#1

Key of Song/Progression Thread

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun May 23, 2010 7:57 pm
by jimiclaptoncarl • 117 Posts

Hey guys,

I thought it would be cool to have a thread where we can post our questions regarding the key of songs and/or progressions.

So if you've got any, this is the place, if that's ok with you Pebber; cause I think we'll need your help with these(at least I will).


A lack of effort will give you a lack of results. - Pebber Brown

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#2

Key of "American Boy" by Estelle [feat Kanye West]

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun May 23, 2010 8:00 pm
by jimiclaptoncarl • 117 Posts

Ok, so here's one I'm not sure of...

This is one of my biggest problems theorywise... I can't figure out what key a song is in...

This nice R&Bish/Jazzy pop tune sounds great, but I can't figure out what key it's in...


Chords are: EMaj7-CMaj7-Am

E sounds like home, but the C has a lydian(#4) sound goin' on, so I'm thinking it's in G Major; so the E would be a Major VI chord?

So the verse is a: VI-IV-ii progression?

Not sure if that makes sense..


A lack of effort will give you a lack of results. - Pebber Brown

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#3

RE: Key of "American Boy" by Estelle [feat Kanye West]

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun May 23, 2010 8:03 pm
by pebberbrown • 876 Posts

2 different keys going on repeated. Simple. E major and C major - play major scales - E for 1 bar then C for 3 bars.

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#4

RE: Key of "American Boy" by Estelle [feat Kanye West]

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun May 23, 2010 8:14 pm
by jimiclaptoncarl • 117 Posts

Hmm.. 2 keys... so is this what people call a "modal" tune?


A lack of effort will give you a lack of results. - Pebber Brown

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#5

RE: Key of "American Boy" by Estelle [feat Kanye West]

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun May 23, 2010 8:42 pm
by pebberbrown • 876 Posts

Modal tunes have one chord that lasts for a long time and stays. Songs can be anything and have any key modulation they want. This is not necessarily a modal tune but more in the category of a pop song.


Last edited Fri May 28, 2010 12:59 am | Scroll up

#6

RE: Key of "American Boy" by Estelle [feat Kanye West]

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sun May 23, 2010 9:14 pm
by robmurtha • 94 Posts

I believe this is actually in E with a series of substitutions forming a variation of what is commonly referred to as a Tadd Dameron or Lady Bird. Here is an excerpt of a general article about turn arounds found at http://www.allaboutjazz.com/articles/ji0898_01.htm

With all the substitutions you are actually spending more time in a C tonality.

The changes are E Maj7 C Maj7 a min7 F Maj 7
the a min7 is the variation, also there is another passing chord left out which would be G Maj7 after the E Maj7

The Tadd Dameron "Turnaround"

There are other chord progressions that can be used to provide a "turnaround" or transition back to the "I" chord. The following "turnaround" is sometimes referred to as a Tadd Dameron "turnaround." This "turnaround" is an identifying harmonic element of the composition "Lady Bird" composed sometime in the 1940s by Tadd Dameron, and recorded by Miles Davis and Charlie Parker among others.

I Maj. - bIII Maj. - bVI Maj. - bII Maj.

In the "Tadd Dameron turnaround" the "I" chord ascends a minor third interval to a Major 7th chord built on the flatted third degree of the tonality. The "bIII" Major 7th chord ascends an interval of a perfect fourth to the "bVI" Major 7th chord, and the "bVI" Major 7th chord ascends an interval to the "bII" Major seventh chord.

The "bIII", "bVI" and "bII" chords are tritone substitutions for the "iv7", "ii7" and "V7" chords respectively that compose the basic "iii7-VI7-ii7-V7" basic "turnaround" described earlier.

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#7

RE: Key of "American Boy" by Estelle [feat Kanye West]

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu May 27, 2010 9:30 pm
by Adam (deleted)
avatar

/\
.l
.l
.l
.l....Now, THAT's a SPICY MEAT-A-BALL!


A LACK OF EFFORT WILL GIVE YOU A LACK OF RESULTS
-Pebber Brown

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#8

RE: Key of "American Boy" by Estelle [feat Kanye West]

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Fri May 28, 2010 12:58 am
by pebberbrown • 876 Posts

Ok I have asked Dr. Reed Gratz to comment on this - he would know EXACTLY what this is. He is busy traveling I think now so it may take him a few days to hop in and comment. But I guarantee his answer will be the most accurate one you can get.

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#9

RE: Key of "American Boy" by Estelle [feat Kanye West]

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Fri May 28, 2010 9:21 am
by pebberbrown • 876 Posts

Here is the response I got from Dr. Gratz:

Reed Gratz
to me

show details 6:10 AM (3 hours ago)

Can't remember my log in...
How about this:

C Maj7 - Eb Maj 7 – Ab Maj7 – Db Maj 7



is the turnaround (the last bar of the tune – turning around to the first bar for solos) one sees in most versions of Tadd Dameron’s Lady Bird (Real Book, 5th edition, maybe better known as the “regular” Real Book).

Tadd used the chord root relationships that composers have been using since equal-temperament, particularly since J. S. Bach – that is, secondary V chords. Tadd made the chords major 7ths rather than V7 but the roots work the same way – down by perfect 5th.



The turnaround is a good opportunity to improvise vertically, that is, play in C, then think in Eb major or Lydian, then Ab major or Lydian, then Db major or Lydian. In each case the raised fourth (if you’re thinking in Lydian) adds some nice spice because it is ‘replaced’ in the next chord when it moves down by ½ step to the new root. (ex. #4 = A in the Eb chord, moves down by ½ step to become the root of the Ab chord).



From the early 20th century American songwriters were using the major 7 chord extensively (then adding 9th, 11th, and 13th as the decades went by), but still thinking in the root relationships that Bach (and others) had established. In 19th century music one analyzes a progression like this (probably using just the triad or adding the dominant 7 to the chord) as:



I – V7/bVI (remember, the bVI is the normal root for the Augmented 6th chord!) – V7/bII (remember, the bII is the normal root for Neapolitan chord) – Neapolitan – then to the I chord in the first bar.

C Maj7 - Eb Maj 7 – Ab Maj7 – Db Maj 7





The version recorded by Miles Davis goes: C Maj7 - Eb7 – Ab Maj7 – G7(#5)

(Bb min7 for CMaj 7 on the repeat)



is the version recorded by Miles Davis. See the New Real Book I for that. It’s pretty much the same but uses that V7/bVI (the Eb7) instead of Eb Maj 7. One can think major or Lydian b7 over that chord. It ends with G7(#5) – a tri-tone substitution for the Db Maj 7 chord. Everything behaves the same way and resolves to the C at the top of the tune.



I’ve mentioned the vertical approach there, playing over each chord, but one can also blow over them in a horizontal fashion – that is, just stay in C and play, letting the nice chord changes color that with chromatic tone. In other words, let the harmony do the work while you play in the “home” key.



Keep in mind the beboppers were still, for the most part, using all of the harmonic language that Bach, Chopin, Debussy and others before them had put together, but now were adding extensions to the chords and improvising more chromatically over those chords.



It’s just 6am. Too many words here – I haven’t had any coffee yet.



Reed
some youtube music?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ig7QcB9gmEE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exF1O6dnreE
- Show quoted text -

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#10

RE: Key of "American Boy" by Estelle [feat Kanye West]

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Fri May 28, 2010 9:38 am
by uderoche (deleted)
avatar

Holy shit...I feel like we owe that guy Dr. Gratz a beer or something


STFU! - Pebber Brown

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#11

RE: Key of "American Boy" by Estelle [feat Kanye West]

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Fri May 28, 2010 3:48 pm
by FRaKh • 320 Posts

This....is GOOD!!!!

Cheers!


“A World Without String Is Chaos”

Randolf Smuntz

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#12

RE: Key of "American Boy" by Estelle [feat Kanye West]

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Fri May 28, 2010 5:41 pm
by FRaKh • 320 Posts

I find myself re-reading this answer...lol!

Pebber--does your friend teach at a University as well?

Remember I used to complain about all those guys I used to chat theory with and only one or two could give me a solid answer.

Wow


“A World Without String Is Chaos”

Randolf Smuntz

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#13

RE: Key of "American Boy" by Estelle [feat Kanye West]

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Fri May 28, 2010 8:14 pm
by pebberbrown • 876 Posts

He IS the University!

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#14

RE: Key of "American Boy" by Estelle [feat Kanye West]

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sat May 29, 2010 9:25 am
by FRaKh • 320 Posts

Im still giddy over that answer...lol.

We cant find that in any BOOK!

Man...to have the ability...at 6am...WITHOUT COFFEE....to shoot off an answer like that!

Maybe in 10-15 years???

I wish...


“A World Without String Is Chaos”

Randolf Smuntz

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#15

RE: Key of "American Boy" by Estelle [feat Kanye West]

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sat May 29, 2010 9:29 am
by FRaKh • 320 Posts

AHHHHHhhhh heck.....just read his bio...

Maybe in my next lifetime....:)


“A World Without String Is Chaos”

Randolf Smuntz

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#16

RE: Key of "American Boy" by Estelle [feat Kanye West]

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Sat May 29, 2010 2:13 pm
by Adam (deleted)
avatar

Hey guys, let's not forget Rob Murtha's answer.....he was pretty darn accurate, too; especially with that Turnaround explanation! I just heard this song on the radio last night, and I explained to my buddy the difficulty we were having figuring out the progression. I am surprised by the uncertainty this song has given us!


A LACK OF EFFORT WILL GIVE YOU A LACK OF RESULTS--Pebber Brown
____________________________________________________________________________________________

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#17

RE: Key of "American Boy" by Estelle [feat Kanye West]

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:26 pm
by robmurtha • 94 Posts

Thanks for the props Adam - for everyone who wants to know where all this comes from I say get "Real" or get "The Real Book". After I wrote that answer I was wondering if I just dropped a bomb, thanks PB for pulling in the big guns for backup!

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#18

RE: Key of "American Boy" by Estelle [feat Kanye West]

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Tue Jun 01, 2010 9:49 pm
by Mark Hammond • 2 Posts

Regarding the song, I hear the chords as Emaj7, Cmaj7, Am7, D9. I would approach this as E major with the C, Am7, and the D9 as a minor IV chord. This is very common in jazz as substitution for the V chord. The Cmajor7 -Amin7-D9 are basically the same chord, same sound, one note difference between them. The overall effect is A min7 to E major (7).

The "Lady Bird" (Tadd Dameron) turnaround is a common turnaround substitution, and it also evolved into "Coltrane Changes" (Giant Steps, etc.) though I don't see how the turnaround has much to do with this song. "Lady Bird" does happen to have the minor IV chord progression as this song has, as does "Yardbird Suite" by Parker.

I would also like to say that sometimes you just have to listen and feel and not over-think these things. I've worked with and taught guitarists that have worked with Kanye. John Legend, Angie Stone, etc., and they go by feel, not too much analysis.

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#19

RE: Key of "American Boy" by Estelle [feat Kanye West]

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:47 pm
by Adam (deleted)
avatar

I think we can now put this one to rest. I would NEVER have thought this song would generate THIS MUCH feedback! LOL!!!


A LACK OF EFFORT WILL GIVE YOU A LACK OF RESULTS--Pebber Brown
_____________________

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#20

RE: Key of "American Boy" by Estelle [feat Kanye West]

in PB Guitarstudio FORUMS Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:13 am
by robmurtha • 94 Posts

Hey Mark - I know what you mean it was a bit of a stretch to call it the Lady Bird sequence but that is what I hear and the sound is what reminded me of that turn around. A lot of contemporary gospel musicians go into extended substitutions and they have no idea why - just sounds good - amen to that!

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