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PRIME DUB by Frank Singer - 3/1984  2002

DUB FORM

The form and melody of Prime Dub are presented in the chart in their simple forms - in other words, as a straight ahead lead sheet. The arrangement used on Cat's A Bear's "Tito In Wonderland" incorporates the two concepts of the title, which are prime numbers, specifically 7, 11, 13, and 17, and dub. Dub is a reggae concept which usually takes place during the mixing process, in which pre-recorded tracks of individual instruments are blended and balanced together to produce a final mix, which is then mastered, or prepared, for pressing and final production. Reggae artists such as King Tubby and Lee "Scratch" Perry began to spontaneously mute and un-mute, or turn off and back on, individual tracks of music during the mix process, and release them as dubs, a tradition which has also become a part of hiphop's music tracks. 

Prime Dub's arrangement assigns each prime number to a track of instrumentation, and then uses the number of measures to represent the prime numbers, with the last two measures of each prime number sequence silent, functioning as cadences to the sequence. The prime number 11 was originally assigned to the chuk or chaka, which is a rhythm chord style played in reggae by the guitar and/or the keyboards. The chuk or chaka always plays against, or off, the strong beats of the measure (one and three). The accents will fall on the two and four of the measure, or on the and of each beat. The chuk is a single stroke, and the chaka also has a secondary stroke occurring immediately after the stroke. On guitar, the chuk would be the downstroke, and the chaka would be the downstroke followed by an upstroke. Another chaka technique more commonly used on the keyboard, called bubbling, consists of chord accents with a low-high-low octave change on the and-two-and, and-four-and, or two-three-four of the measure. In Prime Dub, the chaka assigned to the two and four of each measure is handled by Tony on the higher range of the bass. The guitar occasionally uses the bubble as a rhythm chord comping style during solos. During the head, the guitar and saxophone play the melody, which is assigned to the prime number sequence 7. The low range of the bass uses the prime number sequence 17, and the drums use prime number sequence 13. 

The four prime number sequences were mapped backwards from a point at which all four streams would meet for their final two cadence measures of silence. The second of these two measures is the beginning of the second A in the AABA form of the chart. Thus, the entire head arrangement is AAA B AAA B A, in which the last A B A segment plays the melody in its entirety (no dub), after the entrance of the full band in the second measure. We also give eight bars to Phil after the head, just to do his thing. Here's the map:

The color GRAY indicates the two silent measures. Other than the silent measures, each instrument plays the part indicated above.

 

A A


A B


A A

 

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