How to Play The “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” Intro

How to Play The “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” Intro

I always thought the intervals of the main intro theme that David Gilmour plays sounded magical.

Before the 4-note motif intro theme he solos over the chords:

Gm Dm Cm Gm

The part 4-note motif I’m talking about starts at 4:18 in the above live video.
It’s really cool that you can very clearly see how he plays these 4 notes and why this 4-note motif sounds so epic and magical.

It’s combining a 5th interval (Bb and F) intertwined with an open string major 6th interval (G and E)

Combined these 4 notes are: Bb G F E

“What chord does this form?” you might ask.

For that answer, we can either look at the first chord of the song (Gm) or listen to what the bass is doing there. The song is in the key of G minor because it starts on a Gm chord and the bass is playing a G bass note under the motif.
So the harmony here underneath that 4-note motif is Gm

That informs us that the notes organized by ascending chord tone are:

G Bb F E

So it’s a Gm13 chord. (with the fifth, D, omitted)

But one of the things that makes this motif so cool sounding, is that it starts with the minor 3rd of the chord in the bass (lowest note), and has the nice dissonant F E cluster half step clash on the chord’s top end.

I LOVE voicings that have half-step dissonances within the chord and/or that combine fingered notes with open strings.
It’s a great technique to create rich or lush voicings on a guitar.

As an added element adding to the awesomeness of this motif: the key of G minor has a Bb and Eb note, but this 4-note motif/chord has an E natural. This is a raised 6th interval, which makes this a Dorian-sounding chord. The scale to solo over this motif is the G Dorian scale.


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Leave a Comment

  1. SydNoBarret Says:

    OMG I just had a sudden epiphany: I am Pink FLoyd

    April 26th, 2023 at 6:42 pm