Aug 22, 2013

... I just remembered

This is a post script to the Remembering Memory post below. I forgot to mention the very short term impact of memory on local syntax. I am working with a melody that winds its way to a cadence on a Db. In the subsequent phrase, beginning in a way similar to the first phrase, that Db jumps in suddenly and, without the lead in, sounds out of place harmonically. But the memory of its recent, explained appearence gives it a sense, albeit peculiar sense, of intention. It has a comic effect, as if the reasonable answer to two questions in a row is the word roof but then roof is given as the answer to a third question or perhaps in the middle of the question where it is now a non-sequitor if taken out of the context of the previous two questions. Because we remember roof from the previous questions we can understand it as an odd fixation on the word roof. Perhaps we begin to wonder if the the first two questions which had roof as a reasonable answer were lucky questions. We thought the dog we were speaking with was very smart because we just happened to ask him what part of his house needed repair. It takes us a while to realize that he can only say the one word.

Anyway, had my Db not been prominent in the previous phrase it would simply be wrong – in a bad way – but since we remember it, it becomes wrong in a good way. Memory transforms it from a clinker into a blue note. (I have written about my fascination with wrong notes in Arcana 6 edited by John Zorn.) 

In this sense I suppose pedal tones are all dependent on memory as they become less concordant with the surroundings.