"I've Just Seen a Face" -- Paul changed key? | The songs | Fab forum

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"I've Just Seen a Face" -- Paul changed key?
17 August 2013
4.11am
Funny Paper
America
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The original version is in A.  Seeing Paul's "Unplugged" concert (1991), I'm pretty sure the three guitarists (including) are playing it in C.  Why did Paul change the key?

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28 August 2013
2.38pm
Joe
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Maybe he or his band members found it easier to sing in the higher key. Does he still play it in C nowadays?

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29 August 2013
1.47am
Funny Paper
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Joe said
Maybe he or his band members found it easier to sing in the higher key. Does he still play it in C nowadays?

Good question. If that song was part of his set during this latest "Out There" tour, I could find video of it and see. 

Then again, at the time of the "Unplugged" sessions, it was 1991, and wasn't Paul in perfect singing voice back then? -- so he wouldn't feel the need to make it easier.

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29 August 2013
5.18pm
Joe
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He's playing in G nowadays!

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30 August 2013
2.45am
Funny Paper
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Thanks Joe, but what I'm seeing is that he seems to regularly resolve down to the C major chord, which would make it in C.  The G chord is part of the song in C, but isn't the main chord. 

Admittedly, I'm not very good at discerning what guitarists are playing by looking at them (and even more so when it's a bit distant from the camera).

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30 August 2013
3.20pm
Joe
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Nope. The original song was in A. Unplugged was in G, and he's still playing it in that key. I don't know when he made the switch, but he played it in G on Rockshow (1976), so my guess is it's been that way ever since he's played it live.

Basic chords (after the intro):

Intro: Em, C, D
Verse: G, Em, C, D, G
Chorus: D, C, G, C, G

Transpose up a tone for the version on Help!

Intro: F#m, D, E
Verse: A, F#m, D, E, A
Chorus: E, D, A, D, A

Admittedly, I'm not very good at discerning what guitarists are playing by looking at them (and even more so when it's a bit distant from the camera).

G and C can look similar, but the best way is to use your ears and play along.

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30 August 2013
3.51pm
Funny Paper
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Ah yes, I played along with my guitar and now it's clear.  Thanks.

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30 August 2013
10.59pm
Funny Paper
America
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And I just checked the 1976 live version from Paul's "Wings Over America" tour (I was there!) and it's also in G.  I re-checked the original and it's in A.  I wonder why Paul decided early on to change the key?

I also notice that the original Beatles recorded version seems to be a little off-key.  I.e., my guitar sounded perfectly fine playing along with the 1976 video, with the 1991 video, and with the 2013 video -- but suddenly when I try to play along with the original recording (I tried three different videos to make sure), I have to slightly loosen my strings; not all the way down to the key of G#, but about an increment halfway there.

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31 August 2013
1.31pm
Gerard
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Funny Paper said
And I just checked the 1976 live version from Paul's "Wings Over America" tour (I was there!) and it's also in G.  I re-checked the original and it's in A.  I wonder why Paul decided early on to change the key?

I also notice that the original Beatles recorded version seems to be a little off-key.  I.e., my guitar sounded perfectly fine playing along with the 1976 video, with the 1991 video, and with the 2013 video -- but suddenly when I try to play along with the original recording (I tried three different videos to make sure), I have to slightly loosen my strings; not all the way down to the key of G#, but about an increment halfway there.

I tried to play Blackbird as well on the guitar with the recording, it doesn't just as right. I don't know if it's my guitar or if it's the recording.

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13 November 2013
2.56pm
vectisfabber
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With regard to the playing along issues, the tracks were probably varispeeded up slightly to brighten the vocals on record.

I would imagine the original I've Just Seen A Face on Help! was recorded using the same chords he currently uses (ie. built round the basic G major), but capoed at the second fret to A (his guitar was already capoed at the second fret for Yesterday on that day, if I recall correctly), and he'll just have left the capo off so as to reach the high notes more easily when he does it live.

14 November 2013
12.19am
Funny Paper
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vectisfabber said
With regard to the playing along issues, the tracks were probably varispeeded up slightly to brighten the vocals on record.

I would imagine the original I've Just Seen A Face on Help! was recorded using the same chords he currently uses (ie. built round the basic G major), but capoed at the second fret to A (his guitar was already capoed at the second fret for Yesterday on that day, if I recall correctly), and he'll just have left the capo off so as to reach the high notes more easily when he does it live.

I hate these things that make me strain my brain (like trying to figure out if the Millennium started on Jan 1 2000, or Jan 1 2001).  Okay, if one plays a song in G without a capo, then capoes the 2nd fret and plays it in A, which is higher and which is lower, or are they both the same?  Let's see:

When I play the A chord with my capo on the 2nd fret, then I take off the capo, I have to play the B chord to get the same chord.  So without the capo, if I play the same song I played with the capo on in A, but finger it in G with the G chord, I would be transposing the key of the song down two whole steps.  We are still left with the mystery of why Paul did that.

Did I err somehow here...?

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27 November 2013
4.54pm
vectisfabber
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No you're right, but I suspect you're thinking yourself wrong.

Play an A shape capoed at the 2nd fret, and what you are actually playing is a B major. Take the capo off, and you have to play a B on open tuning ie. barreing with your index finger to take the place of the capo. If you play an A shape withOUT the capo, you're playing, er, A ie. you are correct, taking the capo off transposes the tuning of the guitar down 2 semitones/1 tone. Conversely, putting the capo on transposes up 1 tone.

I'm suggesting that Paul's guitar was already capoed at the 2nd fret - we know that because that's how he recorded Yesterday earlier in the session - and he left it capoed for IJSAF, meaning that although he was playing the familiar G-based chord sequence which Joe has set out above, the capo means it was transposed up a tone to the second chord sequence Joe set out above ie. it becomes A-based as it is on the record. If he now plays live the same chords without the capo, then it drops to G.

27 November 2013
5.10pm
Ron Nasty
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vectisfabber said
...that's how he recorded Yesterday earlier in the session...

In this bit you're wrong. I've Just Seen A Face was the first song recorded on 14 June 1965, in 6 takes, followed by I'm Down, in 7 takes. These were recorded between 2.30-5.30pm. They then took a break until 7.00 pm, when they recorded the 2 takes of Yesterday, finishing at 10.00pm.

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5 December 2013
11.38am
vectisfabber
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Vagaries of memory in old age, I'm afraid.  But it sounds as if his acoustic was capo'ed at the 2nd fret all day, whatever order Face and Yesterday were recorded in.

8 February 2014
12.32pm
tulane
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As you age your vocal register can tend to lower.  This may not be that noticeable in Paul's case but Elvis is a good example.

If you listen to recordings Elvis made in the 50s, when he was around twenty, and compare it to recordings he made towards the end of his life when he was around forty, his voice is noticeably deeper on the later stuff.

I think this is probably the reason why the song was performed in a lower key than on the record.

Another possibility is that I know the beatles often slightly altered the speed of the tape on their records which would affect the key.  Whether they did so on the track in question I don't know but I suppose it is possible they could have recorded it in G and then sped it up slightly so it sounds in A on the record.

8 February 2014
1.51pm
robert
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I think this will help clarify the mud. First we are talking the difference between "fingering" - mean chords as shaped by finger placement - and the "key" of the song - which is relative to A440 standard tuning.

IJSAF on the record was capoed on the 2nd fret using a G chord fingering pattern - the capo put the song in A (because it's up two steps from G to A). There is no way to get those particular guitar string voicings on the record other than by playing them in G fingering position. So either it was capoed or the whole track was sped up.

Speeding up from G to A is unlikely because the track doesn't sound like it's sped up that much - that's a big jump. I could be wrong about whether the track was sped up though.

I believe Paul played it capoed to a higher key (A) on the record to get a higher and more authentic country sound out of his voice - that twang of straining in "falling yes I am falling" . However he had to play in a G fingering in order to get an authentic country guitar sound - thus the capo.

He plays it uncapoed in G now because frankly he can't hit those notes live. He has lowered the keys of a lot of his songs for live performance. As have many aging artists - Elton John, Billy Joel, Springstein, etc.

My two cents - and overvalued at that.

 

 

 

 

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8 February 2014
3.56pm
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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