[Smt-talk] Queen's Harmonic Technique

kos at panix.com kos at panix.com
Wed Apr 10 14:27:55 PDT 2013

On Thu, 11 Apr 2013, Nick Braae <braae.nick at gmail.com> asks about upper-voice 
pedal tones in popular music:

> I wonder whether anybody knows the stylistic origins of this particular 
> voicing (i.e. pedal note as the top voice)?

It's not an infrequent occurence in an older form of vocal music: opera.  In 
"Marten aller Arten" from Mozart's "Entfuhrung aus dem Serail" there are 
several passages where the soprano holds a high note and the instruments have 
progressions below her.  Considering the nature of opera writing for sopranos, I 
assume there are earlier examples.  (If you want an instrumental 
one, there's the flute/oboe concerto, K. 314 - again, I assume there are 
earlier examples.)

If you want to stay within pop music, there's the long held note in "I got 
rhythm" from Gershwin's "Girl Crazy" (1930).  More briefly (but earlier) there's 
the "Italian Street Song" from "Naughty Marietta (1910) by Herbert.

Bob Kosovsky, Ph.D. -- Curator, Rare Books and Manuscripts,
Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
blog:  http://www.nypl.org/blog/author/44   Twitter: @kos2
   Listowner: OPERA-L ; SMT-TALK ; SMT-ANNOUNCE ; SoundForge-users
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