Fundamental Affirmation

I. To Be Over

The first movement of Fundamental Affirmation is "To Be Over" from the album Relayer, which Yes recorded in 1974. You can access sheet music for my interpretation of the song here.

In homage to Chris Squire — this suite is, after all, inspired by Bill Martin's suggestion of "Squire Variations" in his book Music of Yes — we begin with the last, quiet notes of "Safe (Canon Song)" from Squire's 1975 solo album Fish Out of Water. On "Safe", Chris played these notes with a metallic, almost bell-like tone and lots of sustain, which I can't duplicate on my Minotaur bass; instead, I play them as harmonics to emphasize their ethereal quality (measures 1-25 in the sheet music).

The ending of "Safe" segues perfectly into "To Be Over" — one of the gentlest of Yes songs. In the free, almost improvisatory style of a Baroque prelude, I explore the interplay of Chris Squire's bass, Steve Howe's guitar, and Patrick Moraz's keyboards. Yet I turn the piece inside out by starting not with the introduction from the original recording but with the verse ("we go sailing down the calming stream") presented in several variations, first in simple chords and then in arpeggios (measures 26-75). Only then do I come around to the introduction (measures 77-95), which on Relayer passes the melody between guitar, synthesizer, and electric sitar. Both in the Yes original and in my interpretation (measures 96-119), this is followed by the chorus ("after all your soul will still surrender").

At this point, the Relayer version veers off into a powerful Steve Howe solo (or really sequence of solos). Rather than trying to follow him there, I composed an interlude (measures 120-143) that lies more naturally on the bass, consisting of a harmonic progression up the neck which scales back down to the root "A" note and then climbs farther up to a high "A" two octaves above. This interlude, which has a few similarities to Patrick Moraz's keyboard solo, leads into a reprise of the chorus (measures 144-164) and a return to the contrapuntal introduction (measures 165-193) — going out as gently as it came in.


Peter Saint-Andre > Music > Yes