1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Sweet Home Alabama

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by ElectroVibe, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. Zootsuitbass


    Mar 13, 2011
    This is a great example of "Harmonic Rhythm". Just like single note lines that have strong beats and weak beats. Our ears perceive progressions the same.In a typical four bar phrase the first down beat is the strongest followed by the 3rd bars downbeat. Then bars 2 and four. If you bend your self to hear the prog. G/G/D/C there would be no doubt. alot of the ambiguity is based on that the home is not on the one.

    Then there is all the Rock and Roll Rub going on. Some guys soloing with some changes (first solo D triad right out front). Opposed to the Piano Solo which is clearly in G and sounding the most "in". The bass laying into the F natural on the outro,while using the F#'s as the kicks. This is where so much musicality and fun is. Sure it may lead to some confusion in the analysis. Always keep analysis is not meant for anything other and creating a vocabulary for chatting about what we hear.
  2. xray


    Feb 15, 2009
    Kona, HI
    If couldn't have really mattered back in the 70's (D or G) - we were all either really stoned or tripp'n. Now when I hear a current version it freaks me out - mind melt - is it D or is it G?

    And here we are in out 40's and 50's trying to figure it out.

    Just play it stoned and everything will sound ok.:hyper:
    Julian G likes this.
  3. One sharp is the key of G major, not D major. But the tonal center is definitely D... what to do?

    Realize that, in spite of how everyone here seems to hate on modes, that this piece of music is in D Mixolydian. D Mixolydian, being based off of G major, has just one sharp, but the tone/key center is D, not G. Problem solved.
  4. PlaysAJunker


    Feb 21, 2013
    The tonic in Sweet Home Alabama is the D. It's a I flatVII IV riff. (D is the I, C is a whole step down, which is a flatVII off the root, and G is the IV off of D)

    You don't play D mixo over that riff. That F sharp is going to sound bad over the Cmaj (tritone - probably not good here), and the Gmaj (the maj7 - not very blues). You play D mixo over the D, sure, and then play D minor over the C, and then you play . . D dorian over the G? I think that's right.. had to grab my guitar.

    I don't even think about it that way.

    I think "oh, this is the D chord, I play something off a D maj arpeggio, which is HERE and HERE and HERE (inversions, right), so it's one of those, and off the C it's the same deal (but different upper structures/tension notes). And then I hear lines that travel through that harmony in my head, so I play those.

    But on bass, I just play the bassline. Why are we talking modal harmony for a Skynyrd song?
  5. Zootsuitbass


    Mar 13, 2011
    Because we're not agreeing. IMHO, when you talk harmony,that's when it gets fun. People trying to put into words what they hear. HOPEFULLY not people "hearing" what there brains are telling them is happening.
  6. Zootsuitbass


    Mar 13, 2011
    BTW,, the clech' modal interchange that has bVII/IV is Minor.

    I(what ever)/bVII7/IV-(7). Is a very common movement in jazz and is a natural min interchange.

    Not meant to "disprove" just talking for the fun of talking.
  7. Why assume that the song has a single, fixed tonality throughout?
  8. Zootsuitbass


    Mar 13, 2011
    Well it doesn't ,,that post above where I talk about the soloist individual interpretation.

    It's all clues how people hear the tune. Or as I interpret some people, how they would think to get something out over it.We're dancing with that question at times all while asking the question.

    Where is Home? When does you ear say it rests? What Chord would you end on to give that finality?
  9. How about E.

  10. sammyp


    Aug 20, 2010
    NB, Canada
    Incorrect..... An accidental will sound like an accidental.... A note from another key! The C chord does not sound like it is an odd note!

    People! It's a 5 4 1 in G!

    I can't even believe this is a 6 page thread. This is rediculous! 6 pages of arguing the most basic of harmonic analysis. The tune would be notated with 1 #. There is only one 7 tone scale that fits the song to a T - G major. The only accidentals found in the tune are passing chromatics in the piano and guitar solos! ahh ....the punch to the F chord ....there is an accidental ....4 chord of C!

    some of this stuff is not a matter of opinion ....it's a matter of fact.
  11. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    The song's in G, and all of you talking "blues scale" need to give the song another listen...
  12. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006

    It has been that kind of thread alright. :D
  13. What I like most about the connection between music theory and music is that, whatever we think of the key of Sweet Home Alabama when we play it, it still sounds the same!
  14. PlaysAJunker


    Feb 21, 2013
    I kind of hate to analyze rock songs because you can lay out a rock-solid harmonic analysis, but when they wrote the song nobody was saying, "hey, I have this modal interchange idea, let's borrow the flatVII from the relative minor scale -- that'll really spice this song up!"

    But look - the song starts on the D chord. This is strong evidence of where the tonic resides. The melody is in D "blues" scale (you can bend in between the flat3 to maj3 on that first note). The bassline features a flatVII to I resolution three times and then they go to the flatIII, II, I for the fourth time through -- these are well-known resolutions in rock harmonic analysis.

    The song is in D. That doesn't mean you should play D major through all the chords, it means the tonic of the song is D.


    I was going to post about all the fun scales you could play over the D chord because the guitar leaves out the F#, but that darn keyboard part gives it a major tonality.

    I guess you could make a point of repeatedly hitting the D Lydian flat7 scale over the I chord (time for the A-flat augmented sweep arpeggio! CARRIER HAS ARRIVED) if you were really trying to piss off your bandmates / not get invited to play there again.
  15. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013

    Even though this was not part of my original question (can't remember exactly what it was since I edited it myself) I'm curious if people have kept their same opinion on this song over the years (as far as the key, is it D or G?). I still hear it in D. I always have. The producer of the song (forget his name) also thought the same.

    But I was surprised to learn that the guitarist who wrote the original instrumental was writing in G. What I think might have happened is that the singer may have heard it in D and wrote the melody that way. (Unfortunately he passed away and we can't ask him.)

    Whatever the case, I think the song was revolutionary and was probably something that had not been heard, and has influenced countless other songs.
  16. ElectroVibe


    Mar 2, 2013
    Another interesting thing is that the producer said that he heard a "mistake" in the guitar solo, but didn't realize the guitarist was playing in G, and that caused one single note to be off. The fact that I can't identify that wrong note suggests that maybe other guitarists heard the song in D, and have incorporated it into rock music since that time even thought it was originally a little unorthodox.
  17. Russell L

    Russell L

    Mar 5, 2011
    Cayce, SC
    I consider it to be in D, but Myxolydian (major scale using a 7th scale step lowered one half-step) as far as the harmony goes for chord building (like Can't You See?).The F chord can be considered an accidental.

    The Myxolydian scale produces a major VII chord, as opposed the the major scale in which the vii chord is diminished.
    onosson, ElectroVibe and Mushroo like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.