Guy Allison Composer | Musician

© 2012 Guy Allison Communication
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M.I.N.K.

Melody - Inflection - Nuance - Kinetics (or motion)

I've been thinking about what helps to make a piece of music and/or recording resonate
for me, on a subconscious level, and I came up with the furry little acronym - MINK.

Melody - Seems obvious but it can be overlooked so often. It's that seemingly simple succession of intervals that just stick in your head. It's obviously worth mentioning that without the subtleties of 'great chord changes and harmonic invention' underneath the melody, the melody itself wouldn't be quite as engaging - and yet it's always the melody that endures, even beyond the complexity of the harmonic underpinnings.

The word 'Inflection' could easily have been replaced by the word 'Intonation'. I now know that the difference between the records that sounded amazing, versus the ones that sounded 'funny' (back when I was a child and wasn't consciously aware of pitch) were the ones where good intonation magically found its way to the recordings, being
de rigueur. Having said that, let's just assume that that's a given and all performances should strive for good intonation as a basic prerequisite.
So, back to...

Inflection - Defined as any change in pitch or tone. Whether it's a great vocal, sax solo or violin performance, the brilliant use of inflection is the difference between something living and breathing and something that sounds lifeless and robotic. Every vocal performance that has ever 'killed' me - running the gamut from Billie Holiday to Paul McCartney has made brilliant use of Inflection.

Nuance - Going hand in hand with Inflection, this is the ingredient that makes music truly breath. I couldn't imagine a string section without the nuance of dynamics or a soloist performing without the nuance of phrasing - playing with meter and distorting time. Think Sinatra.

Kinetics - Okay, I could have said motion, but then I'd have the the acronym MINM - not nearly as memorable. Kinetics is the study of motion and it's the motion within music that makes an almost primordial connection with us. The rhythm that pins the melody to the bar, that propels the harmonic invention forward can be as important as the melody itself.
If melody and harmony are the soul of music, then kinetics or motion is the body.

My 2 cents...