Producer’s Postscript 🎧

Hi friends,

As part of her reflections on the making of Year of the Nightingale, Kelly has added this illuminating Postscript about Dominion.

I think you’ll find it brings the journey to a fitting close.

Thank you Kelly.

Luke

Producer’s Postscript on Dominion

by Kelly Snook

Dear Friends, I forgot that I had wanted to share another note about the musical symbolism in Dominion.

Two weeks ago when I was on one of my long flights, I listened to the whole album many times through. I was reflecting on the songwriting, song order, and various aspects of chord progressions and melodies employed to create different moods. As I said in my Dominion notes, we had known for a relatively long time that we wanted the song to be last. Intuitively, it seemed obvious, but I was reflecting on it so I could articulate why.

Then I noticed something incredible. There is a chord progression that is one of the most common ways to create tension and resolution in Western Music: the ii-V-I. I would be very surprised if it’s not the most widely used chord progression in all of western music, including pop, rock, jazz, and classical music. From Wikipedia:

“ii–V–I progressions are extremely common in jazz. They serve two primary functions, which are often intertwined: to temporarily imply passing tonalities, and to lead strongly toward a goal (the “I” chord).”

In this Hidden Word, the goal is clear: for us not to fear death, everyone’s final goal. Musically, the song teases the final chord of the ii-V-I progression from the beginning, never quite delivering it until the VERY end of the song. As I sat on the plane listening to the movement from major to minor in each moment of the song and reflecting on the differences in tone for each word in the Writing, that in itself was enough to bring me to tears, but then when I noticed the final ii-V-I and became conscious of the final resolution of the song, that was even more profound.

I then got curious about the songs leading up to it. First mentally and then in my headphones I went backwards through all of the songs to check the chord progressions and didn’t find a single ii-V-I resolution until track 4! That means that for the entire second half of the record, we don’t hear or feel this strong resolution until the last notes of the last song on the album. The choice to end a song about death with a ii-V-I to a major chord is, I think, songwriting genius! But I’m not sure Luke was even consciously aware of this, showing how truth and beauty can be expressed through music in mysterious, deeply profound ways.

So final does this ending feel that it never occurred to Luke or me, when agonizing over song order, that anything would ever come after Dominion until the CD started repeating in my car and the first notes of Beauty came in. That was the one transition we never thought to check, and thank Goodness it works – the first notes of Beauty ever so gently pull one back down to Earth after that otherworldly transport of Dominion.

Direct YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/pVCkc3n9DOA

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