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 Posted:   Feb 25, 2017 - 2:34 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Let's talk about some of the distinctive arrangement aspects of Kenyon Hopkins' music.

He tends to favor melodies played by woodwinds/reeds, including saxophones, orchestral woodwinds, and combinations of these.

He often voices the melodies in two- or three-part harmony. He looks for odd intervals and interesting harmonies along the way.

He will often have a combination of electric guitar and vibes in the mix. They may be playing chords or unison melody lines in octaves behind the woodwinds. Or, he includes one or both with woodwinds in the aforementioned three-part harmonizing of melodies.

He seems to like fast vibrato on the vibes.

He seems to favor augmented chords, or larger chords that contain an imbedded augmented triad, for example, the dominant 7th with a sharp 11 or a minor chord with a major 7th.

He also seems to like diminished 7th chords that extend into the upper harmonies (9, 11, 13, 15).

The combination of the woodwinds, electric guitar, and fast vibraphone, along with the aforementioned chords, tends to give his music a cool, futuristic, modern sound.

His occasional use of bluesy melodies and progressions can create an interesting tension when combined with the aforementioned "futuristic" features.

What are some other characteristics of Kenyon Hopkins music that you hear?

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 26, 2017 - 7:22 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Another one: He seems to go for muted trumpet in a support role to the reeds.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 28, 2017 - 5:23 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Here is another:

While a lot of modernist stuff from that period often favored stacking notes of chords in fourths rather than thirds, Hopkins sticks primarily to triads, although they are interesting choices of triads, or two related triads being played together by two sections. There is a track on side 2 of "The Hustler" - I think it is track 13 - where the woodwinds play chords in fourths, and they really jump out, because I don't think we hear this in the score before or after.

It is interesting that he can strike such a cool, modernist sound while avoiding a favored device of modern jazz.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 22, 2018 - 4:38 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

He likes to use descending and ascending series of major thirds to produce different chords when combined with a static note, for example, C major triad, B augmented, Bb 6th, A 7th, Ab major 7th, and back up. This creates an unsettling and ambiguous effect.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 23, 2018 - 4:24 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

He likes to use descending and ascending series of major thirds to produce different chords when combined with a static note, for example, C major triad, B augmented, Bb 6th, A 7th, Ab major 7th, and back up. This creates an unsettling and ambiguous effect.


Damn! I was just about to write that.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 23, 2018 - 4:57 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Damn! I was just about to write that.

Yes! He uses this on some of the spookier or otherworldly arrangements, Like "Out of This World" and "Spellbound."

 
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