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I just want to check, is this song, Magic Power by Triumph, an example of D Mixolydian (major, dropped 7th)?

http://chordify.net/chords/triumph-magic-power-dietsolution003 (For chord analysis, though its wrong on some things. Just check em. Pretty cool tool though.)

I ask because it seems to be in D major, because it revolves around D, starts and ends on D, yet it frequently uses C in both melody and chords.

It could possibly be G, because thats the only key signature I know that has D,C,G as a possible progression, but it also uses A major (I think), which G doesn't have. Also, the melody just feels best in D major.

So all signs point to D major as a base, but then there's that C major that throws it off.

So is this D Mixolydian, and if it's not, what is it?

I'm writing a song I just realized is similar to this, except for more modulations, like in the chorus it ends in a run from E major.

So I basically want to learn how Triumph's works to better understand mine too.

Thanks.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Mode mixture is a pretty common thing to see in rock music. Basically, that just means it's okay if you see chords that are outside of the key here and there--and the major chord built on the flat 7th (bVII) in particular is something you'll see a lot.

For this song, I would say your analysis of D mixolydian is completely accurate. The root is undoubtedly D, since the melody is constructed so that is the "resting note", as well as D major being used functionally as a I chord. You don't have to know a ton of theory to figure that out; unless the harmony is really complex, you can just listen to a few seconds of music and ask yourself "what note would the melody end on?" -- chances are, that's the root.

Then, it's just a matter of figuring out what scale is being used. If you were writing a key signature for this music, it would be a key signature of one sharp, just like G major. In other words, you're correct that G major has all of the notes that are used in this song, but with the root being D, we know then that we are in the 5th mode of G major. In other words, D mixolydian!

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Hey thanks this is a very nice explanation, and thanks for the quick answer too! I'm a bit confused about one thing though. If a song can use modal chords and not be modal, what really makes a song fully modal? –  user1159454 Sep 4 '13 at 8:08
    
Whether the song is modal or not is defined by the key. And the key is not necessarily defined by the chords, but by the melody. –  NReilingh Sep 4 '13 at 16:47
    
Alright thank you, I was always told the opposite, that it all comes down to the chords used. –  user1159454 Sep 8 '13 at 19:22

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