#1
Hey everyone,

I've been working on analyzing chord progressions and harmonies in songs a lot lately. Today I started working on Wet Sand by the Chili Peppers. It seems pretty straight forward to me, but there's one section that's bugging me. I'd really appreciate anybody's answer to this question and any corrections to the other sections of the song.

G maj - D maj - E min - B min

This part is pretty easy, I-V-vi-iii in G major. Contains every note of the G major scale except for C, the perfect 4th of G.

E min - G maj - D maj - C maj

Again in G major, but a vi-I-V-IV progression. Contains every note of the G major scale.

Emaj-Cmaj-Emaj

This is the part that's confusing me. I'm not sure if this would be considered a key change. This section contains the following notes:

G, G#/Ab, B, C, E

If I analyze it still in the key of G major, then would I say that the vi became a VI is a it's a VI-IV-VI progression. Is there a simpler way to look at this?

Solo/Outtro E maj - F# maj - G# min

There's a key change here to B. Frusciante plays around on this for a while, ending it on different chords, but with the basic IV - V - vi progression in B major. Uses every note of the B major scale in the progression.


Where should I go from here? I'm going to look at the solo and what notes were played over what chord. Should I also do this for the bass line and the vocals? Anything I've missed? Thanks for reading this and for taking the time to help.



Mike
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Quote by Jackal58
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#2
If I recall correctly, it starts off in G major (G D Em Bm). You could call the pre-chorus a modulation to E minor, although it's not really worth making the distinction. I don't know where you got that C chord though. It's just Em G D Em

Then at the chorus it modulates to E major (E C E). The C is borrowed from the parallel minor, which is coincidentally enough where we just modulated from.

The bridge/solo you could call B major, although it sure does a good job of avoiding the resolution.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#4
Quote by onethreesixfive
What makes you think the E-C-E is a modulation into E major?
Why do you ask? Are you trying to understand or refute?

The simple answer I would give is that it sounds like E major. It starts and ends on an E major chord, which sounds perfectly resolved to me. That's pretty much all there is to it.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#5
Quote by food1010
Why do you ask? Are you trying to understand or refute?

The simple answer I would give is that it sounds like E major. It starts and ends on an E major chord, which sounds perfectly resolved to me. That's pretty much all there is to it.



+1
Don't tell me what can not be done

Don't tell me what can be done, either.



I love you all no matter what.
#6
Quote by food1010
If I recall correctly, it starts off in G major (G D Em Bm). You could call the pre-chorus a modulation to E minor, although it's not really worth making the distinction. I don't know where you got that C chord though. It's just Em G D Em

Then at the chorus it modulates to E major (E C E). The C is borrowed from the parallel minor, which is coincidentally enough where we just modulated from.

The bridge/solo you could call B major, although it sure does a good job of avoiding the resolution.


I agree with all of that except the bold bit, I'd say it was G#min, Frusciante uses that chord progression quite a lot in various keys and it's one of my favourites.

I'm not sure how to describe getting there though, I guess it works because it's ascending from the Emaj that the chorus is in.
#7
Quote by food1010
Why do you ask? Are you trying to understand or refute?

The simple answer I would give is that it sounds like E major. It starts and ends on an E major chord, which sounds perfectly resolved to me. That's pretty much all there is to it.


I haven't written out the melody yet (and I've only listened to it once or twice) but as far as I could tell it stayed in G. There was no pull into E major and as far as my ear can tell the E acts as a VI rather than the C. If the melody is in E major then I would agree that it's a modulation but as far as the harmony goes, it sounds very much like it stays in G.
#8
Quote by onethreesixfive
I haven't written out the melody yet (and I've only listened to it once or twice) but as far as I could tell it stayed in G. There was no pull into E major and as far as my ear can tell the E acts as a VI rather than the C. If the melody is in E major then I would agree that it's a modulation but as far as the harmony goes, it sounds very much like it stays in G.
Well the melody uses a G# (E D B D E G#), plus Flea does that little D# E slidy thing. Also, you can hear tension in the C chord. It definitely doesn't function as a IV.

Sure the melody uses the D, but that's a common substitution in E major, particularly in rock music. I think the G# makes it pretty clear. If the G sharps were all G naturals, I think you could get away with saying G major, but even then, the leading tone (D# to E) is pretty indicative of E major or minor.

And ImaHighwayChile, I listened to the solo, and you're definitely right that it's G# minor. I hear it now.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#9
Quote by food1010
If I recall correctly, it starts off in G major (G D Em Bm). You could call the pre-chorus a modulation to E minor, although it's not really worth making the distinction. I don't know where you got that C chord though. It's just Em G D Em

Then at the chorus it modulates to E major (E C E). The C is borrowed from the parallel minor, which is coincidentally enough where we just modulated from.

The bridge/solo you could call B major, although it sure does a good job of avoiding the resolution.


Thanks food, I was hoping you'd respond to this. I picked up the sheet music for Stadium Arcadium this weekend and that along with your help cleared some stuff up for me.

A lot of people play Em G D Em in the pre-chorus, but it's not. According to my Stadium Arcadium sheet music, the last chord in the progression is Cmaj7/E (C, E, G, B, with E in the root; still has the EGB of E minor, but for some reason it's denoted as a C). But I agree that there's no point in calling it a modulation to E minor from G.

The E C E progression does sound like a modulation to me. According to the sheet music, there's another chord made up of E, A#, D#, and F##, denoted as D# (D#, F##, A#). They don't take into account the low E played in the root, but the D# that should clear things up about it modulating to E. I couldn't figure out where the C came from until I read your post. I've heard about chords being borrowed from parallel minors, but I never understood that. Could someone explain that to me please?

After listening to it again, the solo definitely sounds like it G# minor to me, not B major like I originally said.

Thanks again to everyone who responded. I really appreciate your help!!!
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Quote by Jackal58
Yer pretty fly for a Canadian.
Last edited by Jimmy_Page_Zep at Sep 6, 2010,
#10
Countdown to modes argument - 3 posts down
Don't tell me what can not be done

Don't tell me what can be done, either.



I love you all no matter what.
#11
Quote by nightwind
Countdown to modes argument - 3 posts down


Haha I seriously hope not!
Fender American Vintage '62 Stratocaster
Gibson Les Paul Custom
TC Electronic Polytune
Danelectro Blue Paisley
EHX Big Muff Pi w/ Tone Wicker
Dunlop Crybaby
EHX Deluxe Memory Boy
Egnater Tweaker

Quote by Jackal58
Yer pretty fly for a Canadian.
#12
Quote by Jimmy_Page_Zep
I've heard about chords being borrowed from parallel minors, but I never understood that. Could someone explain that to me please?
Certainly.

So let's speak in terms of diatonic chords for a moment. Harmonizing the E major scale, you have E F#m G#m A B C#m D#o. Of course, you're not limited to these seven chords. One common type of substitution is to borrow chords from the parallel minor (E minor). So, harmonizing the E natural minor scale, you have Em F#o G Am Bm C D. Now you have seven more options (obviously some of which may be less usable). The major ones (bIII, bVI and bVII) are the most common in blues and rock, likely because they're pretty easy to work in harmonically. The bVII is particularly easy to work in because it takes the viio and just lowers the root, softening up the tritone, as well as the dominant tension.

This general idea is called "modal interchange" and it's a great way to mix up a bland chord progression. I hope that helps.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea