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Music Television, or MTV, came out with a bang (a rocket ship taking off and the words, “This is rock and roll”). Never before was there a 24-hour music channel, and the music that has shaped us may not have so severely affected popular culture at large if it weren’t for the invention of such a thing.

Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.

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Today I want to look at his first movement from “Musica Ricercata,” a piece for solo piano which features a very unusual choice: The use of one single note for the vast majority of the composition. Listen below.

In a song that was spliced together from the independent compositions of different feuding band members, John McVie’s contribution takes prominence here at the end. Played along an E minor scale, it starts with a long A and ascends to the C, before descending via a run of notes to resolution on the E. Simple yet effective, especially with the repetition, it builds up with intensity into a driving tempo over Mick Fleetwood’s drums. But one thing that shouldn’t be overlooked is how much musical tension is created between the bass and the lead guitar as a result of what I call “reverse” pedal point.

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