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Black Unstemmed Noteheads

The second song off our new album is a bright up-tempo tune with a whole-tone hook. Drag over the black stemmed noteheads.

“Black Unstemmed Noteheads” is a song about songs—a kind of metasong if you will, and I know you will. If this blog could write songs, it would sound like this. A kind of mission statement by the band, deriding pop music cliches, while at the same time, openly embracing them. Los Doggies likes to get their hands and their butts dirty. But don’t worry, this is not the hypersexually-charged portion of the album, but rather the collegiate refrains of a bunch of Berklee nerds, except not like those sexy cos-playing nerds—the other kin. This is probably the only song to ever sing the word “duodecuple”, but that ain’t something to be proud of. It is something to die for.

In true metasong fashion, “BUN” is all about itself. When Starship sings about “two-part guitars”, as if by incantation, they summon a harmonization of two guitars. When Jeff Buckley sings of “the minor fall and the major lift”, the chord progression underscores his lyrics by moving from the IV to the V. It’s a cheap gimmick, maybe, for it’s always uncomfortable when self-awareness takes hold of us, but what if there was an entire song, a lengthy anthemic song, that exposes all of its inner-workings while maintaining entertainment value. Such a song would be the equivalent of an enlightened man, or a wholly selfish man who can’t stop talking about his selfy self.

Hence, when “BUN” sings of major and minor keys, it is done so in major and minor keys, respectively. When the lyrics denote the high E-string of a guitar, the melody also sings the high E, and so too with the low B of the bass guitar.

Other bloggy references include:
The Major three of the Car horn
The Microwave beeps
Picardy Thirds

The phrase “black unstemmed noteheads” appears in different variations in the musical literature, sometimes as “unstemmed black noteheads”—how crude! I first came upon this phrase in Serial Composition and Atonality: An Introduction to the Music of Schoenberg by George Perle, back when I used to read books. What a beautiful turn of phrase!, I thought, and along with Stravinsky’s Conversations, helped to inspire this here blog that you are reading right now. So meta.

I could talk and write about the music, but you still wouldn’t hear it. So here, listen:

A 6-string guitar’s got a high E
A 5-string bass’s got a low B
A grand piano’s got 88 keys
And this song’s got 3-part harmony

The car horn’s got the major three
The microwave’s got a low flat B
Come on everybody let’s sing in key
‘Cause that’s the way that it sounds good to me
And that’s the way that I like it to be

Black unstemmed noteheads

Ain’t this one of those 3-chord songs?
With the 4th and the 5th you can’t go wrong
So c’mon everybody let’s sing along
Just make sure it’s only 3 minutes long
‘Cause that’s for how long a song can go on

Unless it’s got crazy changes
Up and down the major scale, yeah’le
Lots of tempos and guitar solos
Just make sure you use all 12 of those
Black unstemmed noteheads

Gotta have crazy changes
Major major major scale, yeah’le!
Just be sure to use all 12 of those mystical
Black unstemmed noteheads

So the 6-string guitar’s got a high E
The 7-string guitar has got a low B
The Matt Ross Bass has got a high C
And this song’s got a reverse picardy

Minor minor minor scale, yeah

Now’s the time for D.S. al coda
The end of this song is upon ya
Just give me time for one last hoorah

‘Cause you got to have crazy changes
Up and down the major scale, yeah’le
Lots of tempos and guitar solos
Just make sure you use all 12 of those
Mystical, masterful, duodecuple…