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#1 2013-12-08 20:48:49

edshaw
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From: Colorado
Registered: 2006-11-20
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Why does this sound so good?

Lines one and two of "Precious Lord" catapulted honky tonk piano player Thomas E. Dorsey into the annals of gospel music history. I am not a neophyte, but not school trained, either. My questions are (1) What has he done, here? (2) Why does it sound so good, even when I play it? and (3) How can I apply the principles of the lessons learned in these two line to find or create new applications of the principles.
Is this in the area of walking blues? Contemporary gospel instruction is not providing me the answer I am looking for. We are not talking "handfuls of notes," here, but rather, a progression rooted in both dedicated church players and professional barrel house or bar room players, oddly enough, one that the very sound of is enough to captivate audience attention immediately, and keep it.

(3/4 time, three beats per chord symbol)

[Line one]   (Precious) (C) Lord, take my (C7) hand, lead me (F) on, let me (F) stand, I am
[Line two]   (C) tired, I am (Am) weak, I am (Dm) worn ---- (G7) -----through the

Any help appreciated.

Last edited by edshaw (2013-12-08 20:51:21)

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#2 2013-12-09 18:46:47

Baldguitardude
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Re: Why does this sound so good?

Here are some notes on why you may like it:
1. Moving from the C natural to the C7 adds a Bb. In addition to the Bb adding some bluesy tension to the I chord, the motion from C - Bb - A (the 3 of the F chord) sounds awesome and is an example of good voice leading.

2. Walking from the C to the Am is kind of the same idea. Am (the vi of C) is a closely related chord to the C (the relative minor) but also creates a nifty opportunity for more voice leading via the walking bass line (C - B - A).

3. Instead of just doing the normal I-IV-V blues progression, the composer opts for a very common jazz turnaround called a ii-V. There is a ton of literature on ii-V turnarounds. There are entire songs written on just ii-V turnaround. Here's the wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ii-V-I_turnaround

You could further spice this tune up by playing this at the end:

Dm7   Dm7/G     G7

for that turnaround, which sounds pretty cool in my humble opinion.

I'm forwarding this to a friend of mine who is an awesome theorist..he may contribute.

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#3 2013-12-09 21:51:48

wlbaye
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Re: Why does this sound so good?

Relative minors give me goose bumps smile


Later, Wayne P

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#4 2013-12-10 12:17:56

deadstring
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Re: Why does this sound so good?

Thank you edshaw. I have been doing a simpler version for years and it sounded ok but I like this progression much better. I need to go over some more of my favorites Maybe my playing and my ear have improved enough I can bring them up a notch.


When the Power of Love overcomes The Love of Power the world will be a better place.

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#5 2013-12-10 15:58:57

Tenement Funster
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From: Nova Scotia, Canada
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Re: Why does this sound so good?

Someone who I believe knows about music once told me that 7ths are "unresolved". They draw the mind to thinking "there's something else", and often make excellent connectors from one note to the next. A lot of hymns (which are message-oriented) use them, as well as ballads which have a story progression to convey. David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) and Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) often wrote using 7ths, with great results.

The final movement of Camille Saint-Saens 3rd symphony has a pipe organ segment with a lot of 7ths, and it adds a LOT of tension that draws it along in a very majestic way, which will often move me to tears when listening!

Isn't music amazing!

Last edited by Tenement Funster (2013-12-11 11:25:05)


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#6 2013-12-10 16:20:58

Baldguitardude
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Re: Why does this sound so good?

Dominant sevenths have tension and due to the tritone between the major third and the b7. Also due to voice leading to the I chord...for example in a V7, the b7 (of V) resolves via a 1/2 step to the 3rd of the I chord.

In C, a V7 chord would be G7:
G
B
D
F

The F resolves nicely to the E in a C major chord (CEG).

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#7 2013-12-10 16:21:34

Baldguitardude
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Re: Why does this sound so good?

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#8 2013-12-10 19:08:39

deadstring
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Re: Why does this sound so good?

This post reminded me of my favorite version of "I'm o lonesome I could cry".
(C)HEAR THE (EM)LONESOME (AM)WHIPER(G)WILL
HE (C)SOUNDS TOO (Em)BLUE TO (C7)FLY
THE(F) MIDNIGHT (Fm6)TRAIN IS (C)WHINING (Am)LOW
I'M (C)SO LONESOME (G7)I COULD (C)CRY


When the Power of Love overcomes The Love of Power the world will be a better place.

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#9 2013-12-11 07:41:31

edshaw
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Re: Why does this sound so good?

Thank you for those responses. Much more and much deeper than I had expected. Thank you again.  The sheet came from Hal Leonard "Easy Gospel Fake in Cmaj"
$19.95. A lot of material for the money & work that went into it.   My point on that  is the actual melody turns this song into a serious destroyer, but the structure is so
open to interpretation.  I've hacked Jones's   "I Always Get Lucky with You" into the basic structure when I feel the need to go back to basics. So, yeah, deadstring,  the "So Lonesome
I Could Cry" is appreciated. I hope your friend comes back with some thoughts, Bald Guitar Dude.  Your reply was valuable and appreciated.  I'll\have to spend some
time working on your thoughts.
If I had known the response was going to be so interesting, I would have added lines three
and four. Then, of course, there is that main body variation,  Verse One (G) When my (C7) way grows drear, precious (F) Lord, linger (F) near, when my (C)  life is
(C)  al-most (G7) gone, (G)  Hear my (C)  cry, hear my (C7) call, hold my (F) hand, lest I (F) fall [ Take my(C)  hand, (Am)  pre-cious (D7)  Lord, (G7) lead me (C)  home(G7)]

It finishes with this amazing four bars: C/Am D7/G7  C/C  G7/G7  It doesn't get much better than that. Anyway, it is late, but here are lines three and four of the introduction:

[Line Three]  (C) storm through the (C7) night, lead me (F) on to the  (F) light, take my
[Line Four]  (C) hand, pre-cious  (C/G7 ) Lord / lead me (C) home -- (G7) ---

To conclude, Verse two is:
When the darkness appears and the night draws near, and the day is past and gone, at the
river I stand, guide my feet, hold my hand, Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.

But you men already knew that .  Funster, that is exactly the feel, in Line one, the 7th (hand) just hangs there...if you wanted,
you you could even hold the drums, wait for the thought to sink in, so to speak....gospel's good for that..So was George Jones.

Last edited by edshaw (2013-12-11 07:58:05)

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#10 2013-12-11 11:29:10

Tenement Funster
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From: Nova Scotia, Canada
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Posts: 673

Re: Why does this sound so good?

BGD ....

That's an interesting article on 7ths from Wikipedia, even though I won't pretend for a moment to understand it all. I never realized that true "Barbershop Quartet" music had the requirement for 7ths in the way they're written / sung.


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#11 2013-12-18 03:27:27

e s shaw
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Re: Why does this sound so good?

These responses have been most helpful. I spent some time with the seventh
notes, technically flat seventh, I suppose, to try to get a feel for the tension created.
This proved to have an additional advantage, in that it turned out to be a useful drill in those little 6-7b-7-8 runs and combinations that we run into so often, but overlook in our fascination with the 1-3-4-5 notes.
Almost everything I am playing is in Cmaj at this particular date in time, so taking a
good listen to that Bb sound was helpful, since it shows up so seldom in Cmaj songs. Naturally, a Cmaj lead sheet is just that: suggestions. Gracia. Be back.


Classic Gospel and Traditional Hymns
http://yourlisten.com/ed_shaw

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#12 2014-06-04 14:49:09

Smithjhon77
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Re: Why does this sound so good?

I have been doing a more straightforward variant for quite some time and it sounded alright yet I like this movement much better. I have to head over some a greater amount of my top choices Maybe my playing and my ear have enhanced enough I can bring them up a score.

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#13 2014-06-06 05:11:31

e s shaw
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From: Colorado
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Re: Why does this sound so good?

Thanks Smithjohn. I took some of the advice here and came up with this as a last line in the chorus of
Sweet Hour of Prayer. 
Chorus:
C  C  F   F   
C  C  G  G
C  C   F   F
C   C/Am  D7/G7  C

Shoot, it didn't make it on the lead sheet:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File … adbury.png
But it is on the practice track:
http://yourlisten.com/ed_shaw/sweet-hou … tice-track

Hope these links work. 

The original ending was C C G C
Hear it in the play once 4 bar intro


Classic Gospel and Traditional Hymns
http://yourlisten.com/ed_shaw

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#14 2014-06-06 16:33:41

Baldguitardude
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Re: Why does this sound so good?

Is that a C/Am and D7/G7 stacked or are those just 2 counts instead of 4 counts?

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#15 2014-06-07 01:58:58

e s shaw
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Re: Why does this sound so good?

That is four counts C note / two counts C note two  counts Am/ two counts D7 two counts G7/ four counts C note.

Thanks for catching that.

The problem is  the Band in a Box backing track on yourlisten plays it that way on the last line of the chorus, and the four
bar (play one time) intro plays it that way,  but the Sweet Hour of Prayer transcription on Wiki Commons that came from
the public domain sheet in D major had it as 1-1-5-1.
I realized after posting that could cause some confusion. Then realized it sounded fine harmonized,  so
I didn't worry about it. Kind of stuck there. The best thing to do would be to re cast the Band iin the Box  rather than mess
with a 150 year old song, I suppose.  Could be a happy accident, too.

Last edited by e s shaw (2014-06-07 02:02:31)


Classic Gospel and Traditional Hymns
http://yourlisten.com/ed_shaw

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#16 2014-06-09 07:00:27

Baldguitardude
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Re: Why does this sound so good?

Righto. Dm7/G is a pretty rad chord, which is why I asked. smile

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#17 2014-08-25 01:50:42

kickbutt
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Re: Why does this sound so good?

I agree with you smile

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#18 2014-08-25 21:42:19

Phill Williams
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Re: Why does this sound so good?

looks like one to watch russ, smells a little like spam on the way


There are two "L's" in Phill

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#19 Today 04:20:11

naolslager
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From: Georgia, USA
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Re: Why does this sound so good?

I am not smart enough to be on this forum.
Dj

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#20 Today 05:26:35

Russell_Harding
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Re: Why does this sound so good?

Phill Williams wrote:

looks like one to watch russ, smells a little like spam on the way

sniff sniff smile


"Growing old is not for sissies"

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