#145315  by seamones
Why is it in this key(s)? Discuss.
 #145356  by RI Tom
I've often wondered the same thing - perhaps Garcia first wrote the little intro lick and then had to set it in that key to fit? In any event, it's a fingerboard position out of the ordinary, for sure.
 #145373  by seamones
Yes, don't see Eb and even F in too many garica songs. Interesting thought on the riff, my first thought was that maybe his voice was changing...
 #145375  by RI Tom
You may be onto something as Days Between also has some Eb and F in it too.
 #145376  by lovetoboogie
Garcia routinely wrote melody on piano...he is quoted somewhere talking about this...could have something to do with the key of F, or an F major tonality, which comes up alot in his tunes...Candyman, Brokedown Palace, China Doll, Here Comes Sunshine, etc...
Last edited by lovetoboogie on Wed Mar 25, 2015 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 #145378  by Lephty
Could be as simple as Garcia saying, "Hell, I write in E, A, D, and G all the time, so I'm going to mix it up a bit for this one." Maybe exploring a new key brought out some different ideas for chords? Also, composers have known for a long time that different keys have different vibes to them. Remember when Phil changed Fire On The Mountain to G for a while, back in the early 2000's sometime? Didn't work too well IMO. Another example would be Dave Brubeck's "Take 5" which is in Eb minor (an easy tune to play, as jazz tunes go--one chord in the jam!). One would think it would make sense to move it up or down a half step into a "normal" key, but when you do, it just sounds wrong.

My band mashes up Dead and Phish songs (might be sacrelige around here!), and it's actually a pain in the ass sometimes because LOTS of Phish songs are in F, Bb, and Eb...can make it difficult to navigate our way into a Dead song or vice-versa. But I have always wondered why Trey & crew lean toward those keys more than most rock bands. Perhaps it's their jazz backgrounds.
 #163830  by old man down
The reason the song is in the key it is, is because on guitar, this is one of the saddest keys you can play in.

The key is Bb. (some may give it the name of one of the minor chords within its structure, and they may be right)

Bb Cm Dm Eb F Gm and the "whatever' diminished chord.

Just now, this song is like a new toy for me. I've never given So Many Roads a serious listen. Never!

But there was some chatter on the boards about the worst Dead Song, and I listened to some concert where there was a train wreck with Slipknot.

I clicked on the archive link and listened to it. Yes, it was pretty bad. Jerry was too high that first set. But I read the comments in the bottom of the archive, and there was mention of So Many Roads.

I decided to see what was on YouTube for it, and Soldier Field was at the top of the videos.

I clicked on it, and the first chords blew me away. Jerry looked fantastic. Everyone's comments were about how old he looked for 53 years old… but he looked like the real deal to me… and I've fallen in love with him all over again.

I tried a little of So Many Roads on my OM-21, and it rings out like there's no tomorrow.

I will now have to learn it. I have no choice. It's too beautiful not to learn.

Love this website. One door closes and another door opens.
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 #163834  by old man down
JDarks does it so well, tells it so sweetly, on so beautiful a lesson … So Many Roads.

 #163835  by aiq
Generally speaking the key is set by the singing.

I have run into people who will not play a Dead tune in any but the original key despite the singing being wack.

Jesse McReynolds (of Garcia's allegedly favorite bluegrass band, Jim and Jesse and the Virginia Boys - mine too) is quoted as saying he often has to give up a good key on mandolin to make the singing better.