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When Menn suggested to Zappa that, when Charles Ives was studying harmony at Harvard and found the course 'crazy', Ives wrote to his father saying, "This guy wants me to resolve my chords better", to which Ives' father responded "Tell your professor some chords just don't want to resolve." Zappa responded to Menn's suggestion with, "The guy who was teaching me was a guy named Mr.
Russell, who was a jazz trumpet player, and I don't think that he enjoyed harmony very much either, but that's what he was teaching.
Zappa's father, Frank Vincent, aka Francis Zappa Senior, whose musical ability extended to playing "strolling crooner" guitar, was a scientist with a degree from the University of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and worked at various times as an analyst, engineer and metallurgist for the Lockheed and Convair aircraft corporations.
Zappa Snr's occupation required the family to move to Florida in 1944 and back to Maryland in 1946, to Edgewood beside the Aberdeen Proving Ground.
"I saw some music and I liked the way it looked and set out to draw it. But I think that's good, if you want to be a composer.
If you do go to school, you end up picking up the habits of your teachers", he said.
Eventually I had to give it back, because I couldn't make the payments on it." Back in Grossmont high school Zappa had begun to write chamber music when he was 14, but "No one would play it", he said.
Here you can find his huge but incomplete discography.
In Lancaster Zappa's future attitude in mixing humor with socio-political music can be glimpsed in his forming of the racially-integrated The Blackouts in 1957, who rehearsed in nearby Sun Village, whilst earlier exposure to Ionisation - a recording by avant garde classical composer Edgard Varèse - instilled an interest in advanced rhythmic experimentation that never left him.
This interest was compounded when he managed to speak to the composer's wife by 'phone late in '56, leading to a latter 'phone conversation with Varèse himself in early '57- who then responded further to FZ with a letter in the summer of that year.
In fact, in the learning process, he generally rebelled against what his eyes or ears disliked.
"Every time one of the exercises was presented, you would hear how the chords were supposed to resolve.