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Music Theory for Electronic Musicians 2: Minor Keys and More

Lesson 16 of 26

Analysis: Everything You Do is a Balloon (Boars of Canada)

J. Anthony Allen

Music Theory for Electronic Musicians 2: Minor Keys and More

J. Anthony Allen

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Lesson Info

16. Analysis: Everything You Do is a Balloon (Boars of Canada)

Lesson Info

Analysis: Everything You Do is a Balloon (Boars of Canada)

alright in this one, we're going to pick apart and look at the cords for boards of Canada's. Everything you do is a balloon. So this track, um, it's a little tricky, actually because, um and because it's got some a little bit dense records, which is obvious because that's what we're talking about right now. Um, it also, uh, Well, one of the reasons I like boards of Canada is because they do do some more some dense records. So, um, let's just dive in. Let's have a little listen to some of the track, and then we will, um ah, pick apart Ah, section of it. Okay, So I looked that last part a couple times because I wanted you to get in your head. Um, it's pretty much the same core progression. I think I haven't figured out this whole song yet. Um, from the whole song. And you can hear as you listen to this song, it's got this kind of like churning core progression that just kind of keep cycling through. And if you listen close, you'll hear that it's not our typical cords. It's not 100%. Of c...

ourse you would expect, um there's something a little denser going on. Um, now we know that when we hear something that sounds a little denser, the obvious thing would be that there's more than three notes in those chords. There's probably four, maybe even five. Who knows? Um, so ah, let's have a look at what they are Now this one is a little tricky. So here's the baseline that I here and you know this is so this is a little bit subjective because when you listen to a song like this, especially something that's got chords like that where there, there they cycle through and there's no really clear baseline. There's no like thing that steps along, at least not in this part. Um, so the baseline could be, ah, interpreted multiple ways. So this is the way I hear it, Um, and let's actually chop away this. Let's just focus on this because it's just too cycles through the same thing. So let's just do this there, Um, because two cycles exact same chords. Um, so this is the way I hear it lets your mind against theirs. So here's a piano playing the bass notes. Okay, Um, so I have figured out. I'm just going to kind of tell you 11 of the key crucial things from from this track. Um, I figured out that were in the key of G minor, but we do not get a G minor chord. Now, that seems a little strange. Like if we're in the key of G minor with everything we've seen so far, we ought tohave Ah, g minor chord. Probably as the first chord. Um, but that doesn't happen here. Um, you could call this a couple of different keys, actually, um, it's a little bit debatable, actually, as a lot of music theory is, um, you can argue and people write whole books about You know what? This court is in that key and all this other nonsense. I don't care about that. Um, I'm going to just try this in g minor and see how it goes. So, um, let's go over here outside of our loop here and let's just right out of G minor scale. So here we go again. Whole step half step. Whole groups will step whole step, half step, whole step, whole step g minor. Um, now, if I go here so my first root note that I heard is a G Sounds good. Um, if we try to build a chord on G minor here, it's not gonna sound right. So let's do it just so I can prove to you how not right it's going to sound. Um, okay, so there's my third. There's my fifth, so let's just hear that. Let's do a little bit of a leading here. Quite right. It's something kind of like sits funny, like it doesn't quite feel right, so I don't think it's d minor. I think this is actually the second chord in the key with an elusive bass note. So it's one of those chords over a note right that we saw before. So what I hear actually, here is an a minor chord. So I'm gonna start Accord and build it on A. I'll explain this genius second, but let's build it on a So there's the route. There's the third. There's the fifth, and I hear this note in the base. So we have this, um, the way we could write this cord if we wanted to give it a name would be a minor. That's what this is that much of it is an a minor chord over G. Right? We've seen this before. Um, so there's a G in the base and an a minor chord is our main court. But there's a gene, That base now ah, is a minor in the key of G. Yes, it is. It's our two chord, right? So Ah, a C and we don't actually have an e cause. Remember, the two cord is are diminished one. So because the of the diminished thing they've done kind of the trick here of using the harmonic minor scale. So that makes when if you remember the harmonic scale, we can raise our sixth and our seventh up one. So let's do that here. And that makes for a little bit nicer records, especially on this to cord. So they raised the e. So they're using the harmonic minor scale. So this one's already starting off a little weird because we have an a minor chord over a G, and we're using not the minor key, but the harmonic plan Icky weird. But, um, it makes sense. Now let's try to explain this g a little more if you remember what I said. Before, when we looked at these cord over like these fraction looking cords, um, that look, that fraction thing where there's a note in the base that's different, it could be in the cord, but it also might not be in the court. In this case, it doesn't look like it's in the cord because we have a minor over G. But let's think about it a little bit more. Maybe that is in the cord. If we go, if we say is our route, here's our third. Here's our fifth. What would our seventh B it would be? Theirs are sixth. There's our seventh. It would be a G. So this is an a minor seventh chord with the seventh tone G in the base so we could write that as we could write it just as a minor seventh. That explains all the notes that are happening right here because it says the notes that are happening R A, C, E and G. Ah, But the G is in the base, so we might still write it over G if we wanted to, just to be really clear. But, um, a minor seventh explains the whole court So let's hear that now. And we'll see if that how that sounds. I'm gonna turn the volume of the piano down just a little bit. So it's not so we still hear the track a little bit. Okay, that sounds pretty good to me. That's it. So, um, what we have here is an A minor seven. That's the second chord in the key of G. Um, using the harmonic minor scale, um, to explain the two. Now, once again, I'm gonna point out, Did they sit in the studio and say, Hey, guys, let's do something in the harmonic minor scale. Let's get rid of that diminished chord. Let's do this. No, that's probably almost for sure, not what they did. Um, what they probably did was sit at a keyboard or a piano or guitars or something, and they figured out a cool sounding chord progression. They don't care that it's a raised sixth scale degree, so they're using the harmonic minor, and they're putting the seventh in the base. They don't care about that, and neither should you when you're writing. But when you're trying to figure these out and you're you're looking at what other people did. It is handy to be able to say, OK, that's how they did that, so that when you're writing, you can you can think that way and you can think OK, maybe if I put the seventh in the base that will do, like a different kind of feel. So we're just explaining what they did. So let's move on to the second court, See? So let's try this building a minor chord or accord Ah, on C So in the key of G minor, Let's see, I'm looking over here and trying to compare. So there's our second. There's our third. There's are forth and there's our fifth. Okay, so let's see what we have here. Let's see if this works. Possibly let me hear that again. It's not quite right. It's close. I actually think there you doing ah, seem minor chord here. So we're taking that down 1/2 step. Let's hear that fits a little bit better, right? Um So how do we explain this minor chord? Well, we could say we could go back here and say they ditched the alterations to the minor scale, and now they're back here. That would explain the minor chord just perfectly. So for the first chord, they bumped it up. Do you get rid of that? Diminished in the second quarter, they bumped it down. They really only dealt with this note because we don't have the F in there, but typically they go together. So now we're back to the natural minor scale, and that's totally fine. But there's still one thing missing from this cord. If you listen close, there's more to the track in the track, there's the court is a little bit denser, so I'm going to try to add the seventh. I'm going to see if if it works, so g is the my route of my key. So if I go up to the seventh because I can't go up here anymore and was gonna cycle back around, start there and it would be here a flat or sorry, a sharp or a B flat. So let's see how that sounds pretty good. Okay. Um, so I'm pretty happy with that. I'm pretty happy. Happy with the way it's it's arranged because I hear this as the as the base notes. So I'm gonna leave it just like that. Okay? Now we have another G chord. Is it or a G root sounding? Is it the same as this court? Let's find out. Let's put these notes over here and just listen to it and see what happens. Definitely not right that sounded all kinds of wrong. So let's get rid of that. So it sounded so wrong, in fact, that I'm just gonna get out of the hole chord because it's not just one note wrong. That was just the wrong court. Okay, so that she core doesn't sound quite right. Let's just try. I'm gonna take a hypothesis here that it's the C minor seven chord again, but rearranged a little bit. So let's just hear that. Okay, that's not bad. Here's what I think they did, though. I think we've got a C minor seven chord, which we had here. I think we have that again, but it's over, G. So let's rearrange it a little bit. Let's take the seventh, which is this a sharp here that's moving down, inactive, and this G Let's get rid of because we have it down here against we have all the same notes. I just moved him around a little bit. Okay, that sounds pretty good to me. Let's figure out this last chord. So it's an A. Now remember, we had a minor seven here, but now I hear the route kind of as a so let's try just building an A minor seven on it and see if maybe it's just that court again. So there's my fifth. There's my seventh. So let's try it again. I think that's it. What we have here is that it kind of finally giving us the A as the base note, and this again is debatable. I could hear it that way with this G in the base for this whole thing. Um, that's very possible that it is. I mean, this is just like a very tight mesh of a pretty dirty sound. It's really hard to pick out these pitches, Um, but I think that's what we've got. So, um, let's have a look. Let's walk through this whole thing. So what I think we're in here is this first chord is in a minor seven and we'll say over G. We don't really have to say that because it's all the same notes, but let's say it so that we're clear. That G is the low note. That's the way it's arranged. Then we have a C minor seven. We don't need to say over anything cause there's a C in the bottom of it and that's assumed uhm, next we have a C minor seven again, But this time over G and again we wouldn't have to say g necessarily because of the G in the cord. But ah, it makes it a little bit more clear. We're not saying any wrong notes If we don't say G over G. So it's there on then last. We have an A minor seven and we don't need to say over a because A is in the base unless we do what I just did here. In which case we want to say over G. So if I leave a in the base, I don't need this. If I put the G in the base, I should say that over G. But I don't have to um yeah, so that's ah ah boards of Canada. Um, it's a little bit of a tricky one. Uh, these dense records are hard to hear, especially when there's like this kind of distorted sound. Eso, uh, enjoy everyone. One quick correction to that video that you just finished watching. Ah, when we're talking about alterations to the minor scale, I called it harmonic. Ah, when I should have called it melodic minor. And so I'm very sorry about that. Hopefully, you're you're paying attention. You caught it. And you're like, Wait, he's wrong. Um, but if you remember, the harmonic is when we raise just the seven scale degree. And the melodic is when we raise the six and the seventh scale degrees. We were looking at the melodic when we raised both six and seventh. We didn't really have to deal with the seventh very much, but ah, we had to deal with six. And there's no version of the scale where you just raise the sixth in this case there might be actually in the near future. But, um, actually, there will be in a very near lesson. We'll talk about a scale where you do raise the six. Um, but for now, Ah, in the minor scale. That's what I should have said. So brief correction. Thanks

Class Description

In the first part of Music Theory for Electronic Musicians, we learned how to work with the piano roll editor in a DAW to make harmonies, melodies, and whole tracks. In this second part, we'll expand on those ideas. We'll work with minor keys, focus some time on melody and bassline writing, and we'll talk about how different tracks work. 

Extensive Analysis 

In this class, we feature an extensive track analysis segment by Daft Punk, Avicii, Skrillex, and many more. In each of these segments, we'll look at their tracks on the piano roll editor. We'll talk about why they sound the way they do, and how you can use similar techniques in your own music. Each of these segments picks apart multiple elements of the song and dissects it in an easily digestiable manner. 

Who should take this course? 

Anyone interested in producing their own tracks. This will get you up and running and give your tracks a unique sound in no time.


This course consists of video lectures, which all contain a session in Ableton Live 9. If you are using a different program (or none at all), no worries! This isn't a class on how to use Ableton Live, and the concepts can be applied to any DAW.  

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Well, I slobbered all over you after your first class and this one is as good or better. I realize people don't go to college for 12 years and learn what you shared in a few hours and you didn't earn your doctorate with just this stuff. I mean Julliard must offer a lot more, but you have advanced my knowledge by miles and I've got to say thank you. Make some more of these simple, common talk courses - I'll buy them all.

Ben Küstner

Real Great Course. I learned a lot about Music Theory and now am jamming better than ever on my keyboard. Thanks Allen

Nick van Lochem

This course its so good he makes it al sound so easy. that ists easy to remember and use in your creations.