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Soundgarden's Black Hole Sun : harmonic analysis


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hi everyone,

I'm not sure I'm in the right section here (tell me if you think the Lesson Loft is a better place) but I'm desperately trying to analyze Black Hole Sun (and it's even harder when I'm trying to play it on my instrument as the song is slightly detuned on record) :


verse : A / C / G / F#m / F / E / A / G / Bb

chorus : F / E / A / G / Bb / F / E / Bb / E


here is what I think (it's really muddled due to the fact that I have no idea what the key is) :

the song starts in A which I see as a borrowed chord from A major in a song that starts in A dorian (or Em).

the next three chords fit A dorian well. the voice leading from F#m to E is quite obvious but this Major chords / major chords / minor chord with bass going down a half step each time confuses me.

E seems to be the dominant of A. the G was already there but does it go ? no idea.

as for the Bb, hmm... bII ?


if someone could help me clear this up, I would be very thankful smile.png


sidenote : I first posted this in the songwriting worshop because 1001gear told me it was a better a place to find answers but as someone there told me the opposite, I'm back here. I used to post here a few years ago with extremely elaborate answers by JonR but he seems not be reading this forum anymore.

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First, it notates easier in 3 sharps than Ami so I'd go with that. The chord numbers fall better too. In three sharps you have :


/ I / b III / b VII / vi (minor) / b VI / V / I / b VII / b II / I


for the chorus you have :


/ b VI / V / I / b VII / b III /

/b VI / V / I sus 4 / V7 / I


The sus 4 is questionable but it's good enough for tab. lol.


Anyway yes you can sort it all out by modulation or modality or even polytonaly if it so lights up your head. That kind of thinking goes a long way if you want to write your own stuff. The song will still play the same. Creepy video by the way. These guys and STP write these great tunes that are too dark for my tastes. Great rock I suppose.

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