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PD: Canon tricks / Brighton Rock24 Oct 2002 19:13
Excerpt from the forthcoming Brighton Rock analysis article:

Let's summarize the unusual features of the canon part:

- hocket canon (both the melody line and the pedal bass are created by hockets)
- changing key/tonal center
- using 3+3+3+3 pattern while the delay time is '4' in order to create interference.
- creating spiral chord progressions
- creating oscillating chord progressions
- shuffled beat
- triplets
+ changing "normal" canon to three-parted antiphonal canon. This is used only in "The Prophet's Song".

Results of my brief internet-search concerning hocket-canons:
Hockets and canons were popular in the 14th century. G. de Macheaut (c.1300-77) is said to have written hocket-canons. Listen to them in MIDI format in order to see how close/far the concept was from what May used.

1974/75, drums

1979: piano + 2 delays


Extreme (Nuno Bettencourt): Flight of the Bumblebee




A famous rock application is Nuno Bettencourt's (the guitarist of Extreme) guitar solo called "The Fligth Of The Bumblebee", which shows how you can further develop the idea of canon-hocket.

Tricky canons are well known to exist: crab canon, six-part canon, etc... As for the listed tricks: I asked some competent people who estimated that those tricks were applied widely in classical music but failed to give particular examples (which doesn't mean there are none). They recommended the following composers to research: Nancarrow, Ligeti, Chopin, Wagner, Liszt, Crumb, Gesualdo, Erlich, Partch, Sethares, Ives, Schoenberg, Steve Reich...
"traditional" canon tricks:
As for Nancarrow: he experimented much with changing the tempo between the canon part.

1) can anyone tell me examples of canons with at least one of the the listed tricks? The more points involved, the better.
2) What is the name of the famous traditional canon played by Brian in 1977 live versions of the song? It goes like: 1 2 3 1 1 2 3 1 3 4 5 _ 3 4 5 _ ...(degree notation)
3) Can anyone tell me (preferably with extended live recording archive) when (which tour) did Brian start to play the section in Brighton Rock that starts with a chain of F# notes.
(Tab:   E----2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-...)
4) Is any prog-rock guru in the house? I'm interested in prog rock bands doing canons (preferably before Queen), or just delay machine. I know Zappa composed canons, the jazz-rock fusion band called If also did (at least short passages, that's what I've heard). Reportedly the Beach Boys also did something canon-like on their 'Cabinessence'. Could anyone write a review on that one, including the canon-tricks used?

PS: I checked "Cabinessence": it's approach (the "coulez dam" section) is more like a "fugue", but definitely not a canon.

Forthcoming conference on canons from 14 to 16 century.
1.PD 11 Sep 2010 07:15

At last a Queenzone poster called "Friedchicken" has found something:

"I'm listenin to their album Three Friends from 1972 and Gentle Giant from 1970 now and I noticed a lot of things that we hear Brian do since 1973.

Of course there's "The Queen" which is a guitar rendition of the God Save the Queen.
Then, on Peel The Paint - in the middle - there's a Brighton Rock kind of solo with slightly distorted/clean guitars playing to itself with a delay."



2.PD 12 Sep 2010 06:47
More about Gentle Giant and canons:

quote from www.ggtourhistory.50webs.com
this is a quote from a book called "Acquiring The Taste"  a book written on the music of Gentle Giant:


This great essay also discusses hocketing, polyrhythms, and other tricks used by Queen as well...

More GG songs with canons:
His Last Voyage, School Days, Talybont
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