This week’s transcription is the guitar part from ‘Cry To Laugh’ from Blake Mills.
I’ve used the solo guitar version from a live at the Fretboard Journal as the basis from this transcription.
Blake plays a lot of slide and open-tunning stuff, but for this composition, he was influenced by Randy Newman’s piano style.
So standard tuning (capo 2), and nylon string guitar -on the recording-, full charts available here as usual.
For a quick analysis : the main key is D major (we use C shapes because of capo 2) with a bold modulation in the verse to B major before coming back to D major (and B minor for 2 beats).
In both D major and B major, with have 2-chord swaying to create a tension/release impression, but Blake doesn’t use the classic obvious Dominant / Tonic trick : on D, the tension comes from an implied G chord (it’s a ‘plagal’ type of thing… big words…), while on B, it’s a V chord this time but with a voicing that doesn’t sound like a dominant (F# add2 #5… I know, fancy) … Bottom line, we feel more a Key center than actual chord changes. It’s much more subtle and moody.
Then we have 3 bars with on chord per beat, again in D major/B minor, it’s moving quite quickly so again we feel more the key center than individual chord changes.
The first part of the Bridge will use static strummed chords for a nice change of feel.
It’s an interesting way to write for the guitar, much more orchestral : notice that the voice-leading is so clear and precise in the instrumental verse that the orchestra (on the record version) plays exactly what the guitar plays. It’s already arranged, just need to orchestrate it.
It’s an interesting song to learn and analyze more in deep than the quick over-view here, spend the time need on it, you won’t regret it. And if you’re stuck and need some help, don’t forget I’m available for lessons in real life or through Skype.
If you don’t know Blake’s music yet, you HAVE to do your homework and get every recording he did, doctor’s order. Until next time, take care and listen to good music : it’s good for you.