Author Archives: KJ at Guide Tone Lines

About KJ at Guide Tone Lines

KJ McElrath earned his Masters degree in Music Theory and Composition from Central Washington University. Composer of several works for big band, wind ensemble and orchestra, which can be heard at BardicCircle.com. I perform a cabaret act with Athena McElrath as McElrath Cabaret, which you can find at http://mcelrathcabaret.com.

Getting From Here To There – Go Fourth…

In the last post, we examined the verse of Jerome Kern’s All The Things You Are – which, while not especially memorable from a melodic standpoint when compared to what follows (Oscar Hammerstein’s lyrics here do set up the refrain … Continue reading

Posted in baroque composers, baroque era, cadence, changing keys, chord progression, common tone diminished, common tones, diminished chords, dissonance, dissonant intervals, Great American Songbook, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, Improvisation, key change, modal scales, modes, music theory, Orchestration, Shenkerian Analysis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Mathematics of It All

If you are anything like me, you struggled with math in school. Oh, I could write like Faulkner or Hemingway, play the saxophone like Jimmy Dorsey, draw like Rodin or Picasso….but when it came to numbers, I was lost. Eventually, … Continue reading

Posted in baroque composers, changes, chord progression, contrary motion, counterpoint, Great American Songbook, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, mathematics, music theory, Orchestration, percussion, rhythm, rudiments, Shenkerian Analysis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

They Do – Except When They Don’t

“The verse was nothing – but the Chorus was Art – And its Music was enough to tear you apart…” – Joseph Moncure March, The Wild Party (1926) In my very first post to this blog, I said “…the harmonic … Continue reading

Posted in changes, chord progression, european pop songs, Great American Songbook, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, Hollywood Scores, Latin Music, laws of physics, music theory, physics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Incredible and Amazing Diminished Seventh Chord

I have to give one of my former instructors credit for this one. Dr. Peter Gries, who until his recent retirement was the music department chairman at my old alma mater, spent quite a bit of time on this in … Continue reading

Posted in cadence, central washington university, changes, chord progression, common tone diminished, common tones, diminished chords, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, Improvisation, modulation, music theory, neighbor tones, Orchestration, Shenkerian Analysis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

A Tale of Two Ditties

Actually, it’s two versions of the same ditty – in this case, the Harry Warren example we’ve been working with so far. You’ll remember the first version in which we simply used the guide tone lines. Here’s what it looks … Continue reading

Posted in chord progression, common tones, contrary motion, counterpoint, Great American Songbook, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, neighbor tones, Orchestration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Point and Counterpoint – and Being Contrary

Before we attempt to apply counterpoint to the second ending of the “A” section of our example,  I’m going to go through a brief refresher course (or introduction, for you newbies) as to what counterpoint actually is. After all, “counterpoint” … Continue reading

Posted in baroque composers, baroque era, canon, contrary motion, counterpoint, fugue, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, js bach, pachelbel, Shenkerian Analysis | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Guide Tone Lines In Action, Part 3 – Colors of the Winds

So – what’s wrong with the guide tone line in the second ending in terms of orchestration? Nothing, provided we drop the line an octave. In simplest terms, the second ending of the “A” section in the current example (Harry … Continue reading

Posted in Big Bands, cadence, changes, chord progression, common tones, counterpoint, Great American Songbook, guide tone lines, harmonic structures, Hollywood Scores, Improvisation, Orchestration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment