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This song (YouTube) is one of the strangest pieces of music I've heard, with a long "A" pedal bass and a huge variety of crazy harmonies on top (my transcription), including lots of tritones.

  • Is this the Phrygian mode? It's clearly centered around A, but with prominent Bb, C, Dm, and F chords along the way.
  • If not, can I get an example of what is?
  • Is there a name for these kind of harmonies? The strangest sequence is (G, Cm, Eb7, D7-5, B7, E7-5) all with A bass! It's nuts that this works.

2 Answers 2

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Yeah I'm going to have nightmares tonight.

Definitely A is the root, there's no doubting that. That makes E the dominant, which is why the song has strange E chords before A chords - a "V - I" progression.

Upon listening to the melody, it seems to me that the notes in the scale are all natural except for that pesky Bb. This means that the major scale for those notes, all natural excepting Bb, is F Major. So if A is the root with the notes of F Major, and A is the third degree, we definitely arrive at the Phrygian mode.

To actually analyze the harmonies in such a piece can be very complex, and also beyond me personally. It seems to me the strange "prominent Bb, C, Dm, and F chords along the way" are actually part of a modulatory passage. I can't tell by ear ... but it seems as if the key is modulating up and then back down to A. Always follow the bass when you can - the synth is holding that Bb at different points, and also modulating up to some other key for "I'm bedazzled."

I would listen to it again, but you know, the nightmares :P

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Assuming the YouTube video you gave in the question is definitive, no, Dudley Moore's "Bedazzled" is not in A Phrygian.

In order for "Bedazzled" to be in A Phrygian, it needs to have no F♯s in it. (This is because the A Phrygian scale contains A-B♭-C-D-E-F-G only.) There are multiple F♯s in the YouTube video (e.g. sung "ooh"s at 0:13 and 0:22, possibly extended D major chord at 0:37, sung "-mer" of "glimmer" at 1:09). There are even multiple F♯s in your transcription!

"Bedazzled" definitely has Phrygian influences, but like quite a lot of video game music, it flip-flops between modes and scales that share a tonic too often to truly be in any Phrygian mode.

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