Riders on the Rainbow

These major key transpositions of famous songsLosing My Religion, Nothing Else Matters, Riders on the Storm and Minor Swing – by “Major Scaled TV” are both technologically brilliant (not just covers, that actually is Jim Morrison’s voice singing in a major key) but also shift the way you think about the music.

Incredible work.

15 responses to “Riders on the Rainbow

  1. Works like this are a main reason I support the right of artists to use existing music to create new, transformative works. I’m a big fan of The Kleptones for this; nothing he creates detracts from the originals, but often draws attention back to aspects of them that time & overexposure have dulled.

  2. Awesome, we’ve discovered a scientific method of converting every song ever into dopey indie rock. Next, try Adagio for Strings.

    Just kidding. That’s actually really cool. I’d like a universal transposer app for my phone, are they working on one?

  3. narcoticmusing

    While I think the technology is neat and agree with dante that artists should be able to access/use other artists work – for me, this was vandalism of several masterpieces. It removed the souls of the works and pumped out lobotomised indie-pop. No thought. No emotion. I shudder at the thought of what they might do to Chet Baker. With these versions, for me, the thrill is gone.

  4. I saw that some people reacted with horror. I don’t see why these replace the originals or should taint them – to me they just show a different spin on them, and highlight some of the choices that were made in the original even more clearly by contrast.

    Sadly, given there are only four of these over a year, I suspect there’s no app, and it’s just a painstaking process of assessing each bar and carefully altering the parts that need altering to change key.

  5. Wisdom Like Silence

    I think you raise a good point Jeremy. What I want to know is why the Major Scaled TV wont sit down with the relevant stake holders and the Record Companies to have a frank exchange of views. Until they do this, nothing can be done. And nothing will be done because they then run the risk of the other guys taking credit.

    For Narc

  6. narcoticmusing

    Wis is the true artist here.

  7. I don’t think the results are great as pieces of art, but they’re really interesting as music theory pedagogy – to a non-musician it really illustrates how much difference the (relatively straightforward) change from a minor to major key makes.

    Reminds me seeing Amanda Palmer talk about the controversy over Oasis – she said something along the lines of “If I’d had the exact same lyrics set to a minor key and a slightly more downbeat tempo no one would have had the slightest problem……” Of course a large part of what makes that song great is that its in a major key.

    “Sadly, given there are only four of these over a year, I suspect there’s no app, and it’s just a painstaking process of assessing each bar and carefully altering the parts that need altering to change key.”

    Seems like the kind of application that might not be automatable now but probably will be in a few years time.

  8. narcoticmusing

    For me there is just very little art in it – it is a technical/mechanical transposition that is relatively simple for any good musician – so this technological feat, while admittedly impressive, is something any musician could do on the fly and isn’t art – there is no recreation. I’ve been a musician for a long, long time and while I”m not one of those freakish savants, this is pretty straight forward and not really artistic without further re-interpretation and/or ownership. There is no making it a new thing here. For me, this is merely transposition. Like a literal translation rather than an interpretation. A black and white photocopy rather than trying to paint the same picture which would then incorporate the new painters particular nuances and inspirations.

    Far more art in watching an artist re-interpret an existing song and really making it their own, like Johnny Cash’s amazing rendition of Reznor’s “Hurt”. Or the haunting interpretation of Puff the Magic Dragon by Tori Amos.

    So while the work was impressive, it was, for me, harsh and irritating like a fabulous painting printed photocopied with a dull monochrome. Perhaps I just prefer the minor keys so this just irritated me. Much of my music is in a minor key so maybe I’m just overlaying my own preferential interpretations [shrug].

  9. Wisdom Like Silence

    They feel like a Baz Luhrman version of Shakespeare. I enjoy those movies, so I like these as well.

  10. narcoticmusing

    I love the visuals of R&J (an amazing score also, too bad about the horrid soundtrack though), but I didn’t like the film as a whole. Every time I go to watch it (usually after recalling those fabulous visuals and wanting to watch it) I’m bored in seconds and turn it off. Go figure.

  11. Wisdom Like Silence

    I love campy things that are self aware enough to know that they’re campy.

  12. narcoticmusing

    So then you love Flash Gordon? (This post was made in Mongo Mean Time).

  13. zaratoothbrush

    These clips, interesting as they are, have taught me the value of the minor key. I hope they find some interesting major key songs and give them the minor treatment instead.

  14. Jim Morrison looks just like Val Kilmer in that video. It’s uncanny.

  15. zaratoothbrush

    My prayer was answered. Here’s a major-to-minor reworking of The Beatles’ Hey Jude. It’s clearly the wrong key for this song, but there are some really sweet moments.

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