I never thought I had it in me...
Yes, the wrong note school. I swear, if Bach was alive today, he would be saying, “Why are they intentionally playing the wrong notes?” It reminds me of Glenn Gould (made his reputation playing Bach on the piano) who abhorred playing live because he believed the audience were there to see him make mistakes, like they would be there to see a person fall while walking on a tight wire. Later, in his career he started to play modern pieces (Webern, Berg, Schoenberg, etc.) and I think there was almost a relief that he experienced, a liberation of sorts. If you screw up some notes in performing a modern piano piece, who can tell! The audience would surely not! It's all gibberish in their minds anyway. So Gould seems to be off the hook of his own neurotic hang up with performing. This is just a theory I have about Gould, but if you see him play these pieces, he seems more relaxed. He's embraced his shadow, in Jungian terms.
@Orphan of Babylon That's very clever. Reminds me of what Mark Twain reputedly said about Wagner's music : "It's better than it sounds."
Very Good Orphan! I think they are forgetting where they are, and who they are talking to.
BINGO! That is the riff. In this case, Bill keeps the riff going down (to the G-string). It's that diminished (dissonant) sound. There are bigger, more crazy styles of dissonance. For me the penultimate is "Free Jazz" and I've seen compositions go from total structure to just whacked out sounds. A good example is Cecil Taylor's music. I have seen him live where it sounded like normal jazz and then things became chaotic: people were just making noise, were walking around and banging things. But it did cast something like a pal or a dark force over the audience. Spooky. I've never done that, but I have tried to come close in a piano piece and a progressive rock song that starts almost like Zeppelin's Kashmir and then goes into the chaotic dissonance. It's a bizarre piece -- after the dissonance section, it goes into a clip of the movie BOOM with Richard Burton and Liz Taylor. Why? I don't know. But I do like the Coleridge poem and Burton's voice.
Hello Serge, I'm not sure if you're talking to me or Orphan or both? I agree with expression! Amen to that! Orphan, I'm trying to understand what you're hearing. The song centers around the key or tonal center of G. That is where it starts and stops. The chords are not typical like you would hear in a blues song (I-IV-V). Technically, I say the scale used was a Lydian with a flat 3, and it's also called the Lydian Diminished scale. I think it's that diminished sound that you associate with atonality. It is an “outside” sound. The solo uses a diminished sound in parts. Grab your guitar. Take this shape, start on the 6th fret (Bb) of the bass E string and play each note as an arpeggio going downwards. Do the same again, starting on the A string. Repeat on the D string. Voilà, part of Bill's solo.
Tell me if I'm wrong, but I think that is what you are associating with atonality, and possibly that the chords are not your usual grouping. It is a “progressive” song in that sense, with an unusual chord progression. No crazy meter changes, but some movement or shifting of tone centers for soloing. It's a good song and to do this analysis I was listening to the BBC version where the ending goes on at length. Did BBD ever play the Royal Albert Hall? If the BBC was recording their material, you'd think they would have played there.
Hope you catch the wave you want! Explorations to expression, the poets rejoinder.
Orphan, Bill isn't really doing atonality in "New Precision." There are some outside notes like an arpeggiated diminished climb, but it's mostly pentatonic and modal. Here is a good video to understand atonality in classical music:
I just finished a classic example of how I write with a score, though I don't write this way for pop or rock. This piece "Dancer's Heath" was not written this way. I like using the score if it is classical, otherwise, I resist it like the plague. If you need to get very precise this is the way and I also outlined the chords I was using conventional notation. It's for piano and flute and if you can think of some imagery to do a regular video that would be great. I'm at my wit's end with this.
But I was wrong.