#1
My question is concerning the verse progression from Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay. It goes something like the following:

|G |B |C (B-Bb)| A |
(all major triads)

My question is: how would you theoretically explain it?

The B-Bb phrase I've accepted as chromatic movement, but the rest of if does not seem to conform to regular cadences, circle progressions or conventions (that I'm aware of). So, all ideas are appreciated.


Thanks
"And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah, when you've done a line or two"
#2
I tihnk I'm talking ****, but. I think it goes I, III, IV, VII then would end nicely on the start of the repeat (assuming it repeats) on that G.
I personally tihnk that A is a bit weird, whats the next chord playes?
#3
Quote by mdwallin
I tihnk I'm talking ****, but. I think it goes I, III, IV, VII then would end nicely on the start of the repeat (assuming it repeats) on that G.
I personally tihnk that A is a bit weird, whats the next chord playes?


I guess that is not a bad way to look at it.

Anyway the progression repeats and then eventually it doesn't repeat anymore, and there is the chorus which is just a G major chord going to an E major chord (and repeating).
"And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah, when you've done a line or two"
#4
^Nah bro G is the tonic which makes that last chord a II not a VII.

I read this thread yesterday and thought how much I like this song. So I went off to learn it and think about it.

What I came up with was that it was a "plagal play on thirds". I'll explain what I mean.

The plagal part refers to the climax of the verses being on the subdominant which is C in the key of G. The play on thirds is to do with the fact that the song is largely based on third movements.

Each line seems to be a movement of a third.

It opens on the first line with a tonic G then moves up to the mediant (B) an ascent of a major third.
From the III we go up a half step to the subdominant C to open the next line for a peak and then the plagal climax is unfolded by descending a third - this time a minor third to A as we head back to the G tonic for the start of the next line.

This repeats then we get to the chorus which is again riddled with third movements. This time we go the other way with a minor third movement down to the sub mediant E chord. The third line sees the E replaced substituted with an A chord which sets up the final line where he sings the word "Ti-iii-iii-iiime" over a G and resolving to an E. It almost feels as though the E briefly acts as the tonic when we close the chorus if we look back at the third line we also see the A acts a little like a sub dominant but the climax is over that G which is part of what contrives the possibility of a subtle tonal shift.

Any notions of an E tonic are fleeting though as we quickly slip into the relaxed atmosphere of the verse again with an undeniable G tonic.

The Bridge is, as all good bridges should be, a contrasting section which provides a different angle in the song. It is in G but initially resolves around that tonic subdominant relationship with some strong plagal movement which the song has thus far been employing to good effect.

Only this time he doesn't move toward and away from the subdominant with thirds and instead introduces the dominant albeit as not much more than a substitution on the tonic with a simple progression...
I V IV7
He repeats three times and on the third time he closes out his line with a tonic G only to target the dominant D chord for a climax in the next line.

And just how does he get there? He does it by opening the final line with a ♭VII (F) chord a whole step down from the G which sets up nothing short of a minor third descemt to hit that soulful D chord when he tells us he'll remain the same.

That D sets up the only perfect cadence (actually I guess it's actually a half cadence since the section ends on a dominant suggesting there is more to come ). Either way it's the only time the dominant acts as a climax in the whole song before he slips back into the G to kick off the final verse.

The fact that they are all major chords doesn't really seem to matter. In fact one can see this as an extension of the play on thirds that is evident throughout the song.

The array of third movements in the song and Mr Reddings soulfull voice give it that laid back feel.

It's also kind of funny how the bridge provides a change from the rest of the song with almost no third movements until the last line where he tells us there will be no real change he will in fact "remain the same" as he brings back a third movement from the F to the D.

Anyway a "plagal play on thirds" those are some of the ideas I had when thinking about this song last night. I could develop some of those ideas and write an essay but I'm happy with what I've got so far and think I'll leav it at that. I may have a few things wrong but whatever.

Hope you can take something from that.

Peace.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Jul 16, 2009,
#5
A very extensive analysis 20Tigers, I am very grateful you took the time to write and contrive it.

A plagal play on thirds, why not. The pattern is certainly there throughout the whole song and it really seems like the simplest explanation.

Most fun, and far fetched, thing I came up with was:
G being G
B being B7 and a substitute for F7
C being a C7 and a substitute for F#7
A being F#m7

And then it would just be chromatic movement . But, I guess that your explanation is much more adequate.
"And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah, when you've done a line or two"
#6
Lol - It didn't seem quite so long when I wrote it down. After I posted I was surprised at how much I had actually written.

I didn't take into account any of the other parts though which a good analysis would. Rather than listening and analysing each part I pretty much just listened to the original a few times got the basic progression and then played it on my guitar and sang it over and over and came up with my ideas from there regarding the chord progression.

When I listened to the recording there is a lot more going on that could be quite interesting to analyse but I'm happy with what I got. So I'm not going to over do it. I might sometime but I just want to work on trying to sing it nicely first then I might work on some of the other parts and see if there is anything I can take from it.

Si