John Taylor

John Taylor

John Taylor is the songwriting Brummie bass player from 1980's New Romantic band Duran Duran.

BBC Rock School

Rio - playalong

Planet Earth - live in 1981

Anyone Out There - live in 1981

Top of the Pops 1981

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Peavey A435

Peavey manufacturered a limited edition Liberator J-84 bass for John Taylor plus the A435 guitar shown left.

Peavey bass


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NATURAL MINOR SCALE THREE CHORD TRICKS

As explained in BLOGoZON No. 82 every major scale generates a predictable series of chords (built using a mixture of major and minor third intervals); with the simplest having 3 notes (triads) and the most complicated using all 7 notes of the major scale (thirteenths). This relationship also applies to the NATURAL MINOR SCALE with the only difference being the order in which the notes/chords make their appearance

The simplest major scale, from a note naming point of view, is C major as it has ZERO sharp (#) or flat (b) notes. Similarly the A natural minor scale is the simplest minor scale (as it is really the C major scale re-ordered to start on A natural rather than C natural); a table of the scale follows:-

INTERVAL NUMBER

1

2

b3

4

5

b6

b7

NOTE NAMES

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

Harmonizing the A natural minor scale in thirds (i.e. start on each note in turn taking every other letter of the scale until 3 notes have been accumulated e.g. A, C, E – A minor; B, D, F – B diminished;
C, E, G – C major; D, F, A – D minor; E, G, B, - E minor; F, A, C – F major; G, B, D – G major) produces the following table:-

A NATURAL MINOR SCALE HARMONY (Aeolian mode)

Im

IIdim

bIII

IVm

Vm

bVI

bVII

Am

Bdim

C

Dm

Em

F

G


Using the 7 chords generated from the natural minor scale (Aeolian mode) there are a total of 35 chord progressions (when 3 chords are selected at one time) and these relationships have been tabulated for A minor to the right.

As demonstrated by the table shown right each chord appears a total of 15 times (from a total of 35 chord progressions)

The presence of the diminished chord produces a big problem from a pop music point of view (rather than jazz) as the sound of this chord is considered too difficult for most listeners.

As the Bdim chord is contained in three-sevenths of the available chord progressions it leaves a limited number of usable 3 chord tricks (20 out of an original 35); hence an alternative chord is required to replace it.

The solution to the replacement of the Bdim chord will be explored in BLOGoZON No.86.

A minor 3 chord tricks


The table above can also be generated for all seven SHARP minor scales as defined by the CYCLE OF FIFTHS

Minor harmony sharps

Similarly the table can be produced for the FLAT minor scales as defined by the CYCLE OF FOURTHS

Minor Harmony flats


Every one of the 35 numerically ordered 3 CHORD TRICKS(progressions) can be re-ordered a further 6 times, which produces a total of 210 potential SONGSEEDS for each and every key signature. An example table follows for chord progression number 9, which has a generalised relationship of Im, bIII, bVII :-

Three chord trick number 9


The question is "Has any of this music theory nonsense been used to write any decent songs that both sounded good and made some money for the writer?"

Fortunately the answer is a resounding YES and as John Taylor is the subject of this weeks BLOGoZON the song in question is from Duran Duran's eponymous debut hit record and uses a NATURAL MINOR SCALE based THREE CHORD TRICK for the verse chord sequence.

The song in question is Planet Earth from their 1981 hit album DURAN DURAN where a Im, bIII, bVII
(Dm-F-C) THREE CHORD TRICK has been used as the verse chord sequence.

Planet Earth



John Taylor

Like some new romantic looking for a T.V. sound
....Zon Brookes

Duran Duran


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