Hey gang.

We, as by request of our new harmonic analysis series, are going to start things off with a bang and take a look into the mind of one of our most certainly polarizing figures around.

UG's own RonaldPoe!

He has requested that I do a brief analysis of two of his pieces, which I will link below. Now, before everyone flips out because there isn't really tertian (or quartal/secundal) harmony going on, it does not mean there isn't anything to take away from Ronald's though process.

Also, I am assuming there is a though process. Ronald, if you've just been slapping things together without a conscious plan, perhaps this will shed some insight on to what the hell you've been up to.

Let's check out this first piece, Carnival Mantis.


Now at first glance, this appears, well, completely insane. But there's some stuff going on. There are three things to notice:

1. The dissonant-keyboard-arpeggio type things in the background.

2. The low drone (C#/Db)

3. The long sustained tones, centered around (G#).

Now, while this piece is certainly not tonal in the strictest sense. We do appear to have a pitch center of C#. The long sustained tones appear at first to be diatonic to C# minor, but we often have a long b5 (G) thrown in for good measure. This blurs the modality of the sustained tones, preventing us from telling which 5th is actually the main one and which one is the embellishment. It's neither a Locrian or Aeolian pitch collection

As far as chords go, there aren't any. We simply have a collection of pitches that revolve around C#. So what's the analysis, if it isn't strictly modal or tonal?

Well, there isn't much of one to be provided, but there is a logic to be had. The music itself is a collection of melodies that only relate to each other, not some key or center. Each melodic fragment is set in its own little world, with its own little logic, and the music we hear is the collision of these multiple planes of existence.

Like this:


Notice how each melodic fragment is it its own little world, and the juxtaposition is what creates these dissonant, yet rigid, almost mathematical and fragmentary texture.

Compare this with the second piece.


We have almost the exact same harmonic trickery here. We have multiple melodies at once each in its own key/mode. We have a main synth riff in C minor, and a bunch of other stuff happening at once that is not in C minor.

But the stuff in not-C-minor is in its own mode/key. This is an effect akin to listening to multiple pieces of un-related music at once,

Which is exactly what the case is with Lunar Boy

And seeing how the sync up in interesting ways. Again, there are not really chords (apart from the occasional arpeggio in the lines, which doesn't outline any kind of global harmony) to analyze and to be had. But there is a technique here to learn from.

Now what I don't know is whether or not Ronald thought about any of this beyond, "I'ma slap all this together and see what happens," but my point being is that is is a legit and valid technique that has been used before and is something worth taking a look at.

This is a short and not very analytical first thread, because there isn't much that lends itself to traditional analysis, but let's talk about it in the discussion nonetheless.

And before you go and say what's the point if it is just going to be horrifically dissonant the entire time, I leave you with this.


And this.

"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
Nice analysis but I wish it was longer. For example what chords would best compliment my remixes? How would you harmonize these melodies? While I haven't listened to the second piece (I don't have the attention span to listen to over 50 minutes of somewhat chaotic classical), the other two are very nice and interesting. Stravinsky's piece in particular was good (although his use of triplets was a little harsh sounding).

Also I like to think of my remixes like a painting (you make a basic sketch and add lots of paints and colors in an order). Most the melodies/basslines follow a theme (although the drums are another story) and a basic melody is always mentioned in the description. "Lunar Boy" is supposed to be chaotic because Isa has a rather frail psyche and I wanted to express that. "Carnival Mantis" however nearly missed the mark but still sounds nice.
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
Well that's the thing. You wouldn't. The style you tend to operate in doesn't lend itself to traditional harmony.

Also the Gorecki is by no means chaotic.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp