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Pat Metheny ‘Imaginary Day’ – Tape Analysis

Pat Metheny ‘Imaginary Day’ – Tape Analysis

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Published by Hannah Alice Scott
An analysis of ‘Imaginary Day’ - Pat Metheny
An analysis of ‘Imaginary Day’ - Pat Metheny

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Published by: Hannah Alice Scott on May 15, 2010
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‘Imaginary Day’ – Tape AnalysisPat Metheny who was born on 12th August 1954 in KansasCity USA originally wrote
Imaginary Day 
. He was born into a musicalfamily and started to play the trumpet when he was eight years old.Later when he was twelve years old, he moved to guitar finding it abetter fit. By his teenage years he found himself playing alongsidesome of the best jazz musicians in Kansas City, gaining valuableexperience in jazz playing and performance. At eighteen he was theyoungest teacher at the University of Miami and was the firstnineteen year old to teach at the Berklee College of Music, twentyyears later he went on to receive a honorary doctorate in 1996. Hemade his way into the international jazz scene in 1974 whilstplaying alongside vibraphonist Gary Burton.
Bright Sized Life’,
Metheny’s first album, was released in1975, it was on this album that Metheny was thought to ‘reinvent’the traditional “jazz guitar” sound and for years to come was alwaysone step outside of the genre by incorporating modern technologyto evolve the sound and potential of his instrument. “
followed in February 1977 with Lyle Mays on piano, Eberhard Weberon bass and Danny Gottlieb on drums. Pat Metheny Group’s firstalbum was released the following year seeing the same line up withthe exception of Weber, who was replaced by Mark Egan. Methenyhas since played with a great list of musicians such as: Steve Reich,
Herbie Hancock, Jim Hall, Ornette Coleman and even David Bowie,proving he has mastered a diverse playing style.Metheny mainly writes for solo guitar but has written for arange of musical collections including: small ensemble, electric andacoustic instruments, large orchestras, even ballets pieces, swiftlymoving thoughout the jazz, rock and classical genres.Metheny has a very synthesized sound and was thought to beone of the first musicians to take the guitar synthesizer seriously.He has many custom guitars including:
Fretless classical guitar – this particular guitar was made byLinda Manzer especially for Metheny. Due to the fact the fretlesshas nylon strings, some resonation and sustain issues arose, soManzer had the idea to make the guitar with a cello-like bridge. The guitar has a very unique tone and natural bluesiness,allowing Metheny to sound semitones, creating a ‘slide guitar’sound. Metheny uses it in the opening of the Imaginary daytrack.
Forty-two string “Pikasso” guitar – used at the beginning of “
Intothe Dream
” on the same album. The guitar has several fretboards, unlike standard guitars, and the strings all meet in themiddle and overlap each other, creating the ability to play manynotes over different octaves, much like a piano.
Ibanez PM-100 jazz guitar – which was also used on the album.
Vg-8 – Most people will mistake Metheny to play a guitarsynthesizer whereas it is in fact a special kind of guitar pick-up
made by Roland to manipulate amplified sound. You can attach itto your guitar and it will allow you to create many different soundcombinations of guitars, amps, microphones, speakers, androoms. Metheny has used this on most songs from the album.
Imaginary Day 
is the title track of Pat Metheny Group’s twelfthstudio album. The album was recorded at Right Track Records, New York, in the spring and was released by Warner Brothers in October1997. The album later went on to win numerous awards including aGrammy for ‘Best Contemporary Jazz Performance’ in 1998.
Imaginary Day” 
includes more quickly improvised material, whichdiffers greatly from other Pat Metheny Group albums where thematerial had more careful consideration. Metheny refers back to thewriting process; "Generally our process is to write a whole bunch of stuff, even if they're just little eight-bar fragments of melodic ideas,or a groove, or whatever. Then we pick from these45 or 50 snippetsour favorite 20 or so and go from there. Our goal this time was to just let our imaginations go and to dream up settings and musicalenvironments where it wasn't necessarily obvious that they wouldbe within our immediate realm.”
This process, I believe, gives thealbum a modern and ‘fresh’ sound. The musicians who appeared on the track “
Imaginary Day 
can be described to have made a ‘patchwork’ of improvised ideas,melodic movement and a large array of percussion, which creates a‘canopy’ of sound. The musicians for “
Imaginary Day’ 

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