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Little Wing - What's with the F?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by t77mackie, Aug 4, 2012.


  1. t77mackie

    t77mackie

    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    And we're off and running again...

    :)
     
  2. Nothing wrong with this. I'm self taught as far as theory goes (my teacher taught me major/minor scales, walking, and modes but never explained any of the theory so I learned it all myself when I quit) and this kind of thinking really stretches your brain and helps you think about things in new ways.
     
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Em is always written as G on a chart. Little Wing can be considered either or, but in the end, who really cares?

    And I'm going to simplify this for you...when you see something that's out of the song's key signature, just roll with it and don't make too much out of it. And when in doubt, play the root.

    Done.
     
  4. t77mackie

    t77mackie

    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    Totally! I forgot the < facetious >< /facetious > tags. I don't want this thread to end 'cause I've learned a boatload from it. Not least of which is:

    Thanx to all posters.
     
  5. Sloop John D

    Sloop John D

    Jun 29, 2012
    The only reason I would be wary about calling it a key change is because the use of an altered chord doesn't usually signal a key change on its own, and in some circumstances if you treat it like a key change, you might end up believing you can play some notes that don't actually fit.

    In this case it's okay because we only have a single note difference between the home key of G and the key of C, from which the F is derived. This means you can play a C major scale over that F altered chord without much dilemma. However, if the altered chord was taken from a key that wasn't so closely related to G, you might have some clashing notes if you try to play in the key from which the altered chord is derived.

    In circumstances like this where the altered chord is out there on its own without any type of cadence, I think it's unlikely that your ears will hear a clear modulation. It's most likely that we still hear G (or Emin), and that F sounds slightly strange.


    I also just want to point out that I don't think anybody here is wrong. All of these interpretations fit over the song. This is just my preferred way of explaining it.
     
  6. For crying out loud, THIS.

    And for the record, the song's first chord / resolving chord is an Em. The song is in the key of Em.
     
  7. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Actually the resolving chord is a G. But as you said, who cares? Just play the damn thing!
     
  8. t77mackie

    t77mackie

    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    Would this mean a next door neighbor on the circle of 5ths?
     
  9. pnchad

    pnchad

    Nov 3, 2005
    What eludes me is, that although everyone is dissecting this (& most are generally legit), don't you guys just know what a Major and a Minor sound is???

    Obviously there is always the 'relative' key theoretically but tunes are clearly Major or Minor ideas (sic sound) without an instrument without a key, all musicians should know this immediately without analysis.

    This is a MINOR ballad period.
     
  10. Sloop John D

    Sloop John D

    Jun 29, 2012
    Exactly. The further you get from G on the circle of fifths, the fewer notes you have in common. If you throw in an altered chord from a key that has fewer notes in common, then trying to play in that key on top of the altered chord might lead to much unwanted dissonance. This is why I wouldn't readily call this a modulation, although in this particular song it wouldn't be a problem to think of it that way.
     
  11. Sloop John D

    Sloop John D

    Jun 29, 2012
    I find the tonality to be ambiguous. The song opens on a major, and pretty much the entire instrumental intro sounds as though it's in a major key. Then you get to the first four chords of the verse, which do sound like a brief detour to a minor key, but once you get to the Bmin it's sounds like we're back in major territory.
     
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    No, not period. The first half of the riff is Em, the relative minor to G. The second half, starting from the Bm7, is in G and resolves to a G and ends on the V of G, which is D, and has a clear major tonality. If you choose to look at it as Em, so be it. If you choose to look at it as G, that is right as well.

    Not every question has only one correct answer.
     
  13. pnchad

    pnchad

    Nov 3, 2005
    but I lose patience with the uneducated especially when they would rather argue their position than be open minded

    it is clearly, unambiguously, a MINOR ballad. Forget the 'theory' BS - it's a dark, negative feeling piece of music

    anyone who actually studies jazz or classical for even a short period of time would tell you that in 20 seconds never hearing the 'piece' previously

    you guys get soooo far away from music you can't even smell the obvious
     
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I got your uneducated. You are the one refusing to be open minded with your wack dismissal of the truth. Nothing at all dark or negative about Little Wing. Negativity is the LAST thing I think of when I hear it. However, it sounds like you live in negativity judging from your wack reply to me, so that probably explains why you said that. And arguing whether it's Em or G is stupid. If it's not stupid, then how do you designate the key of Em on a sheet of music?
     
  15. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    Little Wing - What's with the F?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    That's the problem with music theory ... it doesn't always lead to the best song ... talent is better than theory.
     
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Theory doesn't tell you that you can't have an F in the key of G. Theory tells you that if you have an F in the key of G, then the F is considered an accidental and must be denoted with an accidental sign on the staff. Heck, 7th chords with the dominant 7th wouldn't exist if you were only permitted to play the major scale notes in a given key. Not fair to blame theory just because a few folks misinterpret the usage of it.

    And don't kid yourself...Hendrix knew theory plenty well. He just didn't know how to read. He might not have been able to teach a college course on it but he knew exactly what he was playing.
     
  17. pnchad

    pnchad

    Nov 3, 2005
    That's the point isn't it.

    If it is not a sort of 'down' tune I don't know what one is.

    I am studying the Bach cello concertos right now on bass - one movement is notated as key of F - but it is really in Dm - it is the more serious or tension filled part.

    The next movement is notated in Bb because it is in Bb - it is the happier resolving uplifting part of the overall piece.

    You don't notate a Minor 'key' - it's always notated in the relative Major.

    If you think Little Wing is an uplifting more positive ballad.... Wha

    That's what I mean - a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    Put on Dereck & the Dominos version - don't touch you bass - listen - the feeling it evokes is primarily sad - that's all I'm sayin
     
  18. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    A lot of pop music uses the pop/blues scale.

    1 3b 4 4# 5 7b 8

    in E that would be

    E G A A# B D E
     
  19. gigslut

    gigslut

    Dec 13, 2011
    St Louis, Mo
    FWIW this is an excerpt from "Jimi Hendrix Guitar Solos" Written by Dave Whitehill and published by Hal Leonard.

    While I would not say the song has dark and foreboding quality to it, I would call it "wistful" and befitting a minor ballad. The words are upbeat actually, but the tone sentimental.
     
  20. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well, she's walking through the clouds,
    With a circus smile running wild,
    Butterflies and zebras,
    And Moonbeams and fairy tales.
    That's all she ever thinks about.
    Riding with the wind.

    Lord when I'm sad, she comes to me,
    With a thousand smiles she gives to me free.
    It's alright, she said it's alright
    Take anything you want from me,
    Anything

    -----------------------------------------------

    I think anyone who interprets that in a negative way either never bothered to listen to the lyrics (it happens, I'll give you that) or is in desperate need of a hug ;)
     

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