Zadok: the chords

Chord progressions fascinate me.  They communicate so much without ever being a melody.  For an arranger, the chord progession of a song is a good place to start to look for counter melodies.

Zadok The Priest by Handel, written in the 18th century has one of the best intros in music. There is no theme as such, yet the chord progression and the pulsing/rolling string arrangement is instantly recognisable.

We recorded the strings for this 22 bar introduction and I’ve tried to get my head round the chord progression in this short video.

Help yourself to the strings recording (6 separate stems).  These audio files are copyright free.

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4 responses to “Zadok: the chords

  1. Really helpful: a great insight. I’ve been trying to identify the chords from the sheet music, and realised that many were slash chords, but this has helped me a lot as I was floundering. My aim is to see if I can play it as a guitar solo/intro and I reckon identifying the chords has to be the first step. I love this piece so much.

  2. Slash chords with the 7th in the bass are a late 70s/early 80s staple. All over the Doobie Brothers and Hall & Oates, but never suspected Handel concealed a similar smoothness. Thanks for illuminating this structure here.

    (bonus level: Chords to Zadok with the “What a Fool Believes” groove. Mesmeric)

  3. richard johnson

    thank you so much for your nearly idiot proof guitar tabs to the beutiful zdok intro that i have fallen in love with with gratitude from a stuggling guitarist

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