Music Theory

Stephen H Stein
Aug 17 · 2 min read

In the car I have an old iPhone with a non-profane-family-friendly-all-good-tunes-Sunday-morning-Sotify-playlist. It has a LOT of songs — something for everyone. It’s what I usually play when there are kids in the car. Like today… driving Nola and Bella (neighbor friend) to horse camp.

Nola: What song is this, Dad?

Steve: Stairway to Heaven. You like it?

Nola: Yeah.

Steve: In the pantheon of rock and roll, this is a BIG song.

Nola: What’s a panthernon?

Steve: Pantheon. It’s like if all the rock stars of rock and roll got together and were going to, well, um, it’s a VERY popular song.

I crank it, but I can tell they’ve lost interest because I can hear them talking about horses. But then the next song comes on and the talking stops. They’re spellbound.

Steve: You guys like this?

Nola & Bella: Yeah!

Nola: What song is this?

Steve: Africa. It’s a cover. This is Weezer, but the original is by Toto.

The song ends.

Bella: Can you play it again?

We play it two more times before it randomly goes to Scarlet Begonias.

Nola: Is that a big song in the pantheron?

Steve: Pantheon. No, not really. I mean it’s a really good song. The live versions usually go right into Fire on the Mountain which people sometimes refer to as Scarlet Fire, but I-

Nola: No, the one before.

Steve: Oh, Africa?

Nola: Yeah.

Steve: Uh, no, not especially. Well, maybe. Why?

Nola: I like it.

Steve: You can like whatever you want, sweetheart. It doesn’t matter if something is popular or not. You just like what you like. Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen, or what’s that one Mom likes?

Nola: She likes Hamilton.

Steve: Right. You can like Hamilton or-

Nola: I don’t really like Hamilton.

Steve: That’s ok. It’s sorta like a hip hop history class. Well, not a hip hop history class because you’ve got east coast and west coast, but the interesting thing about Hamilton is that it’s a musical set to hip hop. Of course, if you listen to hip hop, you’ll know that it lends itself to Broadway pretty easily. Mostly because you have a fairly simple music bed on which to supply lyrics. And in the case of Hamilton I’m just talking to myself aren’t I because you guys are back to horses. Ok, well, anyhoo…


Stephen H Stein

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