Music Theory Breakdown: How Deep Is Your Love (Calvin Harris)

March, 24 2016

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Quick Fix: How Deep Is Your Love (Calvin Harris + Disciples)

This column aims to quickly analyze elements of popular music with an emphasis on chord progressions and relatively advanced music theory.

 

How Deep Is Your Love (2015) from Calvin Harris + Disciples is based around two progressions inhabiting the same space, the latter progression with occasional additions (ninths and sevenths).

 

 

For the first progression, being a cycle of E minor, C, and two A minor:

 

If we base our scale on E Minor, we get:

I VI IV [IV]   (Brackets indicate repetition)

 

If we base our scale on A Minor, we get:

V III I [I]

For the second progression, being a simple cycle of two C and two A minor, we get either:

 

Key of E Minor: VI [VI] IV [IV]

Key of A Minor: III [III] I [I]

 

Note that these chords are occasionally modified (through note addition) into 9ths / 7ths.

 

Whichever way you pick (the scale of best description is left as an exercise to the reader, and don’t be fooled by apparent simplicity), notice that the second progression is derivative of the first, and that the second is almost the same chord twice. This is particularly useful as it allows quite a bit of space for the vocalist and vocoder à la Daft Punk; they don’t have to worry about staying in key nearly as much. The entire song stays in these two progressions, making it easily matchable for DJs - they don’t need to worry about transposition while cueing their set. The bass rhythm and kicks also stay static throughout, further simplifying the beat and allowing even more room to the vocal layers. It’s also interesting to note that both progressions together only use five base notes and that the two interval jumps are identical.

 

The chords are provided as ‘01.mid’ and may be downloaded as part of "Free MIDI Pack 1" in the free section of the website.

 

Link to Free MIDI Pack 1 Download