Naples:life,death &
                Miracle contact: Jeff Matthews

© Jeff Matthews   entry Sept 2015   Allegro ma non troppo #17  (original pub. date, Lion Magazine, June,  1994)


G-7 —Nothing to Fret About

Well, in Naples trees are being pruned, prunes are being treed, San Carlo is getting sandblasted (and saint or not, that still has to smart like the Dickens! —who was in Naples, by the way, in the 1800s and felt much the same way as the rest of us about getting sandblasted); and streets are being torn up—and thrown away! No, just joking; they are being neatly taped back together. Yes, indeed, we are in the midst of massive sprucing up, pining away, palming off and beating around the bush. (There is even some desiring under the elms going on, I hear tell.) All this is in preparation for the upcoming G-7 conference. What, you ask, can you do to prepare yourselves for G-7? Your sense of civic responsibility is admirably misplaced, but, as usual, you have come to the right place for help. I am in your dispose-all. Listen carefully.

First, remember that G-7 is not that difficult a chord. It looks like this (image, right):

(I am assuming that you are familiar with the fundamentals of guitar tuning. If not, don’t fret; go take some lessons. I’ll wait. Back? Good. Continue, and remember, if you show up with a lute, harp or any of those other anarchist instruments, they won’t even let you in the door. Pianos are ok, but only if they fit under the seat-back in front of you.)

The ease with which the basic G-7 chord can be played is the reason it was chosen for the conference in the first place. Sure, there were a few jazz freaks at the United Nations who suggested other chords. How about a C-sharp minor nine conference? one of them suggested. Or a D-diminished seventh? Or, if it has to be a measly G-7, how about that neat second inversion up on the higher part of the fingerboard? Man, that’ll dewax dogs’ ears in the next county! Fortunately, rock ‘n’ rollers prevailed, seeing as how everyone recalled the complicated and disastrous E-flat minor seventh with a flatted ninth conference (also known as the Conference of Vienna) in 1814, when the Duchess of Baden-Würtenberg severely dislocated her pinky reaching for that G string, thus ruining relations between the Badens and the Würtenbergs for several generations. Things were not straightened out until the dreadfully dull, but eminently successful, C-major conference on the eve of the Franco-Prussian War, when both Francos and Prussians showed up with harmonicas, setting off another memorable round of European conflagration.

Anyway, I have been bogged down in the tar-pits of hell …oops, I mean, stuck in the repairs going on in the city, and I don’t think we can take anything more complicated than a G-7. As I say, it was made to be played with ease. US President Clinton should have no problem with it. His notoriously funky version of Night Train on the tenor saxophone a few years ago contained at least one half-hearted attempt at a G-7, and one hopes he has been practicing since then. The French President will be there, too, although he insists on calling the conference by its real name: Sol-7. And the Japanese Prime Minister is bringing his Walkman, so he’s cool.  Everything indicates that the leaders of the seven great industrial powers meeting in Naples will have little or no difficulty with G-7. Besides, once it’s behind them, all they’ll need is a good solid C-major conference and then an F-major one. Those three chords will be enough to keep our collective economies rocking and rolling for decades! Also, remember that a G-7 is what is called a “dominant seventh chord”. It is meant to resolve to the basic chord in the key of C. If it doesn’t, it sort of leaves you hanging —like ending “Happy Birthday to You” on the word “to”. That’s bad. Keep that thought: resolution.

Finally, let’s not be cynical about G-7. Look how well it is used two measures from the end of “When the Saints Go Marching In”. OK, so these guys are no saints, but let’s hope they can do as well.


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