Maroon 5: "This Love"

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Niliov
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Maroon 5: "This Love"

Post by Niliov » March 10th, 2006, 10:24 pm

I was just listening to the radio when Maroon 5 came on with "This Love". It reminds me of what I "experienced" the first time I heard this song (I almost fell of my chair, which is quite an accomplishment seeing that I was in my car :)) It could be interesting to look at this song harmonically.

First of all: I love the whole Maroon 5 sound, Adam Levine is a superb singer and songwriter; I sure would like to pick his brain someday on songwriting and how he approaches it, because I think he writes interesting songs.

Back to "This Love".

Here's the funny thing: the guitar player is playing different chords from the keyboard player and frankly I am inclined to say: the guitar player of Maroon 5 is playing the wrong chords to one of their own tunes :) !!

These are the chords of the A part based on what the keyboard is playing together with the bass:

| G/B | C- | F-7 | Bdim/D | (X4) which is in the key of C-:

| V6 | I |IV(b7) | VII6/5 |

The keyboard voices the first chord like this (bottom to top): B, D, G which is the only correct way to voice it in a three part voicing (B on the bottom) because there is a B in the bass. If he were to place the B on top this would sound particularly nasty since now the third is doubled and the function of the chord would be completely clouded. This however is exactly what the guitar player is doing: playing a B on top, but that is because he is playing a DIFFERENT chord!!!

The guitar is playing in combination with the bass:

| Ddim/B | C-7 | F- | Ddim | (x4) which is in the key of Eb: (DIFFERENT KEY EVEN)!!!!:

| VII2md | VI(b7) | II | VIImd |

I dont know about you but I have never seen a VII VI II VII progression before and there is a good reason: it sounds like @#$%! because there is no tonic to be found. This adds up to a strange terrible sounding variation of a deceptive cadence (VII -> VI instead of V -> VI) followed by a substitution of a II->V (II -> VII) without resolution, in other words: you never get home in this progression

OK now from a guitarplayers standpoint of view:
What is happening exactly? Of course he is not intending to play in a different key. It already starts with the first chord G/B : many guitar players do not know how to play this chord on guitar. It is very important that you play the B on the bottom and not anywhere else as not to cloud the function of the chord. In other words there are only two possible four tone voicings: B, G, D, G or B, D, G, D . The first voicing is most common (7X578X) and is actually what the piano is suggesting.

With the second second chord it all goes horribly wrong and there's no way out. He should play C- but he plays C-7 which completely destroys the key of C- because now he's suggesting either the key of Bb (then it would be II), the key of Eb (VI) the key of Ab (III) or a mode called C-aolian (pure minor), all four possibilities really make no sense in combination with the other chords he's playing but I chose Eb because its the best of all evils. If you don't really have a problem with the sound of this progression try hearing the change from the first chord to the second chord in the guitar, because there is terrible sounding voiceleading problem present: the lowest note of the voicing (Ab) of the first chord goes up to a Bb in the second chord, this note really should go down to a G.

Strangely enough he chooses to play F- for the third chord while the piano is playin F-7. This is not really a problem but it adds to the confusion between the two instruments.

The fourth and last chord is the same because Bdim and Ddim essentially have the same notes, but as you saw in the context of the other chords they function quite differently!!

Some interesting things can be said about the fourth chord going to the first chord in the keyboard (Bdim/D -> G/B) and about the refrain ( "...this love has taken its toll...") which I will maybe do later. Meanwhile let the discussion begin...!

Niliov

P.S. I consider this not to be the "fault" of the guitar player but of the producer of the song. It is HIS job to sit in the studio listening to exactly pick out these things and well... obviously he didn't but got paid for the job anyway I guess :)
Last edited by Niliov on March 13th, 2006, 5:38 am, edited 5 times in total.

Voodoo_Merman
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Post by Voodoo_Merman » March 10th, 2006, 11:13 pm

Niliov,

Youre obviously VERY guitar and theory savy. And, youre clearly an asset to this forum. But, dang it, your posts are getting too long dude. : )
At this time I would like to tell you that NO MATTER WHAT...IT IS WITH GOD. HE IS GRACIOUS AND MERCIFUL. HIS WAY IS IN LOVE, THROUGH WHICH WE ALL ARE. IT IS TRULY -- A LOVE SUPREME --. John Coltrane

Niliov
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Post by Niliov » March 10th, 2006, 11:27 pm

Wow dude, I guess you're right!! I can get carried away sometimes (or often) especially when it comes to music. I'll keep it in mind (how's this for a short post!!)

Niliov

Naviens
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Post by Naviens » March 11th, 2006, 4:38 am

Hmm, I really don't mind the length of your posts, because they're very interesting. Downloading the song right now to check it out!

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Post by zaiga » March 11th, 2006, 7:25 am

I find your use of C- and F- confusing. Took me a while to figure out you mean C minor and F minor. I always see them written as Cm and Fm.

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Post by oktay » March 11th, 2006, 4:12 pm

I don't know if this is relevant or if I'm even qualified to say this but I've seen Maroon 5 in concert (great show by the way) and I don't think their singer can play the guitar. :) At one point I've even spotted the lead guitarist playing in the background almost hidden from the view when the singer is supposed to be playing. They were pick-syncing. This was before I even knew how to play the Em chord so it must have been pretty obvious. Or it's a gimmick. One can never tell these days.

oktay

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Post by jasonrunguitar » May 4th, 2006, 11:40 pm

First off, I have to agree, 'This Love' is a great song. Very fun to listen to. Anywho, a while back I was just playing around and i came accross a chord progression that reminded me of this song...so I worked it out until I thought that I had it down pretty close to what I heard on the CD. If my memory serves me correctly (I'd get the guitar out and check it, but the roomate is sleeping at the moment!), this is the chord progression I came up with:

G7 | Cm7 | Fm7 | G7

This way, if you look at in the key of C the progression is (disregarding the m7's and whatnot)

V | I | IV | V

which is very standard. Though I would be much more likely to say that it's in the key of G where we'd have

I | IV | VII | I

which, though not quite as standard, is still pretty reasonable. If you play around with it for a while, you'll have to let me know what you think.

PS Here are the voicing that I used, a very easy progression to play this way:

G7: 3 5 3 4 3 3
Cm7: x 3 5 3 4 3
Fm7: x 8 10 8 9 8
All the same 'shape' in a sense!
-Jason
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To those about to rock, we salute you!
http://www.soundclick.com/jasonwittenbach

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Post by Niliov » May 5th, 2006, 4:27 am

Hi Jason,

Your progression is very similar to that of "This Love" but it reminded me more of "Always on Time" by Jarule and that is because of the key of the song. Your progression on first sight seems to be missing a tonic (we cannot just disregard the m7, because they dictate different tonalities!!). Let's take a look at "Always on Time":

|C-7 | % | F-7 | % | G-7 | % | (and repeat this a zillion times)

It might seem difficult to find the key for this progression but in fact it is just another "pure minor" song, for some reason most hip hop and R&B songs seem to gravitate towards pure minor (aolian). Pure minor is recognizable by a b6 and a b7 so in C minor:

C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb (three -7 chords on I, IV and V)

so always on time is:

I IV V (very standard indeed).


Now let's look at your progression:

G7 | C-7 | F-7 | G7

so the problem is the first and last chord (G7) since it is not from C pur minor but from C harmonic minor. It still kinda works though because our ears immediately adjust to G7 as being a dominant in C minor (it is like Miles Davis throwing in A7 in "So What" which is D minor dorian song). It is hard to put a numeral to this chord but maybe this could work: [V] (numeral between brackets) -> secondary dominant. We would get for your progression:

C aolian: [V] | I | IV | [V] |

It sounds ok, but for one tiny problem: the first chord going to the second. A voice leading problem occurs in your voicings:

the B of the G7 chord has to go up to the C of the C- chord but because you use C-7 it is going down to a Bb, also the F is going up to a G and it should go down to an Eb. Guitar though is very forgiving instrument when it comes to voiceleading and it is not really a problem.

Hope this helps,
Niliov

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Post by Naviens » May 5th, 2006, 8:20 am

Niliov! I thought you had left us :P Great to have you back here, I missed your posts.

I had a question too, but I can't remember it anymore... Maybe later.

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Post by Misanthrope » May 5th, 2006, 8:31 am

If it sounds good, where's the rub?

Yes, 'sounding good' is subjective, but it works for me, it works for the band, and it apparently works for the unwashed masses :)

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Post by jasonrunguitar » May 5th, 2006, 1:06 pm

| Ddim/B | C-7 | F- | Ddim | (x4) which is in the key of Eb: (DIFFERENT KEY EVEN)!!!!:
So now that it's daylight and I don't have to worry about waking people up with my guitar playing, I gave your chord progression a whirl. I'll give it to you, it sounds a lot like what the guitar is playing, though I'm not quite sold on the Ddim/B. But anyway, I plotted out the notes that the piano is playing in the hook, and it looked to be in Eb major. However my ears keep on wanting to resolve to the C on the scale. But wait, Cm is the relative minor of Eb major! Same notes, just different perspective. So I think I would be inclined to just say that your progression for the guitar is in Cm, (Ddim fits prefectly well in Cm) as is the piano hook (and the vocals...I mean, the followed the leads for a lorge portion of the time).
-Jason
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Post by Niliov » May 5th, 2006, 3:17 pm

- There is no conceivable way for the chords to be in C minor since C-7 is not part of that key.
- Eb major does not consist of the same notes as Cminor:

Eb major: Eb F G Ab ->Bb<- C D Eb
C minor: C D Eb F G Ab ->B<- C

- I see no way for Ddim to be part of C minor except as an inversion of Bdim (VII2) or as a a temporary VII for Ebmaj.7+5 but frankly this is very unusual

Of course when we are talking about C aolian everything changes as I mentioned in my previous mail.

Niliov

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Post by hbriem » May 6th, 2006, 1:53 am

??????????????

Niliov, you are wrong.

Eb major and C (natural) minor share the same notes and key signature.

Eb_F_GAb_Bb_C_DEb and C_DEb_F_GAb_Bb_C

C Aeolian is simply another name for C natural minor. Yes, for C harmonic (or melodic) minor you would raise the 7th (Bb) to B.

Ddim is indeed the ii chord in the key of C minor. In fact, a knowledgable jazz musician and guitar instructor (Jon Riley) told me once that dim chords are virtually never used as vii chords in major keys in jazz. If they are used, they are always the ii chord in a minor key. Usually in a ii-V-i progression.
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Post by jasonrunguitar » May 6th, 2006, 8:06 am

Thanks Helgi, that would have been exactly my next post, though I don't think I could have worded it quite so well.
-Jason
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Post by NoteBoat » May 6th, 2006, 10:46 am

Minor keys are pretty flexible things. Unlike major keys, which harmonize into seven distinct chords, minor scales come in three flavors - natural, harmonic, and melodic. Since we're used to hearing the 6th & 7th tones as either natural or raised, that leads to a lot more possible chords.

And while songwriters will usually harmonize from the scale they're in, they don't have to. Four-voice chords naturally occuring in minor keys are:

i = m7 OR m/maj7
ii = m7b5 OR m7
III = maj7 OR maj7+
iv/IV = m7 OR 7 (the ascending melodic minor leads to IV7)
v/V = m7 OR 7 (harmonic or ascending melodic)
vi = maj7 OR #vi = m7b5
VII = 7 OR #vii = º7 (harmonic) OR m7b5 (ascending melodic)

so minor keys have twice as many 'natural' chords - 14 in all.
Last edited by NoteBoat on May 6th, 2006, 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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