Fighting the violence
October 25, 2022

A plea for peace - 12tone takes 'Zombie' apart

Music analyst 12tone goes deep in taking apart The Cranberries' 1994 song 'Zombie', an "undeniably powerful piece of protest music". 12tone goes into the music structure of the song, and connects it to the message it is putting out. 'Zombie', 12tone points out, "puts a voice to the grief of ravaged communities where violence has become a part of everyday life, and it reminds us to honor the dead by doing everything we can to avoid creating more of them".

Variations on a note
October 11, 2022

12tone: Is Brahms' composition impossible to play?

"Sometimes, there are musical ideas so complicated that they wind up being not just physically impossible, but conceptually impossible as well. But did Brahms write one of those? Well... It's complicated" - an interesting new music theory video by 12tone about Johannes Brahms' composition Variations on an Original Theme, opus 21, number1, which is supposedly just impossible to play.

YouTube music theorist 12tone's new video serves exactly like a late-night show - in 24 minutes it's fun, engaging, clever, and has plenty of music (well, parts of one song, actually). 12tone reconstructs Tom Petty's 'Free Fallin'' - "the most LA song ever written. 'Free Fallin'' is both Tom Petty's celebration and his admonishment of my adopted city, wrapped in layers of complex production and lyrical nuance that challenge listeners to reexamine their concepts of freedom while also being just super fun to sing along with".

Behind the genre
August 09, 2022

12tone: What is butt rock?

The animated music theorist 12tone went on a quest of describing what makes something butt rock? What does it mean, and what does it sound like? He sees three stages of the genre and defines what exactly it sounds like. Fun video.

For whom the decibel tolls?
April 18, 2022

12tone: Why does metal have to be so loud?

"Turning the volume down on a brutal metal riff feels almost sacrilegious, like it's disrespectful to the music to hear it at anything but full volume. But why? Many genres can be enjoyed perfectly fine at a nice, comfortably quiet level, but metal resists that, and metalheads reject those efforts. So what's going on? Why does metal only work when it's loud as hell?" - music theorist 12tone asks in his latest video. Watch it below!

Beyond the lines
March 21, 2022

12tone: How sheet music lies to you

"The process of turning music into notation and then back into music is hazardous, and while it's still a very useful tool, we should really talk more about the things we lose along the way" - music theorist 12tones points out in his latest video.

Above the air
February 20, 2022

12tone: Music isn't air molecules - it's art!

"One of the things that annoys me most is what I like to call the Wiggly Air Fallacy, or the idea that music can be meaningfully reduced to just its sonic components. It's not true, it's a bad way of conceptualizing music" - 12tone writes, introducing his latest video. His point, in short, is - "all that information we gathered in the context layer shapes the emotional landscape we perceive, and that, not the vibration of air molecules, is what allows music to affect us so deeply". G

YouTube music theorist 12tone analyses the rhythm and emphasis in James Brown's 'I Feel Good'. It's actually a reaction to another YouTube music theorist's video, Adam Neely's video on the same song. 12tone points out how analysis gets in the way of imagination.

"Many instruments have defined many musical movements over the years, but there's one that's played a pivotal role in almost every one: The human voice" - 12tone introduces his latest video. "The way a singer uses their voice is one of the clearest ways of shaping a musical identity. Despite its clear significance, though, or perhaps because of it, the voice is notoriously hard to analyze" - the music theorist tries anyway.

A great video by music theorist 12tone where he analyses a month-old video by another music theorist, Rick Beato who did a livestream called 'Why Today's Music Is So BORING. The Regression of Musical Innovation'. Beato attempted to argue that modern music was no longer doing interesting things. 12tone argues Beato's wrong. 12Tones' argument is also beautifully illustrated.