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Ronnie Melodies

In 1986, Eddie Money had a hit with “Take Me Home Tonight”. The chorus of the song borrows a melody from The Ronettes ’60s classic “Be My Baby”. Click on the score to play/stop, just like Ronnie sang.

The song is in the key of Db Major, but Ronnie Spector sings her old line over the relative minor (Bb). The Major Third interval from the F to the Db is reminiscent of the bellsong or doorbell.

Here’s how I imagine it all went down: At first, Money belted out the melody, but the producer found it came out a little too awesome, so Sony suggested they get the OG Ronnie to do it, no matter what the cost, and it would probably cost nothing because they owned her too. Perhaps there were copyright issues, so Ronnie had to be involved and she had to sing it wrong. We can’t know.

The original melody from “Be My Baby” is slightly different and in a higher key. Ronnie really sang in E Major, and the “baby” comes in on the offbeats. In “Take Me Home”, the ”baby” is sung evenly on the beat; the ’80s were a rough time. Just listen to the half-time bridge sax solo of the song below, it’s like nobody knew what to do or where to go—more ‘blowback’ from all the cocaine the CIA imported at the time. Or more likely, it’s because the melody serves a different purpose in each song. In “Be My Baby”, it provides counterpoint to the main thrust of the backup singers, so the off-beats work well, whereas in “Take Me Home”, the melody acts as the hook, so it makes sense to give it an on-the-beat feel.





Listen to the drums—that dull straight New Wave feel; the best part of the song is when the drums cut out. You can tell the drummer wants to go wild with all the fills he busts out at the end

The lyrics are as low as it gets—begging a girl for sex in song. However, since the girl in the song replies with Ronnie’s melody, it was probably a sure thing anyway.

Little Mermaid Melody

In The Little Mermaid, Ariel trades her voice for legs. The sea witch Ursula performs an occult ritual under the sea (typical for Disney films) and forces Ariel to sing the song below, her voice growing ever more reverberated as it leaves her mouth. Click on each phrase to listen from that point on; click again to stop.



Ariel sings a Lydian lullaby changing key every 4 bars, from G Major up to Bb Major and up again to Db Major. Up™. She presumably would’ve kept changing keys forever if Ursula didn’t cut her off. The harmony follows a VI – V chord progression. A similar progression and modulation can be found in the “Mushroom House” music from Super Mario Bros. 3.




Hot Pocket

“Hot Pocket” is a jingle in the key of F Major and features this tasty little hook.




Major third, second, tonic—just like hot cross buns.
It’s always impressive how much ground a 30-second jingle can cover. “Hot Pocket” runs through 3 choruses, changes key up a whole tone to G Major, and is super catchy even though I don’t even like hot pockets, am morally opposed to hot pockets. It’s no “Theme From Malibu Barbie”, but we’ll check that out at a later time. For now, check out “Hot Pocket” below. Listen for the little trill at the stop just before the hook. Listen for the background singer shouting the melody. Listen…




F               Eb               Bb                          F
When you wanna have meal but not a big deal
Bb                         F         C       F
Whaddya gonna pick? Hot Pocket!

Final Fantasy Fourths

The “Opening Theme” from Final Fantasy III (USA) is a series of ascending 4ths, a quartal harmonic structure, that eventually kicks in with a loud F Half-Diminshed Seventh chord, followed by an F Minor Diminished Seventh chord. Click on either measure to play/stop from that point.

On guitar: 000011.

mogFinal Fantasy III is widely known as Final Fantasy VI, and only an ignorant American would refer to it as FF3. In the Spring of ’94, when we weaboos first loaded this cartridge on our Super Nintendos, from the ominous organ to the purple apocalyptic sky, it was clear this was no kid’s game, but a grand epic equal to The Odyssey, only with mecha robots and black magick tech, so more like The Mahabharata.

The quartal ascent from Final Fantasy was reappropriated for the Los Doggies song “Farted On”, heard at the 3:37 mark. Just like in FF3, the 4th intervals are sustained together, now split between six different voices, stretching over three octaves to the F5—the very highest note Los Doggies can sing.




And they’re losing 10 cents a year.
moogle

Alrighty Then

The “Alrighty Then” plain chant in F Minor from Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls. Click below to listen.

This is a good movie and I like the melody. I like how it’s in F Minor and not E Minor or something stupid like that. Enjoy the scene below and be transported back to the tranquil world of ’90s Jim Carrey.



Luciferean Chord

What happens to a man who’s exhausted every musical pleasure available to him? When he’s digested every possible piece of Pop and Prog, regurgitated centuries worth of progressions and melodies, what becomes of him? Such is not a man, but a dissonant shell of his former self.

So lately, I’ve been into this dark little chord. It’s called an E Lydian (b9) Chord, like the name of a distant star nobody cares about. Were I a religious man, I’d call this a Satanic chord. Drag upon my noteheads and despair.

For guitar: 0×8866. I’ve arranged it above on ledger lines for educational purposes.

What a polytonal monster! What subtle beauty! It has an Augmented 4th, a Major 7th, and a Minor 9 on top. It’s essentially an A# suspended chord resting uncomfortably atop an E bass. To solo over this chord, use the 5-note A# Minor Pentatonic Scale or the 7-note D# Minor Scale and save the special note E for the lower octave, as a passing tone, or to amp up the dissonance with chromatic movement around the cluster: D# E F♮ F#.

This is the kinda chord I imagine the Elite enjoys behind closed doors, not electric keyboards and reversed singing. It would be untoward of me, a humble blogger, to venture a colloquial name, but the “Luciferean Chord” has a nice ring to it, and well-suited given that it features the devilish tritone interval.

The Luciferean chord goes well with an A Lydian Chord, making for an especially dissonant One to Four progression, but that’s my little trick, so don’t steal. ;)

In the future, will mankind be content to hear the same old songs, like the oldest song, totally tonal, suitable even for babies? Or will he tire of base consonance, and embrace the refined madness of Polytonal Pop music?

DAD in D

My Dad’s in D.