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Thread started 01/30/18 3:19pm

soladeo1

Musicologist-types, what are some examples of Prince's most complex, intricate music??

I've heard that when Prince started his music from a composition persective was pretty rudimentary and simple (not to say it wasn't excellent in places)...but that as he got into his 1985-1990 Era his music got remarkably more nuanced and deep and unexpected...

What are some examples of Prince's music that is compositionally challenging and a bit off the grid??

Either melodically or rythmically?

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Reply #1 posted 01/30/18 3:32pm

2045RadicalMat
tZ

Love 2 the 9's

3 Chains O Gold

Diamonds and Pearls (ENTIRE song)
If Eye Was the Man In Ur Life

It's Gonna Be a Beautiful Night

...hey!... wait a minute...


Are we doing your homework or something for you??? >sad

"Ahhh c'mon, BE A NOSE! " - WALTER PAISLEY
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Reply #2 posted 01/30/18 3:53pm

ThatWhiteDude

2045RadicalMattZ said:

Love 2 the 9's

3 Chains O Gold

Diamonds and Pearls (ENTIRE song)
If Eye Was the Man In Ur Life

It's Gonna Be a Beautiful Night

...hey!... wait a minute...


Are we doing your homework or something for you??? >sad

lmao, but you still answered the question first biggrin

"Like books and BLACK LIVES, Albums still MATTER."
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Reply #3 posted 01/30/18 4:11pm

Empress

The Rainbow Children - musically, it's a masterpiece.
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Reply #4 posted 01/30/18 5:06pm

masaba

The line

Lot of that late 80s is so far ahead I don't even think prince knew what he was tryna do
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Reply #5 posted 01/30/18 5:51pm

RJOrion

In A Large Room With No Light
Everywhere
Kamasutra
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Reply #6 posted 01/30/18 6:05pm

lust

avatar

I’m no musicologist but Crystal Ball?
If the milk turns out to be sour, I aint the kinda pussy to drink it!
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Reply #7 posted 01/30/18 6:19pm

stpaisios

Dorothy Parker

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Reply #8 posted 01/30/18 8:33pm

TrivialPursuit

All The Critics (lyrically, production, the disconnected weirdness of it)

Something In The Water (see above)

When Doves Cry (that drum track alone, plus a guitar & keyboard solo)

Anotherloverholenyohead (the melody and the girl's echoing a callback is amazing)

The Ballad of Dorothy Parker (the lazy melody, the casualness of the lyric)

Forever In My Life (the mistake that became a legend)

Dance On (the drums)

Diamonds and Pearls

3 Chains o' Gold

1999 (for that trading of harmonies as melodies)

In A Large Room With No Light

Computer Blue (for the sheer orgy of going on and on; it harkens to "Automatic" but in a darker and more detailed way)


I think Camille stuff is complex in his technique for the voice.

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Reply #9 posted 01/30/18 9:06pm

paraded

Parade is his most musically adventurous work. Christopher Tracy's Parade is very much filled with hallmarks of twentieth century classical music. The rest of the first side, with Clare Fischer being a key contributor, builds musical complexity from the breadth of rythyms, instrumentations, and interwoven melodic lines. The second half is more traditional popular music, but equally great. If ever I want to be truly suprised by Prince's musical imagination, this is the album I turn to.

[Edited 1/31/18 11:52am]

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Reply #10 posted 01/31/18 7:41am

partyup77

soladeo1 said:

I've heard that when Prince started his music from a composition persective was pretty rudimentary and simple (not to say it wasn't excellent in places)...but that as he got into his 1985-1990 Era his music got remarkably more nuanced and deep and unexpected...

What are some examples of Prince's music that is compositionally challenging and a bit off the grid??

Either melodically or rythmically?

This is a great question. I've often wondered the same -- beacuse I do not have knowledge of music theory, composition, chords, notes, etc... I would love to be more educated musically just so I would be more aware of what makes Prince a genius (beyond the obvious).

I look forward to reading the input from musicians here.

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Reply #11 posted 01/31/18 7:50am

TheFman

somebody explain what does It's Gonna Be a Beautiful Night in that list??

my top

Large room

Crystal Ball

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Reply #12 posted 01/31/18 7:57am

RodeoSchro

avatar

"Diamonds and Pearls" is at the top of my list. Five, count-em five different time signatures, and an incredible key-change-resolution part. Let's see, what else?

I'll throw "Take Me With U" in there, for three reasons: (1) the opening in F and moving to F# minor is insane; (2) the bridge is completely insane; and (3) Prince changed one chord in the bridge ten years after he recorded it, which is off-the-charts insane. Not to mention that Prince took more time recording and mixing this song than any song he'd ever written (up to that point)

"The Beautiful Ones" is another candidate. The chords are just so far away from rock and roll, or funk, or anything except jazz. But that is NOT a jazz song.

"Last December" is also far more intricate than one might imagine. There's an easy way to play it, and the correct way. The correct way is VERY hard (at least it is for me). And I don't even attempt to play the interlude.

Those are four that I'd suggest.

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Reply #13 posted 01/31/18 9:12am

2045RadicalMat
tZ

TheFman said:

somebody explain what does It's Gonna Be a Beautiful Night in that list??

my top

Large room

Crystal Ball

It was just my immediate, off the top of my head, within 20 seconds to respond, LIST

I happen to think the breakdowns on this jam and on Play In the Sunshine are pretty complex. The brass Eric Leeds, etc.... great stuff there. The framing of the song is pretty basic, down to the beat and chant

But I'm not sure if that counts...cause I think the question was "intricate" instead of technically difficult?

Cause I love the breakdowns in those, in Billy Jack Bitch, in NEW POWER SOUL (go eat my &^* if you don't like that album... don't wanna hear it), and the technicality of the extended She Spoke 2 Me. In fact that entire "throwaway outtake album" is fantastic. Wish we got more of that instead of Crystal Ball

"Ahhh c'mon, BE A NOSE! " - WALTER PAISLEY
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Reply #14 posted 01/31/18 9:26am

jaawwnn

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There's a lot of interlocking parts in It's Gonna be a Beautiful Night, i'd probably consider the details fairly intricate - especially when you consider the breathing space for someone to improvise as it grooves along, very different to something like 3 Chains O'Gold screaming in your face with constant changes. I suppose it depends how you measure these things.

I'd go along with Diamonds and Pearls as well - it's one of his massive hits but, as people have pointed out, no-one ever covers it because it's too complex a track. There's also that famous unplayable drum beat on 777-93-11...

[Edited 1/31/18 9:38am]

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Reply #15 posted 01/31/18 2:51pm

ufoclub

avatar

RodeoSchro said:

"Diamonds and Pearls" is at the top of my list. Five, count-em five different time signatures, and an incredible key-change-resolution part. Let's see, what else?

I'll throw "Take Me With U" in there, for three reasons: (1) the opening in F and moving to F# minor is insane; (2) the bridge is completely insane; and (3) Prince changed one chord in the bridge ten years after he recorded it, which is off-the-charts insane. Not to mention that Prince took more time recording and mixing this song than any song he'd ever written (up to that point)

"The Beautiful Ones" is another candidate. The chords are just so far away from rock and roll, or funk, or anything except jazz. But that is NOT a jazz song.

"Last December" is also far more intricate than one might imagine. There's an easy way to play it, and the correct way. The correct way is VERY hard (at least it is for me). And I don't even attempt to play the interlude.

Those are four that I'd suggest.

funny, to my ears "Take Me With U" is almost too simple to listen to. The changes seemed like standard pop song elements to me.

From Rainbow Children, I would pick "Digital Garden".

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Reply #16 posted 01/31/18 3:15pm

RodeoSchro

avatar

ufoclub said:

RodeoSchro said:

"Diamonds and Pearls" is at the top of my list. Five, count-em five different time signatures, and an incredible key-change-resolution part. Let's see, what else?

I'll throw "Take Me With U" in there, for three reasons: (1) the opening in F and moving to F# minor is insane; (2) the bridge is completely insane; and (3) Prince changed one chord in the bridge ten years after he recorded it, which is off-the-charts insane. Not to mention that Prince took more time recording and mixing this song than any song he'd ever written (up to that point)

"The Beautiful Ones" is another candidate. The chords are just so far away from rock and roll, or funk, or anything except jazz. But that is NOT a jazz song.

"Last December" is also far more intricate than one might imagine. There's an easy way to play it, and the correct way. The correct way is VERY hard (at least it is for me). And I don't even attempt to play the interlude.

Those are four that I'd suggest.

funny, to my ears "Take Me With U" is almost too simple to listen to. The changes seemed like standard pop song elements to me.

From Rainbow Children, I would pick "Digital Garden".



I'm a geek when it comes to "Take Me With U" but if you'll indulge me...

* The chordal melody starts on the 2, not on the 1
* While Prince plays a D and then an E on "I don't care where we go" etc., the keyboard is playing a whole different chord progression
* That bridge! Dropping down to an Fmaj7? Whoo! And then 10 years later, adding a G/A chord for one measure? I orgasmed the first time I heard that!
* And the chords in the second part of the bridge. It's like the song goes from pop to jazz for 30 seconds
* It's got all this incredible music happening but underneath is a bass line playing straight 8th notes - but the note played for the verse is an A, not an F# (root chord of the verse)

Forgive my nerdiness!

Second Funkiest White Man in America

P&R's paladin
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Reply #17 posted 01/31/18 3:17pm

TrivialPursuit

ufoclub said:

funny, to my ears "Take Me With U" is almost too simple to listen to. The changes seemed like standard pop song elements to me.

From Rainbow Children, I would pick "Digital Garden".


I'd agree with "Take Me With U". It' not that it is a complex or intricate song, it's just clever, especially in that bridge. One of the guys from Fitz and the Tantrums said a song wasn't good to him unless it had a really good bridge. I tend to agree with that. I think, for its time, "Take Me With U" has really good bridge, which is what makes the song. And when he would play it live and not play the bridge, it felt a bit flatter than on record.

I can't comment too much on TRC stuff, because I hate it more than I like it. But, from what I remember "Digital Garden" could fit in the intricate category.

This experience will cover courtship, sex, commitment, fetishes, loneliness, vindication, love, and hate.
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Reply #18 posted 01/31/18 3:27pm

SchlomoThaHomo

avatar

RodeoSchro said:

ufoclub said:

funny, to my ears "Take Me With U" is almost too simple to listen to. The changes seemed like standard pop song elements to me.

From Rainbow Children, I would pick "Digital Garden".



I'm a geek when it comes to "Take Me With U" but if you'll indulge me...

* The chordal melody starts on the 2, not on the 1
* While Prince plays a D and then an E on "I don't care where we go" etc., the keyboard is playing a whole different chord progression
* That bridge! Dropping down to an Fmaj7? Whoo! And then 10 years later, adding a G/A chord for one measure? I orgasmed the first time I heard that!
* And the chords in the second part of the bridge. It's like the song goes from pop to jazz for 30 seconds
* It's got all this incredible music happening but underneath is a bass line playing straight 8th notes - but the note played for the verse is an A, not an F# (root chord of the verse)

Forgive my nerdiness!


Are you talking about the Act 1/2 version?

"That's when stars collide. When there's space for what u want, and ur heart is open wide."
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Reply #19 posted 01/31/18 3:27pm

ufoclub

avatar

RodeoSchro said:



ufoclub said:




RodeoSchro said:


"Diamonds and Pearls" is at the top of my list. Five, count-em five different time signatures, and an incredible key-change-resolution part. Let's see, what else?

I'll throw "Take Me With U" in there, for three reasons: (1) the opening in F and moving to F# minor is insane; (2) the bridge is completely insane; and (3) Prince changed one chord in the bridge ten years after he recorded it, which is off-the-charts insane. Not to mention that Prince took more time recording and mixing this song than any song he'd ever written (up to that point)

"The Beautiful Ones" is another candidate. The chords are just so far away from rock and roll, or funk, or anything except jazz. But that is NOT a jazz song.

"Last December" is also far more intricate than one might imagine. There's an easy way to play it, and the correct way. The correct way is VERY hard (at least it is for me). And I don't even attempt to play the interlude.

Those are four that I'd suggest.




funny, to my ears "Take Me With U" is almost too simple to listen to. The changes seemed like standard pop song elements to me.

From Rainbow Children, I would pick "Digital Garden".





I'm a geek when it comes to "Take Me With U" but if you'll indulge me...

* The chordal melody starts on the 2, not on the 1
* While Prince plays a D and then an E on "I don't care where we go" etc., the keyboard is playing a whole different chord progression
* That bridge! Dropping down to an Fmaj7? Whoo! And then 10 years later, adding a G/A chord for one measure? I orgasmed the first time I heard that!
* And the chords in the second part of the bridge. It's like the song goes from pop to jazz for 30 seconds
* It's got all this incredible music happening but underneath is a bass line playing straight 8th notes - but the note played for the verse is an A, not an F# (root chord of the verse)

Forgive my nerdiness!



Is there a easy link to a typical performance where he added the different cord live? The hook on Take Me With You (for me) is the drop down in the bass notes when they hit lyrics like “I don’t care if we spend the night in your mansion”. I do wish the female vocal was better, it sounds just the slightest bit off key to me.
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Reply #20 posted 01/31/18 3:49pm

2045RadicalMat
tZ

RodeoSchro said:

ufoclub said:

funny, to my ears "Take Me With U" is almost too simple to listen to. The changes seemed like standard pop song elements to me.

From Rainbow Children, I would pick "Digital Garden".



I'm a geek when it comes to "Take Me With U" but if you'll indulge me...

* The chordal melody starts on the 2, not on the 1
* While Prince plays a D and then an E on "I don't care where we go" etc., the keyboard is playing a whole different chord progression
* That bridge! Dropping down to an Fmaj7? Whoo! And then 10 years later, adding a G/A chord for one measure? I orgasmed the first time I heard that!
* And the chords in the second part of the bridge. It's like the song goes from pop to jazz for 30 seconds
* It's got all this incredible music happening but underneath is a bass line playing straight 8th notes - but the note played for the verse is an A, not an F# (root chord of the verse)

Forgive my nerdiness!

I like this kind of talk. I used to play mostly by ear, and when it came to figuring out stuff like this I always figured the theory bit would help.

any chance u could explain the chords and progressions ala "fake sheets"?

the G/A u mean with a root on the fourth string? I get a bit confused when it comes to general talk like that with all the odd phrasings that can occur... go consider chords on STP's "wonderful"...those are pretty atypical for pop/rock

"Ahhh c'mon, BE A NOSE! " - WALTER PAISLEY
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Reply #21 posted 01/31/18 4:33pm

RodeoSchro

avatar

SchlomoThaHomo said:

RodeoSchro said:



I'm a geek when it comes to "Take Me With U" but if you'll indulge me...

* The chordal melody starts on the 2, not on the 1
* While Prince plays a D and then an E on "I don't care where we go" etc., the keyboard is playing a whole different chord progression
* That bridge! Dropping down to an Fmaj7? Whoo! And then 10 years later, adding a G/A chord for one measure? I orgasmed the first time I heard that!
* And the chords in the second part of the bridge. It's like the song goes from pop to jazz for 30 seconds
* It's got all this incredible music happening but underneath is a bass line playing straight 8th notes - but the note played for the verse is an A, not an F# (root chord of the verse)

Forgive my nerdiness!


Are you talking about the Act 1/2 version?



I'm not sure the exact time he changed it. But it WAS some time in the 90's.

Second Funkiest White Man in America

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Reply #22 posted 01/31/18 4:47pm

RodeoSchro

avatar

ufoclub said:

RodeoSchro said:



I'm a geek when it comes to "Take Me With U" but if you'll indulge me...

* The chordal melody starts on the 2, not on the 1
* While Prince plays a D and then an E on "I don't care where we go" etc., the keyboard is playing a whole different chord progression
* That bridge! Dropping down to an Fmaj7? Whoo! And then 10 years later, adding a G/A chord for one measure? I orgasmed the first time I heard that!
* And the chords in the second part of the bridge. It's like the song goes from pop to jazz for 30 seconds
* It's got all this incredible music happening but underneath is a bass line playing straight 8th notes - but the note played for the verse is an A, not an F# (root chord of the verse)

Forgive my nerdiness!

Is there a easy link to a typical performance where he added the different cord live? The hook on Take Me With You (for me) is the drop down in the bass notes when they hit lyrics like “I don’t care if we spend the night in your mansion”. I do wish the female vocal was better, it sounds just the slightest bit off key to me.



The easiest place to find it is on the "One Night Alone...Live!" CD. I can NOT find what I'm looking for on YouTube, dang it! I did find some covers of it, including The Revoiution from last year. Not surprisingly, they don't add the G/A chord; they play it the way it was on the album.

Probably the best version I've ever heard (other than the one where my daughter sang it with him!) is from Portugal, July 18, 2010. It just RIPS. And there's this little riff he plays right after "I don't care if we spend the night on the town". It's simple but OH. SO. PERFECT. In fact, that entire show is incredible. It contains the most joyful performance of any song I've ever seen Prince do ("Guitar", which is immediately after "Take Me With U").

Have you read Duane Tudahl's book? There's TONS of information on the recording of this song. You're right about Apple's vocals. But like everyone said - she was an actress, playing a singer. She wasn't a singer. Jill Jone's voice is in there somewhere.

Anyway, compare the "Purple Rain" version and later versions and you'll hear that new chord clear as day. Good luck!

Second Funkiest White Man in America

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Reply #23 posted 01/31/18 4:52pm

RodeoSchro

avatar

2045RadicalMattZ said:

RodeoSchro said:



I'm a geek when it comes to "Take Me With U" but if you'll indulge me...

* The chordal melody starts on the 2, not on the 1
* While Prince plays a D and then an E on "I don't care where we go" etc., the keyboard is playing a whole different chord progression
* That bridge! Dropping down to an Fmaj7? Whoo! And then 10 years later, adding a G/A chord for one measure? I orgasmed the first time I heard that!
* And the chords in the second part of the bridge. It's like the song goes from pop to jazz for 30 seconds
* It's got all this incredible music happening but underneath is a bass line playing straight 8th notes - but the note played for the verse is an A, not an F# (root chord of the verse)

Forgive my nerdiness!

I like this kind of talk. I used to play mostly by ear, and when it came to figuring out stuff like this I always figured the theory bit would help.

any chance u could explain the chords and progressions ala "fake sheets"?

the G/A u mean with a root on the fourth string? I get a bit confused when it comes to general talk like that with all the odd phrasings that can occur... go consider chords on STP's "wonderful"...those are pretty atypical for pop/rock



Do you need the whole song? Let me know if you do.

"Take Me With U" was the first song I ever really learned how to play on guitar. It's the reason why I learned to play guitar in the first place! I learned it - and the entire "Purple Rain" album - by playing the chords shown in the album's music book. So it's definitely possible I play some stuff different than pros would.

The G/A chord I make is a regular G, and add the second fret on the fourth (G) string for the A note.

Prince uses that chord a lot, in songs like "I Feel For U" and "Pop Life".

Second Funkiest White Man in America

P&R's paladin
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Reply #24 posted 01/31/18 7:03pm

214

I have nothing to add but I like this topic.

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Reply #25 posted 01/31/18 7:54pm

SignOthetimes1
987

paraded said:

Parade is his most musically adventurous work. Christopher Tracy's Parade is very much filled with hallmarks of twentieth century classical music. The rest of the first side, with Clare Fischer being a key contributor, builds musical complexity from the breadth of rythyms, instrumentations, and interwoven melodic lines. The second half is more traditional popular music, but equally great. If ever I want to be truly suprised by Prince's musical imagination, this is the album I turn to.

[Edited 1/31/18 11:52am]

I Wonder U is stunning and a true original.

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Reply #26 posted 02/01/18 2:29am

Lovejunky

avatar

paraded said:

Parade is his most musically adventurous work. Christopher Tracy's Parade is very much filled with hallmarks of twentieth century classical music. The rest of the first side, with Clare Fischer being a key contributor, builds musical complexity from the breadth of rythyms, instrumentations, and interwoven melodic lines. The second half is more traditional popular music, but equally great. If ever I want to be truly suprised by Prince's musical imagination, this is the album I turn to.

[Edited 1/31/18 11:52am]

AGREE 101

“LOVE IS THE MASTERPLAN”
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Reply #27 posted 02/01/18 2:33am

Lovejunky

avatar

RodeoSchro said:

ufoclub said:

funny, to my ears "Take Me With U" is almost too simple to listen to. The changes seemed like standard pop song elements to me.

From Rainbow Children, I would pick "Digital Garden".



I'm a geek when it comes to "Take Me With U" but if you'll indulge me...

* The chordal melody starts on the 2, not on the 1
* While Prince plays a D and then an E on "I don't care where we go" etc., the keyboard is playing a whole different chord progression
* That bridge! Dropping down to an Fmaj7? Whoo! And then 10 years later, adding a G/A chord for one measure? I orgasmed the first time I heard that!
* And the chords in the second part of the bridge. It's like the song goes from pop to jazz for 30 seconds
* It's got all this incredible music happening but underneath is a bass line playing straight 8th notes - but the note played for the verse is an A, not an F# (root chord of the verse)

Forgive my nerdiness!

You have a very sexy Brain Rodeoschro..smile

“LOVE IS THE MASTERPLAN”
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Reply #28 posted 02/01/18 4:15am

Wolfie87

RodeoSchro said:

Take Me With U" in there, for three reasons: (1) the opening in F and moving to F# minor is insane; (2) the bridge is completely insane; and (3) Prince changed one chord in the bridge ten years after he recorded it, which is off-the-charts insane. Not to mention that Prince took more time recording and mixing this song than any song he'd ever written (up to that point)

"



And still it's considered universally as the weakest song by far on Purple Rain. Go figure.

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Reply #29 posted 02/01/18 6:49am

RodeoSchro

avatar

Wolfie87 said:

RodeoSchro said:

Take Me With U" in there, for three reasons: (1) the opening in F and moving to F# minor is insane; (2) the bridge is completely insane; and (3) Prince changed one chord in the bridge ten years after he recorded it, which is off-the-charts insane. Not to mention that Prince took more time recording and mixing this song than any song he'd ever written (up to that point)

"

And still it's considered universally as the weakest song by far on Purple Rain. Go figure.



Yeah, those same people are the ones who say "RockNRollLoveAffair" is the same song as "Take Me With U". Wrong in both cases!

And in case you haven't read Duane's book, I can tell you who DIDN'T think it was a weak song: Prince. He felt good enough about it to take it off the Appolonia 6 album at the last minute and add it to his own album. Prince wouldn't have done that if he thought the song was "weak".

However, regardless of what one thinks of "Take Me With U", even the "weakest" song on "Purple Rain" is better than the strongest song on almost any other album ever made.

Second Funkiest White Man in America

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Forums > Prince: Music and More > Musicologist-types, what are some examples of Prince's most complex, intricate music??