Monday, 8 April 2013

Golden Ticket: The Seven Drop

How do you use the 'seven drop' (Ticket 60) in one of your songs? Easy! Just start on the root chord and then immediately descend to the chord built on the seventh tone of the scale. In minor keys this is nothing special - it just gives you Em to D or Am to G etc - but in major keys things get interesting...

the 'correct' I – VII change in the key of C would be

C to B dim (B D F)


C to B half dim 7 aka Bm7b5 (B D F A)

But that's a weird jazzy chord and many rock/pop guitarists don't like it (or even know it!).

So the Beatles tended to make things more complex by using simpler chords that don't fit in the key, like

C B7 (B D# F# A)



C Bm7 (B D F# A)

I vii7

(out of key notes are in bold)

So we get progressions like I'm So Tired

      A  G#7   D                    E7
      I   VII7   IV                  V7
I'm so tired I haven't slept a wink

or Sexy Sadie

G          F#7      Bm
I           VII7      iii
    Sexy Sadie,          what have you done?

The verse of Martha My Dear doesn't have chord changes per se as it's made up of several interweaving lines but the progression that's implied is

Eb                                    D5           Gm
I                                       VII5          iii
Martha my dear though I spend my days

There's more going on than meets the eye (ear?) tonality wise here, because the root note and key here is actually F, but I'll save that for the next post. For now all we need to know is that our ear assumes the initial Eb is the root until we get to the end of the phrase.

Another example is Radiohead's Karma Police (directly inspired by Sexy Sadie) where the chorus has the same chord progression as part of Sadie's verse

Sexy Sadie 

C                      D                 G      F#7
IV                    V                  I       VII7
    You made a fool of everyone

Karma Police

C              D             G      F#
IV            V              I       VII
     This is what you get

The most famous/obvious example of this is Yesterday

F               E7sus4            A7                         Dm
I                VII7sus4         III7                        vi
Yesterday             all my troubles seemed so far

It's interesting that almost all these examples are from the beginning of the verses. So you could say the ticket works most effectively as a means of pulling the rug out from listeners the second they set foot in(on?) the song.

And also, whether we're going on a brief trip to a new key or heading for a home we didn't realise we had, the next step is often the same. Start on a major chord, drop a semitone to the seventh and then drop a fifth to the third degree of the scale.

     I – VII – III
eg C - B   -   E or Em

Next time we'll pause to look at some essential background work. What key is Martha My Dear in, and where exactly is the 'one'?

1 comment:

  1. I love the album but I hate Karma Police, I always skip it. And I prefer Paul's drops over Suarez' fake fallings.