Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #145315  by seamones
 Sun Mar 22, 2015 8:35 am
Why is it in this key(s)? Discuss.
 #145356  by RI Tom
 Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:56 am
I've often wondered the same thing - perhaps Garcia first wrote the little intro lick and then had to set it in that key to fit? In any event, it's a fingerboard position out of the ordinary, for sure.
 #145373  by seamones
 Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:17 am
Yes, don't see Eb and even F in too many garica songs. Interesting thought on the riff, my first thought was that maybe his voice was changing...
 #145375  by RI Tom
 Wed Mar 25, 2015 9:50 am
You may be onto something as Days Between also has some Eb and F in it too.
 #145376  by lovetoboogie
 Wed Mar 25, 2015 10:07 am
Garcia routinely wrote melody on piano...he is quoted somewhere talking about this...could have something to do with the key of F, or an F major tonality, which comes up alot in his tunes...Candyman, Brokedown Palace, China Doll, Here Comes Sunshine, etc...
Last edited by lovetoboogie on Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 #145378  by Lephty
 Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:43 pm
Could be as simple as Garcia saying, "Hell, I write in E, A, D, and G all the time, so I'm going to mix it up a bit for this one." Maybe exploring a new key brought out some different ideas for chords? Also, composers have known for a long time that different keys have different vibes to them. Remember when Phil changed Fire On The Mountain to G for a while, back in the early 2000's sometime? Didn't work too well IMO. Another example would be Dave Brubeck's "Take 5" which is in Eb minor (an easy tune to play, as jazz tunes go--one chord in the jam!). One would think it would make sense to move it up or down a half step into a "normal" key, but when you do, it just sounds wrong.

My band mashes up Dead and Phish songs (might be sacrelige around here!), and it's actually a pain in the ass sometimes because LOTS of Phish songs are in F, Bb, and Eb...can make it difficult to navigate our way into a Dead song or vice-versa. But I have always wondered why Trey & crew lean toward those keys more than most rock bands. Perhaps it's their jazz backgrounds.