# Analyzing Ryuichi Sakamoto "Merry Christmas, Mr. Laurence"

The original song is not in C Maj key but the sheet I Have is in C Maj so let just see as the key is in C maj

(The [B] part starts 1:50)

How does the Gm (Vm) come about?

Is it a modal interchange chord Vm (sub dominant) from the Mixolydian scale?

And if I'm right about Gm being a modal interchange chord from Mixolydian, how does this connect to Dm?

• Btw, this is clearly inspired by Debussy's "Claire de Lune", so analysis of that may help you to figure out what Sakamoto is doing, and why. Commented Sep 12, 2018 at 15:17
• @YourUncleBob which part of "Claire de Lune" should I look ? Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 0:42
• It seems to be built around the underlying theme of Clair de Lune. E.g. in this recording: youtube.com/watch?v=4fvo_iOuSck it's most recognisable between 0:26 and 0:44, but the theme crops up in various guises throughout the piece. Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 17:04

Your intuition about the Gm is absolutely correct: it's just a result of mode mixture, also called modal interchange.

Before this Gm9, we have FM7–G7–Am7, which is really a IV7–V7–vi7 progression in C major. The Gm9 is then just a chord borrowed from C Mixolydian; instead of a V9 chord, we now have a v9 chord. I think borrowing from Mixolydian is better than borrowing from the parallel minor of C minor. If we were borrowing from C minor, we'd likely have an A♭ as well, which we don't.

At this point, the Gm9 moving to Dm is simply a v–ii progression in C. (You could also think of these as being brief i–v motions in Gm, but I don't hear G as tonic here). There's no chromaticism or fancy chord motion, it's just a minor dominant moving to the supertonic (ii) chord.

• what do you mean by "the music being more centered in Gm or Dm"? are you talking about key change ? Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 16:22
• @HyunYooPark Yes, I'm talking about a key change. I mean that it's unclear to me whether G is tonic there or if D is. If I had to guess, I would say D is tonic, and thus my reading would align with (2) above. Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 16:30
• But what made you think the key has changed ? how could you define that ? I mean , from IVM7 V7 vi7 and all of sudden key change to dm ? doesn't it have to have more certain connection to make it happen ? Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 17:54
• @HyunYooPark Only because I no longer hear C as tonic, although I do hear C as tonic in the FM7–G7–Am7 progression. Key changes can happen in all sorts of ways, but in short, if you feel like tonic is a different pitch than it was previously, then it's a key change. Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 2:27
• @HyunYooPark But now, listening to the piece with better speakers, I hear that section in C (that is, neither Gm or Dm). I'll edit accordingly! Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 2:28

everyone. I am from the country where Sakamoto was born. I suppose that Gm9->Dm9 should be interpreted as IIm->VIm in F Major, not in C Maj! Besides, Gm9->Bm7->E7 should be as IIm(in F Maj)->IIm(in A Minor)->V7(in A Minor) Hope this helps.