Monday 5 March 2012

What's Going On - Marvin Gaye (1971)


Main groove over an Emaj7 chord, classic Jamerson line. Largely based around the root, fifth and major sixth of the chord. Fill at the end is very similar but with a chromatic run to add variation. The double dotted crotchet at the start of the bar is used frequently throughout this song.

Fill at the end of Verse 2

Skipping down the octave, flat seven and fifth of the B9 chord. Changes in rhythm make this simple fill effective, and Jamerson uses a similar figure later on in the song.

Chorus 1

Walks up the root, second and major third of the Emaj7. G# at the end of the first bar also acts as the perfect fifth of the C#min7; a dominant approach reflecting Jamerson's walking bass influence. The fifth and minor seven are used on the C#min7 as a small fill, bringing you back to the Emaj7 in the next bar.

Bridge 1

Only using the root, perfect fifth and octave, Jamerson uses rhythmic changes to keep the line interesting and give it movement - a common Jamerson technique.

Bridge 2

Walking up the root, third, fourth, flat fifth, perfect fifth, flat seven, major seven and octave. Essentially outlining the major scale, but adding tension with the flat fifth and flat seven. This quick tension and release pattern is common in Jamerson's playing. The drop down to the C at the end lends itself to a chromatic walk down to the A of the next chord, Am9.