Crazy to Love You: out-of-tune guitar?

Leonard Cohen's previous album (January 2012)
Steve Wilcox
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Re: Crazy to Love You: out-of-tune guitar?

Post by Steve Wilcox » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:14 pm

I’m not here to say something negative, just factual - it’s not string slaps or fret buzz or compression . . . . the guitar is out of tune. But it’s so obvious that it had to be either done intentionally or intentionally left that way.

While in-tune versus not-in-tune is an absolute, no guitar is ever perfectly in-tune (only the violin family can be played in perfect tune (perfect intervals)) and how much one objects to an out of tune instrument is subjective.

It’s also used as an effect, usually reserved for songs with only guitar accompaniment, as in Crazy To Love You. It enhances the image of the “lone singer-guitar player”. There are some very famous songs with the guitar recorded out of tune. Early Dylan recordings are a great example; sometimes the guitar wasn’t even in tune with the harmonica !!
gijsq
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Re: Crazy to Love You: out-of-tune guitar?

Post by gijsq » Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:56 pm

nobody speaks about the E-string tuned down to a lowD. Maybe that's a part of the problem

anyhow: is there anybody who knows all the chords
I miss two chords

intro
AGDD

D G D E A D D 7 E A (verse 1, 3 and 4)

D G D E A D D 7 E A G D (verse 2 and 5)

Bm A Bm A
D ? ? (?) Bm E A
it's where LC sings "but crazy had places to hide in"

thanks
i've tried in my way to be free
Citizen_Kane
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Re: Crazy to Love You: out-of-tune guitar?

Post by Citizen_Kane » Thu Feb 23, 2012 8:12 pm

Hi! Check this website:

http://www.maartenmassa.be/CohenChords/index.htm

The chords for "places to hide in" are G# C# F# B
The song is in the key of E
2008: Manchester, Brussels (2), Rotterdam - 2009: Lisboa - 2010: Lille, Dortmund - 2012: Ghent (3), Amsterdam (2) - 2013: Antwerp, Oberhausen, Brussels, Rotterdam, Amsterdam!
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LisaLCFan
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Re: Crazy to Love You: out-of-tune guitar?

Post by LisaLCFan » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:36 pm

Hasn't Leonard been accused of having an out-of-tune guitar in the past? I think he may tune it to match his voice, which may not always be in "perfect pitch" (although it sounds perfect to me, just the way it is, on every song, because that's how Leonard does it!).

As for fret-buzzing, I assume that Leonard is playing his acoustic flamenco guitar on Crazy to Love You (possibly the Conde of which he spoke so eloquently in his speech at the Prince of Asturias award ceremony), and thus, the fret buzzes are typical of the low action on that type of guitar (for the non-guitar people, that means that the strings are set-up very close to the frets, and buzzing will occur when the strings vibrate because the space between strings and frets is minimal).

As for Leonard's vigourous plucking of the bass strings, for another great example, listen to the studio version of Chelsea Hotel #2. Or, his live performances of A Singer Must die in 2010. That is just his style. And, I love it, it is very passionate!
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Hartmut
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Re: Crazy to Love You: out-of-tune guitar?

Post by Hartmut » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:24 am

Hi Lisa!
LisaLCFan wrote:As for Leonard's vigourous plucking of the bass strings, [...] That is just his style. And, I love it, it is very passionate!
I like it too, generally. It's just a bit much in this song, for my tastes.

LisaLCFan wrote:I think he may tune it to match his voice, which may not always be in "perfect pitch"
I don't want to be mean, but I don't think this is even possible ... I mean, how would you do that?

Bye,
Hartmut
RainDog1980
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Re: Crazy to Love You: out-of-tune guitar?

Post by RainDog1980 » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:45 am

Hartmut wrote:Hi Lisa!
LisaLCFan wrote:As for Leonard's vigourous plucking of the bass strings, [...] That is just his style. And, I love it, it is very passionate!
I like it too, generally. It's just a bit much in this song, for my tastes.

LisaLCFan wrote:I think he may tune it to match his voice, which may not always be in "perfect pitch"
I don't want to be mean, but I don't think this is even possible ... I mean, how would you do that?

Bye,
Hartmut
It is quite possible, and it is done all the time. Guitars, particularly, can be tuned up or down into different tunings. An example of this can be found on the "Live Songs" from '73, on "It Seems So Long Ago" versus the album version. The live version is tuned WAY down.

You can tune an instrument to any base note, but sounding out of tune, and the dissonance, is relative to the tuning of the other instruments. If the guitar is flat and the voice is pitch perfect, then you will hear the guitar is flat. However, if the guitar is flat, and the voice is flat, but they are the same interval from each other, it will still work together.
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Hartmut
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Re: Crazy to Love You: out-of-tune guitar?

Post by Hartmut » Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:26 pm

Thanks, RainDog, I didn't know that. - But still, what you describe is something completely different than having just one string of tune, as it seems to be the case in "Crazy to Love You".
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LisaLCFan
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Re: Crazy to Love You: out-of-tune guitar?

Post by LisaLCFan » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:19 pm

Hi Hartmut!

Nylon stringed acoustic guitars go out of tune all the time, very quickly, and sometimes one string will go out of tune before the others, or a string will sound out of tune in one chord, but not in different chord. This is a delightful quirk of these guitars (I play one!). Also, even if one starts with every string in tune, if one is playing for awhile (as Leonard may have been doing just prior to recording this song), one or more strings may go slightly out of tune (if you already know this, sorry for the explanation). If Leonard was really "feeling it" and wanting to hit the record button, he may not have bothered to check the tuning. Or, maybe he just liked the way it sounded!

The fact that Leonard recorded a song, solo with his guitar, is so wonderful to me that I wouldn't care if every string were out of tune. The song is absolute sweetness to my ears, as it is!

Cheers,
Lisa
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Hartmut
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Re: Crazy to Love You: out-of-tune guitar?

Post by Hartmut » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:26 pm

Hi Lisa,
LisaLCFan wrote:sometimes one string will go out of tune before the others, or a string will sound out of tune in one chord, but not in different chord. This is a delightful quirk of these guitars
Really? It drives me crazy.
LisaLCFan wrote: The fact that Leonard recorded a song, solo with his guitar, is so wonderful to me that I wouldn't care if every string were out of tune.
Well, we can certainly agree on that.
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