Founded in 1998, the Popular Music Interest Group is dedicated to promoting the scholarly study of popular music through methods including musical analysis and theory. Our goals include:
• Ensuring academic recognition for popular music research
• Encouraging more scholars of music theory to engage popular repertoires
• Encouraging scholars of popular music to make effective use of musical analysis and theory

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Whole-tone and Octatonic in pop and rock

2 replies, 2 voices Last updated by  Keith Salley 1 year, 1 month ago
  • Author
  • #36581

    Keith Salley

    Hi everyone,

    Hope you’re all well and reasonably rested.

    Was wondering about rock or general pop tunes that feature symmetrical/synthetic scales like WT and OCT. I don’t mind fleeting surface occurrences where the scales are just run through, like those WT scales in the intro to Stevie Wonder’s ‘You Are the Sunshine . . .’ or the recurring OCT riff in Radiohead’s ‘Just.’ A growing list of those would be great. However, I’d also appreciate anything deeper, such as a tune where the harmonic organization might adhere OCT, HEX, or even WT collections.

    Could anyone refer me to anything in the pop world?

    Thanks in advance!

  • #36598

    Walt Everett

    Keith, my favorite rock octatonic passage is the guitars/bass trio in the transition of “You Never Give Me Your Money.”

    There are a number of equal divisions of the octave, such as in the Fifth Dimension’s “Up—Up and Away,” the Doors’ “Touch Me” and Lorraine Feather’s “The Girl with the Lazy Eye.” I may list others in Foundations of Rock. Have fun!


  • #36609

    Keith Salley

    Thanks, Walt!

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