Love Thing (from Crystal Planet, 1998)
Listen to Love thing: https://youtu.be/5WvJzg0hz_E
Here is a Solo Guitar transcription of this tune originally written (in the E major key) for Drums, Bass, Solo and rhythmic Guitar. In this piece, the type of composition could be compared to the Pat Metheny style of music (or what is called Fusion Jazz/Rock) and could remind the sound of the 80’s. Indeed, there is no change of keys, but rather changes of modes: there isn’t V to I progressions but rather modal chord changes within the same E major key signature. Moreover, note the use of chords changes over a pedal bass. That’s also why one characteristic of this tune is the 8th notes root bass which keeps a strong harmonic coherence.
As it’s used several times in the piece between each part, this introduction rather sounds like a chorus. It is made of a 2 measures pattern repeated 4 times.
Measures 1 and 2 are like 5 and 6. This 2 measures pattern is based on the EM tonic chord (IM). Played over a tonic pedal bass (E), the riff begins from E and then divides in two stepwise lines: the most treble going upward (E, F#, G#) and the over downward (E, D#, C#, B). As a result, over the tonic pedal bass, there are 2 passing chords (BM and AM7) between the 2 EM chords in measures 1 and 2.
In measure 4, note the change of harmony on the second part of the riff (G#-7 instead of EM). That’s why in measure 4 the F# in the melody doesn’t sound the same as the F# in measure 3: a major 7th instead of a major 9th. That’s why measures 3 and 4 are relatively more unstable than measures 1 and 2.
Measures 7 and 8 sound more conclusive. Some modifications are brought to the original pattern: only the downward line is kept (E, D#, C#, B). Moreover, note that this time it is played as a treble line. This line is accompanied with parallel 6th (G#, F# and E). Measure 7 uses the C#-7 and AM chords. Between those 2 chords, note the passing BM chord.
Note the common chord tones G# and B between IM (EM) and III- (G#-), and E and G#, B between IM and VI-7 (C#-7).
This introduction is played twice. However, before the 2nd time, note a 9th additional measure in which we only ear the bass playing the tonic.
The second time, measures 7 and 8 are repeated (in 18 and 19).
This 4 measures theme is built on the chords BM, C#-, EM/G# (or G#-), AM7. This may sound in the A Lydian mode (the same notes as the E major scale but “beginning” on A). This theme starts with a stepwise downward pattern from B to F#. Then the melody turns around G# over the C#- chord. After a pause on E over the G#- chord (or EM/G#), it follows a downward stepwise motion from G# to G#, the major 7th of AM7.
From measures 24 to 27, this theme is repeated with some harmonic modifications: chords are now BM, C#-, AM7, G#- . Also note that an additional G#- measure appears (measure 28). Concerning the melody, measures 24 and 25 are the same as 20 and 21. In 26 and 27, it differs from 22 and 23 and goes farther in the treble register (note the use of C# over the G#- chord, the 11th).
From 29 to 36, the introduction-chorus is repeated. Note the questions and answers between rhythmic and solo Guitars.
Solo (on a re-harmonization of the theme): measures 37 to 52
Measures 37 to 40 are built on a 4 measures stepwise modal chords progression (F#-, G#-7, AM, G#-). Then, 41 to 44 use F#-, G#-7 and C#-. This may sound in the C# Aeolian mode. In measures 37-38 and 39-40, the melody is roughly a rhythmic reduction of the measure 13 theme pattern (the beginning of the theme).
Improvisation really begins in measure 42. This solo is mainly based on the E major pentatonic scale (E, F#, G#, B, C#). In measure 43, note the use of fast triplets of 16th notes. In measure 51, a ternary pattern (G#, G#, B) is played with a binary rhythm of 16th notes. As a result, the 3 notes are accentuated on a rotating basis.
Measures 53 to 68:
The solo goes on, but this time it is played over the theme chord progression (measures 20 to 23). This one is repeated 4 times. However note that in 53 and 54, the head of the theme is repeated so as to keep unity and coherence. By the way, the head on the theme is repeated at the beginning of each chords progression: in measures 57 and 58, 31 and 62.
Once again, the rhythmic process of measure 51 is used again in measure 55 (ternary melodic group of notes played with binary rhythm). In measure 60, it is the opposite: this time this is a binary group of 2 notes which is played with a ternary rhythm (triplets of 16th notes).
At last, so as to end the solo, the 2nd part of the theme (24 to 27) is repeated in measures 65 to 68. Once again, an additional measure appears (69).
In measures 70 to 79, the introduction-chorus is played again as if it was a Coda.
Finally, what is interesting in this piece is:
The form (chorus, theme, chorus, solo (on a kind of “bridge”), solo on the theme, chorus)
An easily recognizable theme
Modal chords progressions (chords over pedal bass in the chorus, stepwise and/or modal progressions)
Ternary pattern with binary rhythm (or the opposite)
Use of melodic tensions (9 over EM, #11 over AM7, 11 over G#-7…)
One additional measure at the end of each part, in which the last chord of the section is repeated. It increases suspense and escapes from a too much “symmetric” structure.