#1
Recently, there has been a few threads about peoples frustrations with chords progressions, namely chords/notes that seem to sit outside of diatonic parameters, yet to the natural ear, these changes can be some of the most interesting and colourful sounding of all. I too have many of those moments where I am often left pondering "How on earth does that work?".
I was wondering if anyone could help me with a song that still plagues me to this day?

I have always wanted to be able to play the song Ripples by Genesis:
I naively thought that once I knew what the chords were, it might elevate my knowledge of theory to the next level? Not a chance!
(which was also debated here recently somewhere in amongst the forums), and I agree... I ended up just knowing a few more chords!

I have included a chord chart showing the chords I use for guitar.
Guitar: Standard Tuning E-A-D-G-B-e:

Here's the part on youtube:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJa9gEUa0To&t=1m51s

Okay, here's how I see it:

From what I can gather, for the parts in Blue I think I understand.
Emaj9 to Bmaj7 - fairly straight forward and diatonic.
B7(sus4) to E/B - Dominant leading back to E.
G#m7 - minor 3rd (in E).

Dm7 - ?? this is where i'm lost?

I get that the Dm7 pulls back into E, and then moves through C and D to resolve to G, where G could be thought of as relative (borrowed) to E, meaning there seems to be a lot of borrowing? (switching?) between E Major and E minor?, but that is just a guess at best! But that Dm7 I can't seem to place?

The Black section seems all fairly relative to E minor? (that borrowing thing again).

As for the Green section (chorus):
Again, that all seems fairly straight forward? - Kinda similar to the Blue parts? (some Major/minor switching?) with some Relative minor/Major between F#m and Amaj7. (not discounting that I could be wrong on all accounts), but any thoughts on helping me decipher whats going on would be much appreciated.

P.S: I am not even 100% as to what Key it's in (i'm guessing E) and wether the song changes key for the chorus.

Thanks!
#2
Sounds like B major in the beginning (IV-I) - that's because it's an Emaj7-Bmaj7. That doesn't sound like E major to me because of the "Vmaj7" chord. The next chord is a secondary dominant for E major. The next chord is G#m7 which sounds like the vi chord so I would say we are still in B major.

The next chord is not a Dm chord. It's a G#dim7, followed by E7. Sounds pretty A minorish to me. Then the G#dim7 is played again (as you know, it could also be a Bdim7 which in this case would make sense) and it resolves to C major. Then it goes like C-D-G which is a IV-V-I in G major.

It modulates a lot.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#3
+1000000 I love Genesis OMG. You came to the right place.

Maggara's analysis is the correct one. By Section:

Blue: B

Red: G

Black: Em

Green:E

Keeping that in mind, put Roman numerals to everything and see if that sheds any light on the progression.

For a Genesis tune, this is actually harmonically pretty tame.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#5
Thanks All !!!

"it modulates a lot" that sort of thing is always just beyond my theory level, although it's nice to have my suspicions confirmed! G#dim7 (or Bo7) now looks the goods too!

"Green section in E" I actually thought it might have been in A (due to the E7).

and I'll take .05 any day, over nothing at all, I appreciate the input - Common Tone Sharing (I'll look into that also).

Best response: "+1000000 I love Genesis OMG"
Did we just witness a "for(um)-gasm"? ha ha!!

...although I believe we deal in the Billi,000,000,000ns these days?... it's a music forum, lets make it a TRILL-ION!!!

Thanks again guys!.
#6
^ If you see a lot of "unrelated" chords, then you could guess it could have something to do with modulation. When this happens, analyze it in smaller sections. Which of the chords seem to go well together? Which of them could be in the same key? When could the modulation occur?

Also, many times in "lyrics + chords" sheets the chords can be wrong so don't depend 100% on them. Dm7 and G#dim7/Bdim7 are pretty close to each other when it comes to sound. But writing it as Dm7 may throw people off when analyzing it.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#7
Exactly. As you train yourself to recognize them, modulations will pop out more. Doing analysis helps a ton; you can understand the links between each chord.

The green section is in E, and you get almost this kind of fake A Lydian thing going with the first two chords. That all changes when we get to the E chord.

The E7 is a V7/IV which resolves semi-deceptively to F#m7 which is a substitute for A.

The F#7, which wants to resolve to B, resolves to A instead.

This move can be seen as a chromatic mediant. (relationships by thirds) It's a somewhat less common move, but it takes us right back to the beginning of the progression.

However, the bigger reason for the F#7 to the A is to bring out the AMAZING descending bassline in the progression, like this:

F#m - F#m/C# - F#7sus4/B - F#7/A# - A = Brilliant move.


If you are into progressions with more of an expanded palette like this, Genesis is a great place to start. You seem to be into the music, and there's some real genius harmonic "plays" to be made, especially during the Peter Gabriel era. (Including some ACTUAL modal stuff)

Tony Banks is a brilliant songwriter and gets nowhere near the credit he deserves. Totally worth it to study his technique.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#9
Yeah man Genesis is great. They don't get much credit because people only know the 80s synth rock Genesis and not the 70s prog rock Genesis.

Incredible stuff. Check out Nursery Cryme. Great album.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#10
Quote by MaggaraMarine
1. Sounds like B major in the beginning (IV-I) - that's because it's an Emaj7-Bmaj7. That doesn't sound like E major to me because of the "Vmaj7" chord. The next chord is a secondary dominant for E major. The next chord is G#m7 which sounds like the vi chord so I would say we are still in B major.

2. With "lyrics + chords" sheets the chords can be wrong so don't depend 100% on them.
Hey thanks again for the analysis.
1. Yeah that Vmaj7 makes it B major for me now... took a while! cheers again!
2. Yeah another sucker (me) succumbs to the throes of a lack of theory, that said, there were a few other versions that were shockers!

Quote by Jet Penguin

The green section is in E, and you get almost this kind of fake A Lydian thing going with the first two chords.
That all changes when we get to the E chord.

The E7 is a V7/IV which resolves semi-deceptively to F#m7 which is a substitute for A.
The F#7, which wants to resolve to B, resolves to A instead.
This move can be seen as a chromatic mediant. (relationships by thirds)
It's a somewhat less common move, but it takes us right back to the beginning of the progression.

However, the bigger reason for the F#7 to the A is to bring out the AMAZING descending bassline in the progression, like this:
F#m - F#m/C# - F#7sus4/B - F#7/A# - A = Brilliant move..
Thanks for your elaboration on the green section too: Yeah I see now, that makes a lot of sense!
Oddly enough though I did notice the line from C# to A, but not in the bass, I made a fleeting observation of it amongst the chords I played (and Phils vocal line), and of course, thought nothing more of it amidst my tortured analysis paralysis.


Can I ask something?: (I know we've just established the Chords, Keys, Changes) etc... but

Speaking of chromatic mediants and relationships by thirds: (something I don't profess to know anything about, so this is just coming from the top of my head).

In my first analysis in trying to figure it all out...
which was why I was considering the four sections might not have any modulation, and was unsure as to "what" a possible overall key might have been (thanks again Maggara for clearing that up),
...I was thinking (with my limited theory), that all four of the sections were maybe integral to one possible key center, by way of borrowing from parallel minor/major keys, as well as incorporating relative minor/major relationships. (ugh! words fail me).

Possible (Your) Replys:
Okay here's my analysis for E being the overall key center,
so ignoring any Modulations, Dominant Subs etc:
(if that's at all possible?)

Verse 3:
Emaj7 to Bmaj7 - diatonic,
then to B7sus4 - changing the flavour of the Bmaj7
(embellishment? - trying not to use the word substitution),
which now being a 7th chord, leads nicely to E/B,
then G#m7 (3rd scale degree of E).


G#o7 to E7 - borrowing dim from Parallel (E minor),
G#o7 to C to D to G - again, borrowed from Parallel E minor, (G relative major to Em)


F#o7 to Em to D#o7 (E harmonic minor) to C (E minor) to D7 (E minor) to B7sus4 (E Major)

Chorus: well... you get the picture... (or don't).

Yes I know I just made an idiot of myself, but if I don't get it sorted out now,
it will just sit there and badger me senseless.

Not looking for any in depth reasoning,
just a "2", "3", or "4" will do (see options 2, 3 and 4 below),
just to eliminate the bantering psycho babble.
2. No not really (there are rules dude!)
3. Some truth to that (but there's a better, more correct way)
4. WTF!! Not. At. All.!!!
Duh I'm an idiot, I have just worked out (I think?) that it can't be E for the fact as Maggara pointed out (and I agreed to) "the "Vmaj7" chord", and Lazy because after all that I can't just tweak this section in a few minutes to see if it works for B major (as a possible overall key), ugh! back to the drawing board (and bantering psycho babble).



Quote by Harmosis
What a cool tune. Reminds me of a Bach prelude.
I have never really listened to classical much, just seems so complicated and way over my head but I would appreciate it if you would post a youtube link to the prelude you had in mind, or something very close. Perhaps that might just be the catalyst i'm looking for? Thanks!


Quote by Jet Penguin
1. You seem to be into the music and there's some real genius harmonic "plays" to be made.
2. Incredible stuff. Check out Nursery Cryme. Great album.

1. I grew up with A trick of the Tale album, Ripples my favourite track. Music's a weird animal, well to me at least.
I mean Track 2. Entangled, although a lot simpler in structure (I could be wrong on that), also captures the same essence (musical brilliance) so a song doesn't have to have all the theoretical prowess to get my attention (i'm sure most agree), in fact I was once asked what would be the one song I would be proud to have written... for me it's Mull Of Kintyre by Paul McCartney or MCCA as he goes by these days?

2. I gave Nursery Cryme a listen, amazing how alike Collins and Gabriel sounded, Trick of the Tale still my favourite. I can see there are quite a few tabs for Nursery Cryme so I will check them over.

Something a bit random:
Although not really... I think if you like some of A Trick of the Tale, you might like Glenn Hughes' album "Music for the Devine" (2006) (feat Frusciante & Smith RHCP)... maybe?
Last edited by tonibet72 at Feb 11, 2015,
#11
This is exactly why you want to train yourself to recognize modulations. There's no way you should hear one single root or tonic pitch for the entire song. Not with that kind of progression, it bounces around too much.

Granted, you can go pretty far out of key with borrowed chords, but that isn't the case here.

Keeping in mind the key centers, try and put Roman numerals to everything. It'll shed some light on what's going down.

And yeah I just linked Nursery Cryme because that's the first album with the Collins/Gabriel lineup. Most of the albums after that are fantastic. Entangled would also be a good one to look at.

Checked out the Hughes....It's O.K...
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#12
Quote by tonibet72
I have never really listened to classical much, just seems so complicated and way over my head but I would appreciate it if you would post a youtube link to the prelude you had in mind, or something very close. Perhaps that might just be the catalyst i'm looking for? Thanks!


Hi tonibet72,
I was just making a general observation - the harmonic progression and voice leading on "Ripples" is very much like a Bach prelude. It doesn't necessarily resemble a specific one (to me). But here's one to get you started (this has the fugue as well):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JxjMytDyaU
#13
Jet/Maggara: wasn't so much that I could hear a singular tonic, but once I started analyzing the chords (individually) that a lot of them seem to hold some (uneducated) argument to the key of E?... and I was none the wiser... Thanks! for helping clear things up! Yes Roman numerals sound like a plan!
Thanks guys!

Harmosis: Hi Harmosis, yeah I was aware you were generalising, I was just trying to get as close to the bull's eye as possible (didn't necessarily have to Bach be either), thanks for the prelude/fugue, actually I remember sitting along side a distant in-law when I was about 8ish with her teaching me how to play a few tunes at the piano and that tune (well the start anyway) was one I always remembered... yet I never picked up an instrument till years later, wow that little tune finally has a name, fancy that! thanks!
#14
I vote just for fun's sake you do a quick RNA (roman numeral analysis) and then we can REALLY dive into what Banks is up to.

Watch for strong cadences; they are often red flags to a modulation. But then again, maybe not

We can put all the keys in different colors with a note of what key goes where. that way we keep all our different I chords straight.

Now that I think of it....maybe we should make an analysis sticky where people can bring things in and we pick it apart...20T?
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#15
Quote by Jet Penguin
I vote just for fun's sake you 1. do a quick RNA (roman numeral analysis) and then we can REALLY dive into what Banks is up to.

Watch for strong cadences; they are often red flags to a modulation. But then again, maybe not

We can put all the keys in different colors with a note of what key goes where. that way we keep all our different I chords straight.

Now that I think of it....maybe we should make an analysis sticky where 2. people can bring things in and we pick it apart...20T?
1. You mean like this?
2. Okay your turn...
#16
In the E major part, I would change I7 to V7/IV, and II7 to V7/V.

I'll get on this link. It's gonna be a total pain without a score haha.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#17
^nah yr alrite, I can see yr busy (with the new stickies) - I sometimes wonder how you manage to get around answering everyone's questions here, talk about snowed under ), we thank you guys from the bottom of our diaphragms (no seriously we do!)

and nice to know I only got a couple Roman Numeral's wrong in my RNA swat test (yeah I know you guys basically fed me the answers), but hey I don't think I've scored 80% in anything! (please, don't reply to that - let me have my moment) ha ha!!

Also I now get what you're asking about your new sticky thread, meaning you don't want to be inundated with audio links (unless they're accompanied with chords or a score). I tried to find score/chords? for my youtube link - (The legend of the Glass Mountain) to no avail, maybe I will give it a listen through and see if I can't figure out the majority of underlying chords, just as a general starting point and you could correct it from there, and then post it in the Analytical, Harmonic Analysis sticky thread? and if Maggara happens to beat me to it (yeah right, like that would happen), ha ha then... (yeah think I might leave that last sentence ambiguous).

but seriously thanks again guys!
#18
Yeah, the real reason for needing a score for the large ensemble music is the amount of transcribing we'd need to do to really dig in to what's happening would kill us.

I have no problem transcribing a rock band or jazz combo, but things can get insane in the classical/bigband world without a score to at least reference.

I did listen to glass mountain, and while it goes to a lot of places, there doesn't seem to be tons of "trickery." If you want to work on it a bit, go for it, you can always track us down if you get stuck.

And no problem, truth be told, I mostly have UG up in the background when I'm composing or running mindless guitar exercises, I bang out a response or two during my "digestion" time. Ask away.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#19
Quote by Jet Penguin
Yeah, the real reason for needing a score for the large ensemble music is the amount of transcribing we'd need to do to really dig in to what's happening would kill us.

I have no problem transcribing a rock band or jazz combo, but things can get insane in the classical/bigband world without a score to at least reference.

I did listen to glass mountain, and while it goes to a lot of places, there doesn't seem to be tons of "trickery." If you want to work on it a bit, go for it, you can always track us down if you get stuck.

And no problem, truth be told, I mostly have UG up in the background when I'm composing or running mindless guitar exercises, I bang out a response or two during my "digestion" time. Ask away.

Hey I have posted my Glass Mountain Transcription thingy in the Harmonic Analysis sticky.
I thought I'd use the quote from here as an orientation/reference point and with the Harmonic analysis sticky sitting right at the top of the page, perhaps you mightn't see it, (I don't know how it works?)

Link to Thread Here:
Jet & The Gang Get Analytical: Harmonic Analysis, For MT!

Cheers!