From the category archives:

Simple music analysis

Leonard Cohen: Avalanche

March 20, 2008

An early Leonard Cohen song revisited in a live performance in San Sebastian in 1988. Cohen’s performance here hasn’t changed much from his original recording. A dark and galloping song. There is no dominant in the opening verse. His sexy flat-six chord has three notes of a French augmented-6th chord (F A B) with a […]


Making it different

November 17, 2007

Last month I wrote about the very popular chord progression from the 50s: I vi IV V and played you a video of seven versions of that song. In case you didn’t read it: Paul McCartney said that he and John Lennon always tried to make their songs “a little different” implying that they prefer […]


Hoagie Carmichael Paul McCartney said that he and John Lennon always tried to make their songs “a little different” implying that they prefer to not repeat themselves. One of the most popular chord progressions of the time (1950 – 1963) before the Beatles came on the scene was the I vi IV V chord progression […]

{ 1 comment }

Byrds: Mr Spaceman

June 6, 2007

Here is a lip sync performance of The Byrds singing their UFO hymn, “Mr Spaceman” on The Smothers Brothers show, and judging by the way the band looks, it’s 1967–the year of their NOTORIOUS BYRD BROTHERS where David Crosby had been kicked out of the band. (Funny. It is indeed David’s high harmonies on the […]


One of my favorite songs to sing in the past few years has been “Complainte de la butte,” which I found on the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack, sung by Rufus Wainwright. I knew that he didn’t write it and read that it was chosen for the soundtrack because of its reference to the Moulin Rouge, central […]


The Rolling Stone has a regular section in its online magazine dedicated to new artists called ARTIST TO WATCH. In it they have photo equations that best describe what to suspect if you don’t have the courage to hit the play button on the sample song, and that song in this blurb is called “The […]

{ 1 comment }

Last night I met, face-to-face, the brilliant and multi-talented PK, of Loose Poodle fame. We overlapped one year at the New England Conservatory from 1976-1977 and thought we knew each other. We’ve corresponded via emaiil and blogs for the past year, and knew each other that way, but when we sat and looked at each […]


PK’s questions

April 29, 2007

In response to a recent Joni post, PK commented by asking some very important questions. I don’t pretend to have the answers, but will individually tackle them later this week. So that you can think about them, here they are. (PK is the proprietor of the fab blog LOOSE POODLE.) 1) What IS the difference […]


I’ve installed Google Analytics on this blog to see a variety of statistics. Rest assured I never know who is reading this unless you post, and only then if you’ve given my your real name. 85% of my readers go right to or (the latter forwards to the former). Following that majority, here […]


Composer William Kraft (Bill) and I were having lunch one day at the UCLA Faculty Center. Half way through a bite of his sandwich (teachers and composers ALWAYS talk with their mouths full) he bolted and said “Roger, I have a new mode I’ve been working with. It’s terrific, it has so many great qualities. […]