11/20/2013

Weekly Basslines #130: You Raise me up (Westlife)

Christmas is just around the corner and that's the time when the setlists of many bands are getting sentimentalized. Markus from Switzerland requested this one. This tearjerking ballad is not a musical lightweight as it takes us through three different keys and lots of chord-inversions, so you always have to be on the watch with all the changing accidentals and non-root bassnotes. Starting in the key of Eb major (Bb, Eb, Ab), then changing to F major (only Bb) and finally culminating in Gb major with six accidentals (Bb, Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, Cb) the main challenge in this tune is to keep track of the harmonies. And all those harmonies are cleverly chosen by the composers (Rolf Lovland and Brendan Graham) with the intention to create big emotions.
There's only one verse in this tune at the beginning, which is solely accompanied by the piano. The chords of the verse are very basic, mainly I-IV-V: 


But the frequent usage of chord-inversions hides the relatively simple structure of the verse progression and creates a smooth tension.
The chorus dramatically starts with the relative minor chord (Cm) and ends with the more peaceful major tonic (Eb):


The following Interlude establishes the first key change to a joyful F major:


The chorus starts again with the relative minor chord (now in F major being Dm) creating again a bit of sweet tearfulness, which is finally enhanced by a rise in key of a whole step to Gb during the last chorus. Sentimentality at it's maximum. ;-)











Thanks to Markus for the donation and this sentimental moment.