High Time, stupid question...

High Time, stupid question...

Postby deer_creek » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:16 am

This song is in the key of E, right?

Jerry wrote some beautiful chord progression, didn't he?
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Postby BOUKINATOR » Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:55 am

I don't have my geetar with me but my first guess would be A... then modulating to E for the chorus
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Re: High Time, stupid question...

Postby lost sailor » Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:48 am

Going off DP13 - it starts on a D major -- that beautiful intro starts there too on an arpeggiated(?) D major chord at the 10th fret -- and on the 1st string D - C# on 9th fret (a half step down)
I play the main verses like this:
D, C#minor, G#, F#, A, E,D, A, Asus4 -- B,E ,B-A, E, D, A Asus4 -- Then single note walk down A G# F# E -- I could be wrong but it sounds good to me --- that lead work is sooooo sweet
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Re: High Time, stupid question...

Postby BOUKINATOR » Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:31 pm

yeah even though it starts on D it's still looking like the "key" of A to me

a handy note if you're a soloist like me who usually just plays "in key", and not as much playing over each chord (like I should)
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Re: High Time, stupid question...

Postby Incornsyucopia » Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:52 am

Not at all a stupid question. "High Time" is quite tricky as to what keys it uses. It starts in A major or its relative major F# minor since they're the only keys that have D major and C# minor in them. However, then it drops down to Ab/G# major and then to Gb/F# major, which would suggest C#/Db major as the key. From there, moving up a minor third to A major, then down a fourth to E major and then a major second to D major places really securely in A major. But then the movement to B major turns that into a dominant of E modulating the song to E major. The following D major then moves things back to A major. The G major between E major and A major between the verses is borrowed from the parallel key of E minor.

In other words, it's not wholly in E major and it's not wholly in A major although those are the two keys that are most obvious. It's actually a highly interesting use of ambiguous tonal function. See Walter Everett's essay "'High Time' and Ambiguous Harmonic Function" in the edited volume Perspectives on the Grateful Dead.
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Re: High Time, stupid question...

Postby rugger » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:52 am

Incornsyucopia wrote:Not at all a stupid question. "High Time" is quite tricky as to what keys it uses. It starts in A major or its relative major F# minor since they're the only keys that have D major and C# minor in them. However, then it drops down to Ab/G# major and then to Gb/F# major, which would suggest C#/Db major as the key. From there, moving up a minor third to A major, then down a fourth to E major and then a major second to D major places really securely in A major. But then the movement to B major turns that into a dominant of E modulating the song to E major. The following D major then moves things back to A major. The G major between E major and A major between the verses is borrowed from the parallel key of E minor.

In other words, it's not wholly in E major and it's not wholly in A major although those are the two keys that are most obvious. It's actually a highly interesting use of ambiguous tonal function. See Walter Everett's essay "'High Time' and Ambiguous Harmonic Function" in the edited volume Perspectives on the Grateful Dead.


Wonderful first post. Welcome.

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