The magic baton
November 28, 2022

A great video: How do conductors really work?

Composer, pianist, and YouTuber, Nahre Sol made a great short video about conducting. It features one of the most famous conductors of our time, Alan Gilbert, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, and pianist Julio Elizalde. Good stuff.

In his latest post, music writer Ted Gioia presents a scientific basis for his alternative musicology—a holistic way of thinking about songs and their impact on individuals and societies. He makes the argument that too much of our world today is controlled by left-hemisphere-of-the-brain worldview — analytic and detail-oriented - and calls for the right hemisphere - controls creativity, intuition, and imagination - to take over. "The simplest way to tap into the right hemisphere is music… The connection between songs and the right hemisphere of our brains is so strong that stroke victims who have lost the language-making capacity of their left brain are sometimes still able to sing words they can no longer speak". A great intro to the theory.

Whose song is it anyway
November 14, 2022

Adam Neely: The grotesque legacy of music as property

Music theorist Adam Neely deals with music copyright and artists selling their music to investment firms in his latest video. He starts with a 1548 decision of French king Henry II which turned music from a communal cultural knowledge into private property that can be owned. The essential question Neely asks is: How do you own a musical idea and by whose authority?

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.

Composer David Bruce connects the physical qualities of instruments and the music that's written for them. His video is essentially about the way the design and layout of instruments affect the music that's played on them. He starts off with samba, but also goes over to west Africa and Spain.

Sound on non-music
September 28, 2022

Adam Neely: The music theory of 'CBAT'

"Why did the sound of an inflatable clown toy falling down the stairs so capture the musical zeitgeist of September 2022?" - that's the question the music theorist Adam Neely explains in his latest video. The "sound" is the song 'Cbat' by experimental hip-hop producer Hudson Mohawke, supposedly the perfect "sound" to have sex to.

Art if icial
September 19, 2022

Adam Neely: Will AI replace human musicians?

YouTube music theorist Adam Neely wonders what we expect from AI and how might it replace human musicians. He thinks "it's clear that something going to change somehow and something might get lost... but a great deal of other stuff [will get] added".

Raymond Chen, Microsoft’s principal software engineer, has discovered that Janet Jackson's 1989 song 'Rhythm Nation' heads the power to destroy laptop hard-drives. Chen said it "contained one of the natural resonant frequencies for the model of 5400 rpm laptop hard drives that they and other manufacturers used”. Music theorist Adam Neely was there to explain the heart of the issue.

Fear of the start mark
August 15, 2022

Adam Neely: The shame and fear of failing on stage

Adam Neely's band Sungazer couldn't start a synth on their Hamburg show on a boat, which inspired the YouTube music theorist to make a video about stage fright. "Fear can be a good thing because it keeps you present and it keeps you hungry... We can use our fear and redirect our energy back out onto the audience to give our performances more vivid emotional color" - is the conclusion.

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.

Adam Neely and his Sungazer bandmate Shawn Crowder watch people play covers of their band's songs like 'All These People', 'Threshold', 'The Dark', and others. At one point, what their fans did becomes "almost impossible". Quite impressive stuff.

Music theorist Adam Neely answers several new questions in his latest video: Why does E - A/E - E - E/G# - A sound so good? WRONG chord progression. What's the "third steam?" What is the craziest chord you can play? Why no classical bass, but classical guitar? Should people take AP music theory? What's your favorite/least favorite thing about the nYC scene? Is clickbait unavoidable?

Jazz bassist and music theorist Adam Neely shared a new video of himself "sucking" at playing metal, with the help of his friend, a metalhead Rob Scallon. He makes a full song in an hour and a half, playing all the instruments, and singing - 'I love my mom". Scallon did the same thing, just in the opposite direction - he plays jazz. Watch both videos - 50 minutes of pure music joy...

In the latest edition of his How to Get Good at Music segment, music theorist Adam Neely and his guest Christian Li argue there are no rules in music, it's the context that matters. Neely and Li emphasize that music needs to be alive, rather than just a series of notes.

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 Adam Neely in his latest video explores the perceptual limits of tempo, and why decimal points in BPMs are trash. Neely uses the help of good old metronome in this one.

An interesting new episode of Adam Neely's series "How to get good at music" where he is critiquing people music, this time with the help of guitarist/composer Shubh Saran. The litemotif in this video, more or less is - add more melody (coming from a progressive jazzer, really says plenty). Neely also invents a term - "movement music".

Music theorist Adam Neely answers a few quick questions, among them the one about why the intro riff from 'Drive my Car' by The Beatles so rhythmically disorienting. Also, he looks for a way to use rubato effectively without making it seem like overkill, end explains coffee addiction among musicians.

Music theorist Adam Neely shares a few pieces of advice on melodic phrasing in the 7/16 signature. Don't start every phrase on a downbeat, Neely suggests adding also to not be afraid to play laid back.

Strange numbers
January 20, 2022

Adam Neely ranks polyrhythms

YouTube music theorist Adam Neely ranks polyrhythms people have sent him. His Sungazer bandmate, drummer Shawn Crowder plays those strange polyrhythms and then they rank them together. Very nerdy stuff, but still plenty of fun.

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.

Yet another amazing video by the music theorist Adam Neely with answers to several questions, including the one on the Stromae's new song 'Santé'. Neely explains what Stromae did with this song's rhythm to make it special. Educational and fun, as always.

"Sometimes even when things go right, you feel drained and empty, and that's ok. I had a great show at LPR with my band, but in the week that followed I didn't feel great" - music theorist and band-leader Adam Neely announces his latest video, about the feeling of emptiness after the show.

I feel theoretic
November 24, 2021

Adam Neely: Solving James Brown's rhythmic puzzle

What is the proper scansion for James Brown's 'I Feel Good'? - it is the question that nobody asked and the one Adam Neely in answering in his latest video 'Solving James Brown's rhythmic puzzle'. Neely points out that the meaning changes depending on where in the sentence we put the emphasis on.

"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.

Going easy on theory
October 31, 2021

Adam Neely: Is Adele's latest single microtonal?

A few interesting questions answered by the music theorist Adam Neely in his latest video post:

Is Adele’s Easy on me microtonal?

Who is the better bass player, Homer Simpson or Adam Neely?

How to prioritize creativity over theory?

What’s a spread triad?

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