Song: Deciphering Me
Artist: Brooke Fraser
Songwriter: Brooke Fraser
Release date: 2006
Key: G Major
Chords in Key:
Deciphering Me is written for drums, bass, acoustic and electric guitars and vocals.
The intro begins with an acoustic guitar strumming the tonic and subdominant chords, followed by the vocals entering at the start of the verse. At the same time, harmonics are being played on the electric guitar in the same compound time rhythm. The harmonic simplicity of the verse part means the key is ambiguous and the rest of the song could be in G Major or C Major.
In the last two bars of the chorus, the bass guitar and drums enter, to create a sense of forward motion towards the pre-chorus. The second verse has added vocal harmonies and electric guitar arpeggios.
The pre-chorus is centred around the relative minor. This is the first time we know for certain the song is in the key of G Major, due to the dominant chord being major (if it was in C, this would be a D minor chord).
The chorus centres around the subdominant chord, which is odd in a pop song as it would normally centre around the tonic. The electric guitar plays a counter melody; this could be considered a simple form of polyphony. After the chord progression is repeated twice, it returns to the tonic for the second verse, and has a strong feeling of coming home, helped by the plagal cadence. At this point the whole band enters fully, making this chord feel like the tonal centre of the song.
The bridge cleverly uses the chords of the pre-chorus as a post-chorus, before using the final chord to pivot to the bridge proper. The bridge is based around the ii7 chord, and could be considered a shift to A Dorian, which uses the same chords as G Major. This skilfully makes the tonality change, while not changing the key so it doesn’t feel like a radical departure from earlier. The vocals reach their highest notes in this section, which creates a sense of tension that is resolved when it returns to the chorus. The drums switching to a compound time feel add to this sense of tension.
The song ends on a half cadence.
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