[Smt-talk] Chain Reacton

Nicholas Reyland n.w.reyland at keele.ac.uk
Tue Jun 17 11:09:35 PDT 2014

Dear colleagues

A fine thread.

Diana Ross's 'Chain Reaction' probably holds the record for modulations in
a (UK) number one single. It's also an example of modulations with symbolic
intent: the 'chain reaction' (spoiler: she's not singing about nuclear
fusion...) is enacted by the modulations and the rising pitch thus required
of the vocals.

A similar feat, permitted by a cute harmonic formula, underpins Muse's
'Take a Bow', the tub-thumping rhetoric and rising ire of the persona
intensified via the modulations' enabling of a chromatically rising lead
vocal. I like the fact the track doesn't end in the completion of a twelve
key cycle, but rather with a sonic scream.


Nick Reyland

Dr Nicholas Reyland
Senior Lecturer
Music & Film Studies
Keele University

n.w.reyland at keele.ac.uk
T: +44 (0)1782 733297
Music, The Clock House, Keele University, ST5 5BG, UK
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