“But if it’s an open-ended solo, that starts with a single tonality, I can do amazing things in that context if you understand what is happening musically, what’s going on. Some people listen to it and say, that’s awfully weird, or that scale is strange, or those notes are weird, but there’s a reason for doing it and there’s a lot of skill involved in choosing those notes. And there’s a lot of skill involved in the rhythm section in being able to accompany me in what I’m doing. That bass player is great at following me. He’s one of my favorite bass players to work with because he understands what I’m doing when I’m doing those things. And one of the techniques I was using last night was that the chord that was stored in the loop has no third in it. That means, the pitch of the chord that determines whether it is major, minor, augmented, or diminished, is missing. All that you have is the root, the second, and the fifth. When you have those three intervals in there, you still hear it as a chord. But the notes that you can play against it enable you to encompass all the different variations of the nature of the chord. You can play major thirds, minor thirds, and everything in-between, against that chord. It’s like a neutral piece of canvas that you can paint on. And consequently, a lot of different bass notes can be used to support that chord. Each one that goes against the chord creates another set of mathematical possibilities for the melody notes that are happening on top of it. And when you combine that with the mathematical possibilities of what the harmonic rhythm of what the melody notes will be – how many rub, how many relax, and all that stuff – that’s a world of opportunities during each song. And I love doing that during the show. That’s my favorite thing to do in the show.”

– Frank Zappa, 1984

Link: Drowning Witch

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