How does Beyoncé use music theory to make “Singles Ladies” hit harder?

bass line chords harmony Aug 12, 2021

How does Beyoncé use music theory to make “Singles Ladies” hit harder?

 Chelsea Zellner and Steve Newbrough


The quick answer is that Beyoncé uses a bass lines to imply the minor iv chord in the second chorus right on the word “shoulda...” (this is 51 seconds into the song). Notice how this makes you feel as a listener. What was light hearted jam suddenly becomes more serious and heavy.

The harmonic analysis of Single Ladies is actually hotly debated in the music theory community. This piece of music is extremely unique, and deceptively complex given the apparent simplicity of it on the page. It contains a pretty simple melodic line, percussive accompaniment, and very little harmonic support (pitched instruments playing harmonies). Because of this, there is some room for interpretation. While some minds feel this song is an example of polytonality and some pretty complex borrowed chords, there is abundant evidence pointing to the...

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Why are there two letters in the chord name? What are Slash chords?

Why are there two different letters in the chord name? What are slash chords?

The first letter stands for the chord that needs to be played. The second letter stands for the bass note or the lowest note that should be played instead of the root of the chord.
For instance, in the "C" chord, the lowest note played would be "C." In an "C/G" chord, all of the notes of the C chord would ring but you would also play the low G on the sixth string (third fret). 
In the lingo, musicians would call C/G, "C over G." Meaning the C chord will literally be ringing over an G bass note. Here's a diagram of a C/G:
Just in case you're unsure, the bottom part of your third finger can mute the fifth string.
What are some common songs with slash chords?
This list could get long... I'm going to add more songs at the end of the...
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