[Smt-talk] equal division of the octave in pop songs

S. Alexander Reed alexreed at ufl.edu
Sat Aug 28 22:32:08 PDT 2010


See the octatonic guitar melody at the end of the chorus in Radiohead's 
1995 "Just," and the frequent use of whole-tone scales by Nine Inch 
Nails (the most obvious examples are verse 2 of "Down In It [Big Whole 
mix]," which is a demo recording, and the not-coincidentally named song 
"La Mer" from 1999's album The Fragile).  Relatedly, Kraftwerk has some 
pretty fierce stacking of fourths (D#-G#-C#-F#-B-E) in "Metal on Metal" 
from their 1976 album Trans-Europe Express.

There are certainly many, many more examples.  Once you have pop 
musicians with any significant virtuosity or training (and there are of 
course many), little experiments like this (or moments of showing off) 
creep up all over.  My guess is that more than a few art rock and metal 
bands have dabbled in altered or post-tonality.

S. Alexander Reed
Assistant Professor
University of Florida

alexreed at ufl.edu

On 8/27/10 7:25 PM, arne0102 at umn.edu wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> I'm looking for examples of popular songs (any genre) that employ 
> equal division of the octave.
> Thanks,
> Mark Arneson
> University of Minnesota
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