What's the chord progression of this song?

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
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413 posts since 24 Mar, 2015 from Toronto, Canada

Post Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:44 am

CinningBao wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:01 am
Oh yes, I love this game, and I love R Kelly.

That first song is made up of these parts:

- on the right an electric piano playing a repeating part which basically Amaj to Emaj
- that little guitar lick on the down beat sliding up a tone from E+A to F#+B and back down
- another electric piano on the left just playing a two note C#+E constantly
- every now and then pads playing an E in different octaves
- THE BASS - this is what is making you think there's a C#m7 or E at the end, or in the middle - there isn't; if you listen the bass doesn't ever actually hit a note on the second or fourth "chords changes" - it's just implied. This is why I love this guy's production and writing - the best emotional expression is not what you hear is played; it's what you hear which _isn't_ played. It's just a well positioned

That 'official' score was probably transcribed by someone who was nowhere near the recording studio on the day. Their job was to simplify the song so it can be played by two hands and sung by a voice. That's what the regular consumer (looking for musical scores) wants, and always has done since before recordings were the next big thing.

Everyone's hearing these minor and major 7ths, when in fact that's not what was played or recorded - those chords are just a simplification of a collection of simple hooks all playing at the same time.

My massive over-simplification of it would be

A/B (A major over B bass)
E (no bass note or choose chord root)
^^ Exactly this!!! That's why I told you OP, the bass arrangement is what makes the song click the way it does with listeners.

Thanks for the post. I don't know much about bass arrangements and I learnt a lot from this.
Just a keep on a goin' a forward, without a single ounce of fear


1837 posts since 15 Apr, 2004 from Capital City, UK

Re: What's the chord progression of this song?

Post Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:12 am

Cool :) Happy to inspire/teach/transfer-knowledge!

56 posts since 1 Mar, 2019

Re: What's the chord progression of this song?

Post Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:52 am

Thanks, that was really insightful!

I put some headphones and listened really closely to the electric piano on the right, indeed I can hear Amaj(probably 2nd inversion) and Emaj played over and over again throughout the entire track, so I guess it's a very simple chord progression (I - V in A Major) after all.

Kinda amazing what a rich arrangement you can make with basically just a couple of chords as a building block :)

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