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July 07, 2020



I think there's probably almost-always a little bit of baby-duck bonding, at least when you find something that does click with you for the very first time, but I'd suspect that key changes are innate; they *do something* to some people, and while it's possible that this is trained by situations which are accompanied by key changes, I suspect it's just a neurological thing in there somewhere.

Liking Plot rather than exclusively Poetry seems likely personality and time-of-life-based, although I guess appreciation could also be trained. (I like music with words and a plot/point best, then music with words next, then music without words; obviously, this is not a situation where every single song in category one wins over every single song in category two, but the situation is, uh, somewhat closer to that than I consider dignified/classy/defensible-as-good-taste.)

Anti-war: no clue, but fascinating.

Depressing topics with upbeat music: also, I suspect, a personality trait (taking personality as something which is partly innate but also changes over the course of life). Depressing+depressing is just a bit too much for some people (either too depressing in total, or, differently, hitting the "okay, c'mon, this is melodramatic and uncool" button); and many people have a personality that gets Just Plain Annoyed with people trying to exclusively show off silver linings. (I personally have a song-cheerfulness and song-dolefulness maximum over the duration of a music-listening session, but each maximum does sort of vary by what else is going on in my life and in the world and also whether the music is being used as motivation - if the music is helping me through a cleaning marathon, it is allowed to be 95% Perky, for reasons I do not entirely understand.)

And now you've got me wondering what my First Pop Song Exposure was - I have no idea...


KC - I think you are right about depression+depression - I get annoyed if anything is portrayed too heavily at one extreme. I also like Boothby Graffoe, who sings silly songs with dark pathos-filled instrumentation. I will have to research what happens to the brain during a key change.


I often get weird back-of-head skin tingles for 1. key changes and 2. choral vocals dropping into acapella, if I'm "immersed" in the music [if I'm chatting with someone while the car radio is on: reduced response to key changes]. I sort of assume *something* is poking *something* since this has been a thing with my body since before I knew what a key change was, but I don't know what, and haven't looked into it. If you do, please blog on it! :-)


KC - interesting - so like the ASMR head tingle? Do you get the tingles during ASMR?


KC - as for chills, Nessum Dorma gives me chills every time.


I have not found ASMR that causes tingles for me, but I have not looked very hard because the whispering and stuff bugs me. A friend suggested a couple of videos and... nope, not my jam. (I'm glad it works for pain relief and positive psychological effect for some people, though! And it would be lovely if it did for me as well, but not discernible effect aside from annoyance.)

I will have to look up Nessum Dorma!


Love Me Tender, Love Me Sweet. All My Dreams Fulfilled. That's the first pop song I remember--Elvis and I was seven. I dearly loved that song and walked around the house singing it, Now, I think I'm a clear-eyed cynic when it comes to love, but, then not fond of the song anymore either.


KC - you may remember it from America’s got Talent years back - a young man sang it and people lost their minds. I remember the part where the music swells and I just got chills from the memory. Go here and just listen to the singing - I don’t know what all the nonsense is in the video.


Arlene - yep, I think you would have to be as young as seven to believe “all my dreams fulfill.” I hear you.


Aha, legitimate opera singing! :-) Thank you for the link - who knows what I would have ended up with if I'd just gone searching. (Nussum Dorma as played on rubber chickens? Or sung by Muppets? Who knows?)


R:e seven year olds and unrealistic expectations for love. It was the fifties! There were many adult females that thought a man would fix their life. Even that having a man was essential to being a happy woman. I was very fortunate in running across "The Cinderella Complex" by Dowling about women's fear of independence. That book was a counterpoint to my father who didn't want me to learn to drive because (direct quote, as near as I can remember) "You don't need to learn to drive. Your husband will drive you to the grocery store"--that was in the late sixties. In the early seventies, I was part of a conscious-raising (Women's Lib) group in the seventies--those women taught me to drive. (And, that a woman could get an education.)

Hooray! Things have changed!


KC - I got full-body chills with that one.
Arlene - god bless. Mom Insisted I read every issue of Ms magazine as soon as she was finished with it. Libber and feminist were always good words when I grew up. And - Mom wrote “the first women’s libber” next to a description of, someone in a Trollope novel - Glencora, I think.


New reader, here. Your blog is Highlight Accidental Discovery of the Year, So Far (I have made this an official "thing", just now, because because).

On pro key changes: These are best referred to as "Manilows", as in Barry, who perfected this song-stretching, emotion-ramping method like none before or since.

Song too short? Add a Manilow, or two or three. Song eliciting an emotional resonance of "meh"? Manilow that bitch, right in the hook. You feel me on this, right?

Oh, yes - Billy was an influence in my budding (10yo) consciousness, too. Likewise other pop treats like "The Night Chicago Died", "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown", and "Spiders and Snakes".

Can't be sure how any of these influenced my thoughts about war, fire safety, or hanging out in rough parts with dangerous men/harmless reptiles. I don't support war, generally, but have been known to play with fire, dangerous men, and occasionally, men who turned out, in retrospect, to be kinda reptilian (don't recall if those were intersectional events or not).

Can be sure, however, that I was influenced by the Capital- S Storytelling of the era, along with such simple, sonic treats as Rock On (David Essex) or any of the Gary Wrights.

My real musical/cultural game-change came when I was (also) 12, in 1976 - at the intersection of my discovery of FM radio and the release of Steely Dan's "Aja".

Wow, just wow. And I still feel that way about it.


EssieDubya (Hello!) - You set me right off googling Barry Manilow key changes, which got me here: https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/music-theory/best-key-changes-pop-song/, which made me realize that I can get chills just reading about key changes. Then I remembered that the first pop concert I heard was not Little River Band, but Barry Manilow when he opened for Bette Midler. (Mom was a big Miss M. Fan.) And Aja - I only know Aja from the New York Times crossword. I only know Steely Dan from “Annandale” and the bit of trivia on where the name comes from. Still, I need to spend some time looking at the neurological reason why Barry can jack me around with the key changes. I suppose movement = energy, just like in a painting.

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