Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Biblioteca de la Guitarra y Cuerda Pulsada

Autor: Philip Tagg

Yes we can chords

This article started as a simple reply to a simple question sent by Carol Vernallis to the IASPM  online list in January 2009. She asked: ‘does any one have thoughts on the chord progression of Ye s We Can or on the music as well as the pop songs it might be echoing?’ By ‘Ye s We Can’ Carol was referring to the Obama presidential campaign video of the same name (Adams 2008).2  IASPM member responses to Carol’s question can be summarised in the following six points.[1] Mike Daley and Allan Moore reflected on the GOING SOMEWHEREELSE potential of the B major chord and on the relative COMFORT AND SECURITY aspect of the plagal turnaround change. [2] Allan Moore suggested  similar  progressions  in  recordings  like  ELO’s  Jungle  (1973),Jimmy  Ruffin’s  What  Becomes  Of  The  Brokenhearted  (1966)  and  Neil Young’s Southern Man (1970).Barbara Bradby referred to Otis Redding’s Dock Of The Bay (1968), an intertextual similarity also noted by several of my Montréal students. She also noted melodic similarity beween the Ye s We Can phrase sung at 0:31 in the Obama video and the initial ‘When the night’ phrase of Ben E King’s Stand By Me (1961). [4]Matthew Bannister pointed to similarities with Bob Marley and The Wailers’ No Woman No Cry (1974), and to possible anthemic connotations in Another Girl Another Planet by The Only...

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