>Perhaps you or someone else could help elucidate a mysterious
>passage from Bob Dylan's "Chronicles: Part 1" where he writes about
>a revolutionary system taught to him by Lonnie Johnson, the great
>blues and jazz guitarist.
>Dylan writes (p. 157) that his guitarmanship was electrified in the
>1980s when he learned how to play "based on an odd- instead of
>even-number system" that he learned from jazzman Lonnie Johnson: a
>"highly controlled system of playing and relates to the notes of a
>scale, how they combine numerically, how they form melodies out of
>"Popular music is usually based on the number 2 [...] If you're
>using an odd numerical system, things that strengthen a performance
>begin to happen [...] In a diatonic scale there are eight notes, in
>a pentatonic scale there are five. If you're using the first scale,
>and you hit 2, 5 and 7 to the phrase and then repeat it, a melody
>forms. Or you can use the 2 three times. Or you can use 4 once and 7
>twice [...] The possibilities are endless [...] I'm not a
>numerologist. I don't know why the number 3 is more metaphysically
>powerful than the number 2, but it is. Passion and enthusiasm, which
>sometimes can be enough to sway a crowd, aren't even necessary. You
>can manufacture faith out of nothing and there are an infinite
>number of patterns and lines that connect from key to key..."
>Is this a baffling to you as it seems to me?
I have never thought of Bob Dylan as one of music's great theorists,
and now I know why. His technical description is at least as
confusing as some of his lyrics, which at least had the advantae of
being obscure in a poetic way.
What I was describing in the drumming discussion was rhythmic, not
melodic. q e