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Silk Sonic’s “Leave the Door Open:” Ultimate Chord Breakdown

Here's what makes the Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak song tick.

This is a blog post adaptation of the following video:

This video is part of a series called Isn’t Music Theory, where I share some of my ideas about music and how we learn it. I’ve adapted and/or commented on the video for this post. If you’re interested, check out the whole series on the Midnight Oil Collective YouTube channel.

Like a lot of people, I freaked out when I first heard “Leave the Door Open” by Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak under the moniker Silk Sonic. Somehow it was super fresh and super nostalgic at the same time. The harmony in this song is out of another era, and has some very strong references to the Motown and Disco past, to a degree that’s quite most of what’s on the radio right now. 

I saw a few analysis videos that got the chords very wrong so I wanted to help people see how this song worked without dumbing it down, and at the same time taking them through my process of learning it by ear.

I filmed the tutorial, but it turned out that to make such a video involving the Keyring would take a huge amount of illustrating and editing. So late one night I decided to just post the part with the song itself, analyzed on the Keyring. 

That video kind of took off:

In the following weeks, I finished the editing for the full tutorial, and that’s what’s featured here.

This song is quite complex for a pop song, but it’s more simple and coherent than a lot of people seem to think it is. Watch to learn about the form of the song, how the verse and chorus are related, when and how the keys change, which songs from the past it calls up, and more.

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