Paul Heinz

Original Fiction, Music and Essays

Musical Cliches - guilty as charged

Two summers ago, I posted twoblogs on musical cliches and highlighted one in particular: the descending major scale in the bass line, used by virtually every rock band since the early 60s, me included.  It's an oldie but goodie, but there are plenty of other cliches out there, and when someone as unmuiscal as my wife notices one, it might be time for an artist to change his tune.

Last week, after a year of work, I finally completed my new album Warts and All, and while we were in the car listening to the beginning of track four, "There is no Reason"my wife turned to me and said, "Wow, you sure like that theme."

What she was referring to, and what I'd hoped noone had actually noticed, was a recurring theme I've used in multiple songs, whereby I play an octave in my right hand along with a minor or major third below the upper note, and then generally ascend up the scale for a bit and back down again.  For whatever reason, this phrase appeals to me, and I've used it in no fewer than four songs to date.  Give a listen...

Those were snippets from four songs: "Car Alarms" from 1996, "File It Away" from 2000, "What You've Done" from 2003 and "There Is No Reason" from 2012.  An oldie but goodie, indeed.  I also have an unfinished tune that I'm intending my daughter to sing that employs the same tecnnique.  But how that my wife has discovered my secret: that I have very few tricks up my sleeve and that I need to "lean on old familiar ways" (if you guess where that lyric comes from, you win a free copy of my new album), then maybe it's time to put that particular theme away for a while.

But the biggest cliche ever?  Check out the Axis of Awesome performing forty songs with the exact same chord progression:

That chord progression has GOT to be on my next album.

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