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#1
I wrote this analysis as part of my Diploma of Music - tuition course I took last year. I thought I'd share it with this site and see what people think. If there are any music theory geeks here like me, you might enjoy this.

(I have to half this as I can only post a 10,000 word thread. I'll post the second half as a reply.


THE CULTURAL IMPACT OF TWO CLASSIC ROCK SONGS.
By Dave Smiles

Welcome To The Jungle and Smells Like Teen Spirit. Guns N Roses and Nirvana, two bands that dominated the rock scenes of two different decades. Two songs that changed not just the face of rock n roll, but also the world… well, at least the world of popular culture. By the mid-1980s rock n roll had become ‘safe’ and easily marketable to a mainstream market. Dance music had also become prominent and the rock n roll bands that were around were cheap imitations of Motley Crue and Van Halen. While Guns N Roses have been included in the ‘hair metal’ genre and originating from the ‘hairspray’ capital of the time - Los Angeles, they were actually kicking against the style. A collective feeling amongst the original members of the band was that rock and roll had gotten too safe and commercial and there was a real need for some stripped back dirty street level rock n roll. Taking influences from The Rolling Stones and The Beatles and supercharging them with the punk attitudes of The Sex Pistols and Haoni Rock, the ‘Gunners’ would become the biggest band on the planet by the end of the 1980s. By 1991, with many of the hard rock bands of the eighties burning out, breaking up, or just getting too ridiculous for fans to be able to relate to anymore, Nirvana would change the landscape once more, stripping rock music down to an even more bare bones structure, taking out the technical solos and flash stage shows, the grunge era took the attitude of the disenfranchised American youth to the world.

Both bands brought rock n roll back down to earth, and then let success turn them into what they had sort to avoid.

While it is true many rock fans like both bands, there are as many, if not more, who will prefer one over the other. Regardless of your opinions of either band, or your preference, there’s no denying the impact both bands had on popular music and on the world. Welcome To The Jungle and Smells Like Teen Spirit remain two rock classics, often appearing in ‘best of’ lists and influencing future musicians for years to come.

Both songs came into existence in similar ways, both met initial resistance from the media and both were made successful by the voice of the fans, for their respective generations, who found something within the songs they could relate to.

Hard Rock originated in the late 1960s with bands such as The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream and The Rolling Stones. 1970s rock bands like Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Ac/Dc brought a harder edge to the music but, like the 60s bands, still maintained their influences in the blues. When the 1980s arrived rock n roll lost some of the danger. Guns N Roses adopted more of a classic rock style and injected elements of Punk rock into the mix. Along with peers like Skid Row, Alice Cooper, Aerosmith and Motley Crue, Guns N Roses brought back gritty street level, honest Hard Rock. With the success of Welcome To The Jungle and Sweet Child o’Mine, Guns N Roses connected with millions and brought hard rock / heavy metal into the mainstream.
Taking its influences from the blues, and even swing music, Hard rock can be described as loud and aggressive but just as often has its softer moments. Guitars heroes, the masters of dexterous and challenging solos, are often seen as the stars of the show. They often share, or fight for, the spot light with a charismatic singer. Singer’s voices need to be loud and vary from banshee like wails and screaming falsettos to deep monotone mumbles and guttural cries. They also need to be able to show a sensitive side. Songs vary from complex arrangement to simple two chord works of fun. The drums maintain heavy use of the kick drum, tom and snare double time beats and cymbal crashes left to ring for emphasis. The bass strengthens the rhythms guitar work, but often has a chance to shine with its own riffs and solos.

Grunge, one of the many sub genres of hard rock, developed from alternative rock which emerged in the mid-1980s in Seattle. American media had been focused on Los Angeles and New York in the 1980s, ignoring Seattle until the success of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit in the early nineties. Grunge bands are inspired by hard-core punk, seventies hard rock, and indie rock. As in hard rock, guitars are heavily distorted, but include fuzz and feedback. Songs consisted of contrasting sections of soft and loud, and angst-filled lyrics about social alienation, confinement, feeling misunderstood and a need for individuality. It targeted a culture of teen depression and often mocked the glam rock popularity of the 1980s. Many grunge musicians had an unkempt appearance, with clothing consisting of op shop items and flannel shirts. Grunge concerts were straightforward with bands rejecting big budgets, avoiding complex lighting, pyrotechnics, and visual effects.
Seventies hard rock bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin also influenced many Grunge bands, although many fans of the genre considered these bands ‘old’ and irrelevant. There seemed to be an overall rebellious nature from the grunge generation that extended to everything including music itself. While Guns N Roses fans respected bands that had come before them, Nirvana fans appeared to dismiss anything more than a decade old.
When the popularity of Grunge shifted the world’s focus to Seattle, clothing companies started marketing "grunge fashion" and charged high prices for items best described as op shop fodder. Many grunge artists were uncomfortable with their success. Some even stating that the ‘wrong type of fans were buying their albums’, criticizing the music industry, businesses, ticketek radio stations, fans etc. One of the problems was the music was initially an underground culture intended for underprivileged teens who had similar issues that the musicians were writing about. When Grunge became mainstream, teens from middle class families latched onto it and started to create their own manufactured issues to become part of the style. Being depressed had become cool. (Opening the door for the mainstream success of hip hop in the mid to late nineties. At least the hip hop guys were interested in chicks, partying, cars and money. Everything mainstream hard rock was about in the eighties.)

By the latter half of the 1990s grunge merged into ‘post-grunge’, a watered down version of the genre consisting of radio-friendly productions. Brit-pop emerged around this time as a reaction against grunge. Bands such as Blur and Oasis were against the pessimistic attitudes and sick of how miserable rock n roll had become.

While the most of the grunge bands that dominated the 1990s have slipped into oblivion; There seems to be a bit of a resurgence emerging – Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam recently resurrecting and releasing albums. The 80s metal bands such as Guns N Roses (and solo outings from each of the original members), Motley Crue, Poison; and 70s bands such as Aerosmith and Alice Cooper et al have constantly continued to tour and record albums.

WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

The Guns N Roses song was released in 1987 as the second single from their debut album Appetite For Destruction and helped to make it the biggest selling debut album of all time; a record still held to this day.

The lyrics were written by singer Axl Rose while in Kingston Washington, (ironically, just outside of Seattle). Original rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin sums the song up as being ‘about Hollywood streets; true to life.’ The music originated from a riff that lead guitarist Slash wrote which interested Axl.

After playing it to the band they worked up the basis of the song in about three hours. Slash credits bass player Duff McKagan for coming up with the main riff, which Duff says came from a song called The Fake, written in 1978 for his punk rock band Vains. The lyric ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ comes from a 1984 song Underwater World by Finnish glam punk band Hanoi Rocks. A band cited by Axl as the biggest influence on Guns N Roses.

Geffen Records had trouble selling the video to MTV, until a deal was made between David Geffen and the network. The video was aired once at about 5:00AM on a Sunday morning. After its debut the network received numerous calls from people wanting to see it again. It soon became one of MTV's most requested videos.

The song has been a standard in the bands live set since its creation. Tours with the original line up(s) included the song in any part of the set, but rarely as a show closer (set lists were changed nightly). Since touring resumed with the ‘new’ Guns N Roses the song was a standard show opener until 2009 when it was moved to the second slot and replaced with the song Chinese Democracy.

It has been used as a show introduction during Shakira’s world tour ‘The Tour Of The Mongoose’ and Pink covered the song live in 2003 during her Try This Tour.

Welcome to the Jungle was selected by Clint Eastwood to be used in the final Dirty Harry movie The Dead Pool, which featured an unknown Jim Carey playing a rock star lip synching to the song. Guns N Roses have a brief cameo in the film.
#2
Song Analysis

Welcome To The Jungle is in the key of E minor. (The guitars are detuned down a half step, but for the sake of making things simple, this article will review the song in standard notation.) The first note played is a B, the Perfect 5th of the key. The tempo starts in 104 b.p.m. The first two of which are not in strict time, with a bar of 4/4 and a bar of 2/4. These could be called a ‘teaser’ intro as a single note ‘B’ is struck with an echo effect repeating it, creating a slow build up. It is an instantly recognizable intro to fans.

Next the melody pattern is established, the echo effect still present. It runs down a B blues pentatonic scale. B, A, F#, E, D, B for the next five bars as ringing power-chords begin in bar 5. The power-chords are B, A, G and E, (V, IV, III, I). Under this progression a solo lick is played using the B pentatonic scale. Heavy use of the B and A chords could be the 4th or 5th from either the E major or E minor keys however using the G chord (III) and D (VII) chord, the 3rd and 7th from E minor strengthens this as being the key. The intro ends as the tempo increases to 124 b.p.m. The lead guitar does a chromatic run up the B pentatonic scale, with the 3rd note flattened to C#, establishing the note that will be used in the forthcoming F# power-chord in the main riff. It’s also the 6th note from E minor’s parallel E major scale, which is borrowed from throughout the song.

Over the intro, Axl lets out a long siren type vocal howl.

After the intro the main riff is quickly established. The riff is in A, the 4th of the key. The chords in the riff consist of A, G, A, F#, E, (IV, III, IV, ii, i) Two guitars play variations on the riff. Guitar 1 plays power-chords for three bars and then finishes with a semiquaver blues run. Guitar 2 uses open string chords and single notes before cutting back in bar four to let the blues lick from guitar one shine through.

During the verse the guitars simplify the riff with smaller chords. The riff stays in A for four bars, then is transposed up a 5th to E. The riff now contains a C# power chord, but includes a D natural so it hasn’t modulated completely to E major. This is more the result of maintaining the same intervals between the chords by just moving the whole progression up a 5th. The vocals range from B to a high C#. The lyrics stabbing the point across in quick, energised bursts.

The chorus once again sticks to E minor, but includes C# from the parallel major. The first two bars of the chorus are similar, but a tone apart. Bar one starts on C, bar two on D. The remaining crotches follow the same intervals before the remaining four bars of the chorus mirror the main riff with single notes. The vocal range is from E to high D, consisting of the famous ‘Sha-na-na-na-na knees’ line; helping to establish Axl as one of the most unique vocalists in hard rock.

The first solo is 8 bars, with the rhythm guitar sticking to an E minor chord with some single notes mixed in until bars 7 and 8 when he chugs chromatically D, D#, E in quavers four times (the D# being a chromatic passing note). The notes contained in the solo include C#, G# and the occasional D#, making it an E major scale. The majority of the notes in this solo are played in thirds, mostly minor. The use of the triton note A# helps to create tension, as does using the E major scale over an E minor chord progression. Using intervals of minor thirds and tritons helps to create feelings of tension, perhaps implying the struggles of ‘life within the jungle.’ The final note of the solo is C#. The major 6th of E. The song isn’t finished so there’s no reason to resolve just yet.

The bridge section could be divided into three parts. Part one is in seven bars, D F / G F / D F / G F / D F / G F / D F. The F chord is placed briefly before changing to the next chord. This raises the question ‘has the song changed keys?’ The use of the D chord, the 7th of the minor key, which contains the F#, creates overall tonality of the section so it stays in E minor. The ‘F5 chord is used in this case as a passing chord. Part two of the bridge uses the same trick of using the F chord, this section has more strumming of the chords, building up to the second solo. Part three contains three bars and consists of triton slides G/C# to G#/D, which resolves to B/E the first time, then D/G on the second.

The second solo is 16 bars. The song modulates to E major as this backing rhythm contains the chords E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#. (I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii) All from the major scale, while maintain the power chord style typical of rock music. It gives a more harmonically pleasing feel to the song, almost as if the listener and the band have adapted to deal with overcoming the obstacles of life in ‘the jungle’. (Or they just decided to give each solo a different feel but using a different progression of chords.) There is a brief venture into the E pentatonic scale in the 11th and 12th bars of the solo, before returning to the E major scale. To reinforce that we’re in E major now, the rhythm guitarist chugs on a C# power chord, then switches from B to A. This is done over 2 bars, repeated three times. It follows with an eight note chug on E for two bars, then B for two bars. This is repeated a bit fancier, before finishing with an F# power chord chug ending with an E to F# switch.
The song continues with a 16 bar breakdown. We’re now back in E minor, drum and bass have taken over for a slow build up before we head for the end of the song. The guitars kick way back, using atmospheric harmonics and slides, with an echo effects. On the 7th bar, the guitars begin a chromatic chug in 16ths. E, D#, D, C#, C, B played twice, then harmonised in minor 3rds twice. It’s repeated another four times as Axl asks ‘You know where you are…?’ ‘You gonna die!!! Is quickly followed with the breakdowns final two bars, consisting of a back and forward progression, F#, F, F#, G, then A, G#, A, A#. Back and forward, almost hesitant to continue; before charging head first into the outro chorus.

The riff has been shortened for the final chorus from six bars to four, cutting back on two bars which contain variations on the main riff, creating a sense of urgency. This abridged version of the chorus riff is repeated three times before a quick three bar outro, consisting of a variation on the main riff power chords. E, D, B♭, A, G -- A major, G major, E major. Then ending on a E7#9 chord.

E7#9 played on the guitar is a basic E major open string chord with a high D and G added. The six notes played are E, B, E, G#, D, G. The E major chord is represented with the G#, whereas the E minor chord is represented by the G natural and reinforced by the minor 7th note – D. In terms of the chord name, the #9 is a G natural. The ninth note in the scale being F#, sharpened to G natural.

Song Structure
Intro – 14 bars / Riff – 4 bars / Verse 1 – 8 bars / Chorus – 6 bars / Verse 2 – 8 bars / Chorus – 6 bars / Solo 1 – 8 bars / Verse 3 – 8 bars / Chorus – 6 bars / Bridge – 15 bars / Solo 2 – 16 bars / Breakdown – 16 bars / Chorus – 14 bars / End – 3 bars.
#3
SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT

Upon release as a single Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, from their second album Nevermind, only sold amongst the band’s already established fan base. It was never expected to be a hit and the surprise success in late 1991 brought the album to the top of the charts in early 1992, kick-starting the ‘Alternative Rock’ craze that dominated mainstream rock music in the 1990s. The song was dubbed an "anthem for apathetic kids" of Generation X.
Kurt Cobain was influenced by the song-writing style of The Pixies. He borrowed their ideas of playing soft and quiet and then loud and hard. After presenting the main riff and chorus melody to the band, they worked on it until they had the song. It’s the only song on Nevermind credited to all three members. The title comes from a misinterpretation of a spray painted message on Kurt’s wall. "Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit". He thought the slogan had a revolutionary meaning, but it actually meant that he smelled like the deodorant Teen Spirit.

Smells Like Teen Spirit follows a Fsus4–B♭–A♭sus4–D♭ (i, iv, III, VI) chord progression. The sus4 of F being the tonic of the approaching chord – B♭, which works almost as a leading note. The same applies to the sus 4 of A♭, leading to the D♭ major chord. Having only one guitarist in the band, the album track is doubled to make it stronger. Although it follows a different chord progression, there has been a comparison to the riff from the 1976 Boston hit More Than A Feeling. Cobain agreed with the observation stating it was ‘such a clichéd riff.’

Cobain’s slurred vocals, along with utter nonsense of the lyrics themselves make it difficult to understand just what the hell he’s talking about. This caused a resistance from radio stations to playing the song. MTV prepared a version of the video that included the lyrics running across the bottom of the screen. It is widely interpreted as a teen revolution anthem, however drummer Dave Grohl stated he doesn’t believe the song has any message. "Just seeing Kurt write the lyrics to a song five minutes before he first sings them, you just kind of find it a little bit hard to believe that the song has a lot to say about something. You need syllables to fill up this space or you need something that rhymes.”

The video premiered on MTV's late-night alternative rock program 120 Minutes and became so popular MTV added it to its regular daytime rotation. By the end of the year the song, video, and the album Nevermind had become hits, reaching all the major rock radio formats.

During live performances the band often altered the song's lyrics and tempo. It has been covered in various styles including piano, Jazz, industrial, Moog synthesizer, beat box, a cappella, swing, and techno as well as being sampled and used for Yahoo and as entrance music for wrestlers. Artists who covered the song include Tori Amos, The Bad Plus, The Melvins with former child star Leif Garrett, Xorcit, The Flying Pickets, Paul Anka, and Patti Smith. It has also been parodied by Weird Al Yankovic and Pansy Division

Song Analysis

Smells Like Teen Spirit’s intro consists of a four bar riff. The chords are Fsus4, B♭, A♭sus4, D♭. (Isus4, iv, IIIsus4, VI) The key is F minor. F, G, A♭, B♭, C, D♭, E. The intro riff is written over four bars. The first time it’s played is in a clean tone before the distortion kicks in and the riff is repeated twice.
The main riff that plays throughout the verse consists of two notes C and F. The verse is eight bars. The vocals range is G to F, the melody is repetitive and hypnotic.

The pre chorus is straight crochets of F and C. With power chord minims of intro riff chord progression. The vocal range is F to A, monotone, hypnotic. The chorus consists of the same riff as the intro. The vocal range is C to B. Higher, Kurt’s awake now and yelling.

There is now a bridge section. 4 bars, power chords. F, E, G♭, B♭, A♭. Two bars, repeat. Variation at the end.

The solo, if you can call it that, mirrors the vocal melody. There are no accidentals, it just sticks to the key and leads into the breakdown section which is the final note of the solo sustained with feedback. Then the outro. ‘A denial’ vocal range from F to A.

Song Structure
Intro – 12 bars / Main riff – 4 bars / Verse – 8 bars / Pre-chorus – 8 bars / Chorus – 12 bars / Bridge – 4 bars / Main riff – 4 bars / Verse – 8 bars / Pre-chorus – 8 bars / Chorus – 12 bars / Solo – 8 bars / Breakdown – 8 bars / Verse – 8 bars / Pre-chorus – 8 bars / Chorus – 12 bars / Outro – 11 bars fade out.
#4
Your analysis of Welcome to the Jungle has some mistakes in it.

The song starts in the key of B minor. I don't know what makes you think of E minor.

I would say the bridge is in D major.

The four bars of the longer solo are in E. Then I would say it modulates to C# minor (there are C#m and B major chords played behind the solo) and back to E.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Jun 22, 2014,
#5
Quote by metalifeforce
I wrote this analysis as part of my Diploma of Music - tuition course I took last year...

Both bands brought rock n roll back down to earth, and then let success turn them into what they had sort to avoid.


...made successful by the voice of the fans, for their respective generations, who found something within the songs they could relate to.

"sort"
Think about it: what exactly were they "sorting"? The sentence makes absolutely no sense.

The word you were looking for is "sought"; the past tense version of the word "seek".

Also remove the words "respective generations". These two songs were released 4 years apart. The fans that made these songs successful were not from different generations and in fact were to a large degree the very same fans. Even the fans that didn't like both bands were still from the same generation...they saw the same culturally significant events occurring at close to the same age. They both knew who MacGyver was, they both bought music on tapes then CDs, they both watched Operation Desert Storm on TV, they both watched the Simpsons come into existence, they both saw Jordan in his prime, saw Tarantino explode on the scene, had VCRs and also listened to Metallica, RHCP, and Rage Against the Machine --(you want a culturally significant song from that generation try "Killing in the Name of" who from that generation doesn't remember hearing that song for the first time).

All it takes is a couple of nonsense things like that and anything meaningful you have to say gets lost because the reader starts to wonder "What meaningful insights could this guy possibly have if he can't get the obvious right?"
Si
#6
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Your analysis of Welcome to the Jungle has some mistakes in it.

The song starts in the key of B minor. I don't know what makes you think of E minor.

I would say the bridge is in D major.

The four bars of the longer solo are in E. Then I would say it modulates to C# minor (there are C#m and B major chords played behind the solo) and back to E.


All the analysis came from the official transcription sheet music. It has the intro in the key of E minor with the c# note as an accidental. I agree, if it wasn't an accidental it would certainly be in the key of B minor. The song as a whole appears to shift from E minor to E major frequently so I left it as that.

As for the bridge and the solo, I'll have another look at it and get back to you.

Cheers for the feed back.
#7
Quote by 20Tigers
"sort"
Think about it: what exactly were they "sorting"? The sentence makes absolutely no sense.

The word you were looking for is "sought"; the past tense version of the word "seek".


Point taken. The grammar police are out.

Quote by 20Tigers
Also remove the words "respective generations". These two songs were released 4 years apart. The fans that made these songs successful were not from different generations and in fact were to a large degree the very same fans. Even the fans that didn't like both bands were still from the same generation...they saw the same culturally significant events occurring at close to the same age. They both knew who MacGyver was, they both bought music on tapes then CDs, they both watched Operation Desert Storm on TV, they both watched the Simpsons come into existence, they both saw Jordan in his prime, saw Tarantino explode on the scene, had VCRs and also listened to Metallica, RHCP, and Rage Against the Machine --(you want a culturally significant song from that generation try "Killing in the Name of" who from that generation doesn't remember hearing that song for the first time).


I agree. I remember it all from back in the day. What I was getting at is that looking back there is a huge divide between the 'hair' metal fans of the 80s and the grunge era of fans. As I wrote, a lot of fans liked both and there were similarities between the bands, but there was also a rivalry that continues to divide opinions.

Quote by 20Tigers
All it takes is a couple of nonsense things like that and anything meaningful you have to say gets lost because the reader starts to wonder "What meaningful insights could this guy possibly have if he can't get the obvious right?"


Fair enough. Was there anything positive you found from the article?
#8
Quote by metalifeforce
All the analysis came from the official transcription sheet music. It has the intro in the key of E minor with the c# note as an accidental. I agree, if it wasn't an accidental it would certainly be in the key of B minor. The song as a whole appears to shift from E minor to E major frequently so I left it as that.

As for the bridge and the solo, I'll have another look at it and get back to you.

Cheers for the feed back.

To analyze this kind of songs you should use your ears. I wouldn't trust a sheet music transcription of this kind of songs. They always have mistakes (I have seen "official" tabs of this song and they are way off).

It is not in E minor because it doesn't resolve to E minor. Just use your ears and you should hear that the tonic in the intro is B.

Remember that the amount of sharps/flats doesn't necessarily tell the key. You can have key changes without chaning the key signature.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Jun 23, 2014,
#9
Yeah I quite liked this...

When the popularity of Grunge shifted the world’s focus to Seattle, clothing companies started marketing "grunge fashion" and charged high prices for items best described as op shop fodder. Many grunge artists were uncomfortable with their success. Some even stating that the ‘wrong type of fans were buying their albums’, criticizing the music industry, businesses, ticketek radio stations, fans etc. One of the problems was the music was initially an underground culture intended for underprivileged teens who had similar issues that the musicians were writing about. When Grunge became mainstream, teens from middle class families latched onto it and started to create their own manufactured issues to become part of the style. Being depressed had become cool.


As far as the grammar police...you are writing for a diploma. Higher level education requires attention to grammar and the correct use of words.
Si
#10
Quote by 20Tigers
Yeah I quite liked this...


As far as the grammar police...you are writing for a diploma. Higher level education requires attention to grammar and the correct use of words.



Thanks. :-)

The grammar didn't seem to matter cause it wasn't brought up by the teacher when it was graded. To be honest I'm embarrassed that I didn't pick it up.
#11
Quote by MaggaraMarine
I wouldn't trust a sheet music transcription of this kind of songs. They always have mistakes (I have seen "official" tabs of this song and they are way off).


Have to agree with that. I've seen some really bad ones. The Welcome To The Jungle one sounds right though.


Quote by MaggaraMarine
It is not in E minor because it doesn't resolve to E minor. Just use your ears and you should hear that the tonic in the intro is B.


The song ends on a E7#9 chord. E B G# D G. Effectively a E major chord with an added flattened 3rd and flattened 7th, in a way this would resolve both an E major and and E minor key.
#12
Yeah. That's true. But I was talking about the intro which is in B. I would say the song is mostly in E.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#13
It would be interesting to hear what Mr. Slash and Mr. Duff's analysis of the song is.
#14
I'd be interested in hearing that. There's too much structure for it to have been a random - 'let's throw this together' composition.
#15
Quote by metalifeforce
I'd be interested in hearing that. There's too much structure for it to have been a random - 'let's throw this together' composition.

I actually think they just wrote what they felt like. I'm pretty sure Duff and Slash aren't that great at music theory. They may have written the song (or parts of the song) by jamming. Many GNR songs have many different parts in them. But they are pretty good at making the different sounding parts have the flow.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#16
Quote by metalifeforce
Have to agree with that. I've seen some really bad ones. The Welcome To The Jungle one sounds right though.


The song ends on a E7#9 chord. E B G# D G. Effectively a E major chord with an added flattened 3rd and flattened 7th, in a way this would resolve both an E major and and E minor key.


The 7 and any of its extended harmonies are definitely major. While the sound is very different from a plain major triad, even a 7#9 is major when it comes down to defining the harmony. Any time a major 3rd is present, it owns the chord. There's no such thing as a minor chord with a #10, b11 or somesuch, because that interval is too strongly audible as a major 3rd. If you suddenly resolved to a minor or m7 chord, it would sound very different from the 7#9.
#17
Quote by MaggaraMarine
I actually think they just wrote what they felt like. I'm pretty sure Duff and Slash aren't that great at music theory. They may have written the song (or parts of the song) by jamming. Many GNR songs have many different parts in them. But they are pretty good at making the different sounding parts have the flow.


I used to think that too until I spent many hours with the sheet music and listening to the song repeatedly. Perhaps I got TOO close to it. The choice of notes during the solos show Slash at least has some knowledge of theory.
#18
Quote by cdgraves
The 7 and any of its extended harmonies are definitely major. While the sound is very different from a plain major triad, even a 7#9 is major when it comes down to defining the harmony. Any time a major 3rd is present, it owns the chord. There's no such thing as a minor chord with a #10, b11 or somesuch, because that interval is too strongly audible as a major 3rd. If you suddenly resolved to a minor or m7 chord, it would sound very different from the 7#9.


I agree a 7th chord is certainly major. My suggestion about the flattened D and G (from the key of E major) was to point out they're part of the E 'minor' scale and therefore refer to various parts of the song that were in E minor. (First solo being backed in E minor, second in E major, etc)
#19
Quote by MaggaraMarine
I actually think they just wrote what they felt like. I'm pretty sure Duff and Slash aren't that great at music theory. They may have written the song (or parts of the song) by jamming. Many GNR songs have many different parts in them. But they are pretty good at making the different sounding parts have the flow.


I distinctly remember a local rock morning radio show where Slash was a call in guest of the show. He said he doesn't know "any music theory". He just plays notes that sound good together and arranges them in a sequence (speaking of solos) and has a general idea of what chords sound good together. And that while he admits he is "pretty good" at guitar, he couldn't play a banjo to save his life. LOL.

Now whether he was just messing around or was being truthful to the wacky morning show is debatable, but I think he was being mostly truthful. But it is hard to believe Slash would know ZERO music theory and be that good.
Epi G400 '66 Reissue
w/ Airline Vintage Voiced Single Coil Pickups
#20
Quote by metalifeforce
I used to think that too until I spent many hours with the sheet music and listening to the song repeatedly. Perhaps I got TOO close to it. The choice of notes during the solos show Slash at least has some knowledge of theory.

He just has a good ear. He can play what he hears in his head. You don't need theory knowledge to do that. That's what Jimi Hendrix did and he also didn't know anything about theory.

You don't write good melodies with theory knowledge. You need to use your ears.

Sheet music can also make the song look a lot more complicated than it really is. Welcome to the Jungle is a collection of riffs/parts that work really well together. The intro part for example is pretty "disconnected" to the rest of the song. But it just works.

Black Sabbath did write pretty complicated songs and I think none of them knew about theory. Listen to War Pigs. It's actually kind of similar to Welcome to the Jungle - it has lots of different parts and the intro differs a lot from the rest of the song. The parts just work well together (I guess War Pigs was written by just jamming and they just connected all the parts they had written in jams).
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#21
Quote by MaggaraMarine
He just has a good ear. He can play what he hears in his head. You don't need theory knowledge to do that. That's what Jimi Hendrix did and he also didn't know anything about theory.

You don't write good melodies with theory knowledge. You need to use your ears.

Sheet music can also make the song look a lot more complicated than it really is. Welcome to the Jungle is a collection of riffs/parts that work really well together. The intro part for example is pretty "disconnected" to the rest of the song. But it just works.

Black Sabbath did write pretty complicated songs and I think none of them knew about theory. Listen to War Pigs. It's actually kind of similar to Welcome to the Jungle - it has lots of different parts and the intro differs a lot from the rest of the song. The parts just work well together (I guess War Pigs was written by just jamming and they just connected all the parts they had written in jams).


If I remember rightly from the recent Black Sabbath book, War Pigs was trimmed down from live jams they used to do when they were called Earth. (don't quote me on that though)

I find it hard to believe Hendrix knew nothing of theory or chord progressions of what scales were good over what chords. It certainly wouldn't have been structured class room teaching, but hanging with other musicians he was sure to have picked up some things. --- Same goes for GNR.
#22
Quote by MaggaraMarine
You don't write good melodies with theory knowledge. You need to use your ears.


Agree. But you need to have a basic understanding of what your doing and in order to get that you need to have some amount of music theory, especially if you're going to have a successful career. Whether it's book or classroom learning or having fellow musicians showing you things, you're always increasing you knowledge.
#23
Quote by metalifeforce
Agree. But you need to have a basic understanding of what your doing and in order to get that you need to have some amount of music theory, especially if you're going to have a successful career. Whether it's book or classroom learning or having fellow musicians showing you things, you're always increasing you knowledge.

Hendrix and Slash do know what they are doing. But they know it only by ear. You don't need to know the technical names and stuff like that to know what's happening - I mean, they don't play random notes. They know how every note sounds like. They just use their ears. But they don't really know theory.

Watch some videos from Marty Friedman. It's pretty clear he doesn't know theory. He just says "I play like this". It seems like he doesn't even know the note names. He just builds his own scales and plays what sounds good to him.

Another good example is our military band's guitarist. He just plays by ear. He does know some theory but nothing complicated. And he's a jazz guitarist. He just plays what he sings. He has a good ear-fretboard connection. And that's all you need to play good solos. Theory knowledge does help in understanding concepts. But when you play solos, there's no time to think about theory. It's all about having a good ear and having lots of ideas (which come from listening to lots of music).

When I write songs, I think about the sound, not about theory (though I instantly know what I'm doing - I can analyze it. But the sound comes first).

Edit: Guitarists like Hendrix, Slash and Marty Friedman don't understand music in theory, they understand music in practice.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Jun 26, 2014,
#24
In terms of cultural impact, Nirvana's music truly changed things, whereas Guns N Roses maintained the status quo.

Guns and Roses were very successfully marketed and became very popular, but they didn't really do anything new. They rode the corporate hair band wave, and more or less died with it as the Grunge storm came in and blew it away.
When I 1st heard smells like teen spirit I remember thinking "this is the 1st genuine sounding band I've heard in a very long time". I didn't even like it all that much, but It was a breath of fresh air in a stale sea of corporate posers.
#25
Quote by GuitarMunky
In terms of cultural impact, Nirvana's music truly changed things, whereas Guns N Roses maintained the status quo.

Guns and Roses were very successfully marketed and became very popular, but they didn't really do anything new. They rode the corporate hair band wave, and more or less died with it as the Grunge storm came in and blew it away.
When I 1st heard smells like teen spirit I remember thinking "this is the 1st genuine sounding band I've heard in a very long time". I didn't even like it all that much, but It was a breath of fresh air in a stale sea of corporate posers.


I like that take.

I kind of always viewed GNR, as good as they may be, as a bridge to Nirvana in "time space". Not that Nirvana was influenced by GNR, but GNR was the bridge from, say, acts like Poison to Nirvana. GNR wasn't as goofy or lame as those makeup, hairspray, spandex, wearing bands like Poison (sorry Poison fans, but you know visually you are lame if a short guy in long blonde hair and flannel can make you look even sillier than you already are).
Epi G400 '66 Reissue
w/ Airline Vintage Voiced Single Coil Pickups
#26
Guns N Roses were the last of the bands doing what the Beatles started. The way I see it, the progression goes - The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Guns N Roses. Their really hasn't been a band of a similar nature to go from playing small gigs to headlining stadiums since.
#27
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Hendrix and Slash do know what they are doing. But they know it only by ear. You don't need to know the technical names and stuff like that to know what's happening - I mean, they don't play random notes. They know how every note sounds like. They just use their ears. But they don't really know theory.

Watch some videos from Marty Friedman. It's pretty clear he doesn't know theory. He just says "I play like this". It seems like he doesn't even know the note names. He just builds his own scales and plays what sounds good to him.

Another good example is our military band's guitarist. He just plays by ear. He does know some theory but nothing complicated. And he's a jazz guitarist. He just plays what he sings. He has a good ear-fretboard connection. And that's all you need to play good solos. Theory knowledge does help in understanding concepts. But when you play solos, there's no time to think about theory. It's all about having a good ear and having lots of ideas (which come from listening to lots of music).

When I write songs, I think about the sound, not about theory (though I instantly know what I'm doing - I can analyze it. But the sound comes first).

Edit: Guitarists like Hendrix, Slash and Marty Friedman don't understand music in theory, they understand music in practice.



There are parts of GNR and Hendrix songs where scales shapes are obvious. As I said, they'd both have to have 'some' knowledge of music. They might not to the names of things or how they work. Especially when GNR were recording UYI epic tracks like November Rain. A band collaboration would require them to at least know what key the song is in, and Slash's use of arpeggio lines within the song show he knows at least a bit of theory.
#28
Quote by metalifeforce
There are parts of GNR and Hendrix songs where scales shapes are obvious. As I said, they'd both have to have 'some' knowledge of music. They might not to the names of things or how they work. Especially when GNR were recording UYI epic tracks like November Rain. A band collaboration would require them to at least know what key the song is in, and Slash's use of arpeggio lines within the song show he knows at least a bit of theory.

As I said, they don't know it in theory, they know it in practice.

Of course you will use a certain scale shape - shapes exist because that way you don't need to move your hands that much. It's easier and more practical to play a melody in one position than change the position constantly. Scale shapes have little to do with theory. Again, they just have good ears. They know what they are doing - just in practice. They can't name the intervals or notes they are playing. They may not know what scale they are playing. They know how to achieve the sound in their head by playing the guitar. That's what I mean by knowing it in practice.

If you know theory, you can describe music without playing it. And other people will know exactly how it will sound like. I would say theory is a bit like a language.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Jul 2, 2014,
#29
Quote by MaggaraMarine


If you know theory, you can describe music without playing it. And other people will know exactly how it will sound like. I would say theory is a bit like a language.


Bingo!

And like any language, you can learn to speak it without learning how to read or write it.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#30
Quote by Arby911
Bingo!

And like any language, you can learn to speak it without learning how to read or write it.


^ + 1 Yes, you can

.
Quote by Killsocket


I kind of always viewed GNR, as good as they may be, as a bridge to Nirvana in "time space". Not that Nirvana was influenced by GNR, but GNR was the bridge from, say, acts like Poison to Nirvana. GNR wasn't as goofy or lame as those makeup, hairspray, spandex, wearing bands like Poison (sorry Poison fans, but you know visually you are lame if a short guy in long blonde hair and flannel can make you look even sillier than you already are).



IMO G n' R is a well marketed, mediocre band with a decent guitarist. By and large I see them as an "image" band, like most other 80's rock/metal bands. not completely devoid of talent, but nowhere near the level of the bands of the 60's and 70's, both in terms of musicianship and genuine artistry. The focus was more on image and marketing.

I don't see them as bridging any gaps. They came in during the 80's doing what pretty much everyone else was doing. What bands like Nirvana did was a reaction against the corporate rock and metal of the 80's.

I don't see Nirvana as being much better in terms of musicianship, but I feel it was alot more genuine as art.

In terms of cultural impact, I definitely noticed it much more with Nirvana.
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jul 2, 2014,
#31
It's a matter of opinion. In some respects I felt completely the opposite. I remember always feeling that there were a lot of posers. The bands of the time Poison, Skid Row, Def Leapord, Motley Crue, Whitesnake etc often had a few good songs but always felt to me somewhat like pretenders. Guns N Roses were the first band of that time I remember thinking were the real deal. They always sounded authentic to me.

They weren't really doing anything new but what they did do they did very well and they were true to themselves when they did it. At least that's how it felt to me when I was 9-10 years old and ever since.

I agree with what you said in regard to Nirvana though.

The way I interpreted the opening post, rightly or wrongly, was more that the songs were classic songs by iconic bands each representative of distinctive cultural (generational) trends.
Si
#32
Quote by 20Tigers
It's a matter of opinion.


I agree. A matter of opinion and perspective.


Quote by 20Tigers

In some respects I felt completely the opposite. I remember always feeling that there were a lot of posers. The bands of the time Poison, Skid Row, Def Leapord, Motley Crue, Whitesnake etc often had a few good songs but always felt to me somewhat like pretenders.


That's how I felt as well, though I see Guns N Roses in more or less the same light.


Quote by 20Tigers

Guns N Roses were the first band of that time I remember thinking were the real deal. They always sounded authentic to me.


On a few songs I felt that way, especially when compared to bands like Poison. But compared to the stuff from the 60's and 70's, I saw them as being artistically closer to Motley Crue then say, the Beatles.

For the most part they come across to me like a pair of store bought, pre-ripped jeans. (also popular in the 80's).


Quote by 20Tigers

They weren't really doing anything new but what they did do they did very well and they were true to themselves when they did it. At least that's how it felt to me when I was 9-10 years old and ever since.



I'll admit they had a somewhat unique, recognizable sound. Slash had 2 or 3 very nice solos (maybe a few more but I cant' think of them), and a couple of decent riffs.

I know when I was 9 or 10 I tended to like the music that the teenagers I looked up to listened to. Some of those early formed opinions stick with me today, though I've changed on a few of them.


I always hated what happened to rock/metal music in the 80's. I believe MTV was a big factor. More then ever before, Image became the top priority. In many cases you still had talented musicians, but overall the output was tainted by marketing considerations. The bands were sounding and looking more and more alike.
Bands that were unique and original in the 70's ended up conforming to the 80's and started sounding/looking like everyone else. I was pretty young, most people my age liked that stuff, but for the most part, I hated it.

So when people bring up the cultural impact of Guns and Roses, who I feel typify the 80's mentality, I might take the opportunity to vent my opinion. -
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jul 2, 2014,
#33
Guns N' Roses was a top 5 band of the 80s, Nirvana is a top 5 band of all time.

Can't think of one Nirvana song I don't like other than Love Buzz.
#34
Quote by GuitarMunky
I always hated what happened to rock/metal music in the 80's. I believe MTV was a big factor. More then ever before, Image became the top priority. In many cases you still had talented musicians, but overall the output was tainted by marketing considerations. The bands were sounding and looking more and more alike.
Bands that were unique and original in the 70's ended up conforming to the 80's and started sounding/looking like everyone else. I was pretty young, most people my age liked that stuff, but for the most part, I hated it.


While most 80s bands did look the same, so did the bands from the 90s. The whole street clothes thing got real old real quick. Also, Kurt Cobain may have been 'anti rock star' but he was certainly desperate to get his band picked up by a major label. He approached Geffen records (not the other way around) after being rejected by a bunch of other studios (common story of many famous bands). If he was so 'anti rock star, anti establishment, etc, he would have been quite happy to stay with Subpop.

The whole grunge image was quickly tapped into and marketed to kids. As I said in my essay -- One of the problems was the music was initially an underground culture intended for underprivileged teens who had similar issues that the musicians were writing about. When Grunge became mainstream, teens from middle class families latched onto it and started to create their own manufactured issues to become part of the style. Being depressed had become cool.

Whoever the band, whatever the era, there will always be marketing considerations if you want to maintain a career in music. You can be as 'cool' and party as much as you like, but you have to take your band seriously. It's your business. Look at Metallica.
#35
Quote by NewDayHappy
Guns N' Roses was a top 5 band of the 80s, Nirvana is a top 5 band of all time.

Can't think of one Nirvana song I don't like other than Love Buzz.


Appetite For Destruction is still the biggest selling debut album of all time bar none. I think that is a pretty good all time achievement.
#36
Quote by 20Tigers
They weren't really doing anything new but what they did do they did very well and they were true to themselves when they did it. At least that's how it felt to me when I was 9-10 years old and ever since.


The way I interpreted the opening post, rightly or wrongly, was more that the songs were classic songs by iconic bands each representative of distinctive cultural (generational) trends.


I see Guns N Roses as the last in a line of bands that goes --

The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Guns N Roses.

I know their are similar bands along those generational lines, but they're arguably the biggest of their era(s). All progressive grew their career, all were based on bluesish rock, etc. All became supergroups.

You're right about the interpretation of the opening post. The school project was to compare two artist songs and the impact of culture. Music is always a product of the era its produced. While the 80s and 90s were obvious very close together, peoples attitudes to music (etc) seemed to change very quickly.
#37
Quote by metalifeforce
One of the problems was the music was initially an underground culture intended for underprivileged teens who had similar issues that the musicians were writing about. When Grunge became mainstream, teens from middle class families latched onto it and started to create their own manufactured issues to become part of the style. Being depressed had become cool. (Opening the door for the mainstream success of hip hop in the mid to late nineties. At least the hip hop guys were interested in chicks, partying, cars and money. Everything mainstream hard rock was about in the eighties.)

I'm curious. How did you connect the mainstream success of grunge to the mainstream success of hip-hop and what are you using in order to make this claim? Also, how much do you know about the history of rap music?
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^


"To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity." Everything is made up and the facts don't matter.


MUSIC THEORY LINK
#38
Quote by metalifeforce
Appetite For Destruction is still the biggest selling debut album of all time bar none. I think that is a pretty good all time achievement.


Fair enough, bud.

I don't necessarily dislike Guns N' Roses or anything, I just have a hard on for Kurt Cobain.
#39
Quote by NewDayHappy
Fair enough, bud.

I don't necessarily dislike Guns N' Roses or anything, I just have a hard on for Kurt Cobain.


LOL. Cheers mate. I know where you're coming from. I don't dislike Kurt, I do think he's overrated though. I was a big Nirvana fan in my teens, until I started getting into guitar playing and got really bored playing Territorial Pissings ... quickly ventured into Pink Floyd territory and started practicing a lot so I could play the Sweet Child o'Mine solo.
#40
Quote by rockingamer2
I'm curious. How did you connect the mainstream success of grunge to the mainstream success of hip-hop and what are you using in order to make this claim? Also, how much do you know about the history of rap music?


This claim comes mostly from conversations I've had with people over the years, starting with peers back in high school in the 90s, work mates - some of which are in their early 20s and a few generations apart form me. The common indication these people have with rock music - whatever sub genre it might be - is that it's all depressing, self involved and sad. To any schooled fan of rock n roll they know it's not all like that. However, young kids seem to have this view and lean more towards the hip hop guys as they're all singing about chick, cars and money. I keep trying to tell people that rock n roll was the same... maybe the era of that type of rock n roll is long gone. It used to be fun.

As far as the history of rap music, I don't know as much as I should. In my early teens I was a fan of Ice T, NWA, 2 Live Crue, but got tired of listening to guys talking about their dicks and calling women hoes.

I have to give credit to Rap for being, next to rock / metal, socially aware. 'Gangster rap' being a reflection of the culture it came from, etc. But even rap has lost a lot of it's relevance. (A mate of mine at work who loves hip hop agrees.)

I know, it's arguable that hip hop / rap would have become more popular in the 90s regardless, since it was on the rise anyway. But the lack of any fun in rock n roll certainly didn't help.


Interesting article -- http://pigeonsandplanes.com/2013/08/rock-music-sucks-now/
Last edited by metalifeforce at Jul 7, 2014,
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