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An examination of the songs of the band snarky puppy

As soon as Snarky Puppy is played there is instantly a groove and melody that will get cemented in the mind. The band was originally based out of Texas but now predominately resides in New York.

Most of the students met while studying jazz at the University of North Texas. The band travels all over the world and has made seven full- length albums, but that is enough about the band. This analysis will break down the form of the piece, harmonic aspects, melodic ideas, and rhythmic motifs throughout the piece. Form This piece is a mixture of a pop song and a jam-band style format.

There are basically eight different sections to the piece without including repeated sections. After the verse, there is a pre-chorus section, then a chorus.

Basically, the form of the first half of the piece until 4: This is a basic map for first half: Once the last chorus section ends, the piece goes directly into a different feel. The second half can be broken down into the different sections. Here is the map for the second half: Solo — synth 4: It is two solo sections and an outro section.

  • One uplifts, the other degrades humanity;
  • They return later accompanying Salif Keita;
  • During the verse section, the band sits down on an E minor groove, while the horns state an E Dorian melodic idea.

The first half a person can call A, and the second half B. So, even though there are many different ideas throughout the piece, a person could say that there are mainly only two sections, considering the first half presents more harmonic stability and the second half is solo sections.

Bukuru Celestin

Below is a more distant view of the form: During the verse section, the band sits down on an E minor groove, while the horns state an E Dorian melodic idea. It repeats that progressions 4 times through, then moves on to the pre-chorus section.

The pre- chorus consists of three chords: The Cmaj7 builds some intensity along with the sixteenths that the horns and guitars are playing. So, 4 just like every pre-chorus, it builds to prepare the listener for the chorus.

When the chorus comes in at measure 27, the harmonic rhythm stays the same until about the second time through the melody played by the guitar. The chorus melody is note for note in E minor.

The melody descends while dancing around the chords played solely by the keyboard. The second time the melody is presented in the chorus, the chords change faster underneath.

The second time through the melody, the keys play a syncopated descending E Dorian pattern with the occasional G in measure 31. Then, in the second half of measure 34, the flat-2 or flat-7 if you analyze the piece in G is thrown in. The only difference chord-wise in that pre-chorus is the Db7 chord on beat 5 in measure 37. After the pre-chorus it goes to the chorus. This time through the chorus, it is full band during the second half of the first progression during: The horns 5 outline the chords played by the keys during the build from measure 48 to measure 51 2: After the build, the horns grab the melody and the chorus played again, but this time it is full band and pretty much the same chords are played, just more rhythmically.

During the solos, the same chords from the chorus are used.

  • The chorus melody is note for note in E minor;
  • This is the variation;
  • The great sound quality and evident delight of the punters have withstood hundreds of plays in my ears over the years!
  • Cory Henry the synth player goes over all kinds of modal ideas in the solo;
  • As you can see, it is the longest section of the piece.

After the solo, the band goes back in the chorus section but this time, the chords are straightforward without as much syncopation but with more groove. The last chorus outlines E minor the first half because of the Am9and E Dorian because of the A7 the second half. When the keyboard solo section starts at measure 76 4: So basically, from the keyboard solo to the end of the piece, everything grooves around E minor with occasional chromaticism and the flat-2 F.

The melody in the verse section is relatively simple due to the fact that is either an arpeggiation or step-wise motion. The melody in the verse is in E Dorian, because it outlines E minor and contains C consistently. The 6 bass line is melodic in the verse and creates a call-and-response with the horns as seen below. After the verse, the pre-chorus is simply an ascending step-wise sequence of sixteenth notes.

As you can see the sequence follows the chords that the keyboard is playing underneath. I say that because it consists of grace notes, syncopation, and wide intervallic leaps.

When the horns come in later on the second chorus section at measure 52 2: During the solo trading between the trumpet and saxophone, the tradeoffs are not completely metric. Each player steps into each other it seems like. The phrasing in the solos sounds like an argument because where one is just about to end; there is another one starting again. As you can see, it is the longest section of the piece. There is so much that goes on during that solo.

An examination of the songs of the band snarky puppy

Cory Henry the synth player goes over all kinds of modal ideas in the solo. The chordal section at the beginning of the solo is mainly chromatic and tertian movement but the way that he voiced the parts made it flow very smoothly up into the single note riffing at 4: The single note solo consists of a great deal of blue notes and chromatics.

He adds his left into the equation at 6: He continues to build and build until the solo has climaxed at about 8: The soli section consists of fast scalar runs, syncopated licks, and blue notes within G major: As the horns blaze riffs, the synth fills in the gaps in between each set of licks.

There are about six horn soli sections from 8: The piece ends with the horns playing heavily syncopated hits that counter the rhythms that the rhythm section is playing. Rhythmic Motifs The rhythmic aspects of this piece are astounding. No matter what happens in the piece, there is always an underlying groove.

An examination of the songs of the band snarky puppy

During the verse sections of the piece, the drums accent beats 2 and 4, which is typical of popular music. Almost any song that plays on the radio, accents beats 2 and 4. What is interesting 8 about the phrasing in the drum part is that the first four beats of the measure are a standard groove, and the last beat of the measure is a tom fill.

  • But SP are doing their bit;
  • This surprisingly again won their second Grammy award in 2016;
  • David Crosby has been around long enough to know modern music inside out;
  • The second half of the piece is where there are some very interesting rhythmic motifs.

Before the drums come in, the keyboard plays an ostinato pattern that basically solidifies the asymmetric signature of the first half of the piece. The ostinato below is present up until the first chorus section measure 27 and comes up again throughout the verses and pre-choruses.

The first half of the piece is pretty much rhythmically summed up by asymmetry, grooves that emphasize beats 2 and 4, and the ostinato pattern in the keyboard part. The second half of the piece is where there are some very interesting rhythmic motifs. So, the entire second half is rhythmically based off of a variation of a 3-2 son clave rhythm. This is the variation: The second measure in this example is a compressed version of a 3-2 son clave rhythm.

The clave rhythm is pretty much the backbone of Latin music. Later on in the piece, directly after the soli sections, the rhythm section plays the exact same rhythm as stated above, while the horns accent the spaces in between the 9 varied clave rhythm.

Below is a transcription of the horn hits on top, bass line in the middle and composite rhythm on the bottom. The only difference from the rest of the hits is the bass line, which is stated in the previous example, but the horn hits are the same.

I hope this analysis has covered the most interesting aspects of the piece and explained any questions about the piece that the listener would have.

I purchased the score from lulu.