Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cissy Strut

Q: I had a quick go of "Cissy Strut" last night. I'm trying to figure out the progression. If you look at it in Eb you get a vi-ii-V which seems on the money. I've tried some improvising and C blues or minor pentatonic fits, as does C Dorian and C natural minor. However, I was trying to figure if you can analyze the sequence from C harmonic minor perspective, since the tonal is so clearly a centerCm key (the Eb relative major is only implied, right?) But that gives a i-VII-IV which seems screwy... any ideas?

A: I wouldn't think too much about this one. I mean if God came out of the heavens and said; "Chris Juergensen, entering heaven will depend on how you analyze 'Cissy Strut,' the famous New Orleans funk hit covered by many musicians, what are the three chords in relation to each other?" I would say; "Thanks for this chance to get into heaven God, here is my answer: The C chord is a 'I' chord, the Bb chord is a 'bVII' borrowed from C minor, and finally the F chord is a 'IV' chord." And he would most likely let me into heaven despite all the rotten things I have done to various women over the years. But if he was anything like me, and this is very unlikely, he would say; "You are thinking too much about it, just play a blues have a good time."

Thinking minor is not such a good idea with this tune. It is only minor the same way a Blues is minor, meaning the minor pentatonic scale will work, but the chord is really a C7 chord.

Strut if a fun song to play if you are adventurous, It is basically a A-A-B-B form with both the As and the Bs in C. Scofield changes the B section to the key of Ab I think. When I have my students play it in their ensemble class, I make every guitarist change the B section to something different. It makes the song fun but also makes the solo a bit more challenging.


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