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IT MUST BE A CAMEL ANALYSIS
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neilsladee
Joined: 2018-08-22
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Location: Denver
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Post 2018-08-23 02:47   [Quote] 
I've just uploaded a detailed analysis and video for IT MUST BE A CAMEL

I am a professional musician, since 1972, piano, saxophone, guitar.

Text analysis here:
http://www.neilslade.com/ItMustBeACamel.html

Accompanying video here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHDpjDXp_Vk

Please enjoy

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oofers
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Post 2018-08-23 15:47   [Quote] 
neilsladee wrote:
I've just uploaded a detailed analysis and video for IT MUST BE A CAMEL

I am a professional musician, since 1972, piano, saxophone, guitar.

Text analysis here:
http://www.neilslade.com/ItMustBeACamel.html

Accompanying video here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHDpjDXp_Vk

Please enjoy


Nice breakdown of the song. I, too, never noticed it was a waltz.

Just my opinion -- this kind of analysis is really missing something when there is no accompanying transcription.
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polydigm
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Post 2018-08-23 23:06   [Quote] 
To state the obvious, in this particular case, there is the transcription in the Hot Rats guitar book.

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Post 2018-08-24 17:36   [Quote] 
polydigm wrote:
To state the obvious, in this particular case, there is the transcription in the Hot Rats guitar book.

I've always had a love-hate relationship with those transcription books that focus solely on guitar. If you're looking at Metallica or something then sure, it's great. The solos are generally more accurate than any tab-only affair you'd find online for free.

But for example, the OP who analyzed this song mentions it opens with a "bass duet with the drums" and of course there's no bass transcribed at all in the Hot Rats guitar book. What *is* transcribed gets to the other aspect I hate about guitar-only transcriptions -- the whole "keyboard arranged for guitar" thing. That invariably means the part is not truly accurate because concessions must often be made to translate a piano voicing to a 6-string guitar. Why not just transcribe it for piano? It's because of the mindset of "our readers only play guitar so we'll change the very nature of the orchestration for them". And by "readers", I am referring to the fact that this practice arose from the guitar magazines of the 80s and 90s that included 5 or so transcribed songs in each issue.
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polydigm
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Post 2018-08-26 03:34   [Quote] 
I agree that the four FZ guitar transcription books are a poor substitute for proper student scores. FZ himself did not have this problem. When he was studying his composers of interest, Stravinsky, Varèse et al, full student scores would have been available.

The best score I have is an arrangement of Strictly Genteel for percussion ensemble, produced by this guy called Mike Myers. He was provided with scores from FZ himself in order to make it as accurate as possible. It is very detailed. This guy has produced a bunch of others, some also with the help of either FZ, or by transcribing himself. Alien Orifice; the medley from Make a Jazz Noise Here of Let's Make The Water Turn Black, Harry, You're a Beast, The Orange County Lumber Truck, and Oh No; RDNZL; Regyptian Strut; a portion of Sinister Footwear 2nd Movt; Sofa #1 from ZINY; We Are Not Alone; Wet T-Shirt Night.

I'm not promoting this guy. He is selling these, not giving them away for free, but they all cost what would be expected in the music industry for the work that's gone into producing these arrangements.

Mike Myers Percussion Ensembles

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oofers
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Post 2018-08-26 14:44   [Quote] 
polydigm wrote:
I agree that the four FZ guitar transcription books are a poor substitute for proper student scores. FZ himself did not have this problem. When he was studying his composers of interest, Stravinsky, Varèse et al, full student scores would have been available.

The best score I have is an arrangement of Strictly Genteel for percussion ensemble, produced by this guy called Mike Myers. He was provided with scores from FZ himself in order to make it as accurate as possible. It is very detailed. This guy has produced a bunch of others, some also with the help of either FZ, or by transcribing himself. Alien Orifice; the medley from Make a Jazz Noise Here of Let's Make The Water Turn Black, Harry, You're a Beast, The Orange County Lumber Truck, and Oh No; RDNZL; Regyptian Strut; a portion of Sinister Footwear 2nd Movt; Sofa #1 from ZINY; We Are Not Alone; Wet T-Shirt Night.

I'm not promoting this guy. He is selling these, not giving them away for free, but they all cost what would be expected in the music industry for the work that's gone into producing these arrangements.

Mike Myers Percussion Ensembles


Mike Myers.... loved him in SNL.

But seriously -- I went to the site and the first thing I saw was Alien Orifice. Looking at the sample score, I see it notated in 4/4 and the melody instruments have a 12:8 tuplet in measure 4. This is really just all normal triplets, 12 events in the space of 4 quarters. In fact, the drum part for the same measure is written like that (all triplets), and yes, all the note heads line up. I dunno, maybe there is some reason for the 12:8 tuplet and unusual beaming there, but seeing this raises red flags for me right away.

Any session-type guy trying to sight read this has to have that unnecessary moment of discovery of "oh wait, forget this 12:8 business, this is really just triplets." No score should obfuscate the truth like that. Just my opinion.
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polydigm
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Post 2018-08-26 16:28   [Quote] 
That's not obfuscation. That phrase is not played as just four triplets. The beat grouping is 3 4 2 3. I can't imagine any serious musician having trouble with that. If you play that as straight triplets, you destroy the feel that FZ intended.

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Post 2018-08-26 17:46   [Quote] 
polydigm wrote:
That's not obfuscation. That phrase is not played as just four triplets. The beat grouping is 3 4 2 3. I can't imagine any serious musician having trouble with that. If you play that as straight triplets, you destroy the feel that FZ intended.


I'm not saying it's intentional obfuscation, it is just the result. I'm saying it was a notational decision, made for some I reason that I just don't understand.

But it is absolutely the same as a group of four triplets in 4/4 time. Notice how it lines up with the noteheads of the quarter note bass marimba below it. The percussion, drums, and melody are absolutely in rhythmic unison. But for some reason, as I said, not notational unison.

After all, 12:8 means "12 in the space of 8". In this case eight notes. That's equivalent to triplets.
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pbuzby
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Post 2018-08-26 17:54   [Quote] 
Was it notated 3 4 2 3 in the parts Barfko Swill sold?
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oofers
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Post 2018-08-26 19:06   [Quote] 
pbuzby wrote:
Was it notated 3 4 2 3 in the parts Barfko Swill sold?

That's what I was wondering. If so, it still leaves me perplexed, but at least then we know it was FZ's intention.

Since it really is just all triplets, it is purely just an issue of how it appears on the page. All I can think is that the unusual beaming reflects some sort of way to conceptualize the phrasing of the melody.
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drdork
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Post 2018-08-26 19:15   [Quote] 
pbuzby wrote:
Was it notated 3 4 2 3 in the parts Barfko Swill sold?

Yes, at least in the guitar part.
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polydigm
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Post 2018-08-26 22:54   [Quote] 
oofers wrote:
polydigm wrote:
That's not obfuscation. That phrase is not played as just four triplets. The beat grouping is 3 4 2 3. I can't imagine any serious musician having trouble with that. If you play that as straight triplets, you destroy the feel that FZ intended.

I'm not saying it's intentional obfuscation, it is just the result . I'm saying it was a notational decision, made for some I reason that I just don't understand.
I explained why. Because the beat grouping is 3 4 2 3. He could have written those as triplets with accents above the third, fourth, eighth and tenth quaver, but a musician that's studied polyrhythms would know how to switch from the 4/4 quaver feel to the 12/8 quaver in the same time feel and shift the accents. After playing contrasting rhythms for a while you can easily shift between the two beat speeds and the grouping doesn't faze you. To me the grouping as is reads better than accented triplets, because they're not intended as triplets.
oofers wrote:
But it is absolutely the same as a group of four triplets in 4/4 time. Notice how it lines up with the noteheads of the quarter note bass marimba below it. The percussion, drums, and melody are absolutely in rhythmic unison. But for some reason, as I said, not notational unison.
That melody does not sound like triplets and I think that's the point.
oofers wrote:
After all, 12:8 means "12 in the space of 8". In this case eight notes. That's equivalent to triplets.
Equivalent in a purely mathematical sense, maybe. Let's say you had a piece in 12/8, but wanted the accents in a particular one bar musical phrase grouped to 3 4 2 3. Rhythmically, the feel is a bar of 7/8 followed by a bar of 5/8 and the 20th century is replete with such examples. To me it's the other way around. The triplets would obfuscate the intention.

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superjudge
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Post 2018-08-27 00:43   [Quote] 
polydigm wrote:
oofers wrote:
polydigm wrote:
That's not obfuscation. That phrase is not played as just four triplets. The beat grouping is 3 4 2 3. I can't imagine any serious musician having trouble with that. If you play that as straight triplets, you destroy the feel that FZ intended.

I'm not saying it's intentional obfuscation, it is just the result . I'm saying it was a notational decision, made for some I reason that I just don't understand.
I explained why. Because the beat grouping is 3 4 2 3. He could have written those as triplets with accents above the third, fourth, eighth and tenth quaver, but a musician that's studied polyrhythms would know how to switch from the 4/4 quaver feel to the 12/8 quaver in the same time feel and shift the accents. After playing contrasting rhythms for a while you can easily shift between the two beat speeds and the grouping doesn't faze you. To me the grouping as is reads better than accented triplets, because they're not intended as triplets.
oofers wrote:
But it is absolutely the same as a group of four triplets in 4/4 time. Notice how it lines up with the noteheads of the quarter note bass marimba below it. The percussion, drums, and melody are absolutely in rhythmic unison. But for some reason, as I said, not notational unison.
That melody does not sound like triplets and I think that's the point.
oofers wrote:
After all, 12:8 means "12 in the space of 8". In this case eight notes. That's equivalent to triplets.
Equivalent in a purely mathematical sense, maybe. Let's say you had a piece in 12/8, but wanted the accents in a particular one bar musical phrase grouped to 3 4 2 3. Rhythmically, the feel is a bar of 7/8 followed by a bar of 5/8 and the 20th century is replete with such examples. To me it's the other way around. The triplets would obfuscate the intention.


There's a difference between phrasing and just accentuating certain notes.
Accents work if you're going for a distinct rhythmic effect or you want certain notes to stand out.
When shaping a phrase, you don't accent the first note in every group as if it had an accent on it.
Also, how you group it doesn't just affect how you play the first note in every group but the following notes as well.
There's a subtle difference between something as simple as a group of 4 with accents on 1 and 3 and two groups of 2.
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oofers
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Post 2018-08-27 02:07   [Quote] 
polydigm wrote:
explained why. Because the beat grouping is 3 4 2 3.

I guess we just have to disagree. You're also vague on your terms, "beat grouping" doesn't mean anything to me. Beaming, on the other hand, is a purely notational construct and I find it odd here. No point is discussing this with you, as we have now seen proof that this is how Zappa notated it. And sorry, but I do hear this as triplets when I count here. Just as I hear the drums as triplets. I even slowed the track from FZMTMOP to 50% and followed along with the score, looking for accents or whatever it is you're saying makes that notation necessary, and sorry, but I just don't hear it.

My original point is that it's harder to read than straight triplets. And I also mentioned it's incongruence, given the drums do not share this unusual beaming.

As I said, I am sure there must be a reason why, but unless you channel the disembodied spirit of FZ, I don't think we'll know.

And although I don't think this is the case here, all you need to do is look at some of the transcriptions of the FZ Guitar Book to know that it is indeed possible to "over"-notate to the point of obfuscation.

Personally, and I am a good sight reader if I do say so myself, I would rather read straight triplets with accents placed wherever, as opposed to an unsual beaming with "12:8" over the whole measure. After all, the pulse underneath is a swung reggae 4/4 and seeing an accent over, say, the second note of the second group of triplets is more meaningful (to me) than having to figure out where I am in relation to the pulse based purely on an odd beaming choice.

But hey, that's just me.
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polydigm
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Post 2018-08-27 16:11   [Quote] 
superjudge wrote:
There's a subtle difference between something as simple as a group of 4 with accents on 1 and 3 and two groups of 2.
How ever poor my explanation may seem to be, isn't that my point? When I listen to that phrase I hear 3 4 2 3, I don't hear 3 3 3 3.

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