#1
Hi,

I've been watching some live versions of Eric Johnson's Cliffs of Dover. Can someone with knowledge please provide a structural analysis of the song? I remember reading one once in the on-line encyclopedia (Wikepidia? [spelling]). I'd made a mental note to revisit the site but when I went back the contents had changed and the song analyis was gone.

For the past two years I've been focused pretty hard on theory. I'm tying to understand what Johnson uses as he makes his ascension during the beginning of the song. Is he using arpeggios (spelling again) or actually playing pieces of the same scale but simply moving up that scale?

Thanks for the help.
#2
For the intro, it starts with a minor pentatonic run with some dorian passing tones, and as he goes down the neck he switches to minor passing tones.

Then he sort of switches the emphasis from E minor to G major, and plays a series of string skipping arpeggios. If you want to learn how to do that sort of thing and create your own licks in that style, just learn how to construct those string skipped arpeggios based on the key. Remember Ma mi mi ma ma mi dim, or major minor minor major major minor diminished. That's the rule for what chords fit into a major chord progression. And then for what notes go into the scale on the single strick, it's WWHWWWH or whole step whole step half step.... blah blah. So the chords that would fit in the key of G major are: G major, A minor, B minor, C major, D major, E minor, F diminished. He's just playing basic arpeggios of those chords, but skipping the D string. If you go back and look at the tab and then put it together with what I'm saying, it'll likely make sense with what he's doing. If you want to know how to construct arpeggios, it's like this. Your basic major arpeggio is the root, the third, and the fifth of the scale. For minor, it's the same as major, but flat the third or take it down a half step. For diminshed, it's major but flat the fifth. For augmented, it's major but raise the fifth.

He plays another string skipping pattern which isn't arpeggios but is just part of the G major scale, and then ends with a G major run. If you play around with playing the notes of scales in different patterns, you might be able to achieve something similar to the scalar runs he plays throughout the song. If you have power tab or guitar pro or something, try punching in just random notes of a scale without even looking at or thinking of what the notes are. You might come back with something you hadn't thought of before which sounds sweet.

From there on out, it's pretty straightforward. For the solo, he plays similar scalar runs, string skipping licks, and modal arpeggio sequences to the ones he did in the intro.
Quote by Sonicxlover
Kensai, I think I'll get a flamboyant sig.

Quote by Sonicxlover
Kensai, I think I'll get a flamboyant sig.

Quote by Sonicxlover
Kensai, I think I'll get a flamboyant sig.


Parker Nitefly Mojo sonnn
Jackson DK2M Dinky
Carvin Legacy
Fender Blues Jr.
Roland Cube 30X
Last edited by Sonicxlover at Jan 3, 2009,
#3
Quote by Sonicxlover
For the intro, it starts with a minor pentatonic run with some dorian passing tones, and as he goes down the neck he switches to minor passing tones.

Then he sort of switches the emphasis from E minor to G major, and plays a series of string skipping arpeggios. If you want to learn how to do that sort of thing and create your own licks in that style, just learn how to construct those string skipped arpeggios based on the key. Remember Ma mi mi ma ma mi dim, or major minor minor major major minor diminished. That's the rule for what chords fit into a major chord progression. And then for what notes go into the scale on the single strick, it's WWHWWWH or whole step whole step half step.... blah blah. So the chords that would fit in the key of G major are: G major, A minor, B minor, C major, D major, E minor, F diminished. He's just playing basic arpeggios of those chords, but skipping the D string. If you go back and look at the tab and then put it together with what I'm saying, it'll likely make sense with what he's doing. If you want to know how to construct arpeggios, it's like this. Your basic major arpeggio is the root, the third, and the fifth of the scale. For minor, it's the same as major, but flat the third or take it down a half step. For diminshed, it's major but flat the fifth. For augmented, it's major but raise the fifth.

He plays another string skipping pattern which isn't arpeggios but is just part of the G major scale, and then ends with a G major run. If you play around with playing the notes of scales in different patterns, you might be able to achieve something similar to the scalar runs he plays throughout the song. If you have power tab or guitar pro or something, try punching in just random notes of a scale without even looking at or thinking of what the notes are. You might come back with something you hadn't thought of before which sounds sweet.

From there on out, it's pretty straightforward. For the solo, he plays similar scalar runs, string skipping licks, and modal arpeggio sequences to the ones he did in the intro.


The intro solo is based on minor hexatonic (E minor pentatonic with a 9th) and minor blues. Followed by arpeggios as you mention. The final lick is a descending run with a G pedal note, and finally another descending scale run.
Youtube covers

[url="http://www.youtube.com/user/MrJumboHumbo[/URL"]
#4
Thanks for responding.

On the point about playing triads that comprise the chords that comprise G major, I have a question:

Does one often hear an artist play the entire scale the fits the individual chords that comprise G major? For example, I know the G major scale very well. I also understand your point about being able to play the triads for the chords that fit wihin a G major scale. Can I get away with playing the scales for each of those chords over a G major? I've experimented a little with it playing solo. I'm not sure how well it would lay over a chord basic chord progression though. Thx.
#5
Quote by nonjonron
Thanks for responding.

On the point about playing triads that comprise the chords that comprise G major, I have a question:

Does one often hear an artist play the entire scale the fits the individual chords that comprise G major? For example, I know the G major scale very well. I also understand your point about being able to play the triads for the chords that fit wihin a G major scale. Can I get away with playing the scales for each of those chords over a G major? I've experimented a little with it playing solo. I'm not sure how well it would lay over a chord basic chord progression though. Thx.


They generally don't. Just try playing whichever ones you like, play em out of order, etc. Like Gmaj, Cmaj, Bmin, Dmaj for example.
Quote by Sonicxlover
Kensai, I think I'll get a flamboyant sig.

Quote by Sonicxlover
Kensai, I think I'll get a flamboyant sig.

Quote by Sonicxlover
Kensai, I think I'll get a flamboyant sig.


Parker Nitefly Mojo sonnn
Jackson DK2M Dinky
Carvin Legacy
Fender Blues Jr.
Roland Cube 30X
#6
Quote by nonjonron
Hi,

I've been watching some live versions of Eric Johnson's Cliffs of Dover. Can someone with knowledge please provide a structural analysis of the song? I remember reading one once in the on-line encyclopedia (Wikepidia? [spelling]). I'd made a mental note to revisit the site but when I went back the contents had changed and the song analyis was gone.

For the past two years I've been focused pretty hard on theory. I'm tying to understand what Johnson uses as he makes his ascension during the beginning of the song. Is he using arpeggios (spelling again) or actually playing pieces of the same scale but simply moving up that scale?

Thanks for the help.


well live its would be a little hard to break it down. he changes things up a lot live. the intros are usually in G major. but sometimes he'll switch to G minor and eventually goes into Eminor. again, he switches things up sometimes going into some E major stuff as well. ive heard him use a number of different things in his intros. he'll do some harmonic minor stuff, arpregios, some classical sounding runs, and just straight pentatonic runs. plus, he uses a lot of chords. he is a master of harmony. try using 10ths, 4ths, 5ths, 3rds, mix a bunch together etc... he doesnt seem to go over how he does them too much. he usually just says that he found different notes could be moved around in chords to make little melodies.

theres really a lot of freedom when you do what he does live. with a pedal tone you can swap different modes and notes however you see fit. he'll also drop out of the pedal tone when he switces to E minor in the intro and just play solo. that gives you even more freedom. if you know your scales and know how to go in and ou of them, you can do what ever you want.
#7
Quote by Sonicxlover
For the intro, it starts with a minor pentatonic run with some dorian passing tones, and as he goes down the neck he switches to minor passing tones.

Then he sort of switches the emphasis from E minor to G major, and plays a series of string skipping arpeggios. If you want to learn how to do that sort of thing and create your own licks in that style, just learn how to construct those string skipped arpeggios based on the key. Remember Ma mi mi ma ma mi dim, or major minor minor major major minor diminished. That's the rule for what chords fit into a major chord progression. And then for what notes go into the scale on the single strick, it's WWHWWWH or whole step whole step half step.... blah blah. So the chords that would fit in the key of G major are: G major, A minor, B minor, C major, D major, E minor, F diminished. He's just playing basic arpeggios of those chords, but skipping the D string. If you go back and look at the tab and then put it together with what I'm saying, it'll likely make sense with what he's doing. If you want to know how to construct arpeggios, it's like this. Your basic major arpeggio is the root, the third, and the fifth of the scale. For minor, it's the same as major, but flat the third or take it down a half step. For diminshed, it's major but flat the fifth. For augmented, it's major but raise the fifth.

He plays another string skipping pattern which isn't arpeggios but is just part of the G major scale, and then ends with a G major run. If you play around with playing the notes of scales in different patterns, you might be able to achieve something similar to the scalar runs he plays throughout the song. If you have power tab or guitar pro or something, try punching in just random notes of a scale without even looking at or thinking of what the notes are. You might come back with something you hadn't thought of before which sounds sweet.

From there on out, it's pretty straightforward. For the solo, he plays similar scalar runs, string skipping licks, and modal arpeggio sequences to the ones he did in the intro.


correction, F#dim or F#m7b5, there is no F in a G major scale.
Quote by coolstoryangus
Pffffffft schematics


Although i guess the OP will have to get used to reading them if he's going to buy a bugera..
Quote by gregs1020


along with fire escape routes...

#8
Quote by aradine
correction, F#dim or F#m7b5, there is no F in a G major scale.


Did I say F dim? You're right, I meant to say F# dim.
Quote by Sonicxlover
Kensai, I think I'll get a flamboyant sig.

Quote by Sonicxlover
Kensai, I think I'll get a flamboyant sig.

Quote by Sonicxlover
Kensai, I think I'll get a flamboyant sig.


Parker Nitefly Mojo sonnn
Jackson DK2M Dinky
Carvin Legacy
Fender Blues Jr.
Roland Cube 30X