A step above a 'standard' are the 'gems.' These songs have a something' too, but elevate it into the 'one of a kind' standards. Gems historically go straight to #1 on the radio charts.

As schooling up musicians, we want might want to study the standards and gems. Totally by taste, and what tops the charts, the supplemental songs included here each bring something special, so that's where our schooling comes in.

So the following listing songs is reversed engineered. I listened to these songs and found a magical component in its writing that may have helped to make them a popular standard.

Included here for both those readers exploring more as listeners than players, but for players too, each listing has a 'something' that is identified by its theory component, and then linked back into those discussions within the text.

'... creating a historical journey through listening to our Americana heros ... '

'... and if every picture tells a story, then surely every song has a story to tell to paint a picture ...'


kids holiday song

catchy hook

Scott Joplin ~ ragtime jazz
wiki ~ "Maple Leaf Rag"

blend classical and jazz

Maceo Pinkard ~ jazzy / dixieland
wiki ~ "Sweet Georgia Brown"

cycle of V7's

Duke Ellington ~ jazz
wiki ~ "Caravan"
Bill Broonzy ~ blues
wiki ~ "Key To The Highway"

eight bar song form

Woodie Gutherie ~ folk
wiki ~ "This Land Is Your Land"
Charlie Parker ~ bebop jazz
wiki ~ "Confirmation"
Hank William ~ country swing
wiki ~ "Hey Good Looking"
Chuck Berry ~ blues rock
wiki ~ "Johnny B. Goode"
Ray Charles ~ blues rock gospel jazz
wiki ~ "What I Say"
John Coltrane ~ jazz
wiki ~ "Giant Steps"
Otis Redding ~ blues rock gospel jazz
wiki ~ "R E S P E C T"
Bob Dylan ~ folk rock pop
wiki ~ "Mr Tambourine Man"
Young Rascals ~ a #1 pop rock dance song
wiki ~ "Good Lovin"

'perfect' totally danceable hook, and really an early guitar roar, 1 4 5, a V of V, and in 'D' on the hit.

Marvin Gaye ~ pop jazz rock classical rhythm and blues soul
"What's Going On"
brings social justice into pop radio
John Lennon ~ pop classical
brings social justice into pop radio
Led Zepplin ~ hard rock
"Stairway To Heaven"
Billy Joel ~ pop
"Piano Man"
Van Halen ~ pop rock
Nirvana ~ pop rock
"Smells Like Teen Spirit"

harmonic motion to Four two times

Selena ~ Tejano / TexMex pop
"I Could Fall In Love"

classic bass line story

Count it off. Just an essential skill for all of us. In rockin' out it'll often sound like this :)

wiki ~ "I Saw Her Standing There", Beatles song.

"Getting away gave me the possibility of having thoughts of my own, of developing my own personality, a chance to find myself, even the chance to play badly! ... he told The Times in 1960, on a rare visit to New York"

wiki ~ Abbey Simon

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 !