Monthly Archives: December 2010

Realstrings 2010

And that was 2010 for

Here’s my end of year mini-mix of some of the jobs we worked on (excluding score preparation stuff that was recorded elsewhere), providing strings recordings (and arrangements for songs).

With thanks to the performers, artists, composers and producers.

Your Song – those chords

Your Song. Elton John. Beautiful.  Originally released in 1970, there’s now a cover version being hammered on UK tv for a John Lewis ad, performed by Ellie Goulding.  It’s different, and for anyone who finds the Elton John original appealing, it’s probably annoying.

Ellie Goulding has adapted the shape of the verse melody to fit a new chord sequence (aka, messed up the chord sequence).

This Noteflight page show’s the 2 chord sequences; EJ’s chords followed by EG’s chords, each transposed to C major to make comparison easier.

So what has changed?

EJ’s verse chords evolve, with chromatic movement (Am/F#), a passing modulation (E7 – Am) some 7ths and inversions (G/B).  Hardly a chord is repeated in the sequence.
EG’s verse loops 4 chords, 3 times.  The original harmony is sterilised.
The chorus chord sequences are more similar; less cleansing.
Why do a cover and not respect the text?
Every musical device suggests character and rich chord movement doesn’t (currently) sit with typical pop.  It’s maybe an explanation, not an excuse.

Is a chord sequence part of a song’s identity?
The fundamental elements of a song that establish it’s character are lyrics, melodies and chords.  But typically, the chord sequence is not copyright, though for many songs the chord sequence is a defining part of its identity, containing implied melodies in itself.

Which version do you prefer?

And by re-writing the verse chord sequence (and melody) should EG get a co-write and the associated royalty share?