Theory Question: Why is a D Chord OK in this Song

Discussion in 'Tab, Tips, Theory and Technique' started by Garrison Reed, Oct 13, 2021.

  1. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Thank dog for that, you educated code walkers are mystifying without any sound.
     
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  2. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    But now it all makes sense.

     
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  3. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Oh my dog Ornette promises fiction then delivers fact?
    Who in hell can I trust???
     
  4. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Not fiction, science fiction. Truer than facts.
     
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  5. Willie Johnson

    Willie Johnson Tele-Afflicted

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    So I'm clear, we're talking: "livin' (E)" "aftah (D)" "midnight (A)" ..."and I'm gone (B)"...correct? And why the D fits in there?

    Play it without it, and it sounds weird: "livin' aftah (E)" "midnight (A)"..."and I'm gone (B)".

    If you play some John Lee Hooker/Lightnin' Hopkins hammer-on licks in E, D is all over the place before you resolve to E. It builds tension--your ear wants to hear it before you go back to the 1.

    (There's also a super obvious and really good joke here that I'm just not going to make!)
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021
  6. scelestus

    scelestus Tele-Holic

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    Nevermind, was in a rush.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021
  7. goonie

    goonie Friend of Leo's

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    Thank God David Bowie never asked if a chord was OK in a song.
     
  8. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Poster Extraordinaire

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    This is not the case. You aren’t hearing the melody. At no time does it even hint at being rooted around A. The A is clearly the IV. It’s a 3-2-1 basic melody line, not natural 7-6-5, largely avoiding what would be the I if it was.
     
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  9. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    Moderately relevant

     
  10. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    The D-A-E progression is a simply a chord sequence in the circle fifths. Think “Hey Joe” and “Get Back”. U2 used it too…note that “Desire” is in the key of E.

     
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  11. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Something I learned when taking lessons from a classically trained guitarist: Often times he would point to just such a seemingly out of place chord or note, and ask how it fit in the apparent key. If I got stumped, I'd just try to look thoughtful and say, "I think it's just a key change." That answer, despite being pure nonsense would often give me a chance to change the subject.

    Be careful, it's a powerful weapon.
     
  12. scelestus

    scelestus Tele-Holic

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    I'll edit my response, though I'll point out that modally, E mixolydian is the same as A ionian. I confused key and mode.

    They share a scale, so whether chords fit or not goes for both as I'd imagine. That's all just down to the ratios between wavelengths.

    You're absolutely right that the center of gravity in the song is in E.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2021
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  13. tfarny

    tfarny Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's really the question of "what is music theory" - if it's a set of rules to maximize harmony and minimize dissonance, ok. That might include all the basic stuff about harmonized major scales and D chords being 'not allowed' in the key of E.
    But music would be SO incredibly boring if that were true! A better question might be "why does the D chord sound so cool right there instead of the D minor" which I think people have already answered. I've been playing "Sea of Heartbreak" the old Don Gibson chestnut, in C major.
    At the end of the bridge there is a very prominent E7 whole note chord (which "should" be an Em if you even really want to use a iii chord) best served up with an upstroke and a bunch of Bigsby action, which is a little bewildering. It serves to kind of re-set the song and finish out smooth. It adds interest and provides character. Loads of tunes have got the "wrong" chords stuffed in them, because nothing is really "wrong" - music is always in tension between the comforting and familiar (harmonized major scale) and the new, spooky, and unexpected.

    Too much one way, you get boring real quick. Too much the other and it doesn't grab people as music. We can all think of examples on both sides!
     
  14. trancedental

    trancedental Tele-Meister

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    With Modal interchange & borrowed chords you can "borrow" any chord from any Mode or Parallel Key with the same "tonic" note as your original key.

    Key of C.


    Modal Interchange Borrowed Chords.png

    https://www.thejazzpianosite.com/jazz-piano-lessons/jazz-chords/borrowed-chords/

    There are explanations given for certain substitute chords but often there is more than one answer or reason why it works or where it comes from.

    I know it's a Jazz Piano site but it covers & explains in detail how to substitute chords into a given progression plus loads of related ideas.
     
  15. Phrygian77

    Phrygian77 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    It's certainly not me.
     
  16. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    F# Phryg will work ;).
     
  17. lil scotty

    lil scotty Tele-Holic

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    Does anyone have any Ron Greene dials? I’ve always thought of that chord, one whole step down from the tonic, as an “optional chord.” Same for one whole step down from the IV. In the OP’s example this would be a G. I know this explanation is a bit of a cheat but once you see it, hear it, you’ll notice 88DD79B4-998D-4D48-AD0D-D7CA096C0DA0.jpeg it all the time. Any song in C with a B flat, for example. It’s really neat. Also, whatever major key the song is in, make that chord a minor: viola, “optional chord.” The Beatles, pulled off a lot of these moves.
     
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  18. Stanford Guitar

    Stanford Guitar Friend of Leo's

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    It's in the key of E, but it's not major or minor, it's blues. One of the issues people have with music theory is strictly applying classical western music theory to blues inspired music i.e rock, jazz, etc. Blues music does not follow the same tonal constructs as classical western music, it can incorporate chords from both the major and minor keys of the same root in the same tune, and notes that are in between traditional 12 tone 1/2 steps (Hendrix, Robert Johnson, Albert King, etc does this a lot).

    It's a long discussion.....go to Wikipedia and read up on blues tonality, or blues pentatonic scales, or something along those lines. You'll be able to figure it out.
     
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  19. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Poster Extraordinaire

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    You’re displaying/stating some common misunderstandings about modes.

    E mix and A major are not “the same,” nor do they “share a scale.” They are different scales. They simply contain the same notes, i.e. they are relative modes. That doesn’t at all mean that they “are” the same scale. Exactly the opposite: It means by definition that they are different scales (but contain the same notes).

    You don’t understand modes by saying that one relative mode “is” the other. Relative modes are more for understanding why certain modulations or chord changes might sound more naturally harmonious than others.

    Modes are more used to discuss scale patterns, with a given tonic. E.g. comparing one E mode to another E mode. “Is it in E mixolydian or E dorian? Well, look at the third. If it’s a major third, it’s mixolydian, and if it’s a minor third, it’s dorian.” Or, you tell someone, “It’s dorian,” and they know “major scale with minor third and minor seventh,” or “mixolydian with minor third.” The discussion is about how certain scale degrees are spaced relative to others – not simply about something as relatively useless as what notes are present within the entire scales.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
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  20. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    'Western' theory (a term I abhor) can most definitely explain/analyze rock and blues. Yes, even the 1/4 tones (the in between notes). But you need to study more than two semesters of it and I definitely would advise against depending on Wikipedia to inform you on it's more esoteric points.
    This is where the saying, "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing" comes into play.
     
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