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Musical Terminology


rsadasiv

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A couple of terms have come up lately and I wanted get some clarification.

 

1) Red Note

 

I think of a "Blue Note" as: a note pitched a full semi-tone lower than the "classical" harmony (i.e. the pentatonic flatted/minor seventh vs. the diatonic major seventh), or more generally, as a note which is pitched slightly flat (i.e. Billie Holliday's late period). Is a "Red Note" the sharp version of a "Blue Note"?

 

2) In the Pocket

 

The pocket is the center of the beat--not rushing ahead, not lagging behind. When the whole band is feeling that groove together, it's magic.

:love:

 

While I agree that the entire band playing in the center of a groovy beat is a magical thing, I have always thought of being "In the Pocket" as being slightly behind the classical/gridline/non-grooved beat (i.e. in the Rolling Stones Keef sets the beat, and Charlie plays slightly behind him, in the pocket). On the other hand, micwalt is a better musician than I will ever be, so I thought I had better check with a wider audience.

 

Any thoughts?

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When I was coming up in the 80s a "pocket drummer" seemed mostly to refer to a guy or gal who stayed smack in the groove -- whatever the groove was. It was generally mostly a compliment, seemed like -- but inferred that the guy or gal did not get (perhaps overly) creative or outside with his embellishments.

 

I would say a blue note, as I understand it, is the true harmonic interval of a minor third -- NOT the off-pitch, beaty equal temperament minor third.

 

An equal temperament minor third is substantially off the mark, harmonically, with the root: almost 16 cents sharp [CORRECTION: equal temp minor 3rd is about 16 cents flat from the true harmonic value.] from the true harmonic interval. Therefore, the only way to get the actual minor third is to bend up to it (on a fretted, conventionally tuned guitar).

 

That said, I think it also -- or perhaps even more often [since many trained musicians seem to know little or nothing about the discrepancies between just intonation and equal temperament] -- can refer to the use of a minor third in a "major" blues scale -- and perhaps the use of minor sevenths, too, in major scales -- but, then, the latter's been done long before they started calling the blues the blues.

 

All that said, most of the blues guys I've known don't talk much at all about theory...

 

 

With regard to the term red note -- I think Greg's use of it earlier today may have been the first time I've seen it. I'm not saying he's making it up... maybe it's a Jersey thing...

 

:D

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I agree with blue2blue's interpretation of those terms. I always thought a blue note was in that infinite range of possible pitches between the major and minor third, usually played with a bend or glissando to give that "blues" feeling. Never heard the term 'red note' but I already like it, whatever it might mean. ;)

 

I don't know if micwalt means that we should be "in the pocket" all the time - if he does I respectfully disagree. I guess he's just giving some helpful advice to the OP. Different music demands different approaches to time. Knowing when to play on/before/after the beat is imo one of the most important lessons to learn in performing music.

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I found out I'd been doing it without knowing it... at least by name. :D I think what Greg meant was that I was out of tune.

 

I was thinking about trying to whip up a just intonation defense but I didn't think I could pursue it with a straight face.

 

 

BTW -- dumb ass me, I thought I was paying attention when I wrote that (above) -- especially 'cause it sounded funny. I SHOULD have written that the equal temperment minor third is almost 16 cents FLAT of the mathematically "correct" just intonation. The eq-temp minor third is (of course) 300 cents above the root. The just intonation that will produce a 'pure' minor 3rd hamony against the root is 315.64 cents above the root.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_temperament

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