Fundamental Affirmation

IV. Turn Of The Century

Whereas "Tales From Topographic Oceans" is the largest-scale work that Yes (or any other rock band) ever produced, "Turn Of The Century" (the fourth movement of Fundamental Affirmation) is Yes at their most intimate: a sculptor's haunting elegy over the death of his wife from Going For The One, released in 1977 at the end of what Bill Martin calls their main sequence.

The feeling of lamentation in this song brings to mind the slow sarabandes of Baroque suites, especially the gorgeous fourth movement of Bach's fifth cello suite. Thus at the urging of double bassist Mark Stefaniw I've used my interpretation of "Turn Of The Century" (sheet music here) as grounds for exploring linear harmony and ornamentation in a somewhat Baroque style.

Two examples: in the first twenty measures the lower voice sounds a pattern of A-G-B-G-A-D-B-E-C-A while the upper voice follows the melody sounded by the guitar in the introduction to the song; and the run in measures 29-32 provides an ornamented transition into the melody ("realizing a form out of stone") beginning at measure 33.

Aside from these embellishments, my interpretation hews fairly closely to the Yes original until measure 99, when I add an arpreggiated interlude that ventures up to the 22nd fret before cycling back around to the introduction at measure 119.


Peter Saint-Andre > Music > Yes