Thursday, August 6, 2009

Pat Metheny's Phase Dance -- A Harmonic Analysis

This is a clip of the Pat Metheny Group playing Phase Dance, a particular favorite of mine. A tune off the first Pat Metheny Group album, Phase Dance was from a period when Pat was still writing tunes based on more standard song forms -- very different from the cinematic epics of his later years.

And here's the chord progression. Interestingly it is based on a repetitive 12- bar sequence:

Bm7 Bm7 Bbmaj7 Bbmaj7
Bm7 Bm7 Bbmaj7 Bbmaj7
G/A G/A Gmaj7 Gmaj7

Notice how the Bm7 and Bbmaj7 toggle between two key centers -- Bm and Bb, or Bm and Gm as how I like to see it. Pat plays off F (or Dm) for the Bbmaj7 for a Bb lydian sound which gives a soaring effect to his melody line and solo.

Taking the lydian idea further, for the G/A and Gmaj7 in bars 9-12 Metheny sticks to the Bm (or D) tonality for a G lydian sound.

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  1. I saw Pat play 4 years ago in a trio with Antonio Sanchez and Christian McBride. Wish he had played Phase Dance -- it's one of my favorites too. They did do Bright Size Life though. My other favorite from the PMG 'white album' is 'Jaco'. Love Egan's fretless bass solo on that one.



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