Thursday, April 17, 2008

My favorite note

It's hard for me to list a favorite album or song or singer because, truly, I love a broad swath of music. There are so many talented people out there, living and dead, whose songs have ingrained themselves in my soul that I'm sure I'd forget half the ones I'd put on a list.

But I do have a favorite note. It's one note, and it's a doozy. Watching Happy Feet with the four-year-old reminded me yet again how wonderful the note is, even if my son's too busy watching penguins doing synchronized swim moves.

In the beginning of the second verse of "Do It Again" by the Beach Boys, there is a rising tonic note that starts under the vocals and eventually eclipses everything in the mix for a moment before it subsides again near the end of the verse. It may be an organ, but I'm not absolutely sure. Maybe one of you people who know the inside workings of Brian Wilson's mind can help me with this.

Whatever it is, it just radiates throughout the track like a sunrise or a space heater turning on. It brings a warmth to the song that I bet 98% of its listeners feel without knowing where it's coming from.

When I first hear the drum/bass intro to "Do It Again", I find myself grinning in wild anticipation of the rising note. Anyone around me at that point is clued in that the note will happen shortly, and I guide the listener's attention to the rise and fall as it happens, smiling madly.

The rest of the song, hammers included, is great, and "Do It Again" may well be my single favorite Beach Boys' tune. But it's the effect of that note, that sound of soaring, searing summer embodied, that still moves me, some forty years after the tune was recorded.

That's what music's supposed to do to you, isn't it?

4 comments:

Jeff Hart said...

how i love "do it again". we tried to play it once at rehearsal a few years back and it was much more difficult than the beach boys made it sound. i really wanna try it again sometime though. thanks for the reminder ;)

roscoe said...

bass or treble cleff?

Mark said...

One of Wilson's favorite things was to combine 2 or more sounds to make a new sound. So that note could be voices combined with an organ, or something you'd never expect. Try this BB community. They have experts on there.
http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/index.php

Anonymous said...

I love Do It Again!----and Marcella!