Sweet Home Alabama is in G, no it's in D, no it's,,,,,

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by ASATKat, May 22, 2019.

  1. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Afflicted

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    Three chords and an attitude. That's all you really need. Think of all the great music that has been made using only that.
     
  2. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Holic

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    It is in the Mixyouupian mode.
     
  3. basher

    basher Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm listening to it now and it's clearly D Mixolydian. If you want to say it's the key of G, well, that's true, but D is the tonal center -- everything resolves to D and G is acting as the IV chord.

    Side note: Ed King's soloing on this thing is first rate! He's playing the changes and really crawling up into that simple little progression. Funny the things you notice coming back to a song after almost 40 years.
     
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  4. WireLine

    WireLine Tele-Afflicted

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    I just looked at 2 different example of the printed/published sheet music...

    One dictates one # sign (G)...and the other dictates 2 # signs (D)...

    So pick whatever you like.
     
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  5. Deebs3

    Deebs3 Tele-Meister

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    OK I haven't tried it but what happens if you play the solo in D? Probably doesn't sound as good will try it on the weekend.
     
  6. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think it's in the key of Moratorium - i.e., no pub band should be allowed to play it ever again.
     
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  7. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    I never play this song. It resolves the problem completely.
     
  8. BlueEbenzer

    BlueEbenzer TDPRI Member

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    I tried playing it on the guitar myself, and I didn't have to to further than the start to establish that it's in G.
    I'll admit, at the start I never even gave it that much thought and always assumed it to be D since it started off with it.
    As someone else wrote here, the progression here is D→C→G→G. If you play the second G bar first it sounds like more of a starting and if you play the second G bar the way it is played first-
    ----------------------------------
    ----------------------------------
    -------------------------2h0---
    --------0--2h0----------------
    -0h2--------------2-----------
    ----------------------------------
    And then play the starting it sounds righter. You can also try playing the first four notes that the second guitar plays when it comes in at the start an octave lower-
    ----------------------------------
    ----------------------------------
    ----------------------------------
    -0-------------------------------
    -----2h0----2-----------------
    ----------------------------------
    Try both of these before the traditional start-
    ----------------------------------
    --------------3------------------
    --------------------2------------
    ---0-----0--------------0------
    ----------------------------------
    ----------------------------------

    Even Led Zeppelin has used this trick in a few of their songs- starting the song or the singing skipping a bar.

    So, to the person who first said it, @24 track , yes you're right, the scale is in G and the progression is G→D→C→G, or D→C→G→G
     
  9. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    "keys" are defined by V-I motion

    in D, the V would be A

    SHA verse:

    | D | C | G | G (riff in D maj pent anticipates the return of D) :||

    SHA chorus:

    | D | C | G | G C :||

    to get into the solo section, the last bar of the chorus is F C/E

    SHA solo section is over the verse changes

    so, there's no A chord in front of the D, so we're not in D major as a key

    another way to determine this is to ask yourself whether you hear a C# anywhere, and to my ears, the answer is no

    if we're in G major, we'd be surprised by the F major chord, but as others have said, it's not uncommon to hear the flat VII in western music

    what may be confusing the issue is that you can hear the C chord as "the flat VII of D" and the F as "the flat VII of G"

    so to me, this just means that the flat VII chord has a "tonicizing" function to our ears: that is, its nature as a side-slipping chord serves a similar purpose as a V chord, i.e. it makes us think we're moving toward a tonic chord

    but we aren't, really

    SHA is in G major

    IV-I has a weaker tonicizing function than V-I, but it's common in gospel music -- which suits this song
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  10. Doctorx33

    Doctorx33 Tele-Afflicted

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    I think a better question is.... Why are people still playing this song?
     
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  11. thebowl

    thebowl Tele-Meister

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    Memphis is a Chuck Berry tune, although there is that whole thing about Johnny Johnson's role in authorship, but I digress. Many of Chuck's tunes start and spend a lot of time in the IV and/or the V chords, but they really aren't ambiguous about where they resolve.
     
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  12. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    because people love it
     
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  13. noquarter1983

    noquarter1983 TDPRI Member

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    Key of G, key of D, why does it matter? It's not going to change anything really. All you need to know is that the lead/solo could be easily improvised in D mixolydian and it would sound completely fine.
     
  14. ddewerd

    ddewerd Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    The difference is that the chord progression is different in Can't You See vs SHA

    CYS = D C G D
    SHA = D C G G

    This discussion came up here quite a few years ago (I'm too lazy to search for it though), and one of the much smarter guys than me here said an easy way (although not 100% fool proof) to figure out a song's key is to look at the last chord, not the first.

    Plus, CYS solo is clearly in D (major pent) as is the flute part

    If you play the SHA solo is D it will suck

    Cheers,
    Doug
     
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  15. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    I don't think it makes any difference what key a song is in. It only matters if you like the song or not. I never liked SHA enough to learn the words, and I think it's the best tune on that Skynard album, which I also never listen to anymore, because I was never much of a Skynard fan.
     
  16. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Tele-Afflicted

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    From Al Kooper, who signed Skynyrd and produced the album...

    "IMHO, the song is in they key of D. Ed disagrees and says its in the key of G. We are both talking about the same finished recording. It is an opinion about an existing piece of music...the discussion is an interpretation of what each of us hears. Ed IS playing his solo in they key of G while in my opinion the song is in D. That causes some interesting note rubs, but I got used to them after a few hours because Ed refused to change the solo in ANY way."

    You can find similar interviews with Ed King.
     
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  17. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Tele-Afflicted

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    Published sheet music is often a piano reduction and reflects decisions made by the publishing company's transcriber. It may not be how Ed King originally notated it...if he even wrote it down at all.
     
  18. Jim622

    Jim622 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I like Skynyrd and that's my least favorite of their songs. Its amazing the feelings massive air play can induce.
     
  19. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Fantastic video, thanks! Really dissects the progression/solo relationship. I learned some useful stuff.


    Deebs3, check out the video richiek65 posted above — the guy plays different scales over the SHA progression to show how it sounds, really interesting!


    Regarding the key, the video's deconstruction of the solo puts the song pretty clearly in the key of G.
     
  20. Endless Mike

    Endless Mike Friend of Leo's

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    It's amusing that people are willing to debate something that there probably can never be a consensus about. It's in D, but there's not a C#. It has the key signature of G but resolves to D.

    I really couldn't care less as long as I never have to play it again. After nearly three decades of having to play it, it could be in G demented, or D demolished, but don't care as long I don't have to play it anymore.
     
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