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The Fourth
#2677667 09/25/17 04:18 PM
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Had a competent pianst friend come to stay a few days and I managed to get him to play, EbbTide by Robert Maxwell. . Now I have found that certain pieces reduce me to tears especially when played at my home, I just can not prevent it ! Can't say I'm sad - more like happy !
Anyway being of scientific bent I managed to isolate the set ot notes which which most produced the reaction.
It is a sequence of three notes - G4-E4-B3 . Would that be a dimished 3rd third - followed by a fourth ?
I can play that sequence in any key, and, especially in the central registers it has the same effect. It brings a weird feeling of anticipation vs loss.
I'd be interest to read any comments .

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Re: The Fourth
Goof #2677777 09/26/17 08:17 AM
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Maybe it is "the secret chord/ that David played to please the Lord..."


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Re: The Fourth
Goof #2677831 09/26/17 11:16 AM
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I can't top malkin's reply. But in purely technical terms, it's a minor third followed by a perfect fourth. (A diminished third would be e.g. Gb4 E4.) It's an E minor triad in second inversion.


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Re: The Fourth
Goof #2677832 09/26/17 11:20 AM
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Hi, that sequence would be technically a descending minor third followed by a descending perfect 4th. These 3 opening melody notes are identical to the great jazz pianist Erroll Garner's famous song Misty. The lyrics are "Look at me, ..." It's interesting that Misty came out only a year after Ebbtide - I wonder if Ebbtide had any influence on Erroll.

The sequence is interesting and ear catching because the G and the E can be thought of as the 5th and the 3rd of the C Major (tonic) chord of the song, in both songs. They set up the expectation of a following C which is the Tonic or root of that C major chord - think Star Spangled Banner. But instead we are surprised to hear the final note miss the root by a half step lower, landing on a B. This pitch is the Major 7th of C major which gives a more colorful and sweet feeling (or "longing" as you mentioned). This is possibly due to the fact that in classical harmony, the B is considered a leading tone which must resolve to C. But both songs don't give us that immediate satisfaction of resolution right away. Ebbtide resolves beats later and Misty doesn't resolve at all! It doesn't have to in pop/jazz. :-D

Last edited by erichlof; 09/26/17 11:22 AM.

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