Fundamental Affirmation

A Venture

The fifth movement of Fundamental Affirmation is "A Venture" — a little gem of a song from The Yes Album, the first album in what Bill Martin calls their main sequence, recorded in 1970. This is the shortest and most straightforward of my Yes interpretations, clocking in at a mere four minutes or so (sheet music here).

Here again I took a cue from Bach. The fifth movement in each of the Cello Suites consists of a two-part menuet, bourrée, or gavotte. Just so, the first forty measures of my arrangement (corresponding to the verse, "once a peaceful man") can be considered part one, and measures 41-135 (corresponding to the chorus, "he told all his sons") can be considered part two. Furthermore, as Bach does, I return briefly at the end to part one.

The harmonic materials of "A Venture" are quite interesting. Although almost all the notes are those of the G minor (or B♭ major) scale, Yes varies the root note to give each section a different flavor. In the bass-heavy introduction D is prominent, so it sounds as if we're in the Phrygian mode; in the verse A is prominent, so it sounds as if we're in the Locrian mode; in the chorus G is prominent, so it sounds as if we're in the Aeolian mode; and for a few measures (97-102 and 122-127) C is prominent, so it sounds as if we're in the Dorian mode. That's quite the harmonic journey for such a brief song!


Peter Saint-Andre > Music > Yes