Earth Song (Michael Jackson)

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Transposed a semitone higher to Am.

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The song starts with a classic II-V sequence in Am/D which belongs to the key of G major (Ionian). The E in the 5th measure would be a E minor (Aeolian) in the tonal context of G Ionian but here it´s E major to lead as V-I sequence back to A minor and thus underline the A minor character.

A Dorian, D Mixolydian and E HM5 must be used. A minor pentatonic also works as it states that the song is in A minor and leaves it open whether it´s Dorian or Aeolian. You shouldn´t miss the increase of the minor third to E major; concentrate on the notes of E7: E, G#, A and D.

The E major in bar 9 does not lead back to Am this time, but initiates the classic II-V-I-VI progression in C Ionian. The parallel minor key is A Aeolian so the song remains in A minor.

Here you can use the typical Jazz II-V-I lines, the audience will tolerate even the usage of tensions. But the A minor character should always be kept in focus.

The E7 in measure 13 leads back to the II-V sequence from the beginning which is kept until the end of the song. At this point it´s most dramatic; the soloist should make clear that it´s an altered E7/b9/b13 chord, which requires resolution to Am. E HM5 would be the first option but also E MM7 (altered) and E semitone whole tone (STWT) can be used.

The II-V sequence Am-D remains until the end of the song. The modulation to Bm-E (one note higher) increases the dramatic.

The video shows in an impressing way how Michael Jackson stays tall against the entire orchestra. The intensity of his performance is that of surfer on a gigantic wave; a real monument of pop art from the "King of Pop".