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Which songs use the arpeggios like Adele's Someone like you?

Posted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 3:41 am
by lovefilmmusic
Dear all,

I'm studying the style of Someone like you, by Adele. As you know, its driving piano rhythm is a simple arpeggio with a descending bass. It starts as a simple chord, then slowly builds the tension as the lowest note descends further and further away from the initial chord

Could you advise which other songs also use this technique?

Thank you.

Re: Which songs use the arpeggios like Adele's Someone like

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:58 am
by suzdoyle
Here are some examples from various eras:

Beautiful - by Christina Aguilera (2002)
You Raise Me Up (2002) - Ascending Bass Notes w/ chord changes
Wake Me Up When September Ends (Green Day)
I Believe in You and Me (1982/ from "The Preacher's Wife")
Miss Celie's Blue (1980s/ from "The Color Purple")
The Way He Makes Me Feel (1983 - from the movie "Yentl") Dm Dm/C# Dm/C Bm7-5 BbMaj7 etc.
Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover (1975 Paul Simon) - some jazz style chords, but the essence is the bass changes
Time in a Bottle (1971 - Jim Croce)
All in Love is Fair (1970s - Stevie wonder)
Another Star - (1970s Stevie Wonder )
Welcome to the Black Parade (first part) 1970's My Chemical Romance
Brian's Song - Michelle LeGrand (1972)
Dream On - Aerosmith (Descending bass with broken chord notes repeating) (1970s)
the Summer Knows (1971 - Michele LeGrand) Fm Fm/E Fm/Eb Dm7-5 , Bbm Bbm/A Bbm/Ab etc.
--- very torchy with French sensibilities . . .
Piano Man (1970s - Billy Joel) C C/B Am C/G etc.
Fire and Rain (1969 - James Taylor ) - chorus/ descending bass notes
America (Paul Simon)
A Time for Us (1968)
Dear Prudence (1968 - Beatles)
Girl with no Eyes - It's a Beautiful Day (1969)
Summer in the City - (1966) - upbeat, but descending bass
When a Man Loves a Woman (1960) - a bit more soul/ sassy - but descending bass
Whiter Shade of Pale - Procol Harum (1967)
My Funny Valentine (Rodgers/ Hart) 1937
Don't Mean a Thing (1932) - Upbeat Swing, but ditto bass line moving down w/ chord changes
I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance (1932) - Chords change, imply bass line moving down by half steps
Blue Skies (1927) - Bass moves down by half steps in chorus as chords change
Sweet Sixteen (1890s) - Glen Campbell's remake of this in the 70s or 80s had a lovely descending bass pattern: G G/F# Em Em/D C C/B Am Am/G etc.
I Dreamed a Dreamed (and many other Broadway songs) use these descending bass patterns or (as in "Corner of the Sky") they keep the bass notes the same and raise the chords - G Am/G , then C G/B Am Am/D etc. (See also "Seasons of Love," "On My Own," "I'm in the Mood for Love," "A Child is Born" (Thad Jones);
My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro) theme song

And some torch songs that create the same effect in different ways:
Cry Me a River (1955) - Top of chord moves up by half steps while bass stays same (Cm Ab/C Cm6 Cm7)
(creates tension by one thing moving & one thing staying in place)
Sonny Boy (1928) -- ditto as Cry Me a River
September Song (1938) similar technique - torchy changes from C to Ab, followed by descending bass notes
Stormy Weather (1933) - torchy feel by bass notes moving up by half steps with each chord change (Eb Edim Fm7)
More than You Know (1929) - Bass descends by half steps as chords change
Part of Your World (Little Mermaid) Bass stays same while chords move
Somewhere Out There (1986) -- Bass moves up with chord changes
Winterlight (1993 - Linda Rondstadt) - combo of stationary bass/ chords moving & the opposite
Blackbird (1966 - Beatles) -- Bass notes moving up with the chord changes
I Started a Joke (1968 - Bee Gees) - Bass notes moving up w/ chord changes
Vincent (1971 - Don McLean) - Bass walks ups w/ chord changes

Okay. Those are just some examples off the top of my head. In summary, I think Adele combines different kinds of torch song sensibilities, from Broadway, French traditions and progressions from movie songs and tunes from various eras. Of course, she makes it her own amazing style! Hope this helps. Vo de oh Doh!


Re: Which songs use the arpeggios like Adele's Someone like

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:09 am
by lovefilmmusic
Thank you so much for your great answer. I will listen to all of them.

Re: Which songs use the arpeggios like Adele's Someone like

Posted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:22 pm
by suzdoyle