Musician Explains One Concept in 5 Levels of Difficulty ft. Jacob Collier & Herbie Hancock | WIRED



hello everybody my name is Jacob Collier and I'm a musician I've been challenged today to explain one simple concept in five levels of increasing complexity my topic harmony I'm positive that everybody can leave this video with some understanding at some level od how's it going good cool so do you know what harmony is it's when people sing together and it sounds nice yeah that's 100% correct have you ever heard a song called amazing grace yeah here's a good one the melody on its own just goes that melody on its own is kind of lonely right and no one really knows how it feels so which one did you prefer second one awesome and why did you prefer that one because it sounds better yeah oh that's great I can decide how I want this ability to feel and the more notes there are the more exciting it is that's what musical harmony is does that make sense thank you have you ever heard of harmony yes okay so what do you think harmony is I think basically it's like one person has the lower voice and like a girl usually has the higher voice yeah and then they blend it together I like it that's absolutely correct harmony is about injecting melody with emotion or so that ultimately you leave home and you return home and you've learned something along the way yeah so a nice place to start is with the idea of a triad I've tried is a three-part harmonic basically so that's a trap you know so this try it's called C major alright so have you ever heard this idea of like major chords and minor chords yeah so this is C major yeah and then this is C C minor so the feelings are different right yeah I feels like darkness yeah how does this will make you feel them right yeah like yeah so in Amazing Grace you start with F you know if I go and my job is to get back home but to make it to make this cord make sense yeah so I'm like my job as a harmonizer is to find that narrative and make it make sense that was interesting because I didn't think that that would work together right because there are two completely different sounds but then like it just made it happen this is like essentially what harmony is is like a language right and so as with any language the more words you're capable of speaking in a language the more you can say all right so in harmony this might be how many notes you can think to add to a chord to make it feel a different way have you ever heard of the circle of fifths mmm okay that's great on one side we have a lot of the notes which make us feel brighter you know like these kinds of these rewrite sounds and the other side is a lot more to do with the darkness of a key Center so we're having F but imagine we're taking a quick visit to B flat but then the Sun comes out oh yeah yeah what notes would you suggest I add F F is a great one yeah and if we keep going in that direction yeah I see yeah and then G yeah yeah so this is really this is like a gleaming blade or something you know let's play this tune amazing grace let's play it in its simplest form yeah all right so we're gonna sign F right yes yeah nice okay cool let's try one more version will we ask some colors all right so let's visit the B flat with a bit more imagination this is how things feel yeah all right listen let's do it so it's fmaj7 but it's over a just f7 over a b flat major seven with an a energy in it F major seven with an E and a DRG D minor 7 with the g-unit cease us for minor nice b flat major g7 that felt major 7 like that so what harmony does is just gives us even more tools to tell those stories yeah an awesome one nice emotional device when it comes to harmony is just think about how to arrive somewhere you know it can be so sparse it can be so rich and it can be really emotional so this idea of the overtone are understood in the harmonic series how much do you know about this only until I started listening to singing like barbershop quartet and and as I was a violinist as well then I finally understood that day where the overtone series came from that if a bunch of singers were to a nail a chord or have it perfectly tuned the overtones you would hear a tone that necessarily wasn't being produced by one of the chairs the amazing about harmony is that it exists in nature so take that morning series of the note F for example K you have the option in the 5th and the 4th and then that's a little bit sharper that's both and then the intervals get increasingly small beneath that note you have the under tone series which essentially is like a reflection or something in the same way that when a tree grows in nature you have the branches which go upwards in the roots which go downwards so it's quite a nice thing to think about this being the key Center that the floor the ground and then these two different directions of ways in which it can express itself and the difference is in the sensations with that lots of the time I think when it comes to reharmonization or harmonization people think that the solution to the problems come when we add more notes mm-hmm yeah I think that people forget that you can work with the notes already have by just rearranging them just the simple idea of inversion you know in version of the simple triad of F major so Oh see know how home do I want to go here you know is there another verse to come right because I can do I can delay the gratification of going home first of all just by using inversions even before we add notes to the chord one thing that I was very joyful to discover is that every single melody note works with every single bass note hmm so you demonstrate that yeah so this is the note there yeah F major F minor G flat major seven G flat diminished G flat minor major seven G minor seven cheese sauce g7 g7 sharp eleven and then g7 with a flat 13 but a flat sauce flat major seven a flat major seven sharp five with a sharp 11 essentially what that demonstrates is that every note and every bass note are compatible so once we realize this it's like that's great now what should we do what should we watch what would what am I supposed to do right and sometimes the power lies anything when it comes to arranging there are too many options too many things are possible so that's when it becomes super super important to be aware of what you want to try and say emotionally you know what about negative harmony the dark side so essentially the way I'd apply negative harmony would be this idea of polarity you know between the undertones there is new overtone series or you know the one side the other side the perfect in the play go the feeling of a minor playful cadence resolving is so moving you know and it's just it's a good alternative to something like 22 you know what you doing that makes something in a major key sound the kind of a wistful sad song right you know I'll change the feeling of that what otherwise would you know if you would tell the kid that this is a major song should be happy exactly yeah no for sure an inner F major can be something you arrive in from if you arrive in F major from D flat yeah that is like the sun's come out right but if you arrive an F major from a major and it's like the sun's going in there's a lot about context I think once you have a language it's about using it and applying it and there's emotional ways I think that's what makes the difference all right a lot of people will see you as somebody who's drank in harmony their whole life they've seen so much harmony heard so much harmony how do you make the choices there's so much that's possible when you know stuff how do you how do you have the courage to make a choice it comes from just your life experience mm-hmm and and that moves you in a certain direction how it gets expressed many times it's a complete surprise I find it fascinating in music to think about you know say I arrive in a place if I'm going I'm going to D flat major and there was something you once taught me you taught me this song called don't follow the crowd oh yeah and there's that chord it's not a dominant chord but it functions as a dominant chord and it doesn't matter because you're still going to the place you're going to right right right it's something like right right so this called being like a major 7 with a Saab 5 and a natural like there's no dominant there but at that moment I'm coming from here and I want to afford some some solution I get myself in a situation that haunted me for days you know I just wouldn't think to use that cord in that situation yeah and there it was and yeah you know if you read the rulebook it's that's not in it yeah and it this is what I learned from the great person Sanderson yeah yeah yeah the idea of going to D flat chord normally there's a dominant black day flat 7 we're back in the twenties they also you used to do things like yeah so it's come coming from just just below the keep you from c-27 and we don't normally say a c7 and and a flat seven all right I related yeah you know because some of that so many of the notes are different it's not even but if you've always that correctly oh yeah then you're safe you can get all you can get away with it yeah the other thing that I like that we both do on occasion is to be on the court we want to arrive at with the bottom part of our structure and accord before the arrival court to have that on top yeah oh yeah yeah yeah and that's not because like emotionally it's almost like I'm here I'm arriving here but if the base new is the same it's like this inevitability about it makes a pool yeah yeah it's like one thing is moving in one direction one thing has arrived so it's this tension and it's right glorious I love thinking like these things emotionally just because that's a feeling you I know that feeling in my life music isn't that different from life no you know and I think that's probably the greatest attraction to those of us who play music yeah was there ever a point in your life when you were younger where you felt like you had consistently fell back into the same habits you'd finally I'm not gonna play the same thing again I had a really great experience when I was working with Miles Davis I felt like I was in a rut playing the same stuff and I was getting depressed because of it and Miles said something to me I thought he said don't play the butter notes right and so I thought what do you mean by that so you thought it said butter butter no he said bottom but you thought he said butter yeah Wow inside sad thing oh quit what quit butter be what is better then I said thing what are the obvious notes that for example in a chord the obvious notes are the third in the seventh hmm so I said oh maybe if I leave those out it changed everything for me from that moment on I got more applause than for that song than I did the whole week well I wouldn't played the voicings I play today if that had not happened that's amazing you know I've been using this tune amazing grace oh and so we could play a bit of that if you want to okay we could talk about some stuff I'll be doing an F thank you

39 thoughts on “Musician Explains One Concept in 5 Levels of Difficulty ft. Jacob Collier & Herbie Hancock | WIRED”

  1. I know a man that could explain in five different levels what the boogie woof is is, as long as the listener knows where middle C is of course!

  2. This guy asking a college music student if he’s ever heard of the circle of fifths made me cringe so hard

  3. Some incredible musicians! Jacob Collier, Herbie Hancock, Cory Henry, Michael League, Jesus Molina. There are plenty more in the world. LOL…

  4. The secret of dividing into 5 levels is to start the 1st level low enough that you still don't have to explain much by level 5.
    Let me explain electricity in 5 levels of difficulty: [1] You know what a light switch is? [2] the difference between on & off? [3] Ever heard of lightning? [4] how much is your power bill? [5] Which items in your house use electricity?
    There, I didn't even have to get into how it works.

  5. I don't know why he talks so fast, I find the toppic interesting but coz he talks so fast I lost interesent, its stressful man, you are not an harmony man at all, take some pills to relax fgs.

  6. As a college student, I was ready to be like "okay, am I still gonna get what he's saying" then I saw he was explaining it to a guy who studies at a music school.
    No sir, I am not.

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