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Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #38810  by seamus
 Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:52 pm
I don't have much(or any) musical theory background but I was wondering..

What makes Dark Star so experimental for the dead? Was it just the way they played it or is there something about the way it was written that allows the musicians to experiment in different ways?

 #38814  by seamus
 Wed Feb 27, 2008 4:11 pm
of course

that doesnt answer my question

 #38816  by BuddhaG
 Wed Feb 27, 2008 4:13 pm
Seamus, go and listen to any Dark Star from each year starting from 1968 until 1974. You will see how much the song evolved from year to year. It is not so much how it was written as how it WASN'T written.

The structure was so loose that it allowed for a modal jam in A mixolydian. Modal playing is something that became popular through jazz music. It allowed players to improvise freely without thinking so much about hitting strict chord changes, just staying in key and doing whatever felt right.

There's a lot to be said about any given version of Dark Star and the song as a composition that evolved through time and space (as the Dead as a band also did) but Dark Star is best when it speaks for itself.

 #38824  by tigerstrat
 Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:12 pm
Who ever said it was experimental? What is meant by that?

It was experiential :smile:

 #38826  by tigerstrat
 Wed Feb 27, 2008 5:13 pm
BuddhaG wrote:...to improvise freely without thinking so much about hitting strict chord changes, just staying in key and doing whatever felt right.
Including stepping out of key and mode!

 #38833  by BuddhaG
 Wed Feb 27, 2008 6:07 pm
experiential

adjective
1. relating to or resulting from experience; "a personal, experiential reality"
2. derived from experience or the experience of existence; "the rich experiential content of the teachings of the older philosophers"- Benjamin Farrington