I’m normally not a huge fan of Mariah Carey; she has this seeming inability to stay put on any single note of the scale for very long (like probably a half a second at most) before she can’t resist the temptation to go warbling off into at least 5 or 6 other notes. OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but not that much. Anyway, there’s a nice article at Slate.com that talks about the wonderfulness that is her Christmas song, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. I love this article for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is the idea that I actually understand what the author is talking about when he notes that “the most Christmassy chord of all—a minor subdominant, or ‘iv,’ chord with an added 6″ can also be looked as as “a half-diminished ‘ii’ 7th chord”. Thanks go to my freshman college year music theory teacher, Mr. Jett, who let me take his class even though it was the second semester music theory class for which I accidentally signed up on registration day without having taken the first semester class. I imagine I got away with this faux pas due to the fact that in 1974, college class registration activities didn’t yet take place online, and so there was no software guardian at the gates keeping me from committing said act of musical education heresy.
But to get back to the topic of Mariah Carey, I didn’t know that she was a co-writer of the song; I had just assumed that someone else had written it for her and which she subsequently made her own. Musically, it’s a fairly complex song, compared to the usual three-chord songs that modern pop music throws at us.
Here’s a link to the article: All I Want For Christmas Is Diminished Chords.
Merry Christmas to all!