Thread Tools
Old 04-20-2013, 09:27 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Montreal
Posts: 8,172
Rock or pop songs in minor keys

What are some of your favourite pop or rock songs in minor keys?
Old 04-20-2013, 10:31 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 44,424
Wow. I don't even know where to start, as most pop songs (ETA2: most pop songs over the last few decades) are in minor keys. I'll go with an early and somewhat underappreciated Beatles classic to start: "Things We Said Today." (ETA: Although the bridge changes tonality before dropping back to minor.)

Last edited by pulykamell; 04-20-2013 at 10:33 AM.
Old 04-20-2013, 10:35 AM
Shouting Grasshopper
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Meridian/280
Posts: 13,281
I don't have any examples, but your thread title immediately brought to mind a lyric from "Success Story""

There's a rock and roll singer boppin' on the TV
He used to be a preacher, but now he sings in a major key
Old 04-20-2013, 01:03 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Great South Bay
Posts: 703
"Tragic" by Happy Rhodes
Old 04-20-2013, 01:24 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Exoburb, FL
Posts: 1,019
Pandora tells me I like songs in major keys, but I will say that one of my favorites is Otis Rush's "All Your Love (I Miss Loving)" which is the only blues (I IV V) tune I know that alternates between minor and major. John Mayall/Eric Clapton covered this on the Beano album as well.
Old 04-20-2013, 01:50 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Houston TX
Posts: 2,751
"way over yonder in the minor key, ain't nobody that can sing like me"

Woody Guthrie as interpreted by Wilco and Billy Bragg with Natalie Merchant

Sorry not much help but that is the first thing that came to mind

Capt

Last edited by Capt Kirk; 04-20-2013 at 01:51 PM. Reason: Caint speel
Old 04-20-2013, 02:01 PM
Member
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 7,887
Aerosmith's Dream On is in F Minor.



Of course, we all know that D Minor is the saddest of all keys...
Old 04-20-2013, 02:46 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: 0x8000F12A
Posts: 494
Although I've spent my life with music, I generally can't tell by ear whether a song is in a minor key. While it's not "popular" I love this current video -- and indeed the entire album from which it comes -- and can only imagine given its somberness and subject matter that it's in a minor key.

This really may not be what you're looking for here, but I thought I'd throw it out because...well I've been waiting for the opportunity to share this gem.
Old 04-20-2013, 02:54 PM
Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Burlington VT
Posts: 8,285
Stairway to Heaven.
Old 04-21-2013, 04:17 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
Posts: 39,811
Eleanor Rigby.
Old 04-21-2013, 05:15 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 2,196
Little Red Riding Hood
Old 04-21-2013, 05:34 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 3,254
Quote:
Originally Posted by Largo62 View Post
Little Red Riding Hood
Interesting coincidence, I just learned to play that on my guitar tonight.
Old 04-21-2013, 05:45 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Altered States of America
Posts: 12,720
Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
I'll go with an early and somewhat underappreciated Beatles classic to start: "Things We Said Today." (ETA: Although the bridge changes tonality before dropping back to minor.)
Good call! That song is a beautiful example of the "natural minor." "Don't Bother Me," "Eleanor Rigby," "Fixing a Hole," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," and "Glass Onion" are natural minors too.

Beatles tunes using the "harmonic minor" scale:
"Michelle"
the chorus of "For No One" (the verse is relative major, the song starts and ends major, but the chorus uses a harmonic minor cadence)
"I'm Only Sleeping"
"Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!"
"I Want You (She's So Heavy)"
"Because"
"I Me Mine"
Old 04-21-2013, 05:50 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Altered States of America
Posts: 12,720
"Anji"* for solo acoustic guitar by Davey Graham is natural minor too.

*Paul Simon's cover of it is probably the best-known version
Old 04-21-2013, 09:45 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 6,726
"Lick My Love Pump".
Old 04-21-2013, 08:32 PM
Member
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Here
Posts: 12,903
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger Jeff View Post
"Lick My Love Pump".
My guess is that post #7 is a cite. (I didn't check.)
Old 04-21-2013, 09:11 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Saint Paul
Posts: 26,476
Still Loving You, by the Scorpions.
Old 04-22-2013, 11:09 AM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 3,303
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
Good call! That song is a beautiful example of the "natural minor." "Don't Bother Me," "Eleanor Rigby," "Fixing a Hole," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," and "Glass Onion" are natural minors too.

Beatles tunes using the "harmonic minor" scale:
"Michelle"
the chorus of "For No One" (the verse is relative major, the song starts and ends major, but the chorus uses a harmonic minor cadence)
"I'm Only Sleeping"
"Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!"
"I Want You (She's So Heavy)"
"Because"
"I Me Mine"
How about "I'll Be Back"?
Old 04-22-2013, 11:18 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Lincoln, IL
Posts: 25,183
How about the Tim Finn song "In a Minor Key"?
Old 04-22-2013, 12:05 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Over on the left
Posts: 13,186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mixolydian View Post
Pandora tells me I like songs in major keys
Presumably with a flat 7.
Old 04-22-2013, 12:15 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 44,424
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biffy the Elephant Shrew View Post
Presumably with a flat 7.
Old 04-22-2013, 06:09 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Montreal
Posts: 8,172
Eleanor Rigby is actually the Dorian mode - has a sharp scale degree 6. /nitpick Still minor though.

I do love flat 7s. I use them a lot in my own music.
Old 04-23-2013, 12:23 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: KCMO
Posts: 11,216
Smooth.
Old 04-23-2013, 01:15 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 44,424
Quote:
Originally Posted by ptr2void View Post
Although I've spent my life with music, I generally can't tell by ear whether a song is in a minor key. While it's not "popular" I love this current video -- and indeed the entire album from which it comes -- and can only imagine given its somberness and subject matter that it's in a minor key.

This really may not be what you're looking for here, but I thought I'd throw it out because...well I've been waiting for the opportunity to share this gem.
Thanks for sharing that. I don't know Steven Wilson's work, but I've heard of Porcupine Tree. This is a damned cool song--love the haunting chord progression.
Old 04-23-2013, 02:17 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: LIC
Posts: 20,673
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger Jeff View Post
"Lick My Love Pump".

It is written in F minor, the saddest of all keys.
Old 04-23-2013, 08:11 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Montreal
Posts: 8,172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburban Plankton View Post
...
Of course, we all know that D Minor is the saddest of all keys...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zebra View Post
It is written in F minor, the saddest of all keys.
I've heard of A minor also being the saddest of all keys.

There are some songs/music which are in minor, but sound rather upbeat.
Old 04-23-2013, 09:50 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 44,424
Quote:
Originally Posted by EmilyG View Post
I've heard of A minor also being the saddest of all keys.

There are some songs/music which are in minor, but sound rather upbeat.
Yeah, especially a lot of modern dance music. "Hit Me Baby One More Time," Lady Gaga's "Let's Dance," "Bad Romance," "Poker Face," (actually, most of her songs, for that matter), LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem," Justin Timberlake's "Sexy Back," (does some sort of phyrgian thing, to be exact), Usher's "Yeah," etc., etc., etc. I guess it depends on what you mean by "upbeat," though.
Old 04-23-2013, 02:42 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,178
A few of my minor-key 60s favorites off the top of my head:

"Still I'm Sad"; "Turn Into Earth"; "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" – The Yardbirds

"Paint It, Black"; "Play With Fire" – The Rolling Stones

"Here Without You"; "You Showed Me"; "I Knew I'd Want You" – The Byrds

"Just a Little"; "That's All Right" – The Beau Brummels

"It's My Life"; "Inside Looking Out" – The Animals

"I'm Not Like Everybody Else"; "Dead End Street" – The Kinks

"Let's Talk About Girls"; "Don't Need Your Lovin'" – The Chocolate Watchband

Last edited by DChord568; 04-23-2013 at 02:43 PM.
Old 04-23-2013, 02:51 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Ottawa
Posts: 23,201
I know absolutely nothing about music, and nothing about keys, but there's something about all these songs (the ones I'm familiar with anyway) that I like.

So, a dumb question. Songs consist of many notes and chords. What does it mean to be in a key? Is this the section of the piano, for example?
Old 04-23-2013, 07:35 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Montreal
Posts: 8,172
The key basically means which notes appear in a particular song. The notes in a song all belong to a certain scale.

I've studied music. I wish I could explain it more. Maybe I can make or find a YouTube video about it.
Old 04-23-2013, 08:08 PM
Une merveilleuse cerise
Moderator
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Near Eskippakithiki
Posts: 11,497
The half steps are different in minor scales than they are in major scales, correct?
Old 04-23-2013, 08:16 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Houston TX
Posts: 2,751
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
I know absolutely nothing about music, and nothing about keys, but there's something about all these songs (the ones I'm familiar with anyway) that I like.

So, a dumb question. Songs consist of many notes and chords. What does it mean to be in a key? Is this the section of the piano, for example?
In a way the Key tells you what Chords(and scales) fit with each other

Did you ever sing the song Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti-Do? That is the Major Scale

In the Key of C this is C,D,E,F,G,A,B,C

This can translate to Chords as well, here is a for instance in 7th Chords in C(Major)

CM7,Dminor7, Em7,FM7,GDominant7,Am7, B half diminished7,CM7

M=Major,m=minor

So it tells you what Chords and notes are available to play and then you get to add from there

It can get really complicated but that is the beginning of it

Hope that helped and didn't make it worse

Capt
Old 04-23-2013, 08:45 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: NJ, USA ♂
Posts: 4,121
Minor Key

Take the standard "Middle A" note which is caused by a vibration beating 440 beats per second (Hz).

Now double that to 880 Hz. That is a "High A" which is a sympathetic note to Middle A. To the human ear, they sound 'in sync' with each other. This interval based on whole multiples is called 'an octave'. When a man and woman are singing together in unison (and not in harmony), they are almost always singing the same melody one octave apart.

And in most modern music, the notes in between the octave is divided into twelve even steps.

Now, you might be asking, "why are two notes that are twelve steps from each other called an octave?" And that's because of a historical convention that most musical pieces will only use eight of the notes between an octave. And, by convention, the steps are actually called 'half steps.' So, which eight notes? Depends. The eight notes you chose are called a 'scale.' And there are different scales.

You're used to hearing most songs in a major scale. Between A and A are these twelve notes below: [The naming is again from a historical convention, and # is pronounced 'sharp'.]
A A# B C C# D D# E F F# G G# (and back to A)
The A Major scale uses:
A B C# D E F# G# (and back to A).
Meanwhile, one of the A Minor scales uses:
A B C D E F G A
It's all a matter of where you make half steps and where you make full steps. And then when you make chords (playing several notes at once), you wind up with different sound. The main chord of an A Major key is A-C#-E. The main chord of an A Minor key is A-C-E. The middle note is one half step lower in the minor key, giving it a slightly different sound.

How different a sound? Here are some Christmas carols played in a minor, rather than their usual major key: http://youtube.com/watch?v=u0Gw25SPlvg

By the way: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentleman is already in a minor key.
Old 04-23-2013, 08:55 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 44,424
Quote:
Originally Posted by moriah View Post
How different a sound? Here are some Christmas carols played in a minor, rather than their usual major key: http://youtube.com/watch?v=u0Gw25SPlvg
Hah, that's pretty fun. In high school, I used to entertain my friends by playing "Linus & Lucy" in a minor key, slowed down to a funeral march tempo, accented with little high-pitched tone clusters alluding to the Psycho shower murder scene (you know, those strings that go "reep, reep, reep" rhythmically).

Last edited by pulykamell; 04-23-2013 at 08:55 PM.
Old 04-23-2013, 09:02 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 44,424
Of course, there is, unsurprisingly, someone else who has done it and posted it to Youtube.
Old 04-23-2013, 09:11 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 7,187
Just for fun ... Some minor songs in major

http://vimeo.com/m/majorscaledtv
Old 04-23-2013, 09:56 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 6,726
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellen Cherry View Post
The half steps are different in minor scales than they are in major scales, correct?
Not precisely the way you phrased that. A half step is a half step regardless of what scale or whether the scale is major or minor. On a guitar, a half step is the interval from one fret to the next higher or lower fret. On a piano, a half step is the next key, higher or lower. It doesn't matter what color any of these keys are. A whole step is, of course, two half steps. 4th fret to 6th fret on a guitar and E to F# on a piano, for example.

A scale is the proper arrangement of whole and half steps. One might say where the half steps go determine if it's a major or minor scale. The pattern for any major scale is 1-1-½-1-1-1-½ and the pattern for any minor scale is 1-½-1-1-½-1-1. So, to figure out the key of A major using the major scale pattern, I'd start out by writing out the letters A B C D E F G A. I'd leave room between each letter for the addition of a sharp (#) or flat (b) to make it work out right. And I'd want to remember there's only a half step between B & C and E & F. Then I'd go through and sharpen or flatten notes as needed. The A major scale is A B C# D E F# G# A. If you care to work it out, it follows the pattern. The D minor scale (the saddest of them all) is D E F G A Bb C D.

At this point, if you were my student and I was teaching you basic music theory, I'd tell you about the circle of 5ths and 4ths, and tell to take your spiral bound book of staff paper and work out all major and minor scales using the circle of 5ths and 4ths and be prepared to turn it in the day after tomorrow.
Old 04-24-2013, 02:11 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Altered States of America
Posts: 12,720
Quote:
Originally Posted by EmilyG View Post
Eleanor Rigby is actually the Dorian mode - has a sharp scale degree 6. /nitpick Still minor though.
You're so right. I goofed. Thanks for catching that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
Hah, that's pretty fun. In high school, I used to entertain my friends by playing "Linus & Lucy" in a minor key, slowed down to a funeral march tempo
Like in Mahler's Symphony #1, with "Frère Jacques" put into a minor key, slowed down to a funeral march. Which segued into a slightly more lively klezmer thing.
Old 04-24-2013, 02:24 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 6,568
In case anyone missed it, REM's "Losing My Religion" was changed to a major scale here..
Old 04-24-2013, 09:06 AM
Une merveilleuse cerise
Moderator
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Near Eskippakithiki
Posts: 11,497
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger Jeff View Post
At this point, if you were my student and I was teaching you basic music theory, I'd tell you about the circle of 5ths and 4ths, and tell to take your spiral bound book of staff paper and work out all major and minor scales using the circle of 5ths and 4ths and be prepared to turn it in the day after tomorrow.
Ha, if I were your student and it was 30 years ago, I could probably have done it. I've forgotten so much.
Old 04-24-2013, 07:22 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Montreal
Posts: 8,172
When I first got into music, I didn't understand about different "keys". It took me a while, but I did figure it out by myself eventually.
Old 04-24-2013, 11:54 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 6,726
After completing the circle of 5ths and 4ths assignment, we were supposed to have memorized the key signatures for all major and minor keys. We each had to go to the front of the room and were quizzed individually on a couple key sigs. IIRC, I was good up to 3 or 4 flats or sharps. My partner in crime in that class and I set up a way we could signal to each other the key sigs.
Old 04-25-2013, 12:01 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 10,238
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburban Plankton View Post
Of course, we all know that D Minor is the saddest of all keys...
I first saw that movie in a theater, with several hundred other people who didn't know about the "choking on vomit" scene either. I never heard an audience howl that loud until I saw "About Schmidt" on opening weekend, and we didn't know about the nude scene in it either.

The nude scene featuring one Kathy Bates.
Old 04-25-2013, 12:03 AM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Miskatonic University
Posts: 10,310
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger Jeff View Post
After completing the circle of 5ths and 4ths assignment, we were supposed to have memorized the key signatures for all major and minor keys. We each had to go to the front of the room and were quizzed individually on a couple key sigs. IIRC, I was good up to 3 or 4 flats or sharps. My partner in crime in that class and I set up a way we could signal to each other the key sigs.
If any composer uses 5 or more flats or sharps, they're not a composer -- they're a sadist. No, I don't care what their justification is.

Or maybe this should be in the "overly judgmental opinions" thead .
Old 04-25-2013, 12:28 AM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 5,628
Things I'd Like To Say, New Colony Six.
Old 04-25-2013, 01:41 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 6,726
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jragon View Post
If any composer uses 5 or more flats or sharps, they're not a composer -- they're a sadist. No, I don't care what their justification is.
I agree. The keys of Cb, B#, E#, and Fb should be outlawed.
Old 04-25-2013, 06:12 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Altered States of America
Posts: 12,720
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger Jeff View Post
I agree. The keys of Cb, B#, E#, and Fb should be outlawed.
I saw what you did there.
Old 04-25-2013, 06:33 AM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Miskatonic University
Posts: 10,310
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johanna View Post
I saw what you did there.
I don't, other than the fact that he used the only consecutive note pairs whose respective sharp/flats aren't enharmonic.

ETA: And they have double sharps/flats I guess (except Cb), which are truly the devil's work.

Last edited by Jragon; 04-25-2013 at 06:37 AM.
Old 04-25-2013, 06:37 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Seaton Village
Posts: 6,725
Bus Stop - The Hollies.

House of the Rising Sun - The Animals
Old 04-25-2013, 07:16 AM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Liverpool NY USA
Posts: 9,720
Runaway by Del Shannon.
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:11 PM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: simplifying ln long run generators animes with catgirls ava anderson reviews millstone coffee wisdom teeth jokes splice power cord trigun plants mongoose bike review musk gland how to add a second shower head henry viii turkey leg why are sawed-off shotguns illegal cocaine absorbed through skin how long can cooked fish sit out fig newtons are named for how to find water lines in yard how to cook swedish sausage wrong height on drivers license how to pass emissions test with engine light on one man has the rifle the next man has the bullets best way to peel onion donald duck who's your daddy meaning of titrated dose