Monthly Archives: April 2018

Deal – Grateful Dead

tldr: Deal is in A major and opens with a pentatonic blues-style riff on the open A chord. The song is built out of I, IV, and vi chords connected by chromatic steps in between. These steps are provided by a C#7 secondary dominant V/vi chord; an Ao7 common-tone diminished seventh chord; an F# secondary […]

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Candyman — Grateful Dead

tldr: The song is primarily in C major, mixolydian mode, but briefly changes keys to G major, mixolydian mode, in the middle of the verses. There is a G major V chord between the intro and verse that, although not native to mixolydian, acts like a secondary dominant to help establish the C chord as […]

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Life’s Been Good – Joe Walsh

tldr: The song opens in A major using blues harmony, with the A major pentatonic plus blues notes played between the A and D chords. (Technically, this is in the mixolydian mode). There is a key change to C major for the main verses of the song, and that it is done via a cool […]

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Althea – Grateful Dead

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tldr: Straightforward chords, but with some ambiguity as to the tonic. I characterize this song as primarily E mixolydian, but the Bm chord that opens the main progression gives a flavor of B minor (dorian). The chorus could be characterized in the same key, but I think there is a subtle shift to A major. […]

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