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[Editor's Note: We welcome back phish.net contributor and musicologist Mike Hamad, who shares his thoughts on the "Modulating Jams of Summer 2015." Below is the last of three parts. Part 1; Part 2. -PZ]
Compound MODs: My Double Wants to Pull Me Down
Four jams this summer modulated twice before calling it quits. I’ve been referring to these jams as double – or compound – MODs. They function by simply combining two of any of the four MODs (III, IV, V and flat-VII) discussed previously. These also happen to be monster jams; technically, they are the four most harmonically adventurous jams of summer 2015.
Table 7 lists the four Compound MOD jams Phish played this summer:
[Editor's Note: We welcome back phish.net contributor and musicologist Mike Hamad, who shares his thoughts on the "Modulating Jams of Summer 2015." Below is the second of three parts. If you missed it, you may wish to start with part one. Part three will run tomorrow. -PZ]
Modulation Types & Pathways
The 37 modulating jams of summer 2015 fall into five categories. I’ll discuss these in turn, along with common pathways (and exceptions) for getting from point A to point B (and sometimes, to point C). These five categories, and the number of jams they contain, are included in Table 2:
[Editor's Note: We welcome back phish.net contributor and musicologist Mike Hamad, who shares his thoughts on the "Modulating Jams of Summer 2015." Below is the introduction and part one, of three parts. Parts two and three will run here early next week. -PZ]
Not counting the Magnaball Drive-In Jam, Phish played 513 songs – roughly three days of non-stop music – during the summer 2015 tour, spread across 51 sets and 25 shows in 16 different venues. That’s a lot of music.
A minor subset – 37 songs, clocking in at nearly ten hours – stands out not because of how good it was, but because of what happened during those ten hours: in every case, the band, as a unit, changed keys. In musical/analytical circles, this is known as “modulation.”
Each modulation lasted more than two minutes. It’s an arbitrary amount of time that I chose to distinguish between structural modulations, or key changes, that I felt would unmistakably weaken the music if they weren’t there, and last-minute swerves, to enter new keys and set up subsequent segues to other songs. Anyway, two minutes is a good, round number.
Jürgen Fauth’s The Ashakiran Tape is a novel set at Jones Beach in 2009, and the following excerpt opens during the second show of the run, 6/4. After he’s had to deal with hapless noobs, sketchy scenesters, and a yacht full of strung-out tech millionaires, hardboiled lot detective Quentin Pfeiffer is finally trying to enjoy his first shows since Coventry – but the dark events of the previous days are threatening to overshadow the music.
Unexpected things are part and parcel of the Phish experience and have always added to the mystique, aura, and wonderment of this band. Tours are usually sprinkled with a few surprise moments but this summer seemed to be chock-full of surprises.
What surprised you the most?
Read on to learn about the ten most surprising things that the band did this summer.