All of The Ways: Minna’s Questions

Hi all,

Here are some thoughts in response to the questions raised by Minna in the comments section of my last post. Minna asked about:

Paul’s singing on the new record…

1. I love how much more vocal harmony and counterpoint there is on this album — I agree, Minna, Paul definitely seems to have come into his own as a vocalist (I seem to remember him saying in an interview that his side-project, Julian Plenti, had a lot to do with this). He’s really creating his own lines, independent of the other instruments, and with all the vocal harmonies and counter-melodies he’s singing, he really creates a very interesting vocal texture at times. He’s also not worried about fitting in his notes perfectly with the background harmony; that is, by sometimes *not* fitting in with the harmony, he’s allowing his vocal lines to push and pull against the other lines, which makes them sound more alive and dynamic.

Interpol’s songwriting and ways to analyze it…

2. I think maybe people are having a hard time appreciating this album because it’s extremely polyphonic, meaning each instrument creates its own independent line, and all these lines stacked on top of each other create the song. Interpol have always leaned polyphonic, but this album is their best yet, polyphonically speaking. They’re basically the Palestrina of the rock world! I’ll just add that writing polyphonic music is no easy task, and listening to it can be challenging, but, I feel, oh so gratifying. I think you hit the nail on the head there, that it’ll be more advantageous to analyze these songs in terms of how all the lines fit together, rather than thinking about their tonal makeup.

And just to address ant’s question about other bands that use “inventive songwriting”: the other bands you listed, including The Go Find (unfortunately, Spotify hasn’t launched in America yet, but I was able to hear them on YouTube!), share with Interpol a tendency to write polyphonically — as opposed to homophonically, that is, music that is mostly just chords (for example, blink182 is pretty homophonic).

Contemporary music theory…

3. Whew, that’s a hard question to answer. I think I’ll answer that one on my other blog, Meg’s New Music Blog, since it’s a quite broad topic. I’ll let you know when it’s up!


~ by megwilhoite on September 23, 2010.

2 Responses to “All of The Ways: Minna’s Questions”

  1. Thank you so much for your answers, this is awesome! I am myself working on a full personal review of this record, but of course it can’t be this indepth.
    The polyphony point you made here is so true. Renaissance polyphony is so up lifting and noble and embracing but it can also make you feel dizzy and it can feel a little too much to take handle unless you enjoy that kind of fullness, richness and all embracing feeling in music.

  2. Other interesting posts about compositional analysis:

    (Beyonce is not so simple! xD)

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