Writing Wrong Notes: Chromatic Clashes in the Music of Tune-Yards

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Andrew Conklin


This article analyzes the pitch language of Tune-Yards. Like many of its peers, Tune-Yards uses chromaticism to differentiate itself from the mainstream. Unlike its fellow post-millennial experimental pop bands, however, Tune-Yards primarily favors loop-derived compositional techniques that generate chromatic clashes between two or more musical layers. Tune-Yards is also noteworthy for the pervasiveness and variety of chromatic clashes throughout its recorded catalog. This essay presents three of Tune-Yards’ layer-based compositional techniques — Caught in the LooperChromatically Inflected Melody, and Accompaniment-Derived Chromaticism — and examines the ways in which they interact with intonation, timbre, lyrics, and form.

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