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Gavin Gorrick

A theoretical analysis of Beyonce - Single Ladies

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Brilliant. I've always been fascinated that arguments against pop music haven't changed in almost a century, and they're more based in race than a lot of people will admit...

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Very cool :)

And the whole "better" thing really gets me miffed; one can always technically alalyze the skill of a performer but beyond that music is 200% perspective, and if a certain piece means nothing to someone, no matter who wrote it be it Beethoven or The Beatles, then that music is not "good" to that person.

Thanks for the link.

John M

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Good thing to bring up and nice article.

Although, I must say, I find his harmonic analysis a bit far-fetched personally. He just takes sets of two or three tones on top of each other and builds harmonies out of each them by adding tons of "implied" other notes, so that he ends up with a very complex harmonic progression that leads him to calling the piece "polytonal". Sure, you can hear it like that, if you're set to do so. But you can as well hear totally different "implied notes" and analyse many notes as suspensions or other non-harmonic notes, and end up with something much more simple. It's really just a matter of how you want to look at it.

I'm just a bit sceptical of stuff like just taking the interval "C-G#" and say it must be an augmented triad of G# in the first inversion with the third missing, while there would be tons of other, much simpler and at least as valid interpretations.

So I'm really not happy with the way he approaches harmonic analysis. But hey, it's about the basic idea, so it's still a good article to read.

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Nevermind I'm a little doubtful this song qualifies as actual polytonal, considering it's all still close together.

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You can analyze and point out polytonal harmonies till you fart mustard gas, but nothing will impress me concerning this extremely repetitious piece of garbage. I don't know what this guy was smoking when he heard the song, but it fits in quite nicely with all the other mediocre pop "songs" that rampantly pollute the airwaves these days.

A lot of good music is made these days, yet our culture wants to focus on a very select bunch of untalented idiots who quack obscenities into a microphone and call it a musical sub genre. WHY is this?!

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Well, sometimes the radio stations just have to take a break from airing all these complex high-art Simmons pieces.

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@ Gardner: LOL!!! I love it!

I haven't done the harmonic analysis myself, but I have a feeling the use of traditional, functional harmonic progression over-complicates the analysis. I do appreciate, though, that there is a comparison, a 'how far harmonic progression has come' by using such an analysis. I doubt that the author considered this (he certainly never really 'mentioned' the purpose of using such a method to analyze a pop song) when he started analyzing "Single Ladies".

One other thing that needs to be said... this analysis is making a LOT out of a little. There's a lot of over-exaggeration going on here over the first 2-4 measures, depending on the metric and tempo you use. I'm comfortable with a 160 bps, and I'm pretty sure that's probably the way it was written for performance and simplicity. The metric/rhythmic 'diminution' confused the analysis more than just typifying the standard four-bar phrase with the faster tempo.

Still, there are plenty of things more to be said about the music, not the least of which being the context of the tune within its genre, and the author touched on these very well for me. Overall, I'm pleased with the analysis and think a little more clarity on the point of using the analytical methods he chose to make his point would have helped. Additionally, even though it's a decent point to make about a contemporary pop song in comparison to a more 'traditional' one (has pop music really been around THAT long? damn... I must be getting old), I'm of the opinion that overstating such important 'divergences' from the norm to draw more attention to a style that's otherwise ignored in the academic environment is more than justified.

Kudos to the author. Even if there are 'issues' for me in the analysis, the message is loud and clear... and that's fine by me.

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You can analyze and point out polytonal harmonies till you fart mustard gas, but nothing will impress me concerning this extremely repetitious piece of garbage. I don't know what this guy was smoking when he heard the song, but it fits in quite nicely with all the other mediocre pop "songs" that rampantly pollute the airwaves these days.

A lot of good music is made these days, yet our culture wants to focus on a very select bunch of untalented idiots who quack obscenities into a microphone and call it a musical sub genre. WHY is this?!

"obscenities"... hahaha, grow a set soooooooon.

Glad I could contribute positively to this thread.

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Overall, sweet reading. But I second Gardener's post. Personally, I would not analyze the III+ chord as an augmented (unless the characteristic tone is there or implied just before that), yet alone the piece as polytonal.

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Your post: plain, repetitive, boring, ignorant, straight: a waste of our time

Fix'd for accuracy.

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get drunk and go clubbing. that's where this song is actually useful. no it's not unique or complex or earthshaking, but if I've got a little booze in me, it makes me want to get crunk, goddammit.

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