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Van Morrisons’”Into the Mystic” horn break:

bobmc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,513
Not sure if it’s because the riff is played on brass instruments or that I have trouble with harmonized lines in general, but the horn riff eludes me. Any suggestions?

Any recorded guitar versions to check out?

I love (and am completely at loss to say I fully understand) the song.
 

JSeth

Member
Messages
2,412
hahaha! I don't know what it means fully either - but I love the tune as well! I do it in c major / cmaj sus... the horn lick is your basic blues lick, in 3rds; the major pentatonic blues lick... as opposed to the dom7 blues lick... does that help?

good luck!
 

JonR

Member
Messages
15,063
Here's part of it (I can hear two lines clearly, sure there's a third, in between I think but not sure what it is).
This is the original key (Eb).
Code:
TOP LINE
----------------------------------------------------|----------------------------------------
8-----------8---------------------------------------|----------------------------------------------
-----------------------11p10p8--------------8-------|------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------10-8------10----------|--------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------|----------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------|----------------------------------------
1     .     2     .     3        .      4     .     |
BOTTOM LINE
----------------------------------------------------|----------------------------------------
4-----------3---------------------------------------|----------------------------------------------
------------------------5p--3p0---------------------|------------------------------------------------------
---------------------------------1------4---5-------|--------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------|----------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------|----------------------------------------
1     .     2     .     3        .      4     .     |
That's an extremely quick pull-off line from fret 11 (four 32nd notes: Gb-F-Eb-C, down to the 8th note Bb on 8th fret 4th string.)
In contrast the lower line (5-3-0) is a 16th and two 32nds.

The last notes hold over to the next bar, an Eb triad. The 3rd harmony would be the remaining triad tone (Bb), but I can't quite tell what this line does in previous riff.
That part repeats twice, then this is the next part; I'm showing top and bottom together here (again, there is a less distinct inner line):
Code:
--------|-------------------------------|-----------------------------------
----1-4-|3-----------------------3-1----|----------------------------------------
0-3-----|----------------------------3-1|---------------------------------------
--------|3-----------------------1-0----|-----------------------------------
--------|----------------------------3-1|-----------------------------------
--------|-------------------------------|-----------------------------------
4   .    1   .   2   .   3   .   4   .
Again, that last chord (Bb7) holds across into the next bar. The 3rd harmony is a D, but I'm not sure what it does on the previous run down. (The initial run up is one horn only.)
The next bit is almost a repeat of the first part, except the lower line plays the root on beat 2 instead of descending to the maj7.

It's all major scale, btw. The first lick is mostly major pent: just with one maj7, and two quick blues b3s (Gb).


I assume when you say you're "at a loss to fully understand the song", you mean the lyrics? ;) (the harmonic structure is pretty straightforward.)
 

bobmc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,513
JonR,
Outstanding! I'll try it out tonight, but it looks like I was close to what you hear.
That pull off is what trips me up, I think 'my ear was overthinking it'.

And yeah, I love the mood and feel, but it's as hippy dippy as they come lyrically.
 

Poppa Stoppa

Member
Messages
2,224
And when that fog horn blows I will be coming home!
What a magnificent song - good luck!

I heard it played last year in a pub in Kinsale in the south of Ireland during a music festival. A Canadian guy sang and played it on an acoustic piano. Two jazz sax players came in and blew along unmic'd and the whole bar floated off into the mystic - unforgettable.
 

JonR

Member
Messages
15,063
I've just been transcribing Van's vocal on this, an amazing tour de force. I think it must rate as one of his best - incredibly sensitive, in both dynamics and phrasing.
The tenderness of the "...foghorn blows I will be coming home" phrases; and the way he comes out of the bridge soaring on that high G, the word "I" ("...wanna rock your gypsy soul") - perfectly judged, makes the neck hairs stand up. (His characteristic squawky timbre at the top of his range is not a problem here, IMO. He's always lacked the rich throatiness of his heroes, Ray Charles, etc, but his immaculate pitching and phrasing makes up for it.)

It's also perfect how the backing is quiet and reflective, holding the mood. Stays steady and restrained, letting his vocal cover the expressive range.

The lyrics are somewhat daft, of course, but I see it as the guy struggling (and failing) to find words to describe a transcendent mystical experience. Might be drugs, might be religion, might be sex - or all three! - who knows? (There's definite hints of sex in the last verse.)

BTW, I found this live cover, with a 3-piece horn section:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAk73Fdaa7o
Pretty good version, I thought, but at least one of the horn lines is different from what I hear on the original.

The trumpet there is playing this:
Code:
-8-----------------------------------------|---------------------
-----------11--------8-11-8---------8------|--------------------------
----------------------------10---8---------|--------------------
-------------------------------------------|-------------------
-------------------------------------------|-------------------
-------------------------------------------|-------------------
 1    .    2    .    3      .    4     .
(The trill on beat 3 is a little different each time).
Then his line into the Bb7 runs like this:
Code:
---------|---------------------------------------|-------------------
------8-9|---------------------------------------|---------------------
-8-10----|10----------------------------10-8-7---|--------------------------
---------|-------------------------------------10|8--------------------
---------|---------------------------------------|-------------------
---------|---------------------------------------|-------------------
          1    .    2    .    3    .    4     .
This whole part would work pretty well as an upper harmony on the lines I posted above - or a lower harmony an octave down of course.
 
Last edited:

bobmc

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,513
JonR
I'll try this out tonight. BTW, this search started after playing the melody while trying to play something Gospel-y, bluesy, R&Bish (as opposed to rubbish!).
I started with People Get Ready and tried to expand it.
 

ocripes

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,319
This might sound weird, but here goes:

Listen to Hendrix's guitar break in "Wind Cries Mary."

Then apply that "broken chord," double stop, Mayfield thing to the horn line in the Van tune.

PS: I love the lyrics. Maybe it's an Irish thing.
 

JonR

Member
Messages
15,063
This might sound weird, but here goes:

Listen to Hendrix's guitar break in "Wind Cries Mary."

Then apply that "broken chord," double stop, Mayfield thing to the horn line in the Van tune.

PS: I love the lyrics. Maybe it's an Irish thing.
It's that major pentatonic vibe - that's what they have in common.
 

NitroLiq

Member
Messages
1,435
There's a youtube vid of Gov't Mule doing this so that might be a good reference to check out.
 

fr8_trane

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,969
This might sound weird, but here goes:

Listen to Hendrix's guitar break in "Wind Cries Mary."

Then apply that "broken chord," double stop, Mayfield thing to the horn line in the Van tune.

PS: I love the lyrics. Maybe it's an Irish thing.
That's the way I approached it when my band played this song. Although its impossible (IMO) to play this exactly as the horn line is written using double stops.

However, doing it in the harmonized dual guitar style might be cool and would allow you to do it exactly like the horns.
 




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