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FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / My Favorite Mistake!



"You don't know what you don't know"
Dec 2nd, 2017 01:32 PM   Edit   Profile  

Ok, theory club.....can you explain to me the section of "My Favorite Mistake" that goes from B-Bb-F-G and then B-Bb-F-E......Musically I don't know how those notes all fit together.

Thanks for your help!

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Dec 2nd, 2017 02:37 PM   Edit   Profile  

I can't tell what passage you're referring to. Maybe you could give us the min:sec where this occurs in the linked vid?

my favorite mistake



"You don't know what you don't know"
Dec 3rd, 2017 07:18 AM   Edit   Profile  

At 2:32.....I don't get the progression and how it fits.

Contributing Member

Roisin, I wanna

fight your father
Dec 3rd, 2017 07:29 AM   Edit   Profile  

I'm no expert, but I think the switch from G to E works because E is the relative minor of G.



"You don't know what you don't know"
Dec 3rd, 2017 04:27 PM   Edit   Profile  

My question is the B to Bb change...

Contributing Member

Toronto, Canada

Dec 3rd, 2017 08:36 PM   Edit   Profile  

I don't know the song beyond giving it a two-second listen just now. So, I'm going to say "non-diatonic harmony." Is that an acceptable answer?

(This message was last edited by langford at 10:38 PM, Dec 3rd, 2017)


U.S. - Virginia

Dec 3rd, 2017 08:49 PM   Edit   Profile  

That's a wonderful bit of ear pulling on the bridge, isn't it?

I am not a music theory graduate of any kind, just a practical jazzer(is that an oxymoron?)

The verse has a touch of that as well. Bmin, A maj, G maj, this makes me think its D maj or Bmin the relative minor for the key. So when they hit the C maj in the verse to the G, it's almost like they've moved to G maj for a second. Or perhaps the parallel minor D minor, the 7th chord C maj is being borrowed.

There is also something called non-functioning harmony that sometimes these one of chords fall under when they don't hold a clear modulation purpose.

During the bridge the Bmin is still a part of D maj(the main key of the song, or Bmin) and then down a half step to Bb maj! Woah! Shiver me timbers! Beautiful move, and since they go to the F maj after that, it almost seems like the IV chord of F maj, but wait a minute, then comes a G maj and a C maj! Fmaj, Gmaj, C.... that sounds like a C maj to me.

Or perhaps the parallel D minor key - that conains a Bb major as the 6th diatonic chord, so we could be seeing that again.


There is a much, much simpler answer I don't know because I'm not really a theory person.

Fun song writing that no doubt helped it go up the charts. Those kinds of changes make peoples ears perk up.

""non-diatonic harmony.""

That must be the phrase I was thinking of.

In jazz, key centers can change several times in one song. So sometimes it's easier to think of things that way at least for me. You can be in one key for just 2 beats then another for the next! It's madness!

Borrowed Chords

(This message was last edited by Achase4u at 10:51 PM, Dec 3rd, 2017)


Willoughby, OH , USA

I'm arrogant and a moron
Dec 4th, 2017 11:42 AM   Edit   Profile  

Tension and release, my brothers.


What It Was!

Fairly Unbalanced
Dec 4th, 2017 12:41 PM   Edit   Profile  

Flat V sub? Don’t know the song, but the Beatles use that in Things We Said Today.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Dec 4th, 2017 01:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

There are lots of reasons why non-diatonic chords can show up, including:

* music is actually modal
* borrowed chords
* mode mixing
* secondary dominants
* temporary or permanent modulation to another key
* tritone substitution, esp. in jazz
* chromatic harmony
* probably more I can't think of...

I would just call ihis one a case of chromatic harmony, i.e., harmony that uses chords with notes that are not in the key signature.

So what's the hidden logic that makes this passage sound coherent, rather than just like random unrelated chords strung together? I see it as a case of what I would call "harmonic drift," where chords kind of slide downward changing only one or two notes at a time and keeping one or more common tones. The gradual motion and the use of common tones -- including suspensions if you include the sung melody notes -- make the passage hang together. Harmonically, this is what I hear going on:

E A D G B e

x x 9 7 7 x ... Bm (4 beats)
x x 8 9 6 x ... transition (2 beats)
x x 8 7 6 x ... Bb (2 beats)
x x 7 5 6 x ... F (4 beats)
x x 5 5 3 x ... G sus transition (2 beats)
x x 5 4 3 x ... G (2 beats)

Here's probably the most famous example of this kind of...

..."harmonic drift"

(This message was last edited by Te 52 at 11:23 AM, Jan 9th, 2018)


U.S. - Virginia

Dec 4th, 2017 02:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

Very interesting, Te 52. This is where things get a little dicey for me in theory. So many things it could be. I like 2+2 = 4. This is why I probably can't do these sorts of theory equations.

Perfect example of harmonic drift. I need to learn more of this. It's so beautiful and effective. Listen to that prelude!!!

Contributing Member

Toronto, Canada

Dec 4th, 2017 10:45 PM   Edit   Profile  

This is a great thread. I've never heard the term "harmonic drift" before, but it's perfect. When I see questions about non-diatonic chord progressions like Tori's, my gut response is often: well, the songwriter wrote the melody first, then figured out the chords. The theory comes after the ear...

Sort of, at least. Creative work is often intuitive, but that intuition comes from experience... which is why we can explain it afterwards... Does that make sense?

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Dec 5th, 2017 10:38 AM   Edit   Profile  

"...well, the songwriter wrote the melody first, then figured out the chords..."

Yes, I think you're right, and this song sounds like it was written just that way.

BTW, "harmonic drift" is not a phrase I've ever seen in a textbook or heard anyone else use, it just seems to fit that kind of gradually shifting, morphing motion.


LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Dec 5th, 2017 03:18 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'll have you know, I've tried to write 3 different analyses of this little bit, and deleted each one of them, because I disagreed with myself! The tonic center does seem to shift here and there within the song. Pretty clever, actually.

(This message was last edited by gdw3 at 05:55 PM, Jan 5th, 2018)

Contributing Member

Manchester, TN

12,423 Mustangs passed and counting
Jan 7th, 2018 02:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

"BTW, "harmonic drift" is not a phrase I've ever seen in a textbook or heard anyone else use, it just seems to fit that kind of gradually shifting, morphing motion."
I've never heard it before, either, but it sure seems to describe what's going on in that song!

I'm not a theory buy either, but I was pretty sure that when Tori mentioned B to Bb, at least one of them was going to be a minor.!

FDP Forum / The Chop Shop / My Favorite Mistake!

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