Music Theory Breakdown: Treasured Soul (Michael Calfan)

June, 23 2016

Myles Power

Quick Fix: Treasured Soul (Michael Calfan)

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


Treasured Soul (2014) from Michael Calfan is based around a single progression inhabiting just a few basic chords (the first figure below) with occasional rhythmic and harmonic augmentation.

For the basic chord progression, being a cycle of E minor, D, C and back to D.

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



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


The first augmentation (notated above) is a mallet rhythm that establishes a new pulse. 

Note that this pattern is derivative of the foundational piano chords.

The second augmentation (notated above) is a harmonic and rhythmic elaboration on the original piano chords and rhythm, interlocking with the mallet hits and kick pattern to create complexity. Note that these chords are 7ths of the foundational pattern.



Whichever key you pick (the scale of best description is left as an exercise to the reader; keys are a measurement, not a determinant or prescription), note that the simplicity of the repeated progression allows for a range of instrumental and vocal variation.


The foundational chord progression is provided as ‘Soul Chords.mid’. The mallet pattern is called ‘Soul Mallet.mid’, and the harder chord pattern is ‘Soul Rhythm.mid’ in folder "03" of our free download "MIDI Pack 1" in the free section of the website.


Link to Free MIDI Pack 1 Download