Saturday Songwriting: Jefferson Airplane, White Rabbit

This week we arrive at #483 on Rolling Stones list of the 500 Greatest songs, White Rabbit, by Grace Slick, (performed by Jefferson Airplane). Without going through the list, I don’t know if I’d have looked at this song’s structure , and there’s a lot that’s really cool going on here. 

It is inspired as much by the music of Ravel’s Bolero and Miles’s “Sketches of Spain” as by Alice in Wonderland. Musically the moves it makes be could analyzed through the lens of more classic theory, (it uses the flamenco scale which also has the scary name Phrygian dominant), or plain old Rock ’n Roll. If I were to pull it apart thoroughly, I’d probably fill five or six sheets talking about the scales and modulations. 

BEAD Guides Chord Flow does a quick and dirty job of looking at relationships between its chords though. The moodiness the switching between two chords which are a fret apart on the guitar, (F# & G). The more tense rush of skipping over a chord in BEAD Guides Chord Flow rather than simply moving to a neighbor, (G to A, & C to D)

Which is all to say, as a music nerd, this was a fun song to look at.  

Check it out! 

The Prompt:

Here’s a link to Julie Beck’s Art. Find out more about Julie’s work here.

The Musical Idea:

Here’s a downloadable pdf of the worksheet above:

Unfamiliar with BEAD Guides Chord Flow?
Here’s an intro: BEAD GCF Intro
Here’s how it works in the Key of C: BEAD Key of C
Here’s how it maps chord substitutes: BEAD Subs

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