|PD: Analysis of non-Queen songs Part 2||12 May 2003 07:40|
It's a thread for everyone to contribute, inclding me. It's an important thread to provide a wider perspective on the pop/rock music beside Queen, but also classical songwriters' songs are wellcomed if anyone volunteers to do it.
Harmonic analysis on a basic level is not very difficult (unless you analyse less progressive music), formal analysis and phrasing analysis - "it's so easy if you know the rules", simple rules.
|1.||Sebastian||12 May 2003 14:25|
|2.||PD||12 May 2003 15:12|
Riff-mimicking lead vocals abound.
Iron Man - Black Sabbath
Your Really Got Me - Kinks (only the title bit)
Don't Damn Me - GnR
Black Dog - Zeppelin (a bit)
Sushine Of Your Love - Cream
Bohemian Rhapsody - which riff do you mean?
I'm thinking about the classical origin of both tune opun chord progression and tune upon riff progression approaches. I wish I could find an essay on it.
|3.||Sebastian||12 May 2003 15:52|
|4.||Sebastian||13 May 2003 14:44|
The first of the chain of events that ended up with the rupture of the band's basic formation was the departure of Izzy Stradlin. He was not only a guitar player that started with drums, then bass and switched to guitar because he didn't have anything else to do, and of course improved a lot, but he was also the best songwriter of the band, contribuiting with several masterpieces like Don't Cry, Mr. Brownstone, Sweet Child Of Mine, I Used To Love Her, You Could Be Mine, Double Talking Jive and this one.
The structure of the song is simple, as on several American bands the guitars are tuned half step down. There's one sequence for the verse, one for the chorus and a different one for the ending. The intro is the same verse sequence and the solo is the chorus one. Each one contributed to the arrangements of their respective parts, a philosophy that Queen also used at the same time.
Izzy played rhythm guitar which just strumms chords. That's all the rhythm support of the song. Duff and Slash also play acoustic. Duff's parts are kind of licks and fills, it isn't rhythm and it isn't lead either. It's just melodic, which is not a surprise considering the kind of bass-lines he arranged (e.g. Civil War)
Axl starts to whistle on the intro and also after the solo. I can only think about 'Wind Of Change' and a couple of pop songs sung in Spanish that also use whistling a lot. The vocal harmonies are unison with Axl, the effect wanted it simply to give more force to that part.
On the ending we have ad-lib vocals by Axl and harmonies by Izzy, Duff and Steven. It wasn't common for that band (and almost any band) that the same person who sang lead wasn't the same one who did the harmonies.
That's an interesting detail, and Queen is the only band I know that heavily uses that. On Beatles' sons one person sings lead and the other two sing harmonies (e.g. Help, All My Loving, Let It Be, Hey Jude, etc). Led Zeppelin preferred to import a guest singer for 'Battle Of Evermore' instead of double-tracking Robert. Bee Gees hardly made more than one vocal track each, the only exception I'm thinking is 'Nights On Broadway', on which Barry recorded some falsettos over the three-part harmonies of the brothers. On Yes I think Steve sings the harmonies, same by The Edge on U2. I think it's quite a mess of really great voices there.
|5.||PD||13 May 2003 16:13|
My notes on Patience:
In contrast with the debut album ("Appetite For Destruction") where all songs were accompanied with distorted guitars, the first half of "Lies" has an unplugged or semi-acoustic flavor. Patience is arranged for only acoustic guitars, played by three of them. No bass, no drums. The three guitars play in various approach: strumming, arpeggios, walking bass, lead fills often in parallel sixths. The whistled section can't be rare in the folk songs (the singer forgets the lyrics :). From the top of my head I can mention Lennon's "Jealous Guy" (or Dream A Little Dream Of Me - Mamas And Papas).
The songform is folk-ballad model until the solo. The song is closed by a long coda section.
| whistled Verse (AA) - Chorus (B) |
| Verse (AA) - Chorus (BB')|
| Verse - Chorus |
| Solo (Chorus)|
| Coda I - II |
As you noted the guitars are tuned half step lower. I transcribe the music in "normal" tuning.
key: D Major
/---------------------- 2x ---------------------
| C | - | G | - | A | - | D | - |
| bVII| - | IV | - | V | - | I | - |
The guitars play sus4-sus2 figures for each chords.
The key is not chrystall clear in the first measures. bVII is not the most overused chord to start a section (except when it used in double plagal cadence).
| C | G | C | Em | C | G | D | - |
D: bVII| IV | bVII| ii | bVII| IV | I | - |
C: I | V | I | iii | I | V ...
the B' figure is extended with a tag.
Similarly to the verse the section opens with bVII and arrives on the tonic only at the end. The first half of the section moves around C as the local tonal centre. Note the double plagal cadence that also appears in Sweet Child Of Mine and Paradise City. The harmonic rhythm is doubled compared to the verses.
That ii is the only minor chord in the song, but the centre guitar (Slash ?) plays E major chord there most of the time.
The solo tune is close imitation of the lead tune during the first phrase. Dusing the second phrase it's bluesy pentatonic.
The coda alternates two chords D (I) and G (IV), except the ending where they make a nice, climactic use of the F (bIII) chord. The lead tune is pentatonic. The song ends with Axl's trademark "ahhhhhh".
|6.||Sebastian||13 May 2003 16:38|
note how the post-Stadlin era live version do a really different arrangement, which includes Duff singing the entire "all you need is just a little patience" sentence instead of just the last word
|7.||PD||14 May 2003 20:35|
Las Ketchup: The Ketchup Song (2002)
Key: d# minor
| Intro | Verse | Chorus |
| Intro'| Verse | Chorus |
| Bridge (AA) | Chorus | Chorus | Chorus |
Thes song was world wide summer hit some people referred it as the song of the year. It was sung by three young ladies from Spain. No surprise the girls didnt participated in the songwriting process. The song was written and arranged by Manuel Ruíz. The vocal arrangement is dominated by unisono harmonies and also parallel thirds in the Chorus, paralell octaves in the Bridge.
One of the things that make the song catchy is use of repetition: double phrases, shifted tunes, etc. The Chorus with BB'B" phrasing is repeated five times. So the B figure and its variants can be heard 15 times.
The minor key is more frequently in pop music than in rock especially when not counting rock-ballads.
This square eight measure section prolonges the tonic chord (D#m7) and repeats a one measure bass figure. The guitar accents creat the 3+3+2 latin beat which works well in a summer-related popsong.
The phrasing is more or less square AABB' 4+4+4+8. The last phrase is tag-like extended and it closes on an "exotic" chord especially in context of the G#m > Bm progression. It provides harmonic contrast between the sections as if we had a modulation here. The melodic phrases start on downbeats and tune is dominated with successive 1/8 notes. We can hear six-piece descending line in the A phase. (See also Death On Two Legs). Note the avoidance of the tonic in the BB' phrases.
/---------- 2x ---------
| D#m | - | - | - |
| i | - | - | - |
/----------- 2x ------------
| G#m7 | C# | A#m7 | G#m7 || - | - | Bm7 | - |
| iv | VII | v | iv || - | - | vi | - |
The second Verse is tad more sparely arranged (note the bass with the assymmetric 3+5 beat) in order to provide space of dinamics because it sounds good when the arrangement thickens again. (Similar gambit is used in the a capella verse of Crazy Litlle Thing).
The chord progression is a variant of the flamenco cliche: i > VII > VI > V executed with a slow and syncopated harmonic rhythm. The last chord is preceded by a short chromatic bass figure. Note how the lead tune of the phrases are like-shaped. The only difference netween them is that they open one step lower than the former phrase (see also the flamenco solo of Innuendo or the song "In The Year Of 2525" by Zager & Evans). The pharsing with six-measure phrases make the tune more interesting. The melodic phrases start with short upbeats, the end of the phrases are dominated by the familiar successive 1/8 notes. The "subphrasing" of the melodic phrases is AA'B 2+2+2.
| D#m | - | - | - | - | C# |
| i | - | - | - | - | VII |
| C# | - | - | - | - | B |
| VII | - | - | - | - | VI |
| B | - | - | - | G#m7| A# |
| VI | - | - | - | iv | V |
One of the sectret of the Chorus is the more intense (louder) arrangement which results in climactic effect.
The Chorus before the Bridge is longer by one measure.
It is square 16 measure long with AA'AA' 4+4+4+4 phrasing. The tonic chord is prolonged throughout. This is the least memorable and least cretive part of the song. The only function of it is to break the monotony of the cyclic form. (See also in "These Are The Days" wich has a very similar form, but the Brige-solo is much more memorable part of the song).
|8.||PD||19 Jun 2003 23:52|
Early songs of The Shadows
The Shadows were a brittish band that effectively popularized unusual chord progressions in the early sixties. According to Brian May he used to pratcice Shadows tunes. Decades later Hank Marvin from The Shadows made a cover version of We Are The Champions together with Brian May.
Round And Round (1963) has one of the earliest use of the double plagal cadence I was able to find. Let's see some other songs. I tried to pick out the more interesting songs. I will concentrate this time mostly on the chords. Check out, some bass lines are very nice (Kon Tiki, Nivram with a bass solo, Man Of Mystery) on the other hand alos very root-oriented on the emphasized beats.
1) Wonderful Land (1962)
Key: G Major, C Major,
Intro | AB | AC | AC | Outro (Intro)
/-- 4x --
| I bVII |
the A figure starts with the "chromatic bVII" progression in the A figure, and we have a
nice modulation in the B figure.
| G | D | F | C Am | C Am | F | Bb | G |
G: I | V | bVII | IV ii | IV ii | bVII | bIII | I |
Note the chromatic line in F > Bb > G > C
| C | Em | C | F | Dm | C | G | Dm | Fm | Em | Em | Em || G...
C: I | iii | I | IV | ii | I | V | ii | iv | iii | iii | iii||
G: IV | vi | IV | bVII | vi | vi || I
/------- 2x ------
| C Em | F G | C G | F G | Em | Em | Em || G...
C: I iii | IV v | I V | IV V | iii | iii | iii ||
G: vi | vi || I
2) Peace Pipe (1962)
Key: A Major, C Major
This song has a modulation to the bIII key which is the relative Major key of the parallel minor key. This type of key change became favored by the Beatles. As I know Queen hardly ever used it (only Hammer To Fall springs to my mind). Another interesting point is the use of bVI chord.
Intro | A | B | A | C | D | A | C'| Intro
Arpeggiated chords. The rhythm guitar is strummed during the rest of the song.
/---- 2x ----
| A | F |
A: I | bVI |
the outro is completed with a A9 chord.
This is very simple.
| A | - | D | - | E | D | A | - |
A: I | - | IV | - | V | IV | I | - |
We modulated to C, a new harmonic dimension that we leave with a chord progression reminiscent of the "flamenco"-cliche.
| C | - | G | - | F | - | E | - |
C: I | - | V | - | IV | - |V/vi | - |
| D | - | G* | - | E | - | A | - |
| IV | - | bVII | - | V | - | I | - |
That bVII (G) chord sounds even stranger due to the way how three of the four notes of the guitar tune is not a part of the G triad: 2, -5, 7 (played together it's an augmented triad).
The last C figure is shortened by two measures.
That's simple again. A true middle eight.
| D | - | A | - | E | - | A | E |
| IV | - | I | - | V | - | I | V |
3) Atlantis (1963)
Key: F Major, G Major
AA' | B | B | AA' | B | AA" |
Again we have some nice chords progressions. The accompaniment is completed with violin (in both solo and in harmonies) and female vocal harmonies and a tringle (?) is played. The most elaborate song so far in terms of arrangement. Note how it changes section by section.
The strumming pattern is reminiscent of "I Want To Break Free". The song has some assymetric rhythms and also some melodic triplets.
| F C | Bb F | G | C |
F: I V | IV I | V/V | V |
| F C | Bb F | Eb | C |
| I V | IV I |bVII | V |
The bVII > V > I progression is also "chromatic".
A"figure /---------- 2x ----------
| F C | Bb F | Eb | - | F C | - | - |
| I V | IV I |bVII | | I V | - | - |
| F | - | C | - |
| I | - | V | - |
| Bb | F | C | - |
| IV | I | V | - |
| Am | D | Bm | G |
G: ii | V | iii | I |
F: iii |V/ii | | V/V |
| C | Am | Bb | Gm | C | - |
G: IV | ii |bIII |
F: V | iii | IV | ii | V | - |
The modulation to G major is just weakly established, but still a remarkable feature considering the Beatles rarely modulated to II (and to bVII).
4) The Stranger (1961)
A Major, 4/4
Intro (AA) | B | C | D | B | C | AA | D | B | C | AA'A' |
It's a simple song with the six diatonic chords. Note the walking bass.
/----- 2x ----
| A D | A |
| I IV| - |
/----- 2x ----
| A D | A | D | - | - | - | A | - |
| I IV| - | IV | - | - | - | I | - |
| Bm E | A F#m | Bm | F#m | C#m | D E | A | 7- |
| ii V | I vi | ii | vi | iii | IV V | I | - |
| D | - | A D | A | D | - | F#m | E | F#m | E |
| IV | - | I IV| A | IV | - | vi | V | vi | V |
5) Mustang (1961)
D Major, 4/4
Intro | B | C | B' | Intro | B | C' | B" |
This song is heavily infected by the modal b3 and b7 degrees.
it starts with thickening arrangement: first bass, then guitar in parallel tenths (plus octave), then strummed guitars.
| D C | D F Em | D C | A |
| I bVII I bIII ii | I bVII V |
/---------- 2x ---------
| D | F | C | D |
| I | bIII| bVII| I |
| A | E | G | D |
| V |V/V | IV | I |
/---- 2x ----
| F | C | D C | D |
|bIII | bVII| I bVII I |
Note the A > E > G > D progression with chromatic inner line similar to the "chromatic bVII" progression. (See also Beach Boys' "Finders Keepers").
| G | - | D | - |
| IV | - | I | - |
| G | - | A | - |
| IV | - | V | - |
| D | F | C | D |
| I | bIII| bVII| I |
6) F.B.I. (1961)
4/4 shuffle beat, A Major, E Major
Intro | A | A | B | Intro'| A | "Solo" (A) | B | Intro | A-tag |
This song was covered by Brian May, no less. The B figure seems more exotic. The bII chord is recurrent element in their "spanish" influenced songs (eg. The Savage).
| A | - | - | - | - | - | D | E | A | - |
| I | - | ... | IV | V | I | - |
Note the major third used in the chords, and minor third simultainously in the tune.
| E | C | F | E |
E: I | bVI|bII | I |
| C | F | B | E | B | E |
|bVI |bII | V | I | V | I |
A: V |
7) Man Of Mistery (1960)
4/4, A Major
Intro | A | A'| B | A | A'| B'| "solo" (B) | A'| A'|
This song has a simple chord progression with a nice built in chromatic line. I don't know how much was it a ready made cliche at that time, but probably not too much in context of poular music. You can find mainly the same chord progression in the song "Crucified" by the Army Of Lovers (199?).
chrom.| A | G# | G | F# | F | E |
chords| Am | E | Am7 | D | Dm | Am | Dm | E |
| i | V | i | IV | iv | i | iv | V |
A plain middle eight with open harmonic start ending.
| Dm | Am | E | Am |
| iv | i | V | i |
| Dm | Am | B | E |
| iv | i |V/V | V |
8) All My Sorrows (1961)
It's an album-only track, one of the few Shadows songs that have led vocals. Also interesting feature (in context of early sixties) is the arpeggiated rhythm guitar.
4/4, C Major,
Intro | Verse | Chorus |
| Verse | Chorus |
| Bridge | Chorus |
| Verse | Chorus |
| Bridge | Chorus | Chorus | Chorus |
/---- 2x ---
| C | Gm |
| C | - | Gm | - |
| I | - | v | - |
| C | - | Dm | - |
| I | - | ii | - |
Unusual details: half measure, and a v chord with b7 grad which makes the Dm (with major 7th degree) chord strange. Nice vocal harmonies.
| Am | Dm | - |
a: i | iv | - |
C: vi | ii | - |
| G | C | - |
C: V | I | - |
The uneven phrase lengths are relatively unusual for the Shadows songs at least in their early period. The harmony "touches" the relive minor key in the first phrase.
Note the chromatic figure with triplets in measure 3.
Two parallel phrases, with assymetric phrasing, and a nice bVII chord. Nice parallel vocal harmonies withsome chromatic leading voices.
| C | Bb | - |
| I | bVII| - |
| C | - | Bb | - |
| I | - | bVII| - |
|9.||PD||20 Jun 2003 20:17|
Elton John song analysis:
Another song of the fifties:
"To Know Him Is To Love Him" - The Teddy Bears
songwriter: Phil Spector (he wrote "I Can Hear Music")
(#1 USA 1958 #2 UK 1959)
It's a little song with nine chords and ambigous harmony from a decade that is known as the decade of cliche's. Well, the verse is plain simple doo-wop in D Major:
1 > 5 > 6 > 4 > 1 > 5 > 1 > 4 > 1 > 5
We can find here some deceptive cadences.
The key changes to bIII (F Major). At the end of the second phrase the harmony seems to return to D Major, instead of resolving the A chord to D, it steps to F, reinforcing the "old" key for a lst time, and quickly leaving it. From here on the harmony is ambigous.
| F | - | C | - |
| I | - | V | - |
| Bb | - | A | - |
| IV | - |V/D | - |
D: V | - |
| F | D | Gm | Dm |
F: I |bVI | ii | vi |
D: bIII| I | iv | i |
| E | - | A | -7 |
D: V/V | - | V | - |
The phrasing is square throughout the song.
The songform is: Intro | Verse | Verse | Bridge | Verse |
|10.||PD||02 Nov 2003 07:57|
one more abot the I > vi > ii > V progression
God Only Knows - Beach Boys
Broken - Nine Inch Nails
Romantic period music
The Harmonic Language Of Jazz Standards