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"Treat chords"
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1 February 2014
Funny Paper
Apple rooftop
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"Treat chords" is a term me and my friend came up with years ago to denote a certain chord change using just two chords.  Supposedly this change is in the "mixolydian" mode, which is a variation of the minor key.

The reason I call it that is because I first was impressed by it upon listening to a song called "Treat" by Santana (see below at the end of my post) on their first album, where that motif is quite dominant.  In that song, the chords are G minor to C7.

In fact, "Treat chords" are quite prevalent throughout the first few albums by Santana. 

Anyway, I've noticed that Paul also employs them in various songs, far more it seems than John or George ever did, and more than the Beatles did.  George's song "My Sweet Lord" (also using G minor to C) is the only non-McCartney song I can think of where those chords figure significantly.

Here are some Paul songs that use "Treat chords":

Uncle Albert -- he uses two different keys of them: in this snippet, you hear first G minor to C, then it segues into A minor to D.

Magneto and Titanium Man -- here is the snippet.  Although websites that show the chords have A major to G major, that's another way of doing "Treat chords" -- since the G major is also virtually the same as E minor 7th, so as that part plays along, we get a feel of the E minor to A change which is the "Treat chords" change in the key of E mixolydian -- and Paul is definitely emphasizing that feel in that part of the song.

Bluebird -- Here Paul only uses "Treat chords" selectively and briefly, but to good effect.  The chords in question here are F minor to B-flat.  In this snippet, listen closely to these lyrics:

Touch your lips

with a magic kiss

and you'll be a bluebird too

and you'll know what love can do...

Only at the word "be" do the "Treat chords" begin.  F minor beginning at "be", and B-flat right on "too" -- then F minor again at "know" and B-flat right on "do".


If I think of any more songs, I'll add them.

Here's just about a minute and a half of "Treat" by Santana.

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Mr. Kite
Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
1 February 2014
Funny Paper
Apple rooftop
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Another one:

Little Lamb Dragonfly -- two snippets:

1) the "la la la" part has two Treat chords:  A minor/D bass to D, followed by D minor 7th to G 7th (the whole chord pattern is nice: C - A minor/D bass - D- D minor 7th - G 7th - C)

2) F-sharp minor 7th to B 7th (the final repeated phrase "feel a pain" ends the Treat cycle with B7th-sus to B7th)


Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
5 September 2015
A Park in the Dark
Hollywood Bowl
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In music theory, what you're talking about is the movement from the ii chord to the V chord, and it's one of the most commonly used progressions in music. I think it would be almost harder to name the songs where that progression isn't used. It features prominently in the intro to "Tell Me Why" (Em7 to A).  It's the catchy hook in the bridge of "From Me To You" (Gm7 to C). 

Pretty much any time you have an Am to D ("Here, There, and Everywhere" at the end of each verse), or F#m to B ("Don't Let Me Down" in the first line of each verse), etc., that's what you're hearing. It's a really beautiful and harmonically pleasing way of returning to the root chord, which is why it gets used in nearly every pop song.

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