Themes and Variation Hits Episode 50!

Firstly, THANK YOU FOR LISTENING! We couldn’t have gotten to 50 episodes without the dedicated listener support we’ve gotten from readers, listeners, and community members like you. Here’s to another 50!  🎉

We launched the Soundfly podcast, Themes and Variation back in the summer of 2020. Since then we’ve chatted with all sorts of musicians and music lovers about songs related to a wide variety of themes like “Songs From the First Album You Ever Bought” (Episode 1), “Songs That Are Incredibly Clever” (Episode 15), and “Songs That Aren’t for the Faint of Heart” (Episode 40).

Our panelists have included old friends and new acquaintances alike. We’ve spoken to music teachers, instrumentalists, composers, producers, songwriters, students, and several of our Soundfly course instructor artists — each of whom brought their interesting and passionate perspectives to the table.

That said, this ain’t no clip show, folks. You may have been expecting a highlight reel, but we decided to take things in a different direction today, instead, centering the episode around what may very well be our vaguest theme to date: “50.” That’s it. Just the number 50.

For this one, our panel of regulars had the freedom to select any song in the world, provided they could find a way to relate it to the number 50.

Quick spoiler: I won’t name names, but in spite of having more flexibility than ever before, my two co-panelists went in more or less the same direction. Was it a case of great minds acting in tandem? I know what I think, but you’ll have to decide for yourself.

Quick second spoiler: Somehow in this conversation, we unearthed that Carter has a phobia of standing next to large ships… The more you know, I guess.

Listen to the full Episode 50 of Themes and Variation right here:

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Go ahead and explore the back catalog of our previous episodes, and subscribe to hear every one of our episodes right when they come out, on your preferred platform:

Episode 50 Highlights

1. Carter on the unique and fluid form of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”

Carter: “It’s like three verses and every verse is 17 bars. Love that. It’s very cyclical feeling. There isn’t a big hook. It just kind of flows beautifully from one section to the next. Everything is like super diatonic except the use of a flat seven chord — very prominent use at the end of every verse. And then at the end of the song on the outro, flat seven galore.”

2. Martin on why he’ll put “Road” on repeat.

Martin: “It was really hard to choose a song off this record because the record just feels so cohesive. I really love just listening down to it from top to bottom. But there’s something about this track, the sort of push and pull of the rhythm and the simplicity of the delivery in this one in particular that… I can listen to the song over and over and over and over again.”

3. Mahea on Paul Hindemith’s ability to create orchestral groove.

Mahea: “The thing about Hindemith that is awesome to me — most awesome, I should say, ’cause like harmonically, yes. It has some really powerful harmonic moments. Rhythmically, it’s strange to say, but for this being an orchestral piece, it has a groove to it, you know?”

Carter: “This track absolutely slaps.”

Join the Conversation

One of our favorite things about our podcast is the fact that the conversation around each theme is so much bigger than the episode itself. We’d love to hear which songs you would have chosen for this episode! Share them with us on Twitter or, if you’re a Soundfly subscriber, in the #podcast channel on Slack.

Plus, with every new episode of Themes and Variation, we launch a new Spotify playlist that includes the songs mentioned in this episode and more. Here’s this episode’s Spotify playlist!

We’ll see you in a couple weeks with a new theme, new guests, and some new songs to break down. If you have any comments, questions, or theme suggestions, drops us a (bass) line at [email protected]!

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