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This is Rainbow's End, composed by German saxophonist Peter Weniger. It first sounds like a straightforward 12-bar Blues in F, The melody sounds pretty normal, but as soon as it comes to the solos, something seems to be off. During the solos, one thinks that it is in fact a different kind of blues, sixteen bars maybe. After closer examination of the head, it became clear that it in fact was a Thirteen-bar blues. Counting in the solos does give different conclusions though, sometimes it feels like twelve, sometimes like sixteen, sometimes it is twelve, sometimes it is 13, sometimes 14, sometimes anything.

The harmony, as far as I can Tell is 4 bars of F7, two of Bb7, two of F7, Two of C7 and then it becomes shady.

My question is: How does this piece work? Can anybody see any patterns in there, and what is that last bit of harmony?

Cheers

  • FWIW, assuming the band in question is prepared, a solo could run for a few standard-length choruses and then add a "bridge" measure or two just for effect. Sort of like a classical cadenza. – Carl Witthoft Feb 1 at 13:49
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I'll focus on the end, which is where the tune deviates from a normal blues.

Harmonically, the bass is ascending chromatically from B, while the chords descend chromatically from E♭Maj. (You can most clearly hear these chords in the saxophone, which outlines those triads in the melody.) The combination of ascending and descending creates an interesting contrast, and it results in some weird chords: E♭Maj/B, DMaj/C, and D♭Maj/D.

Rhythmically, it's equally strange. Things start to get weird in measure 9: the melodic phrase from the end of measure 9 feels like it begins one beat too late. This is no coincidence; a nearly identical phrase occurs in measure 4, starting on beat 2. But when we hear this phrase again in measure 9, it starts on beat 3 (one beat later), and it doesn't conclude until beat 2 of the following measure. As a result, it feels like the downbeat of measure 10 is delayed from beat 1 to beat 2. The rest of the band emphasizes this staggered feeling by playing hits on beats 2 and 4 of measures 10, 11, and 12, which further makes the listener feel like the downbeat has been delayed from beat 1 to beat 2.

On the solos, there's a different form for the bass than for the rest of the band. Generally, each measure of the melody has been doubled for the solos. But the bass solo is only 22 measures long, whereas the other solos are 26 measures long (double the head). The bass solo deviates quite a bit from the harmonic structure of the head, but the other solos do too.

None of the solos include the strange descending/ascending chords featured in the melody, but the pianist does repeatedly use a chord substitution in the last four bars, which goes something like | E♭7 | A♭7 | G7 | C7 |. You can tell it's a substitution and not written into the sheet music because, at 1:56, the bass is riffing on the F7 lick while the pianist's left hand is playing the chord substitutions. Something similar happens at 2:24, the second time through the form on the pianist's solo. The bass riffs on F7 and doesn't pick up the pianist's chord substitution until G7. Overall, though, those substitutions most likely weren't part of the written music. I think the chords written for the solos were pretty simple.

Here's everything I'm hearing. Measure 13 of the head is one octave lower.

enter image description here

  • E♭/B is an inversion of Bmaj7, and D/C is an inversion of D7. What's so unusual about those? But +1, great answer! – user45266 Feb 1 at 3:38
  • @user45266, thanks! Are you thinking of E♭min/B rather than E♭Maj/B? E♭Maj contains a G♮ (which isn't present in BMaj7). DMaj/C definitely could be an inversion of D7 like you've said, but with the chord passing so quickly and the bass laying down heavy root notes throughout the song, I'm getting more of a Lydian vibe. But to your point, that chord is definitely not as uncommon as the other two. – jdjazz Feb 1 at 4:14
  • Oh, I misread the chord labels. I'll blame the 'M's (I thought it meant major, my bad). Never mind :) – user45266 Feb 4 at 22:31
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You're right that the melody is 13 measures long. Just from listening, it sounds like during the solos, they stay on each chord for twice as long. So the solo choruses are sort of a 26 bar blues.

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