Sir Duke chords by Stevie Wonder


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Sir Duke | Chords + Lyrics 

Intro

||: B | G#madd9addb5 | G | F#7 :||

Verse 1

| B | G#m | G | F#7 |
Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand.
| B | G#m | G | F#7 F7 |
With an equal opportunity for all to sing, dance, and clap their hands.

Bridge 1

| E9 Eb9 D9 Db9 | D9 Eb9 E9 |
But just because a record has a groove don’t make it in the groove.
| E9 Eb9 D9 Db9 | D9 Eb9 E9 F#7 |
But you can tell right away at letter A, when the people start to move.

Chorus 1

||: B | Fm7 | Emaj7  B/D# | C#m7 F#7 F#7sus4 :||
They can feel it all over, but they can feel it all over people.
They can feel it all over, they can feel it all over people, no. 

Instrumental 1

||: B Major Blues riff :|| x7
Yeah. Ha ha ha! 
| B Major Blues riff  F# |

Verse 2

| B | G#m | G | F#7 |
Music knows that it is and always will be one of the things that life just won’t quit.
| B | G#m | G | F#7 F7 |
But here are some of music’s pioneers that time will not allow us to forget now.

Bridge 2

| E9 Eb9 D9 Db9 | D9 Eb9 E9 |
For there’s Basie, Miller, Satchmo and the king of all, Sir Duke.
| E9 Eb9 D9 Db9 | D9 Eb9 E9 F#7 |
And with a voice like Ella’s ringing out there’s no way the band could lose.

Chorus 2

||: B | Fm7 | Emaj7  B/D# | C#m7 F#7 F#7sus4 :||
You can feel it all over. You can feel it all over people.
You can feel it all over. You can feel it all over people.
You can feel it all over. You can feel it all over people.
You can feel it all over. You can feel it all over, yeah go!

Instrumental 2

||: B Major Blues riff :|| x7
| B Major Blues riff  F# |

Chorus 3

||: B | Fm7 | Emaj7  B/D# | C#m7 F#7 F#7sus4 :||
You can feel it all over. You can feel it all over people.
You can feel it all over. You can feel it all over people.
You can feel it all over. You can feel it all over people.
You can feel it all over. I can feel it all, all, all-all-all over now people.
Can’t you feel it all over? Come on, let’s feel it all over people.
You can feel it all over. Everybody all over people, go!

Instrumental 3

||: B Major Blues riff :|| x7
Don’t wanna look. Ha ha.
| B Major Blues riff  F# |


Sir Duke’s chords, progressions, and TAB

The master of chord progressions, Stevie Wonder, really knocks it out of the park with this one! There are a few chords in here that just shouldn’t work, but clearly do! Let’s start with the intro.

||: B | G#madd9addb5 | G | F#7 :||

This is essentially what the verse will be, with the exception of the very strange-sounding G#madd9addb5!

The reason I’ve called it this is that the melody played over this G#m chord has a 9th and a b5 in it. So even though it sounds really complicated, it’s there to help!

Let’s look at some TAB for what the horns play on the recording since you will have to play it if there are no horns on the gig!

Sir Duke Intro TAB and Verse chords

The verse is the same but just a straight G#m, so what are the roman numerals? Well… the first two chords are I – VI, and the final chord is a V.

This leaves us with the G chord which is a chromatic chord that works because it’s between chords VI and V. Usually, this would be a dim7 but Stevie just uses a straight major triad.

Speaking of chromatic, next, the bridge is packed with them!

| E9 Eb9 D9 Db9 | D9 Eb9 E9 |

You could go all tritone substitution here with the explanation, claiming that this is a cycle of 4th where every other chord is tritone substituted, so E9 – A7 – D9 – G7, which would be common, is now Eb9 and Db9 instead.

However, this wouldn’t explain the ascending movement of D9Eb9E9. So just like with the G in the verse, let’s just accept that this is chromatic and it sounds great!

You don’t need TAB for this section as it’s just the standard 9 chord, still, here it is.

Sir Duke Bridge TAB

The chorus is the craziest, looks like this:

||: B | Fm7 | Emaj7  B/D# | C#m7 F#7 F#7sus4 :||

If we ignore the Fm7 for now, then B is chord I, Emaj7 is IV, C#m7 is II, F#7 is V. All very common.

So, what about that Fm7? You could, again, say this is a tritone substitution, making the I chord lead to chord IV but that shouldn’t have been a minor chord.

So what Stevie has done here is just gone: I prefer this note! Consequentially, we just have to accept that in the world of Stevie Wonder, anything is possible.

We have to learn from Sir Duke, not try to fit it into our preconceived ideas of what music must be theoretically, because clearly, Stevie is right, always!

One day, I will record this and make 8 step by step lessons for it, until then I will leave you to figure out a way to play the chorus of Sir Duke, just using the chords you saw above.

Let’s move on to the instrumental section. This uses the B major blues scale, which is a major pentatonic with a m3rd.

I used to think that it’s good to think of this as a G#m Blues scale but thinking about it for many years, I don’t believe so anymore, instead, I now believe you should see Sir Duke as an excellent opportunity for you to learn the major blues scale.

Again, this will be covered in future in-depth 8-step lessons. For now, here’s the best area to play Sir Duke’s instrumental section.

Sir Duke Instrumental TAB

A love letter music legends

Written about Duke Ellington and other musicians that influenced Stevie Wonder, like Ella Fitzgerald, Louie Armstrong, Count Basie, and Glenn Miller, Sir Duke is a love letter to the legends in the world of music.

This isn’t the only time Stevie has done this, Master Blaster is about Bob Marley, and Happy Birthday is about Martin Luther King Jr.

Released as a single off the album Songs In The Key Of Life in 1977, it has become one of Stevie Wonder’s signature songs and a must-know for any serious musician who wants to play with a soul band.

The instrumental section is a great test to see if you know your major blues scale, just like Master Blaster tested your minor pentatonic.

Study Sir Duke’s chords and lyrics above carefully in order to understand how this masterpiece was put together.