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Cat Stevens: Wild World

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hi again everyone !

this Cat stevens' song I'm trying to analyze causes me a headache somewhere :

 

Am / D / G / Cmaj7 / F / Dm / E / / /

Am / D / G / Cmaj7 / F / Dm / E / G7 / / /

 

C / G / Am / F / G / F / C / Dm E

 

 

first, my ear says the song is in the key of C (that's definitely because of the voice).

but in the verse, the position of C is quite strange (not first, not last, somewhere in the middle). Am would make more sense in the last part of the verse and intro (first chords of the sequenceand E would be the dominant). and the middle part would be in C (with G to C).

 

Am / D / G / Cmaj7 / : A Dorian (and/or C Mixolydian)

F / Dm / E / / / : A Harmonic Minor

 

G7 : I really need help on this one !!! it seems to me like there's another change of mood. same question again (see my other threads:D) : is it a common chord progression ?

 

then I think the key changes back to C (do key changes happen often in pop music) ?

C / G / Am / F / G / F / C / : C major scale

Dm E : I guess we're back on A harmonic minor

 

do you think I'm correct and what is this G7 mystery all about ?:)

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hi again everyone !

this Cat stevens' song I'm trying to analyze causes me a headache somewhere :


Am / D / G / Cmaj7 / F / Dm / E / / /

Am / D / G / Cmaj7 / F / Dm / E / G7 / / /


C / G / Am / F / G / F / C / Dm E



first, my ear says the song is in the key of C (that's definitely because of the voice).

but in the verse, the position of C is quite strange (not first, not last, somewhere in the middle). Am would make more sense in the last part of the verse and intro (first chords of the sequenceand E would be the dominant). and the middle part would be in C (with G to C).

That's it, essentially.

 

The verse sequence is all A minor, although that D (D7) teases by leading us to hear G as a temporary tonic (Am-D7-G = ii-V-I in G major). The Cmaj7 then seems like the IV (no need to bring modes into this, it's purely key-based ;)), but that's subverted right away by the F chord, which leads us back into A minor (via Dm and E major).

 

The chorus modulates to the relative major (probably the most common kind of modulation there is ;)).

There's no mystery about the G7: it's the dominant of the approaching C major key, and it's standard to precede a modulation with the V7 of the new key.

 

The only unusual element in this progression is the D major (or D7). The melody doesn't need that chord (Dm7 would fit as well, and be in key), but it does add a nice brightness or freshness at that point in the tune. (As well as teasing about the actual key centre.)

He actually uses D major again at the end of the chorus (not Dm) to lead to E and back to Am. Normally, we'd expect D-E to lead us to A major.

IOW, D major is like a little secret weapon in this tune - stopping the whole thing being a rather dull meander through an orthodox A minor/C major progression.

 

(You can make an argument for D being fully within A minor if you invoke melodic minor, in which D7 is the IV chord. But I don't think it quite works like that here.)

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The only unusual element in this progression is the D major (or D7). The melody doesn't need that chord (Dm7 would fit as well, and be in key)

 

so instead of

Am / D / G / Cmaj7 / : A Dorian (and/or C Mixolydian)

F / Dm / E / / / : A Harmonic Minor

would it be more respectful to Cat Stevens' intentions to play the A natural minor scale throughout the verse but play arpeggios on D and E ?

this way, D would be highlighted when in the first option, it is lost in the middle of the A Dorian scale part.

 

I think that's why I didn't know what this G7 was.

 

as far as scales, I was thinking the tune was going like this :

A dorian-->A Harmonic Minor-->G7 (didn't fit A Dorian nor A Harmonic Minor)---> C Major.

 

when according to you, it is :

A natural minor---> C major

with D spicing up the verse (borrowed chord from C major ?) and E (and its major 3rd) here to enhance the resolution on Am.

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as far as scales, I was thinking the tune was going like this :

A dorian-->A Harmonic Minor-->G7 (didn't fit A Dorian nor A Harmonic Minor)---> C Major.


when according to you, it is :

A natural minor---> C major

with D spicing up the verse (borrowed chord from C major ?) and E (and its major 3rd) here to enhance the resolution on Am.

Sorry I wasn't clear enough on scales in my first post. Although the verse is A minor in the end, overall, it begins as if in G major, and the G major scale works best on at least the first 2 chords (it helps the D7 sit better), and maybe the first 4. If in doubt about the F/F# choice on the G-C chords, just avoid both notes! (You never need a full scale.)

On the original, Cat Stevens (or rather the piano) doesn't come down clearly on either side. To my ears there's a slight hint of F# in the mix first time over G-C, and F second time; but really they avoid the issue. (Like they couldn't make up their minds!)

Likewise, no clues about harmonic or melodic minor on the E chord (the same lack of clarity over F or F# as passing notes). So it's your choice.

 

Just to summarize:

 

Am-D7 = G major scale

G-C = G major or C major scale

F-Dm = C major scale

E = A harmonic minor or (going to back to Am) melodic minor

 

Chorus (beginning with G7) = all C major except:

E = A harmonic minor

Or: A harmonic minor on both the Dm and E.

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Simpler answer. A Melodic Minor (different 6th and 7th when the melody is ascending compared to descending - with harmonic choices made when melody is neutral) in the versus, C major in the chorus. Cat uses Melodic rather than Natural or Harmonic a lot.

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