Heartbreak Hotel. Study in E Mixolydian.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Slaphound, Jul 19, 2009.

  1. Slaphound

    Slaphound Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2003
    Staten Island, NY
    I was fooling around with blues lyrics tonight when I realized that I was just singing different words to Elvis' "Heartbreak Hotel". So I started to pick out Heartbreak Hotel and its basically a study in the E Mixolydian. Its a blues song that Starts out on the E chord or the root note of the E Mixolydian (scale). MODE? Shuffle feel.

    The song starts with a quick 2 beat "and four". Twice.

    "Well since my baby left me" (and Four).
    "I found a new place to go" (and Four).

    "Its down on the end of lonely st. , Its Heartbreak Hotel."

    At Heartbreak you start your last measure in the E chord and the bass walks down from the 1 to the 5. You play, E, D, C#, B, A.

    Then from there your on the A chord and you just play 1,3,5 or
    A, C#, E, A. Two times.

    Then you move up to the 5. B chord. So its B, A, G#, F#,E, G#, B, G#.

    Back to the two beat beginning twice.

    I find it so interesting that some thing so raw and unfiltered sounds so appealing. One of the most well known songs and beloved of the Rock and Roll era. Its basic, simple and fundamental.

    Its a good lesson of what the bass does so often. It outlines the chords. All of the notes come from the E MIxolydian scale. No extra or passing notes.

    Hope someone can use this knowledge and please point out any mistakes or embellish.

  2. EADG mx

    EADG mx

    Jul 4, 2005
    I am hearing:

    I7 I7 I7 I7
    IV7 IV7 V7 I7

    A variation of the 12-bar blues being:

    I7 I7 I7 I7
    IV7 IV7 I7 I7
    V7 IV7 I7 (V7)

    The Mixolydian is an appropriate (and common) scale/mode to use for blues because it naturally highlights a dominant 7th chord:

    C7 = C E G Bb
    C Mixo = C D E F G A Bb C