Eric Clapton

FRIDAY, September 27, 2019

Layla, popular for 49 years…

Eric Clapton is musically illiterate. Impossible? Well it’s true. Illiterate does not mean stupid, or ignorant, or not good, because Clapton is one of the most respected guitarist you will ever read about or hear. Musically illiterate means you can’t read music.

There are other awesome talents who never learned to read music. Two are Paul McCartney and Dave Brubeck. What does this mean? It means you have to be way more talented to play only by ear and learn all the stuff we need to know to play music.

I first heard this tune, Layla, decades ago, around 1970 most likely. The thing that caught my ear at that time is that it’s in D minor, which is pretty standard. He uses mostly Bb to C to Dm, which is predictable. The surprise is that he jolts to C# minor, moves to E, then abruptly goes back to Dm. I never heard that progression before in this kind of music. Also interesting in this recording, now 20 years old and obviously performed about 29 years after he wrote it, is that this time he used electric guitar. I like the sound.

By the way, Clapton is still going strong. He has been touring again this year.



3 thoughts on “Eric Clapton

  1. I’m not able to follow anything about chords, except that the instrumental music sounds good. I’ve not been able to understand what I’m hearing in the vocals – to my ear often it sounds disconnected from the harmonies, but then the end of a line or a phrase is in sync with the harmonies, so something is happening that is right, but outside my musical world.

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