Notes On: A Rose For Emily, Pt. 2
Welcome back to the Notes On series. In Part 1 of our analysis of The Zombies’ “A Rose for Emily,” we analyzed the verse and found it to be quite slippery and ambiguous, full of diminished 7th chords acting as secondary dominants. Let’s wrap up the song with a look at the bridge and outro.
The verse ended with a feeling of having resolved to the key of A major, a momentary respite in a constantly-shifting harmonic landscape. The bridge, however, kicks off with another stark change of scenery: a half-step root movement from A to Bb, which signifies a brief diversion into the key of F, followed by a shift to D major.
Chord: |Bb |F |C#°7 |D | F major: |IV |I |vii°7/vi |VI | D major: |vii°7 |I | Bass: |Bb |F |C# |D |
Chord: |C#°7 |D |A7 |D D7 | D major: |vii°7 |I |V7 |I V/IV | Bass: |G |F# |A |D C |
The diminished seventh chords and altered bass notes of the verse return in this section. The 3rd and 4th bars can be seen as a pivot modulation from F to D. Note that we could choose to label the chord in measure 5 a G°7, since it has a G in the bass and would be enharmonically equivalent to C#°7, but I’ve named it C# because it resolves to D. The D7 chord in measure 8, played with a slight ritardando for emphasis, sets up a return to the G chord, neatly tying the end of the bridge back into the beginning of the verse.
The verse and bridge alternate from from here on out, with one small change to the subsequent verses: two extras bars, one each of C#m and Bm, preceding the V I resolution in A, under the lyric “not one left for her grave.” Verse 3 has a short outro appended to it, which teases the listener with a tentative movement towards the key of D before ultimately coming to rest on A. Here’s the final verse followed by the outro, beginning with measure 7:
Chords: |Bm |C#m |Bm |E | A major: |ii |iii |ii |V | Bass: |D |C# |B |E |
Chords: |A |A7 |D |G#°7 | A major: |I |V/IV |IV |vii°7 | Bass: |A |A |A |G# |
Chords: |Asus4 A | A major: |I | Bass: |A |
So, in the end, I’d probably say the song is in A major. But all the while it’s having an affair with D major, and it even has a quick fling with F major. This one’s hard to pin down, but that’s part of what makes it so beautiful.