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Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #55163  by 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
 #55222  by 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)
 #126712  by 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.
 #126716  by 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.

john in san diego