Friday, 24 February 2012

Squidoo's "All About Van Morrison's Moondance" page

 (Picture is Pencil study for Dance in the Country. by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1883.


At Squidoo a fan named Joan has created a page that concentrates on the one Van song called Moondance.    
Joan says, Moondance is one of the greatest pop songs of all time. Seductive and sincerely romantic, with gorgeous music and great singing by Morrison. When you hear Moondance, you feel like you're right there, on a warm autumn night, falling in love.
The page has all kinds of things from clips to a musical analysis of Moondance.  You can even vote on important Moondance-related issues.  (Apparently, 74% of respondents think Van Morrison on the cover of Moondance looks like Vincent Van Gogh.) 

The words and music of Moondance the song were written entirely by Van and it was recorderd at A & R Studios, New York City, in 1969.  There has been some uggestion that he tried to interest Frank Sinatra in recording it but it never panned out.
Morrison did not release the song as a single until November 1977, seven and a half years after the album was released. It reached the Billboard Hot 100, charting at #92. The single's B-side, Cold Wind in August had been released in the same year, on his latest album at the time, A Period of Transition.
Featured musicians:
* Van Morrison - vocals, guitar
* John Klingberg - bass guitar
* Jeff Labes - piano
* Gary Mallaber - drums
* John Platania - guitar
* Jack Schroer - alto saxophone
* Collin Tilton - tenor saxophone, flute

Producers - Van Morrison and Lewis Merenstein

Released on the album Moondance in 1970, Warner Brothers Records label.

 JJoan's musical analysis of Moondance

Moondance is in the key of A-minor.
What gives the song its feel is the chord progression that opens the song and repeats through the major part of the verse. It goes back and forth between an A-minor chord and a B-minor chord. In music theory lingo, that's a 1-chord and then a 2-chord (in the key of A, the A note is scale tone number 1, and B is scale tone number 2). This pattern is played on the piano, accompanied by bass and drums.

It struck me that this very same minor-mode, 1-chord-to-2-chord pattern is also used in another iconic song, Billie Jean by Michael Jackson. But, obviously, the two songs get very different emotional effects from the same progression. Jackson uses it with a stark beat and a lot of echo to give it an eerie feeling, while Morrison's warm acoustic instrumentation and swingy 6/8 beat make it feel comfortable and sexy.
The main melody stays in the natural minor scale, with a gentle flowing line that feels like a spontaneous, natural expression. A little more musical tension builds at the end of the verses, leading into a more boisterous feeling in the chorus before returning to the main groove.

The easy melody, with its comfortable, syncopated rhythm is very adaptable to bending and improvising, which we hear in the great piano and saxophone solos. These are followed by Morrison's vocal "solo" where he plays around with the first verse and then just riffs his way through to the end of the song.
                    
If you want to read further click on the link above.

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