Blue-icide March 23, 2007 7:21 AM   Subscribe

You guys are totally bumming me out.
posted by hermitosis to MetaFilter-Related at 7:21 AM (61 comments total)

Does MetaFilter need a hug?
posted by hermitosis at 7:23 AM on March 23, 2007


Did you mean to link to the mass suicide thread?
posted by Aloysius Bear at 7:23 AM on March 23, 2007


Third link should have been this.

*Shoots self*
posted by hermitosis at 7:24 AM on March 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, that was the shortest MeTa thread yet. Next.
posted by eriko at 7:26 AM on March 23, 2007


*Shoots self*

Be sure to film it, asshole
posted by prostyle at 7:36 AM on March 23, 2007


Alas, poor Hermitosis. I knew him, mathowie...
posted by jonmc at 7:43 AM on March 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Just contemplate the synchronous posting of similar themes and don't worry about the morbid side of it. Contemplating synchrony is always fun, unless of course you're doing it instead of jumping out of the way of an oncoming bus or something. But even then it might be interesting.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:44 AM on March 23, 2007


Finality Friday
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 7:46 AM on March 23, 2007


Hey hermitosis, why don'tcha put the gun away, mop up that blood and check out a couple of the happier posts that are sandwiched between all the blue death today?

Cheer up, man! You've got your whole life ahead of you!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:47 AM on March 23, 2007


Might as well, since apparently I missed.
posted by hermitosis at 7:49 AM on March 23, 2007


Ha Ha!
posted by loquacious at 7:54 AM on March 23, 2007


Man, if _I_ fucked up a link in a metatalk post, I'd probably kill myself.
posted by empath at 8:06 AM on March 23, 2007


I guess MetaFilter is feeling a little.... BLUE.
posted by Mach5 at 8:09 AM on March 23, 2007


Look, it may bring on many changes, but suicide is painless, so I can take or leave it if I please.

The way I look at it, the game of life is hard to play and I'm gonna lose it anyway, because the losing card I'll someday lay.

I guess that's all I have to say.
posted by OmieWise at 8:13 AM on March 23, 2007


Does anyone ever ponder why The Blues are played primarily in E? I think it has something to to with the fact that there isn't a halftone between E and F and so it represents a kind of stopping point on the progression to the next higher octave. Getting stuck there without moving past E to F is both the symptom and cause of The Blues. It takes some kind of extra push to go through.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:14 AM on March 23, 2007


Does anyone ever ponder why The Blues are played primarily in E?

Easiest key for guitarists. That's all.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:22 AM on March 23, 2007


Anybody ever ponder why the Blues are blue?

Some day I'll tell you.
posted by jamjam at 8:27 AM on March 23, 2007


That is such an excellent question, burhanistan. Seriously.

Thinking about it: E is a great 'home key' for the guitar. The lowest note possible in standard tuning is the root note of the E chord and the lowest note in the key. So it allows for the greatest possible use of the fretboard range. A lot of the open strings work comfortably into the key, meaning you can slide up and down on one string and drone or accent with a lot of the others without complicated fingerings.

I'm sure there are a lot of other musicological reasons why E is such a popular blues key, but I've never even thought about that basic question before. Way to strip back assumptions and figure something out about how a tradition evolved.
posted by Miko at 8:27 AM on March 23, 2007


Can't take it, never could
Time to end it, wish you would
Friends and family, they're all gone
Life for you is just a con
Dig yourself a hole in the ground
Push up daisies six feet down
Take a dirt nap, buy the farm
Inject a bubble in your arm!
posted by The Straightener at 8:29 AM on March 23, 2007


That's definitely part of it, flap, but it's still cultural -- most new guitarists today start (in lessons) by learning the G key, because guitar teachers don't want to have to teach barre chords right off the bat, and because soooo, soooo many basic pop and rock songs are in G.

Of course there are loads in E too, but that barre chord really scares people away.

In really deep traditional blues, there's not much playing of full chords, though, so it probably wasn't a problem. Instead, there must be /must have been a pretty interesting teaching process about what fingering combinations go together, since chord structure was less important than combining individual notes from the scale. Looking at how the guitar was taught in a folk/trad context, especially in blues, would be a really interesting project.
posted by Miko at 8:31 AM on March 23, 2007


Oh no, I just spilled a jumbo soft drink down the front of my "BIG FUN" T-shirt.
posted by BE ADEQUITE at 8:32 AM on March 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


Looking at how the guitar was taught in a folk/trad context, especially in blues, would be a really interesting project.

That it would.

You hear about the blues musician who died in the night? He sang: "Didn't wake up, this morning..."
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:40 AM on March 23, 2007


And y'know what? Fuck it, I'm gonna link to a blues that I just posted to MeFiMusic the other day. It's a one-chord blues, real primitive-like. And it's in... what else? E!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:44 AM on March 23, 2007


f a m-That's a good song.
posted by OmieWise at 8:51 AM on March 23, 2007


All right. Now that's what the blues is about. About taking a bad thing and making it sound good. About taking a bunch of depressing death and suicide posts and turning it into a link to a new f_a_m song. That's right. Tell 'em. All right now.
posted by Miko at 8:53 AM on March 23, 2007


nothing like a fine spring day to turn a young man's thoughts to... suicide
posted by edgeways at 9:29 AM on March 23, 2007


I just woke up, what is going on here?

</dormouse>
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:35 AM on March 23, 2007


Hehe, are you like Norman the Doorman? Man, I loved that book.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:39 AM on March 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Miko
Bleeding Gums Murphy: "The blues isn't about feelin' better. It's about makin' other people feel worse and makin' a few bucks while you're at it."
posted by Sangermaine at 9:39 AM on March 23, 2007


OmieWise, glad you like the song. (One of these days I'm gonna post my version of the ballad your username is taken from, which is a tune I've been doing for a few years now, but have yet to record...)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:58 AM on March 23, 2007


Dear God, it's spread to AskMe.
posted by Aloysius Bear at 10:10 AM on March 23, 2007


Sorry, jess. I know it must seem like Mary Poppins turning her back for a minute and suddenly all the kids are flying up chimneys.

To recap, I was fascinated by all the suicide dominating the blue-- so much that I mixed up the links in the posting. My resulting penitent gesture resulted in a storm of concerned emails from various MeFites and rubberneckers, prompting me to keep commenting so that people wouldn't send flowers to my family or anything. Now we're talking about the blues, and how they hurt so good. Does that help?
posted by hermitosis at 10:11 AM on March 23, 2007


How can I miss you
When you won't go away?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:23 AM on March 23, 2007


And this is why MeTa threads should stay open. Cool thread!
posted by knave at 10:24 AM on March 23, 2007


All you need to cheer up is to realise that Season 2 of Twin Peaks is coming out soon, a blog about green jello tuna food things from the 50's exists and that jonmc has posted a (metric) fuckton of inspired music choices for you to browse through and sample.

It's a good time to be alive and on metafilter.
posted by slimepuppy at 10:46 AM on March 23, 2007


Hey, cool! For those of you still sheltering a tiny spark of hope in the enduring human spirit, we've now provded a nice cannibalism thread.
posted by Miko at 10:47 AM on March 23, 2007


"Does anyone ever ponder why The Blues are played primarily in E?"

"It's part of a trilogy, a musical trilogy I'm working on in D ... minor, which is the saddest of all keys, I find. People weep instantly when they hear it, and I don't know why. "
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:50 AM on March 23, 2007


A lot of the very spookiest, most haunting traditional songs are in D modals...Dorian being pretty popular, I think. It's long been on my to-do list to sit down and figure out what's what, on the theory side, with the modes. I don't really understand them well, though you know a modal tune when you hear one.
posted by Miko at 10:56 AM on March 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Miko: These books (the second one isn't exactly mainstream thought) might be of service to you, in an oblique way, of learning more about the tonal effects of music.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:22 AM on March 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Does anyone ever ponder why The Blues are played primarily in E?"

A lot of old timey blues guitar stuff was played in open tunings, usually either open E or open G.
posted by jefbla at 11:25 AM on March 23, 2007


(One of these days I'm gonna post my version of the ballad your username is taken from, which is a tune I've been doing for a few years now, but have yet to record...)

I can't wait for that. I have an evident fondness for that one.
posted by OmieWise at 11:25 AM on March 23, 2007


That Harmonograph books looks astounding.
posted by Miko at 11:30 AM on March 23, 2007


I have that harmonograph book, if it's the one I'm thinking it is. It's very cool.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:41 AM on March 23, 2007


It's Phear Phriday!
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:22 PM on March 23, 2007


That's definitely part of it, flap, but it's still cultural -- most new guitarists today start (in lessons) by learning the G key, because guitar teachers don't want to have to teach barre chords right off the bat, and because soooo, soooo many basic pop and rock songs are in G.

But a standard-tuned guitar gives you all the notes of the E minor pentatonic scale (which is of course are the same as those of the G major pentatonic scale, which explains that keys popularity with pop and country guitarists).

Anyhow, lots of "classic" blues were played in more horn and piano friendly keys like Bb or Eb.

Of course there are loads in E too, but that barre chord really scares people away.

E, A, B7: don't need no steenkin' barre chords.
posted by timeistight at 12:47 PM on March 23, 2007


Anybody ever ponder why the Blues are blue?

There was a 19th turn of phrase about having the blue devils to desribe the experience of melacholy.

A lot of old timey blues guitar stuff was played in open tunings, usually either open E or open G.

Open G is the easiest key with which to teach alternating bass blues finger picking. But then, Open D works just as well. Barre chords are a piece of cake either way and you can learn to play slide zippity bop.

Tuning to Open D or G, of course, is tuning to the equivalent of a fretted E or A. If you slack the strings, you go to Open D or Open G, if you raise the strings, you go to Open E or A. And, for a fact, A is another great blues key in Standard tuning.
posted by y2karl at 1:58 PM on March 23, 2007

Blue Devils,

or A fit of the blues. A fit of spleen, low spirits. Roach and Esquirol affirm, from observation, that indigo dyers are especially subject to melancholy; and that those who dye scarlet are choleric. Paracelsus also asserts that blue is injurious to the health and spirits. There may, therefore, be more science in calling melancholy blue than is generally allowed. The German blei (lead) which gives rise to our slang word blue or bluey (lead) seems to bear upon the “leaden downcast eyes” of melancholy.
posted by y2karl at 2:00 PM on March 23, 2007


Told you I was hard core.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:23 PM on March 23, 2007


E in standard tuning is nice for blues in particular because you can play in minor pentatonic pretty damn easy and go major if you like without it being awkward. And you get a nice root-fifth-root at the bottom end, with a close-grouped tonic triad sitting on top of that, so you've got your boom boom boom underneath and the bright jangly warm up top.

G's for folk singers. C's for folk singers who can barre an F. E is for blues.

Plus, the open B7 is one of the finest chords available to standard tuning.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:47 PM on March 23, 2007


I play the drums. Blues are irrelevant.
posted by generichuman at 4:43 PM on March 23, 2007


Interesting, y2karl, thank you for that perspective.
posted by jamjam at 4:49 PM on March 23, 2007


I play the drums. Blues are irrelevant.

So do I. Blues are way relevant. Damn relevant! Way damn relevant!

Somebody buy this fellow a ticket to Memphis. Or Chicago.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:20 PM on March 23, 2007


I was kidding, flapjax. I love the blues.
posted by generichuman at 5:22 PM on March 23, 2007


Hee hee! I was kidding too. Just having some fun!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:24 PM on March 23, 2007


Awesome blues all around, then!
posted by generichuman at 5:28 PM on March 23, 2007


And some good roots music for good measure.
posted by generichuman at 5:30 PM on March 23, 2007


And they lived happily ever after.

In a homeless shelter.
posted by evilcolonel at 8:26 PM on March 23, 2007


"I play the drums. Blues are irrelevant."

"So do I. Blues are way relevant. Damn relevant! Way damn relevant!"


Yep. My close friends and I in high school were all drummers. One of us went on to make an off-and-on career of it. Anyway, we had a big reunion party this summer and the one who's worked professionally and usually in a band brought his band to town to play. Both myself and the other friend who was there wanted to sit in. He'd practiced some old songs. I hadn't and therefore just suggested that we improvise some blues, knowing that—this being the first time I've played at all in six years and the first time I'd performed in eleven—the blues wouldn't require any technical chops and I could just work with the basic rhythm and concentrate and letting go and feeling it. It was a lot of fun.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:32 PM on March 23, 2007

I found it somewhat of a revelation that there was no such thing as country drummers, blues drummers, gospel drummers or rock drummers in the very first generation of adding drums to those styles of music. It turns out that most of the guys who played on the early country, blues, gospel and early rock ‘n’ roll sessions considered themselves jazz drummers. For example, in 1935 when Bob Wills wanted to add a drummer to his Western Swing group the Texas Playboys he got Smokey Dakus, who was a jazz drummer, because there was no such thing as a country drummer at the time. Drums weren’t added to Nashville country music until the ‘50s. And the guy who did most of those early country sessions, Buddy Harman, was a jazz drummer as well. There were no real country drummers at that time. If a country musician wanted a drummer on his record at that time, he hired a jazz drummer. So the real revelation is that for about the first 50 years of U.S. music history the only kind of drumming going on was jazz drumming, whether it was New Orleans style, swing style, bebop or early rhythm and blues drumming, which is really more of a big band concept applied to a small group with a singer or sax player out front... And the same with the blues guys. When Chess Records added drums to Muddy Waters and other blues players recordings in the early 50s...there were no blues drummers yet so they added jazz drummers like Fred Below. Same with gospel recordings. They’d have Panama Francis play or some other New York or Memphis drummer who had a jazz background. It was real interesting for me to see that the jazz drummers were really the original drummers in every genre in American music...
Confessions of a U.S. Ethnic Drummer
posted by y2karl at 7:16 AM on March 26, 2007


Hey, nice link, y2! Thanks for that!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:36 AM on March 26, 2007


Cool, y2karl. Gives some insight into old-time and early country arrangments, where guitar's role is to be extremely, solidly percussive and not much else.
posted by Miko at 7:42 AM on March 26, 2007


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