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Song key and modes (Heard it through the grapevine)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by CaptainTuna, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. CaptainTuna


    May 13, 2011
    Hey everyone,
    I'm sorry for bringing up another "keys and modes" thread, but after searching for other threads I still have doubts about this:

    I was playing Heard it Through the Grapevine (by Marvin Gaye) and noticed it started with a Eb and had both a 3rd minor and a major 6th (3rd and 6th of the Eb). The first thing I though is : "It must be a Dorian/Doric mode", and this led me to think that the song was in C# major, since the Dorian is the second relative to that major scale.

    I searched on the internet and I found a different answer though: the song is in Eb major (or so says google). I can't really understand why and I'm kind of frustrated, but since I started studying modes not too long ago it is very likely that I'm missing something here.

    Thank you in advance! :)

    EDIT : "Massive" typo, I meant Eb, not Bb
  2. Whousedtoplay


    May 18, 2013
    From your provided link, I think the song is in Ebm
    (starts with Eb5-power chord/no 3rd)
    Other chords: Bb7, Ab7, and Cm7.
  3. CaptainTuna


    May 13, 2011
    Sorry, I wrote Bb for some reason but I actually meant Eb, just corrected it now.

    Still I don't understand a few things, maybe because I've got the concept of "key" unclear. Actually, just one thing: that major sixth, the C. If it was really Ebm wouldn't there be a B instead of a C?
  4. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    If you're having issues understanding keys, it's best to forget about modes till you get that concept down!
  5. There are two ways of making modes. One where you walk the key and the notes stay the same and then another where the key stays the same and the notes change.

    That 6 thing. Parallel modes - where the key stays the same and the notes change. Dorian is R-2-b3-4-5-6-b7.

    Until you start getting lead breaks leave modes alone. If you are doing lead breaks look up Parallel modes, it's much easier to use Parallel in songs. Of course IMHO.
  6. CaptainTuna


    May 13, 2011
    Ok I think my problem here is that I'm talking about keys and thinking about key signatures. I meant that saying Ebm = 6 sharps or 6 flats thus implying a C# and a natural B, and no C which is the major sixth.

    I think my problem at this point is language. In italian we speak of tonality, and I though it was the same as key, but I was in fact talking about key signature in this case and that's why I couldn't understand why it was Ebm.

    I've foung a line on wikipedia which explains my thought excactly:

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