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Chord changes for ending of Romeo And Juliet

Romeo and Juliet is a song I have been playing on my National for many years, but I never tried to play the wonderful ending of recent live versions where the piano leads through a rather unusual chord sequence. Yesterday I played around with the piano a bit and had a look at this.

After the last verse Romeo and Juliet features a two-chord sequence over which Knopfler plays solo: Bb (or Bbmaj7) and C.

When the drum stops, this sequnce (Bb – C ) is repeated two more times. Next comes a sequence of five chords, the piano is the dominating instrument here:

Bb – Am – G – F (9) – E

Note that Romeo and Juliet is in the key of F, so you would expect a sequence that leads to an F chord. This one however completely ignores the key – the G and especially that last E do not belong here in any way. Thus it functions as a surprising change in the mood of the sound, highlighting the carefully constructed composition. Wonderful.

To hear what I am talking about, check the following youtube video, starting from 8:55 :

3 thoughts on “Chord changes for ending of Romeo And Juliet

  1. i don’t know if i’m wrong but i always thought that even when imitating mk is not quite quite quite dificult you have to be a complete genius to create the songs he does and to create these impossible chord progesions.

  2. The first time I heard this outro was on the Mandela concert. I’ve discovered later that it was already played on BIA tour.
    I too found this chord progression wonderfull.
    At the first time, you could find this chord progression as a very surprising idea, because the chords are note really fit the key of he song.
    But you can also see that it’s “just” a “going down” from the chord Bb to E (appart from the fact that A is minor instead others, because Am is like C, which fit more in the F key). So maybe, Mark did just “go down” the chords, and did not search particular idea. Why did he stopped to E ? He could have go down one more to D, then the song would have finish in the same key, but in major (F is same scale as Dm, so it would have done : Dm to D) which is quite common in popular music : you have a song in minor, and tne ending is the same key, but in major.

    Talking about piano in R&J, the intro by Matt Rolling on 2006 tour was beautiful too. I remember that the idea of piano intro beginned on STP tour by Geraint Watkins, and then on SL tour by Matt. It really add to song.

  3. Wow. You are right. This chord progression completely changes the mood of the piece, ending on a lighter note. It sounds like there’s actually hope for the future. Wonderful! I have never heard that particular ending to this piece before.

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