How Radiohead Writes A Chord Progression | The Artists Series S2E1

How Radiohead Writes A Chord Progression | The Artists Series S2E1

Under my last video for this series I got a comment saying that's it unsubscribed 0 music theory analysis And that's fine in the case of CM. I focus just late elsewhere, but now we're doing Radiohead Hope you know what you got yourselves into Welcome to season 2 of the artist series where we look at the biggest rock music acts in the world and what we can learn from them in the past We've looked at melody music production lighting music videos and marketing but we never really touched on harmony and since harmony is one of the things I'm asked about most often and because Radiohead songwriting revolves heavily around their chords in this episode I will focus on just that But before we do as always perspective before practice in other words. What's Radiohead's identity? It is crucial to understand this before we move into the specifics because analyzing their image will tell us why they make certain musical decisions And again the question goes out to you What do you think of when you think Radiohead? Pause this video now think of maybe three or four descriptive words then come back to me Okay, you ready. Here's what I came up with first of all their nationality. It's not just the accent There's something British about the production and style Second a song creep is still Radiohead's most famous song to date and in a way. It's the perfect trailer for their later career Radiohead sound was always out there always weird and eerie remember how in a previous episode I talked about don't give them four give them two plus two well Radiohead literally has a song called two plus two equals five There's a certain other worldliness a sense of alienation that runs through all of their music and lyrics Which is often been credited as a representation of not belonging being the underdog and as with twenty one pilots there is a sense of contrarian ISM here as well, but more so a Counterculture ISM if you followed radio at over the years you'll know that they've always changed their style most notably with kid a which introduced An electronic more abstract side of the band and for similar reasons as with twenty one pilots there is a large overlap between our – right depressing music and Artists who continuously change their style and this darkness does play a big role here as well in summary I hope that we can agree that the typical fan of Radiohead is older than the Angsty teenager we discussed in the twenty one pilots episode as Radiohead's music is less accessible more intellectual But it does speak to a similar emotion depression angst isolation Now with all of this pre work done. Let's get into the good bits Let's start analyzing some songs a little warning though if your music Theory's only so-so A lot of what's about to follow might confuse you that's fine because the point I want to make with this video will still make sense to you so if you let me do this for a few minutes, I promise there will be a big payoff for you at the end of this as well and Sorry Radiohead. I know you're not the biggest fans of creep, but that's where we'll have to start. Let's go It's all there the eeriness the darkness the alienation the contrarian ISM all summed up perfectly by the music and lyrics And it's all supported by this court progression. We're in G major Going from the tonic to the mediant up to the four and then there's a bit of modal interchange when we get the four from G minor so that's already kind of cool since two of these courts do not naturally appear in G Major, but what's even cooler in my mind, and this is where you can really hear the musicality of this band Is that the melody follows these chords they didn't just write a cool court aggression and wrote whatever a melody over it There's a strong relationship between the two How can you hear that let's take a listen? This line consists of the notes be f sharp and D sharp which is an arpeggio of B major So the melody here is outlining the underlying harmony then we get Which keeps coming back to that be the major seven of the C major and then That B is turned into a b-flat becoming the minor seven of the C minor And this is why I think in the case of Radiohead these songs begin with a chord progression And the melody is written to that chord progression This of course is pretty much the opposite with most of the artists We discussed last season where the harmony plays a lesser role So that was 1992 in 93 they released anyone can play guitar Which uses very binding chords as well six for seven like most are there chord progressions This is not something you write to a melody you've already written In 1994 Radiohead released the bends with its first single my iron lung the chord progression is G C minor and for the most part the melodies set in C Dorian the Only exception is the tagline which follows the chord progression? Did you hear it we get a B instead of the B flat normally found in C Dorian and a D These very clearly line out the G major chord by hitting its third and fifth Then we resolve into the third of the C minor E flat So again the melody follows the harmony and Radiohead love doing this let's look at another example in depth This chord progression is set in C Dorian and G Dorian which you can see from the a and E here respectively So very subtly we get a key change halfway through this chord progression, and here's the melody Tom came up with CEO he acknowledges the major six in both durian scales and then later we get these courts This dude Orion again you can hear the characteristic major six being played in the ostinato And it's the most prominent note in the melody as well This being the same scale as in the verse it connects up nicely But then we get to the court over the E and it's a dominant chord instead of the diminished chord we would expect This transition is accomplished by the F. Major seven preceding the e seven here It serves as a dominant substitution what we call a Neapolitan chord This is a major seven chord one semitone higher than the court you want to go to so it's like a tritone substitution But it has a major seven instead of a seven and it typically goes to the dominant And if you just excitedly grabbed your guitar to try that out Here's a few more things Radiohead likes to do number one Changing the gender of a chord especially switching minor to major which is the musical equivalent of a nursery rhymes and horror movies? It's a strange out of place smile in a dark world In some cases they also substitute major for minor chords, which has a dreamy sound Number two showing us both versions of a chord major and minor Why Number three descending a half-step to the next chord whether that's from major to major Or from minor to major Can't get stink it's been Since the minor second is considered a very dark interval this adds to the eeriness of the band's sound Generally we don't see a lot of movement two minor chords Which is a point in itself and the songs have analyzed two thirds of the courts were major? For a band that's known for the depressing songs I think that's noteworthy and maybe a hint at the fact that Radiohead is more about alienation and isolation than just pure sadness This also explains why they don't use Aeolian as much and often go for Dorian Which because of its major six sounds less dark number five? Strange slash chords where the court largely stays the same, but the bass moves to a weird note n number six ray Let's court progressions are rarely four bars long Paranoid android is twelve bars nude switches from ten to twelve ideo Tech is five Knives out as eleven jigsaw falling into place is twelve and the list goes on This is mostly used in slower less attention-grabbing songs, and it breaks up the structure making it less accessible But ultimately easier to get lost in the music In the melodies, there's a lot of semi tonal movement as well Which also adds to the darkness like when Tom sings a chromatic melody in two plus two equals five Or how he plays with the semi-tones in pyramid song Or when they're using a diminished scale and just Combine these semi tonal small movements with some big jumps to another chord tone, and you got yourself the Radiohead sound Now if you didn't understand a word I said in this video first of all, thank you for not turning it off Just yet and second, maybe that's the point Maybe Radiohead doesn't want to be understood. Maybe they want to hide behind a thick wall of complexity It's like saying nobody understands me anyways which of course feeds into their image of isolation alienation Contracting just those listeners who can empathize I said this before in my life kione's as an artist you get to choose your fans The music you write determines the kind of people you attract into your life One of the best things about starting a career in this industry is that you get to decide what kind of people you hang out? with in the future professor adrian north of heriot-watt University in Edinburgh Conducted the largest studies so far on how personality ties to the kind of music you listen to and here's what he found Chart pop fans have high self esteem or heart working outgoing and gentle But are not creative and not at ease rap fans have high self-esteem and are outgoing Country-and-western fans are hardworking and outgoing and rock fans have low self-esteem are creative not hard-working not outgoing gentle and it ease What kind of music you decide to make is not all about which Norah will make you the most money or what jar you like? the most There's another factor to take into consideration Do you like the kind of person you're writing for when I started holistic stone running? I knew I didn't want to make courses for beginners I was more interested in working with people who want to go from good to great and so I decided to go deep Instead of wide which is also the reason I only released one artists series a month will this throw off most of my viewers yes But I'd rather have a small fanbase of hardcore fans than 10 million Subscribers who just want to learn how to play a c-major on guitar and make no mistake small audiences can be valuable because there's often less stuff made specifically for them and When you do make something for them They're often more willing to buy it So don't think you have to write accessible pop music to make a living if you only have a thousand fans worldwide But those thousand fans. Love you when buy a hundred bucks worth of stuff from you every year That's a hundred thousand bucks a year, which is enough for a three-piece band to make a living This is known as the 1,000 true fans theory and if you haven't wrapped Kevin Kelly's book Highly suggest you do if you like this video, please like share and subscribe and let me know in the comments which rock artists You'd like to see on this season of the artists series. This is wait a minute Let's do some running take care and stay give a leash

44 thoughts on “How Radiohead Writes A Chord Progression | The Artists Series S2E1

  1. Or at least your hair stylist. He understood semitones, key changes and unrepentantly masturbating whilst reading inaccurate sheet music.

  2. I’m curious why you didn’t mention the use of the moll-dur in Radiohead’s songs? The example of 1000 real fans was really inspiring. I’d love to see a video about nothing but thieves!

  3. thanks. you have break it down for me. the radiohead's mistery.. i love it when it has mistery.. i still love radiohead

  4. I hardly understood any of it, but I loved it and now have greater appreciation of just how much goes into creating the music I take for granted. Thank you!

  5. Please, do a "how Evanescence's writes song". It would be awesome to know how Amy creates the melancholic effect at her music.

  6. And to the people who know too much theory, No, he does not just 'write' melodies for chord progression , it comes naturally

  7. Philosophy, depression, humanity… I could be more descriptive because their lyrics and music speak volumes to me.
    I probably used the wrong words but they are my favorite band.

  8. Moving down from minor chord to major chord by half-step… like in Goldfrapp’s “Lovely Head”. It’s almost vortic. It’s the vortex chord.

  9. Must be a bummer being one if those really intelligent people who can figure out how others became successful but can't replicate it for their own success

  10. Сделайте перевод пожалуйста, русские ребята или субтитры хотя бы, люди должны это видеть.

  11. I wonder if Radiohead actually analyzed & write progression that way … maybe I'm doofus but I think it would be too rigid for them to do so, and prefer the simple ways and feelings 😑😶 or maybe I'm wrong.

  12. You're so right, look at what radiohead did when they released In Rainbows. They let the fans choose what to pay for the album and wound up making more money than if they would have set a price.

  13. When I started trying to jam to Radiohead I got a bit confused and was surprised that it was mostly in Major keys and interesting modes too. I'm not a very good guitarist I usually jam in minor pentatonic but I find it a bit boring sometimes. I like the sweet melodies you get from other scales but their harder to nail.

  14. lol do you really think talented artists ask themeselves all these questions ? it's just inspiration and talent. all this speech is just bullshit. talking a lot, not saying much

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