We look at Ligeti’s famous composition in order to decide how much, or how little, the use of music’s foundational parameters really matter in composing.
“Look Alive”: Aaand we’ve got more Drake. Aaand we’ve also got another somewhat subjective tonality. What we’ve got is three intervals, A and E (an A5 chord), A and D (D5/A), and B♭ and D (B♭ no fifth), and a bass line that adds an F in there (for a♭VI chord, arguably). There’s also no singing to help us establish tonality, and so I first heard it in D minor, but after repeated listening, I realized it was just my brain filling in gaps to meet my tonal bias. It would actually be truer to classify this as A Phrygian because with the A F D B♭ bass line, and without any concrete triads, it’s best to leave it up to the musical scale that matches the sound, and the Phrygian scale here clicks better than anything else.
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The bass tone is played by hitting the center of the drum with your open hand. You want to bounce your whole hand against the skin to get that deep, low pitch. Also, by bouncing your hand off the head of the drum, the tones are left to resonate. Start by practicing this bass tone a few times — this is your core.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placement on Alternative Press, Spotify, Noisey, Substream, and more, as well as the Director of Community and Events for Music Launch Co. Her free training ‘Reaching a Wider Audience Without Spending A Dime’ helps emerging artists cut through the noise and get in front of fans and industry influencers in just a few steps. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.
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