Wanna hear something provocative? Check out this quote from an old issue of keyboard magazine.
“On this experimental record, I’ve been trying to explore more jazz harmonies. The thing is — and I’m gonna piss off a lot of people here — the II-V-I hits my barf button like nothing else. It’s the most horrible cadence in the known universe, so I’ve been looking at jazz that takes off in other directions.”
– BT, music producer
Now I respect everyone’s right to have a musical opinion. But I bring this up to warn people against forming strong negative opinions (aka limiting beliefs) about something as basic as the fundamentals of music.
I respect BT as a musician. He puts out great music. But his comment is the equivalent of Michael Jordan saying that lay ups make him want to puke. Better yet, it’s like Arnold Schwarzenegger saying that biceps are a terrible thing. Maybe the reason BT makes such good music is because of his strong opinions. I don’t know. But I do know that the average musician is going to need as many choices as possible in their musical lives. Why limit yourself?
Do what you need to make the basics interesting for you. Just don’t close the doors on a boundless library of musical experience.
Verlon Walden says
I agree with you…we need all the options that are
available to us. Thanks for all the music info and
Jason Michael says
It is difficult to argue with the strength of the ii-V-I progression. But there are many ways to embellish it: ii-Ic-V7-I, iib-V-V7-I etc. The ii-V-I progression is a well known idiom in a well established harmonic language. You are more likely to be understood by your audience if you exercise creativity with in the confines of the musical language with which they are familiar.
B.T. is referring to an experimental record and his/her own opinion; Not confusing at all. Why the big deal? Hendrix was dissed by music afficionados for playing in a provocative and crass manner when he played Woodstock. Nobody questions the lean strength of a Tri-Athlete. Has anyone seen the funky shape of those competing in the International Strongman Competitions? Viva la Difference. Discordance elicits a response different from harmonics. Isn’t Jazz all about improvisation anyway? If II-V-I is overworked and nauseating, dude…say bye and get over it, leaving it for someone else. Learn the basics and then follow your bliss. Geez. The world needs more pioneers who don’t listen to the reigning know-it-alls. Play hard. Live easy. Peace.
Graham English says
Hendrix played I-IV-V. Can’t get much more fundamental than that.
Funny thing is, people who call other people “know-it-alls” usually think they know it all.
I totally agree with you
The message(lyrics)are the important.
Chords are there for supporting the message.
Prosody is the most important thing any progression as long its support the feeling behind lyrics.