Analysis of Yeah But No

Listen here. PDF chart here.

This composition has more of a rock flavour to it. The melodic ideas were inspired by some of the lines American guitarist Carl Verheyen plays. These use wide intervallic leaps to create twisting unpredictable melodies whilst maintaining diatonic relationships to the harmony. A good book to read for further study is his “Improvising Without Scales” published by Mel Bay.

Although there is no fixed system in the construction of the opening line, it makes use of two major 7th intervals to take it through nearly two octaves. The verse is basically a more rhythmically fragmented version of this line. It repeats four bars later up a 4th providing thematic unity. The next eight bars are more straightforward, acting as a kind of antidote to the turmoil of the opening section! Big intervals are still present but not in such a rigorous manner.

In the 2nd time bar I used the rhythmic motif of the opening phrase (4 quavers) to wrap up the section. I also used a 3 against 4 cross rhythm to build tension. You can read more about cross rhythms in my analysis of He Rants.

In the next section I started with a new rhythmic idea. I wanted it to feel funkier hence there is a more pronounced syncopation at work. I still utilized the big intervals though, 7ths and major 7th are used to climb up and down the scale quickly. This phrase gets played twice, with a different held chord in bar 3 then it repeats down a minor 3rd.

As you can see our opening phrase returns but it expands further covering 3 octaves! (C to C) This alone would be a good phrase to practice, it really is quite hard to nail.

The chords in the solo section are the same as the verse. As you can see F is the tonal centre. When I first wrote the melody it felt as though it wanted to be in D minor, (the saddest of all keys). This felt too obvious though, so I simply shifted the bass up to F, it’s relative major. There are some subtle harmonic shifts until it does work it’s way back to D minor.

I have used slash chords in this piece quite a bit. In fact you will find them in most of my compositions. I will write a lesson at a later date demystifying these. If you want to search out more music that uses slash chord harmony extensively have a listen to much of the Brecker Brothers output, as well as Michael and Randy Brecker’s solo offerings.

As ever please drop me a line if you have any further questions.