Memento - Analyis

First of all: I'm aware that it seems a pretty bad idea to analyze the music you wrote by yourself.

Doing so, you risk to be perceived as a musician that is steered “by her head”, rather than by her intuition. Using one's head is not a bad thing at all (I would consider anyone who thinks otherwise – well: headless?!). But an artist is supposed to follow her emotions rather than the “cold” working of her conscious mind. To conform with these expectations, I should keep my mouth shut.

To tell the truth: I don't think so much when playing my guitar or my violin, improvising on an attempt to come up with new ideas. What I do, though, is analyzing my playing afterwards (and writing it down, so I can get back to it later).

Nevertheless: here are some unsorted remarks to Memento:

  • The last verse of the choir is repeated twice: the introduction (minus the first two phrases of the solo-violin) is a variation, and so are the last few bars from the two guitars.
  • The first 4-bar pattern, in E-minor, played by the acoustic guitar, has a long breath: it continues until the solo of the distorted lead guitar ends – and it won't come back. The guitar solo prepares some new interpretations of the pure E-minor chord (it goes to B-major/A-minor). The string section picks up on these changes, when finally the basic harmonic structure “gives in”, and follows.
  • From that point, the chords get more and more “complicated”. At some point, the tempo slows down, with a melody presented by the acoustic guitar (plus bass & drums). In these eight bars, the melodic and harmonic material is introduced for almost all variations until the end.
  • There is a certain structure of rhythm: the entire section before the solo vocals kick in, is a straight 4/4, but structured as 3+3+2/8. In the first verse, there are some “breaks” in 3+2/8 (just “leaving out” one 3/8). The following passage leads from 3+3+2/8 to 3+3+3/8 (just “adding” one eight). The choir in the finale is a 9/8 (strictly “in time”, by the way – no tempo changes here), although the melody “hides” the simple meter.

    Choir Memento

  • Although I have to play to a click (all instruments are played “live”, but one after the other), the tempo is changing all the time. I spent a lot of time to build a “tempo-track” with my recording-software – I believe, this work pays off a great deal, and makes a lot of impact on the “live”-feel of the recording.