• E.M.G.

Comments about “Minor differences”:

Mis à jour : 17 févr. 2018

Listen to the Guitar version: https://youtu.be/USUk0k5g_IM

Listen to the Piano version: https://youtu.be/YLMzwaUNfIg


As the title says, and like most of music pieces written in minor keys, this Bossa Nova uses all three minor scales. The title deals with the available chord scales for the solo: natural, melodic and harmonic minor scales. Or maybe the word “minor” has a double meaning…

This Bossa can be divided in two parts: the first part (A) from measure 1 to 10 (or 16 since the A section is played two times), and B from measure 11 to 18 (a section called “the bridge” in AABA forms).


The A section:

Measures 1 to 4: The antecedent: The melody is made up of 2 parts of 2 measures. It begins with an upward fifth (from the dominant E, mi, to B, si), then goes down to the tonic A (the main tone is A minor) and plays a B in measure 2. Measure 3 is the same as measure 1, but in measure 4, the melody goes up to the E, and stays on this pitch throughout most of measure 5, when occurs a modulation to the subdominant D minor.


Measures 5 to 8: The consequent: The beginning of the melody between measures 4 and 5 is the same as in measure 1, but this time it is transposed to the key of D minor. After a D minor chord used both as a tonic chord of the D minor key and as a subdominant of the A minor key, the tune comes back to the A minor key. Notice that in measure 5 and 6 the shape of the main melody is kept, despite the stepwise downward movement from E to B.

In measures 7 and 8, the motif is almost the same as in measures 1 and 2, but this time the harmony is II-7b5 and V7b9, so as to come back to the tonic and repeat the part A. Notice that the melody in the two last measures of the A section is almost the same as in measures 7 and 8, except the two last notes which were inverted, in order to end the section. Also note that the antecedent and the consequent almost have the same rhythm. This rhythm is common in Bossa Nova.


What is interesting in this first part is to see how Ted Pease manages to create an antecedent and a consequent phrase just by bringing small modifications in a simple melodic motif (a two measures melody), and by using different chords to harmonize the dominant and the tonic. In measure 5, a first modification brings a climax (the highest note of the part A), the end of the antecedent (a breath), and the modulation to the subdominant key. In measure 5, a second modification brings us back to the A minor key. And in measures 8 and 16, the end of the motif slightly differs from measure 2, so as to come back to the first measure, or to end the section.


The B section:

Listening to the melody of the first measure of the part B (measure 11 or 17), we can notice that it is the same two measures melody as in measure 5 (a stepwise downward motif). But since the rhythm is the same as in part A and last 4 measures, we can divide this section in 2 groups of 4 measures. However, this motif is now used in the keys of C major, Eb major and Bb major.


The D minor chord in the first measure of part B, as it was the case in measure 5, has a dual role: it belongs to the key of A minor as much as it does to the key of C major (the relative major key of A minor). It is a good way to go to from the key of A minor to C major. The C minor chord in measure 15 could be understood the same way: a “bridge” between Eb major and Bb major.


At last, the melody could be summed up as follows:

Part A:

Measures 1 to 4: B, B, B and E are the most important notes.

Measures 5 to 8: E, A, B and B

Part B:

Measures 11 to 14: A, G, G and G

Measures 15 to 18: G, F, G and G

What is amazing in Minor differences is to see how Ted Pease composes a whole tune just with a two measures motif, by changing its intervals and using diatonic transposition, while keeping the same rhythm. As a result, it brings unity and variety to the music.


About the EMG guitar and piano version:

The purpose of those guitar and piano versions is to provide an arrangement with the bass, chords and the melody, using Bossa nova rhythms and fourth in the solo section and the coda. Just before the coda, so as to conclude and contrast with the bossa feeling, the part A is played back with arpeggios in a slower tempo.

In the solo section, harmonic 4th are interesting because it sometimes provides incomplete chords or unexpected notes, while the bass is still playing the root of the chord of the moment.

In the guitar version, as an introduction we can hear a line-cliché on the A minor chord. The piano introduction is only the same chords changes as the first 4 measures, while the right hand is playing 4th.

To accompany the melody (the lead), an intermediate voice plays some chosen chord notes together with it every time a new chord appears.

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