Talkin' Blues: Utilizing Unresolved Harmonic Tension to Create Dark, Eerie Music
The following content is related to the December 2012 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.
Last month we looked at some examples of blues phrasing with chromatic passing tones leading to strong chord-tone resolutions, but such neat-and-tidy phrases are only one side of the chromatic picture. On the other side is unresolved tension, i.e. deliberately delaying or avoiding consonant resolutions to create dissonance that evokes feelings of darkness and danger. This sound entered the realm of American pop music in the Fifties through sexy, smoky epics like the Viscounts’ “Harlem Nocturne” and the themes for TV detective series like Peter Gunn and Perry Mason, which paralleled edgy, urban noir (“black”) trends in fiction and film.
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