Xylophone in How Soon is Now?
May 23, 2011 12:39 AM   Subscribe

I'm doing a song analysis on this awesome song, but I can't nail down one of the instruments. It appears around 3:15 into the song, and also at the end. I'm figuring its either a xylophone or a synth. Anyone care to shed some light (that will never go out)
posted by bodaciousllama to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A friend also just told me that it could potentially be multiple layered harmonics, BUT IT DOESNT SOUND LIKE A GUITAR.
posted by bodaciousllama at 12:42 AM on May 23, 2011

I'm pretty damn sure it's a guitar. Johnny Marr did a lot of things that didn't sound like a guitar, hence his genius.
posted by mykescipark at 12:55 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

I'm not sure, but I think it's the harmonics marr is referring to here:

"For the line in harmonics, I retuned the guitar so that I could play it all at the 12th fret with natural harmonics. It's doubled several times."
posted by chillmost at 1:07 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

That bit? Definitely harmonics - as Marr says in that article, it was overdubbed several times, which could contribute to the sound. Probably picked very close to the bridge, I'd say.
posted by Grangousier at 1:42 AM on May 23, 2011

Can't add anything more than "yeah, probably harmonics", but for anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of The Smith's songwriting, try and get hold of the second edition of The Smiths: Songs That Saved Your Life which covers each and every song in detail. The second edition is substantially different from the first as it has a ton of input from Johnny Marr himself.

(Unfortunately, due to moving relatively recently, I have no idea which of about 30 cardboard boxes my copy is in so I can't look it up there, sorry)
posted by Hartster at 2:43 AM on May 23, 2011

Guitar, for sure. Damped harmonic playing is what I call that. I could show you how to do it too, if you're interested.
posted by Decani at 6:46 AM on May 23, 2011

As a professional musician and Smiths fan I just thought I'd jump in and say harmonics. The dryness of the sound is due to, as others have said, damping and doubling but don't forget about the production, too. Johnny Marr is a fantastic guitarist, but he also knows how to tweak things in production to get exactly what he's looking for.
posted by ob at 8:49 AM on May 23, 2011

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