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Killing Me Softly

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(@davidhodge)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4472
Topic starter  

Frank2121 requested this and, in between waiting for some sound files to be sent off to Paul, I sat down and figured out the chords. I thought I had it in my music folder, but no such luck. I think these are the same chords I used when I first sussed it out back in the mid-seventies, but apologies if they are wrong. Also my apologies for not knowing the original key. I'm going to have to hunt down a copy of the song at my local CD store.

By the bye, this song was written Charles Fox and Norman Gimbal for folk singer Lori Lieberman. If you're interested, you can find a short history of the song here:

http://www.songsofshirleybassey.co.uk/song/sng73007.html

When I played this I tended to use simple arpeggios, along the lines of the following:
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

E - - - - - - - - - - 0 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B - - - - - - - 0 - - - - - - - - 0 - - - - - - - - - -
G - - - - 0 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 0 - - - - - - -
D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2 - - -
A - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E - 0 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

But you can certainly strum as well. A nice simple pattern, like:
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
D D U U D

will work fine.

What else? If I've done this correctly, each chord change is four beats. That's why some of the chords (the F and E at the end of the chorus, the Em in the middle of the verses) appear twice in a row - they get eight beats. If you're a stickler for playing it "just like the recording," then you might want to strum the chords of the opening chorus just once. As I mentioned, though, it's been ages since I've heard or played this and I hope I did okay.

Also, apologies in advance if this is already in the ESD. I did a search and didn't find it...

Peace
Chorus:
Em C
Strumming my pain with his fingers
D G
Singing my life with his words
Em A
Killing me softly with his song
D C
Killing me softly with his song
G C
Telling my whole life with his words
F F
Killing me softly
E E
With his song

Verse:

Am7 D
I heard he sang a good song
G C
I heard he had a style
Am7 D
And so I came to see him
Em Em
And listen for a while
Am7 D
And there he was this young boy
G B7
A stranger to my eyes

Chorus

Verse:

Am7 D
I felt all flushed with fever
G C
Embarrassed by the crowd
Am7 D
I felt he found my letters
Em Em
And read each one out loud
Am7 D
I prayed that he would finish
G B7
But he just kept right on

Chorus

Am7 D
He sang as if he knew me
G C
In all my dark despair
Am7 D
And then he looked right through me
Em Em
As if I wasn't there
Am7 D
And he just kept on singing
G B7
Singing clear and strong

Two Choruses


   
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(@alfsevic)
Eminent Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 26
 

I played this at guitar lessons, and it was the Roberta Flack version the chords we used were the same as here http://www.chordie.com/chord.pere/www.ultimate-guitar.com/print.php?what=tab&id=68506


   
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(@frank2121)
Reputable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 268
 

Thankyou v.much for taking the time to do it .sounds good to me


   
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(@dogsbody)
Prominent Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 715
 

Thanks David,

A beautiful song, well explained. Its good to see our resident guitar guru on this forum.

I'm just reading this before I get down to the daily grind of work and I'm already in the groove so to speak. I'm definitely having a go at this one tonight.

More please David

Best regards,

Chris

The guitar is all right John but you'll never make a living out of it! (John Lennon's Aunt Mimi)


   
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(@clideguitar)
Reputable Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 375
 

I remember this song very well!

I was in my junior year of High School and it was the first time we moved so I was bummed (from DeBellaware to Texas). My Parents kept moving but I kept following them, they finally lost me at 17 when they moved to Scotland.

SO, we moved to (Clear Lake- , technically Houston) Texas, and the school bus has a radio system which I found amazing. They also had heat and air, also amazing. I remember this playing every morning on the way to school. Great song then, great song now!

The high school was down the road from the Houston Space center so, there was money – let me put it that way. Probably one of the best high schools I've ever been to! It had a swimming pool, enormous gym, a cafeteria that was state of the art for it's time (1973).

In communication class that had me do a mock “Hi Karate” commercial and they pulled about 10 girls from another class so they could attack me and I would fend them off with fake Karate chops – sorta like today's AXE commercials. I WAS IN MY GLORY!!!!!!

Well, thanks for reading another of my boring and pointless stories, I just had to share it!

Bob Jessie

NOTE: DeBellaware is Delaware. John DeBella is local DJ in the Philadelphia area so I must pronounce it this way!


   
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(@rparker)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5480
 

Great tune, but I don't think that I, being a dude, can sing it as written. It'd be like singing "My Guy". :lol:

[Edit] OK, I just did the song. Pretty nice one. I even sang it.

Roy
"I wonder if a composer ever intentionally composed a piece that was physically impossible to play and stuck it away to be found years later after his death, knowing it would forever drive perfectionist musicians crazy." - George Carlin


   
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(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5582
 

David

I'm a guy, but I've always thought this was a great song. Thanks.

I read once that this song was written about Don McLean "I heard he sang a good song, I heard he had a style..."

Edit- I followed your link and see it says the same thing. :oops:

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
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(@rob-l)
Trusted Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 62
 

Great job David! I remember this song from when I was young and hearing it played endlessly on Top 40 radio. Haven't heard it in years but it sure must have stuck there back in my brain because once i started strumming and humming the song just poured out. I just changed he to she, his to hers, etc.. Thanks again Dave, this is a song I would have never thought to try and play but it sounds great.

Well I got this guitar and I'm tryin' to learn how to make it talk.


   
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 Nuno
(@nuno)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 3995
 

Great song! :)

I followed the url posted by Alfsevic and the chords are quite similar (they sounds very similar to me). There is an exception: David uses a F chord for the last "Killing me softly" in the chorus, the page proposes an Esus4.

First I thought that those chords shared more notes, however, they only share the A note: the F chord is FAC and the Esus4 is EAB.

I don't remember exactly the song, the F chord sounds great for me but the Esus4 is more... it is a substitute chord!

Please, could anybody explain the difference?

Thanks,
Nuno


   
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(@davidhodge)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4472
Topic starter  

It's the A note that is sung in the melody at that point and that's where we begin. This song centers itself, for the most part, in the key of Em, which is the relative major of G. At the end of the choruses, though, it finished up on an E major chord (something that's been done since the Middle Ages and probably longer) to give a little more "oomph" to the song.

The F chord, at least when I was working it out in my head, sounded a lot more interesting. Since I knew the melody note was A and that it definitely was a part of a whole major chord (in my head I heard it as a major as opposed to a minor or suspended chord), I also tried out the D and A chords. No luck there. F also fitted in with the pattern of the two chords immediately preceding it - G to C is a fourth and so I continued with that and (again to my ears) it sounded right. One can make all sorts of music theory explanations for it (F being close to Dm in terms of notes used or F being the flatted seventh of G) but to me the bottom line is that it works.

I think it's time Tom Serb popped over here from the "theory" page... :wink:

This isn't the greatest explanation in the world and my apologies for that, but I hope it helps somewhat.

Peace


   
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 Nuno
(@nuno)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 3995
 

David, thank you very much for your kindly answer and please to meet you! :D
I used to follow your lessons and songs for beginners here and also read your articles in paper magazines.

Indeed I was reading your "A Before E (Except After C)" lesson tonight. I'll try to join your explanation to the information on progressions that appears in this lesson and to the Tom Serb's articles (it seems he has some articles on progressions and harmony).

Your explanation was great but I have to go slowly :(

Thank you very much again.


   
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 Nuno
(@nuno)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 3995
 

Ok, I think I understood the previous explanation (it's easier using a guitar) and now a couple of comments.

Yesterday I was struming in a very simple way: just a downstroke per measure. Today I used the pattern suggested by David and the F chord sounds better than the Esus4 to me. Probably the kind of pattern makes that a chord sounds better to other.

Also (if I figure out well) at the end of the choruses, the melody is composed by B and A notes (something as B-B-B-B-A / A-A-B). I guess it is also related to the simple struming pattern due to the Esus4 includes both notes.

Anyway I'm learning and enjoying a lot! :)

Thanks!


   
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(@davidhodge)
Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 4472
Topic starter  

Sounds like your getting yourself a taste of doing your own arrangements. That's very cool! Don't be afraid to experiment and have a lot of fun!

Peace


   
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