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What key is it in?? Harmony thread


Caz

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24 minutes ago, Caz said:

Good point on Get Lucky - noted that the chord is E instead of E7.

I think I've got another good one here.. this morning I was learning Etta James' I Just Want To Make Love To You. Between 30-40 seconds you can hear someone telling someone they're playing the wrong note twice, first time kind of discretely and the second time he sounds whizzed! Sounds like he's saying "it's F-sharp Maloney", this is over the Bb7, Eb7 chords. I can't hear which one is the wrong note though! So here's a pop quiz for anyone who feels like it... Who's Maloney and on which transposing instrument does F# make sense?

Never noticed that, but when you have heard it you can't unhear it.

Hard to find any information on who played on those songs. Recorded at argo records, a subdivision of chess, but it doesn't say who played on it.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Caz said:

😂

Knew about Hey Jude at 2:58 but I'll need to listen to Louie Louie, which part of the tune is it?

 The drummer admitted that he yelled "fcuk" after fumbling a drum fill at 0:54 on the record.

Edited by Hobbayne
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  • 2 weeks later...

Another interesting one I came across this week... Happy by Pharrell Williams. F minor seems to work even though the chords are all F dominants.. bluesy minor/major 3rd thing happening, and playing F minor pentatonic over it sounds good. Then the chorus chords Dbmaj7, Cm7, F7 relative to Ab maj would be IV, IIIm7, VI7

Would you agree with that or is there another / better way to think about this tune?

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37 minutes ago, Caz said:

Dbmaj7, Cm7, F7 relative to Ab maj would be IV, IIIm7, VI7

In general (but I suppose not always), I'd expect one of the chords in a progression to be the I (that's why it's called the "home" key: because you return there after going on a journey).  So I'd go with bVI V I in F.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 06/02/2021 at 10:51, Caz said:

Another interesting one I came across this week... Happy by Pharrell Williams. F minor seems to work even though the chords are all F dominants.. bluesy minor/major 3rd thing happening, and playing F minor pentatonic over it sounds good. Then the chorus chords Dbmaj7, Cm7, F7 relative to Ab maj would be IV, IIIm7, VI7

Would you agree with that or is there another / better way to think about this tune?

'Happy' is in a similar vein to 'American Boy' imo. Apart from the 1 chord, everything else suggests minor. However, the melody is much more rooted in blues, so you could think of it as F blues (maybe mixolydian?) instead. That b6 chord is the outlier, obviously. 

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  • 1 year later...

Finally got around to making a chart for American Boy. Still think it's interesting the E maj / E minor thing, have written it in E minor with a bit of harmonic analysis underneath the stave.

 

American_Boy.thumb.jpg.09d0184ea1bbcb96a30004f2accdfa04.jpg

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Ha.. sorry I'm still going on about American Boy. How lame! Here's a snippet from a Berklee harmony book which I think summarises what's going on pretty well. The term is modal interchange, we're in Eminor but replacing the Im7 chord at the beginning of the section with the parallel tonic from Emajor. The book says: "Replacing the I chord with a parallel tonic, especially at the beginning  or end of a section, is particularly powerful and tends to tonicize the parallel key rather than simply color the primary key".

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Posted (edited)

The sound that creates on American Boy reminded me of the theme tune from Luther so checked it out and that's an other example of the parallel major getting used on the first chord.. it's in C minor with first chord CLuther_theme_tune.thumb.jpg.2783703070ba4bee9fe0d2ede37f13a7.jpg

Edited by Caz
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13 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Saw a guy get up to jam bass last night. I felt for him.

 

Suffice to say, one of the songs dropped on him was Maxwell's Silver Hammer...

Don't think I know this... tough tune? Will have a listen.

 

Here's another example of modal interchange, borrowing from the parallel major. This one's more clearly in the minor key than American Boy or Luther, it just tonicizes the parallel major key in the post-chorus and borrows from it (the G chords) at the end of each section.

Crazy.thumb.jpg.cd52ab3e463fb0d7d0e1f2e7517475d0.jpg

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From chord learning perspective I could suggest two songs:

- All the things you are

- After the love has gone (EW&F)

There are most of the chords you will ever need, and most of the chords that exist.

 

This may be partly a joke, but please check these two.

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On 11/06/2022 at 16:05, Caz said:

Finally got around to making a chart for American Boy. Still think it's interesting the E maj / E minor thing, have written it in E minor with a bit of harmonic analysis underneath the stave.

 

American_Boy.thumb.jpg.09d0184ea1bbcb96a30004f2accdfa04.jpg

 

Hi Caz, you're nearly there:

  • Yes, it's in E minor - the Imaj7 chord is from the parallel key of E major.
  • Cmaj7 is a bVImaj7
  • D9 is a bVII9 - it functions as a substitute for the V chord (sometimes referred to as a backdoor dominant)
  • Fmaj7 is a bIImaj7 and is from the parallel E Phrygian mode

 

On 18/06/2022 at 12:03, Caz said:

Here's another example of modal interchange, borrowing from the parallel major. This one's more clearly in the minor key than American Boy or Luther, it just tonicizes the parallel major key in the post-chorus and borrows from it (the G chords) at the end of each section.

Crazy.thumb.jpg.cd52ab3e463fb0d7d0e1f2e7517475d0.jpg

 

Don't view G as borrowed from the parallel major, it's diatonic to C (harmonic) minor

 

 

14 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

Suffice to say, one of the songs dropped on him was Maxwell's Silver Hammer...

 

The sort of song where if you don't know it  you won't be able to anticipate most of the chord changes

 

Maxwell's Silver Hammer is not difficult, it just contains a few secondary dominants (indicated by V7/_ on the chart below): 

 

1482540308_MaxwellsSilverHammerAnalysis.thumb.jpg.7eefbbe5c6502d04a685cee2de23c4b1.jpg

Edited by Steve Woodcock
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7 hours ago, Steve Woodcock said:

Hi Caz, you're nearly there:

  • Cmaj7 is a bVImaj7
  • D9 is a bVII9 - it functions as a substitute for the V chord (sometimes referred to as a backdoor dominant)

Hi Steve - yes good point, thanks. I had that at first, then wondered because it's E minor is flatting an already flat note in the scale just double flatting so decided on VImaj7 and VII9, then saw in the Berklee course they go for bVImaj7 and bVII9. By the time I did the Luther chart a few days later, which is basically the exact same chords in a different order, I had corrected the terminology - well spotted! I can update the chart for Crazy if anyone would find it helpful.

 

7 hours ago, Steve Woodcock said:

Fmaj7 is a bIImaj7 and is from the parallel E Phrygian mode

 

Ah yes this makes sense - I'll have a play over it to check the F Lydian scale works here. Thanks. There's only a tiny bit (3 words!) in the Berklee book about borrowing in this way from parallel Phrygian, and it seems to be only the bIImaj7 that commonly gets borrowed from that? But it makes good sense in the context where you'd see a bIImaj7#11 chord as a chromatic passing chord down to the Imaj7 - so I could potentially write that as Fmaj7#11 to highlight that if I hear the B natural played there on the track.

 

I haven't listened to Maxwell's Silver Hammer yet, but that chart makes total sense with the secondary dominants. I've done a few jazz harmony courses, with not much at all on the pop side and not much gigging on bass until recently (usually a drummer). I'm more comfortable with thinking of things that work with the cycle of fifths, modulating 2 5 1s and secondary dominants etc. Now that I'm studying lots of pop music harmony it's kicking up things that I haven't knowingly come across before. All The Things You Are was mentioned above - I don't find that too difficult to follow, however, wow After The Love Has Gone has got a lot going on, I started playing through and analysing that yesterday... good shout!

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14 hours ago, Steve Woodcock said:

Maxwell's Silver Hammer is not difficult, it just contains a few secondary dominants (indicated by V7/_ on the chart below): 

 

Yes, but this chap wasn't greatly familiar with it and had to improvise a bassline on the fly by ear...

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11 hours ago, Caz said:

Hi Steve - yes good point, thanks. I had that at first, then wondered because it's E minor is flatting an already flat note in the scale just double flatting so decided on VImaj7 and VII9, then saw in the Berklee course they go for bVImaj7 and bVII9. By the time I did the Luther chart a few days later, which is basically the exact same chords in a different order, I had corrected the terminology - well spotted!

 

Think of the major scale as being the 'default' position of the scale degrees on which we build chords and name them in relation to that.

 

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