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Thread started 06/26/18 3:29pm

lonelyalien

Harmonically which are prince's most complex songs?

Obviously not peach but which of his songs have the most chords or unusual strange voicings and movements?

I'm just like everybody else I need love.....and water.
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Reply #1 posted 06/26/18 4:37pm

thedoorkeeper

Adore.
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Reply #2 posted 06/26/18 5:06pm

TrivialPursuit

Others Here With Us

This experience will cover courtship, sex, commitment, fetishes, loneliness, vindication, love, and hate.
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Reply #3 posted 06/26/18 5:28pm

lrn36

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I Spend My Time Loving You

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Reply #4 posted 06/26/18 5:41pm

purplepolitici
an

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Forever In My Life?

Can I get some, can I get some plagiarism?
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Reply #5 posted 06/27/18 12:38pm

steakfinger

None of the above. Power Fantastic is great, but I think those chords are based on a thing Lisa wrote. There is nothing harmonically rich about Adore. The person who recommended that might have thought you were talking about vocal harmonies, but that's not what harmonically rich means. Harmonically rich mean unexpected chord progressions. Melody is, well, melody. Harmony mean the chords you use under the melody.

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Reply #6 posted 06/27/18 1:15pm

Genesia

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I don't know about a specific song, but the Lovesexy/Batman era is pretty rich harmonically.

We don’t mourn artists because we knew them. We mourn them because they helped us know ourselves.
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Reply #7 posted 06/27/18 3:08pm

bc002k

Alexa De Paris
3 Chains O Gold
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Reply #8 posted 06/27/18 3:57pm

TrivialPursuit

steakfinger said:

None of the above. Power Fantastic is great, but I think those chords are based on a thing Lisa wrote. There is nothing harmonically rich about Adore. The person who recommended that might have thought you were talking about vocal harmonies, but that's not what harmonically rich means. Harmonically rich mean unexpected chord progressions. Melody is, well, melody. Harmony mean the chords you use under the melody.


Whether Lisa wrote something or not doesn't make something not harmonically interesting. I'm sure you meant no harm.

"Adore" is certainly viable under this because the OP asked, "which of his songs have the most chords or unusual strange voicings and movements?". While "Adore" isn't strange, it's certainly complex with those angelic harmonies which are mostly in falsettos.

Harmonies does not exclusively mean "chords". Chords are chords, and while chords are built on 3+ notes in a harmony, it's more understandable to say a harmony is something like Wendy adding a 6th, 7th or 2nd to a Bb chord in "Purple Rain", giving it some depth and texture.

A good example of a tricky song harmonically is "Need You Tonight" from INXS. It's in a basic C chord signature, but the addition of an Eb here and there almost makes the initial F chord in the verse sound like a major guitar chord over a minor keyboard chord. It's not but harmonically it sounds like it.

All that said, stuff like "Others Here With Us", "3 Chains O' Gold", "Annie Christian", "Something In The Water", are a few of Prince's more daring songs. His chord structures early on are pretty basic. It's what he did with them in production that makes them great tunes. We have to remember Prince played with harmonics in his drum tracks as well, de-tuning them through guitar pedals. It fucks up any basic approach to discussing harmonies. haha

This experience will cover courtship, sex, commitment, fetishes, loneliness, vindication, love, and hate.
http://bit.ly/1D3FG2U
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Reply #9 posted 06/28/18 4:53am

FunkyDancer

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The Grand Progression. Not necessarily complex, but harmonically very rich.

18 (R U Legal Yet?). He plays some mean jazz piano on this one. That bit around 2:05 always gets me.

A Couple Of Miles. P. (w/ Eric Leeds) was really pushing the boundaries of his own sound on most of the 1985 material. That groove exudes coolness, freedom, joy. I've listened to it a hundred times and it still sounds fresh & exciting.

Pretty much the whole Lovesexy album. The music is unbelievably dissonant, I personally love it but I'm aware of how unacessible it might sound to the untrained (impatient?) ear. Just listen to the horn line at 4:25 on Alphabet Street, I can't think of anything remotely similar as far as 80s "pop" music goes.


[Edited 6/28/18 5:08am]

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Reply #10 posted 06/28/18 5:21am

dandan

Sometimes It Snows In April

The Grand Progression

When 2 R In Love

Venus De Milo


[Edited 6/28/18 5:21am]

I got two sides... and they're both friends.
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Reply #11 posted 06/28/18 7:26am

TrivialPursuit

I would add "In A Large Room With No Light".

This experience will cover courtship, sex, commitment, fetishes, loneliness, vindication, love, and hate.
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Reply #12 posted 06/28/18 8:06am

jazzz

Scandalous sounds pretty complex to me, both regarding harmonic structure as well as regarding the use of dissonant colors
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Reply #13 posted 06/28/18 9:50am

steakfinger

TrivialPursuit said:

steakfinger said:

None of the above. Power Fantastic is great, but I think those chords are based on a thing Lisa wrote. There is nothing harmonically rich about Adore. The person who recommended that might have thought you were talking about vocal harmonies, but that's not what harmonically rich means. Harmonically rich mean unexpected chord progressions. Melody is, well, melody. Harmony mean the chords you use under the melody.


Whether Lisa wrote something or not doesn't make something not harmonically interesting. I'm sure you meant no harm.

"Adore" is certainly viable under this because the OP asked, "which of his songs have the most chords or unusual strange voicings and movements?". While "Adore" isn't strange, it's certainly complex with those angelic harmonies which are mostly in falsettos.

Harmonies does not exclusively mean "chords". Chords are chords, and while chords are built on 3+ notes in a harmony, it's more understandable to say a harmony is something like Wendy adding a 6th, 7th or 2nd to a Bb chord in "Purple Rain", giving it some depth and texture.

A good example of a tricky song harmonically is "Need You Tonight" from INXS. It's in a basic C chord signature, but the addition of an Eb here and there almost makes the initial F chord in the verse sound like a major guitar chord over a minor keyboard chord. It's not but harmonically it sounds like it.

All that said, stuff like "Others Here With Us", "3 Chains O' Gold", "Annie Christian", "Something In The Water", are a few of Prince's more daring songs. His chord structures early on are pretty basic. It's what he did with them in production that makes them great tunes. We have to remember Prince played with harmonics in his drum tracks as well, de-tuning them through guitar pedals. It fucks up any basic approach to discussing harmonies. haha

Defing harmonically rich might be a good place to start. I was defining it as someone musically educated would define it. It has nothing to do with the human voice or guitar pedals. Production techniques do not create harmonic richness. I think there's a semantic wall hindering clear communication. Atmosphere is not harmonic richness by my definition. No beef. I just think we're talking about two different things.

I was saying that since Lisa wrote it that it doesn't qualify as one of Prince's harmonically rich pieces of work. Since it's not his piece of work and all. Lisa is awesome. She is capable of great harmonic richness.

As far as I can remember, There's Others Here With Us is built on one chord.

Musically speaking, being harmonically rich in musical terms is about the way a melody is harmonized. It isn't related to the sounds and special effects of a recording. The instruments or vocies that spell out the harmony aren't important, either. If you take a simple jazz standard and write the chords and melody on a piece of paper you can "see" the harmony. It being rich or not depends on how your personal tastes and musical diet. If you take the same jazz standard but write out the chords and melody the way someone like Bill Evans would play it then you can see a large difference in the "richness" of the harmony. The chords (harmony) would be very different and there would be lots more of it.

To someone with a jazz education something like Pop Life isn't necessarily harminically rich. To a metalhead just starting to wake up to the greater musical world Pop Life might blow his/her mind even though it's only four chords looping. Bmaj7 - D#minor - Emaj - G7

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Reply #14 posted 06/28/18 9:51am

steakfinger

Grand Progression definitely qualifies by any defintion!

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Reply #15 posted 06/29/18 10:45am

RodeoSchro

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Check out "Te Amo Corazon" sometime.

.

[Edited 6/29/18 10:45am]

Second Funkiest White Man in America

P&R's paladin
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Reply #16 posted 06/30/18 10:58pm

TrcikyChristop
her

lonelyalien said:

Obviously not peach but which of his songs have the most chords or unusual strange voicings and movements?

"Love 2 The 9's"

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Reply #17 posted 07/01/18 1:50am

ForceofNature

A lot of his "jazz phase" material like The Rainbow Children have some pretty hip stuff there harmonically speaking

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Reply #18 posted 07/01/18 9:09am

RealMusician

Actually, in the Prince catalogue, there are far fewer examples of harmonic complexity than you might think. Whether it's in terms of unusual chord progressions, number of chords and/or key centers in a song, chord extensions and alterations, inner voice movement, etc...there isn't very much of that. Not even in his "jazzier" songs, really. Someone like Stevie Wonder, for instance, has a much larger harmonic vocabulary.


Prince is more about sounds, textures, and layers, rather than harmonic choices. What I find to be his most interesting moments harmonically are often the result of him layering different parts on top of each other, implying two (or more) different keys and/or harmonic functions at the same time. These choices are usually textural and/or melodic, rather than rooted in harmonic knowledge (actually, almost the opposite).


Two songs that have this, off the top of my head, are "Dreamin' About U" and "Purple Music". Both have instrumental and/or vocal parts and lines that harmonically suggest different points of reference, which creates an ambiguous sound when you hear them together.

[Edited 7/1/18 9:10am]

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Reply #19 posted 07/01/18 11:24am

RJOrion

"God"....(U.K. 12" B-side version)...
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Reply #20 posted 07/01/18 12:06pm

steakfinger

RealMusician said:

Actually, in the Prince catalogue, there are far fewer examples of harmonic complexity than you might think. Whether it's in terms of unusual chord progressions, number of chords and/or key centers in a song, chord extensions and alterations, inner voice movement, etc...there isn't very much of that. Not even in his "jazzier" songs, really. Someone like Stevie Wonder, for instance, has a much larger harmonic vocabulary.


Prince is more about sounds, textures, and layers, rather than harmonic choices. What I find to be his most interesting moments harmonically are often the result of him layering different parts on top of each other, implying two (or more) different keys and/or harmonic functions at the same time. These choices are usually textural and/or melodic, rather than rooted in harmonic knowledge (actually, almost the opposite).


Two songs that have this, off the top of my head, are "Dreamin' About U" and "Purple Music". Both have instrumental and/or vocal parts and lines that harmonically suggest different points of reference, which creates an ambiguous sound when you hear them together.

[Edited 7/1/18 9:10am]

100% agree

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Reply #21 posted 07/01/18 11:45pm

RealMusician

RealMusician said:

Actually, in the Prince catalogue, there are far fewer examples of harmonic complexity than you might think. Whether it's in terms of unusual chord progressions, number of chords and/or key centers in a song, chord extensions and alterations, inner voice movement, etc...there isn't very much of that. Not even in his "jazzier" songs, really. Someone like Stevie Wonder, for instance, has a much larger harmonic vocabulary.


Prince is more about sounds, textures, and layers, rather than harmonic choices. What I find to be his most interesting moments harmonically are often the result of him layering different parts on top of each other, implying two (or more) different keys and/or harmonic functions at the same time. These choices are usually textural and/or melodic, rather than rooted in harmonic knowledge (actually, almost the opposite).


Two songs that have this, off the top of my head, are "Dreamin' About U" and "Purple Music". Both have instrumental and/or vocal parts and lines that harmonically suggest different points of reference, which creates an ambiguous sound when you hear them together.

[Edited 7/1/18 9:10am]

Also, of course, some of the Parade stuff, like "I Wonder U" and "Life Can Be So Nice".

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