Thurs AM Musical Interlude

January 26th, 2012 at 8:49 am

I heard this song on the way in this AM and was reminded of what a great pop tune it is.  You also gotta love the way Madonna sung back then—maybe she still does (I recall someone describing her voice as Minnie Mouse on helium).  Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing this again—see if you feel the same.

[BTW, there seems to be a non-random number of musical theorists who visit OTE.  One thing I find unique and great about this tune is all the inverted chords—there are all these great chords where the bass is not playing the root but the third (I think).  Bach does that all the time—Madonna, less so, but it really works here.]

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2 comments in reply to "Thurs AM Musical Interlude"

  1. Jean says:

    Great song! I’ve always liked Madonna’s voice, and don’t agree with the Minnie Mouse analogy.

    You have a good ear if you hear the inverted chords. I would say that they are there due to the ostinato in the bass part.

    What’s strange about this song, though is that the key signature is D Major, but the introduction and chorus is in G. The verse is centered around A Major, which is the Dominant of G — something the great composers do all the time. Lucas also goes to the 3 chord instead of 1 or 5 and changes the 2 chord from minor to Major. All in all, pretty clever since he never spends any time on the D Major chord — which is the key its supposed to be in.

    And a great song to workout to … the whole CD is.


  2. Allen says:

    Jared — you are a great economist and a sharp musician — I am a musician and almost everything you come up with is in good taste and musically correct! For ‘Borderline’ the verses just vamp (repeat) on D – C – G. This is cycle of fifths stuff and a common progression in all music (not just pop music). Van Morrison’s Gloria uses this (in number notation a musician would call it 1 – b7 – 4) as do lots and lots of other songs. The bass all the through the verse plays D (root note) on the D chord, C (root note) on the C chord, and then, as you point out, B (third of the G chord) on the G chord. Here’s a link to cycle (or circle) of fifths:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circle_of_fifths (you see these 3 chords in the 12, 1 and 2 o’clock position of the graphic in the article). And here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia’s entry on the Song Borderline: “The song follows in the chord progression of D–C–G in the first verse to Bm–Em–A–F♯ in the pre-chorus, changes to A–F♯–Bm–A–E and G–D–A in the chorus.[9]” Link to this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borderline_%28song%29.

    Per ‘slash chord’ convention, the third in the bass would be notated G/B — another Wikepedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slash_chord. There are other chords in the song with the third in the bass so you have a good ear!

    Thanks for the GREAT economics blogging and tasteful music links!

    -Allen


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