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Tranchante Mer, Mineure

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With all suppositions aside, this is my favorite song, if only for the reason that it is one of the first piano songs I have written. The opening phrase, two minutes long, if you were to watch the YouTube video, is dressed in peace and harmony. A deep philosophical chant that brought me back to my hitchhiking journey to Granby, Colorado to a festival (I can’t recall the name) way up in the mountains when I was right out of high school. Jesus, yes Jesus, was predicted to be there. We swam naked and chanted for three days, and as I’ve said, Jesus may have been there but just didn’t want to make a big deal about it., but he did not appear as we all expected him to. The second half of Trenchante Mer, Mineure is what I like about the prospect of jazz music and, if you watch the video, expresses what I think the music represents considering the beginning. Complicated piano chords (at least to me), an erratic snare drum recorded on the first take. This is one of those instances where the first take would be the best take no matter how many times you tried to make it better so I just left it alone. The ride cymbal and the hi-hat were added separately. The piano, all of it, amazingly had to be accomplished in one take - and it was. The French horn and the full brass were added lastly and locked everything together. I play a Fender P-bass, Yamaha P 125 piano, Unisynth electronic guitar fed into a Yamaha TX 81Z, Ludwig brass snare and Zildjian cymbals. Recorded on a Tascam Portastudio DP-24SD. NOTE: When in doubt ask. I asked George Rossi, my favorite piano player, from Syracuse, what piano chords I was playing in this tune. Here is how the conversation went.
Me - question 1: Hi there Georgie. I have some piano chord questions for you. Like if I were to ask you what chord these three notes make, maybe you could tell me. From lowest note to highest on my left hand: G# C# and E. And then I would ask about these on my right hand: C, D#, G#. And then I would ask, if these were played at the same time together, what chord might this be? I have more fun questions too. Thanks.

George Answer: 1. C# minor triad, 2nd inversion, or C#mi/5th in bass, or C#mi/G#. 2. G# Major Triad, 1st inversion...although technically, the spelling of "C" should be the enharmonic "B#"....same note though. Looks like "C"
3. Together? Some sort of polychord. You have a G# triad OVER a C#minor triad, so if I was to analyze the tones of the upper chord in relation to a C#minor triad (root, mi3rd, 5th) then the C would be the Major 7th, the D# would be the Major 9th, and the G# would be doubling the 5th of C#minor...thus defining the whole cluster as a C#Minor-Major 9th with G# in the bass (the 5th).
Cool chord. Anymore questions?

Me - question 2: Yes, left hand: A,D,E. Right hand: C,E,G. They are played together.
And then: LH: A, C, E. RH: C, D, G. Played together as well. I have a couple more. Do you mind? You can simplify the answer. That's ok. Just give me the left hand, the right hand and if combined they make something that would be nice.

On the next series the LH remains at: G,C,E. RTH progresses through these changes: G,C,E - B,D,G etc. So the LH stays and the right goes to: A,C,F then G,B,E then A,C,F B,D,G C,D,E C,E,G and then back to the beginning chords. That's all kids. Thanks for your assistance. Peace and Love from an old hippie.

George answer: Well again, poly chord.
The top chord is a straight C major triad, but could also function as the basic upper partials of an Am I chord...Ami7th to be exact.

In the left hand you have the interval of a perfect 5th in the outer voices (A and E) so you would have a perfectly voiced Ami7 chord....except for that pesky D note, which changes the whole ballgame.

If we call the D the tonal center and riot of the chord, we end up with a D11 chord. Its the James Taylor chord, usually used Harmonically on the V chord of a progression.

More simply, a C/D bass note. Easiest way to make 11chords is to play your target bass note, determine what the b7th is (a whole step below) and then with your right hand, play the major triad based on the b7th note. Voila! 11th chord (an 11th is just a pretty sus chord with the b7th and 9th added.

Example: Target: A (to make an A11th...usually used in the KEY of Db7 of A: G
Chord: any inversion of a G major triad (G, B, D) over an A bass note
So technically, you have a D11 with the fifth of the chord (A) in the bass.

Me: You’re such a nice person.