Super Collier shares the gist of why he's so precocious
April 24, 2017 3:53 PM   Subscribe

Jacob Collier discusses harmony and music theory. The jazz wunderkind shows off his ridiculously precise perfect pitch by, among other things, singing the super-ultra-hyper-mega-meta lydian scale PERFECTLY.
posted by ocherdraco (16 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
Oh my god, music nerds are math nerds. We're brothers and I never really understood that.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 4:03 PM on April 24, 2017 [8 favorites]

This is cool. I love learning how other musicians think about musical structure. It's like seeing someone else hand-draw a map of my own hometown and seeing all the hidden places they've discovered that I didn't even know were there.

And yes, music is math, which reminds me not to be so scared of math.
posted by The World Famous at 4:05 PM on April 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

posted by jim in austin at 4:16 PM on April 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Cool! I only know Jacob from his version of World of Pure Imagination. Now I need to check out more.
posted by klausman at 4:49 PM on April 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

I encountered him via the mashup that MonoNeon made of his "Flintstones" video.
posted by thelonius at 4:57 PM on April 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

I listen to a lot of music, but I don't know 1/100th of the jargon. This was impressive! And Collier's "In My Room" is on Spotify. Thanks for introducing me to this musician!
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 5:06 PM on April 24, 2017

(And three cheers on the post title)
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 5:07 PM on April 24, 2017 [5 favorites]

I love watching people nerd out in a language that I can understand but am not fluent in. Thanks for posting this!
posted by tchemgrrl at 6:12 PM on April 24, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'm convinced that one can make significant leeway into understanding music theory by learning simple base-12 calculations and modular arithmetic.
posted by jcronen at 6:47 PM on April 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

Music really is, at its core, math for the ears, IMO.
posted by Samizdata at 7:00 PM on April 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

I haven't heard of him before, and he really knows his theory. Not only that, but he knows it in a way that feels very natural and inspired.

I used to go to music school, and to be honest, I used to get annoyed when people would say "music is really just math." I always knew what people meant, and it's nothing against them (and certainly not anyone here), but the deeper I got into theory, the more it felt like music is storytelling that just looks like math. I mean there is math in there, and you can talk about interval ratios and the harmonic sequence and so on, but you use it in a way that's meant to evoke something. The relationship with the audience is what I care about, and theory gives you a toolset for engaging with people, but at its core it's still about that engagement.

I don't want to make it sound like I think people are wrong to say music is math, because it is math, in the same way that architecture is math, and trees are fractals. I haven't studied math, and I know there's a beauty to math that I'm not equipped to see. But to me, the math isn't at the heart of music. It's descriptive, but to me, music is greater than the sum of its (numerical) parts.

Anyway, this sort of rant is why I switched majors from music to anthropology. It's still fun to hear someone be that excited about theory.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 8:06 PM on April 24, 2017 [14 favorites]

His hands are like water spiders, walking on the piano keys. He is magic person. His level of engagement is kind of like A Room Full of Teeth, so fluent in the language, they operate as if in an entirely different realm of being. Good stuff. Angelic presence.
posted by Oyéah at 8:22 PM on April 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

Try this Mother and Son duet, in the music room at home.
posted by Oyéah at 8:24 PM on April 24, 2017

I watched some more of it, and I feel like a dog after his first calculus lesson.

Maybe I need to start with something more elementary....
posted by thelonius at 8:42 PM on April 24, 2017 [1 favorite]

Adam Neely, a bass player who shares a lot of intriguing music-theory videos on his You Tube channel expands a little on Collier's discussion of negative harmony at about the 2:30 mark of this video. As his discussion shows, referencing previous videos he's done, Neely's approach to music-theory is similar to Collier's; they are both obviously delighted in thinking about it, discuss it in ways that people steeped in the subject can appreciate, and communicate it with enough enthusiasm and tangible examples that even if a lot of what they are talking about goes over your head (that's my experience), you still get a nugget that increases your understanding and inspires you to dig a little deper.
posted by layceepee at 4:59 AM on April 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

oh lord, it s the ultimate jazzer
posted by eustatic at 7:10 AM on April 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

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