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I liken movies to playing a piano: Sometimes you're playing the chords and different notes with unresolved cadences and playing all major chords that are all over the place, and you're enjoying yourself with a great, simple melody.
Motherhood is at its best when the tender chords of sympathy have been touched.
Then about 12 years ago it dawned on me that folk music - the music of Woody Guthrie and Phil Ochs, early Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Pete Seeger - could be as heavy as anything that comes through a Marshall stack. The combination of three chords and the right lyrical couplet can be as heavy as anything in the Metallica catalogue.
But we got up there and decided to stick to this mix of power chords and funk and that's where it really started for us. In having the courage to take that decision. To take a gamble not just with our music but our lives.
When I sing, I go somewhere else. Every time after I sing, I'll ask, 'Did I do OK?' Because I feel like it's like my soul squeezing out of my vocal chords. I don't sit there and think about 'I'm gonna do this next...' I just sing. I sing from my heart, and my heart's got a little lonesome in it.
I do remember actually learning chords to Beatles songs. I thought they were great songwriters.
I learned five chords; I thought I knew it all.
In some types of music I'm working out all the chords one bar at a time - the whole structure, because it's about that. And there are other pieces which are really about - okay, the melody is going to start here and play through to here.
The real beauty of it - key to my life was playing key chords on a banjo. For somebody else it may be a golf club that mom and dad put in their hands or a baseball or ballet lessons. Real gift to give to me and put it in writing.
Music is gathering. Taking our scattered thoughts and senses and coalescing us back into our core. Music is powerful. The first few chords can change us where no self-help books can.
As a melody instrument player, it's all about getting from one note to the next, and those intervals and how you navigate your way through these vertical structures of chords. You realize that everything's moving forward, and it's all linear.
Bon Jovi's trick is to use heavy-metal chords and still sound absolutely safe. Rock & roll used to be rebellion disguised as commercialism; now so much of it is commercialism disguised as rebellion.
Sometimes, I'm driving along in my car, and a song from my high-school years comes on the radio: Springsteen's 'Thunder Road.' Just the opening few chords make me want to roll down the window and let the wind blow back my hair.
You obviously don't really forget how to play the old songs; you just don't have to spend so much time convincing yourself that you remember them. Way less mental energy is spent swimming around in lyrics you've already written and chords you've already played.
When I was a kid, I used to listen to my Emerson radio late at night under the covers. I started by listening to jazz in the late 1940s and then vocal harmony groups like the Four Freshmen, the Modernaires and the Hi-Lo's. I loved Stan Kenton's big band - with those dark chords and musicians who could swing cool with individual sounds.
Since I was doing all of it myself, I had to decide where I wanted to go with the songs, how to proceed with the chords, if the sound was alright, and all that detail on my own.
I love listening to Radio Head's 'Everything in its Right Place' because it's all major chords, it makes you feel really good. It's soothing, it's got a beautiful voice, crazy textures. When I'm down I listen to that song and it really makes me feel good.
So I concentrated on the rhythmic side of things, and therefore left a lot of holes. I didn't want to use big pad chords everywhere. All of the songs are built up of small melodies and counter melodies all played very rhythmically.
I just like simplicity. I like simple songs, I like simple chords, simple vocals, simple lead guitar. I just like simplicity. That's just the way I like it.
With a track like 'White Christmas,' everybody has done that song in every format you can imagine, so I just looked at the chords at that particular song and what chords would make it work. That's kind of quite a sad song, and I had this idea of someone singing it in the subway, someone who is homeless, old and sad.
If you play the guitar, you've got to hold the chords down with one hand while you play with the other, so you're limited to one hand. But the piano is the king of instruments because you have your 10 fingers, which become the 10 members of the orchestra.
If it has more than three chords, it's jazz.
Journalists, especially English journalists, were very cruel to me. They said I only knew three chords when I knew five!
I get the same charge from juxtaposition of colors as I do from juxtaposition of chords.
All you needed was a couple of instruments and a few chords and you could be on an indie label.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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