Miles Davis-“Black Satin”
This is truly a great example of Miles’ experimental musical predilections. Ensemble is experimental: Tabla, Electric Bass, Trumpet, Synthesizer, Electric Piano, Bongos, Saxophone, Electric Guitar, miscellaneous percussion (drum set, sleigh bells, possibly tambourine). Form is difficult to place in the confines of a traditional understanding. There is clearly a great deal of repetition, which gives the impression of a Hindustani tala or western classical minimalist structure (much like Philip Glass or Steve Reich). Overall the piece bears no resemblance to one specific style, as there are elements of funk, Hindustani classical, jazz, rock and modern western classical. The interaction of the instruments suggests polyphony, as there are vast numbers of distinct melodic lines (most recognizable are the bass, saxophone, synthesizer lines). One could argue that the bass and saxophone exist as solo entities in certain parts of “Black Satin” but it is really difficult to ascertain if they are truly taking a prominent melodic role. It seems more likely that these instruments are simply raised in volume to add tone colors to the piece, rather than to be singled out as solo instruments. The tonality of the piece is a mixture of tonal, atonal, and polymodal, which can result in a rather dissonant work at times. Additionally the piece incorporates a primarily duple meter of 4/4 (one could argue the piece is in cut time based on where certain beats fall).