Thursday, April 12, 2007

75 percent

One of my favorite lyrics of all time: "I'm so happy. How do you write about that?" Anybody know it? By the way, Justin Scott has my admiration and respect for guessing "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" from my last post. Anonymous got it, too, but after Barrister Scott.

The other day, I was driving home as Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Tuesday's Gone" was gracing my radio. Afterward, the deejay commented that it was one of the few songs in that station's reportoire in 3/4 time. Since then, I've been thinking about it, and the only other song I could think of is the Animals' "House of the Rising Sun" (which may actually be in 6/8). Until this morning that is. I was belting out Billy Joel's "Piano Man" on the way to school this morning when Paul (the real estate novelist) told me it was in 3/4.

These are all three classic songs that have a special place in American culture and music history (at least "House" and "Piano Man"). Some psychologists and musicologists believe that there is a physiological basis behind why we like the music we do. I don't know about that, but I do know that most classic hymns (such as Amazing Grace) are in 3/4 and that most pop music is in 4/4. Could it be that the waltzy 3/4 rhythm catches our interest long after the 4/4 has faded into the background of life? Just wondering.

1 comment:

RG said...

Well, that would certainly explain why, dispite being one of the biggest Billy Joel fans EVER, I didn't particularly care for Piano Man at first, but then it grew on me and now I like it and can't say why.

I also knew the lyrics to Scenes from an Italian Restaurant, incidentally, but by the time I saw the post there Justin had already pulled it off. As proof, here is my reference to an obscure non-single after the same album, The Stranger, produced in 19...78, I think?

You got your passion, you got your pride
But don't you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don't imagine they'll all come true