Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Seeds - "The Wind Blows Your Hair" (1967)

This song starts out moving back and forth between G minor and C minor chords for one measure each. The organ riff repeated (with variations) over these two chords very much feels like it resolves on the note C played over the C minor chord, so you have a strange situation where C minor is felt to be the key center but you're hearing the tonic chord in rhythmically weak bars (i.e., you don't hear the tonic in the first and third bars, but the second and fourth instead).

When they get to the end of the first verse, however, they play D as a dominant chord and resolve it to G minor (with the vocal melody resolving on G as well). Given that it's the end of the verse, this is a rest moment and organist Daryl Hooper momentarily leaves off on repeating the organ riff, picking it up again half way through when the chord change starts again and they move to C minor one measure later. Starting the riff here, in the middle, is a bit of acknowledgment that C minor is the key center for the verse (which is starting again), but there's this beautiful awkwardness to the fact that it begins in the middle and in a rhythmically weak bar.

In my experience, the tonality I'm describing here in the verse is a very unique situation. The key center is not really, technically, ambiguous; it's C minor, but they play on the fact that it's G minor that you're hearing in the rhythmically strong bars by resolving it there at the end.

The other unique feature of the verse is that the vocal melody takes up the melodic emphasis on Eb as an emphasized upper neighbor tone heard over the G minor chord. Every line of the verse starts on the G minor chord (strong bar) and ends on the C minor chord (weak bar), and every line starts on that non-chordal tone of Eb. This is done so casually, and so comfortably, that it honestly sounds a little like sprechstimme and the extremely clever harmonic aspect of what's going on here is easily glossed over.

Note: This entry refers to the wedding-themed version of this song, not the one labeled as "Reprise."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

NRBQ - "Things to You" (1977)

Try as I may, I can't seem to figure out the acoustic guitar chords underneath the gorgeous, and totally idiosyncratic, six-note piano solo in this song. It feels to me like there's some kind of harmonic sense to the thing, and although I can't quite get at what's going on, I'll at least lay out what I do know here.

The song is in twelve-eight and is based around an acoustic guitar strumming a C chord on the dotted quarter beats one and two of the measure and a C chord plus an added fourth on beats three and four. The bass plays a C on beats one and two and a G, the fifth, on beats three and four. The song is played slowly enough that the G in the bass on those last two beats doesn't really feel like a chordal tone of C; it's more like there's supposed to be a G chord there, but the guitarist is playing that C suspended chord instead. A little bit of harmonic ambiguity there, and we seem to get it again in the verse when the bass plays an F over what sounds like a D minor seventh chord in the guitar. (F is the third of D minor, obviously, but bass player Spampinato only plays F underneath that chord, as though it's a IV chord).

The piano solo starts with eight bars of the C-going-to-the-C-suspended-chord progression, but the solo melody is mostly repetitions of the note B on the dotted quarter beats. B is just the seventh tone of the scale, of course, and the emphasis on the note adds a major seventh harmonic feel, but it's happening in a place where you wouldn't expect it.* Not only that, but it's happening right on the beat, right along with the C and the F in the guitar and a continued discontinuity with the C and G in the bass.

Have to say, this feeling of three people just playing their own thing at the same time is a little Shaggsian! It also makes complete musical sense, though; the freedom in the bass and the major seventh harmony are...jazz, I guess.

And like I said at the outset, what happens next also feels like it makes sense somehow, but I can't figure it out. The B keeps repeating in the piano melody, but the harmony shifts. We seem to be hearing a B7 chord, under which the bass goes from F# to B (below) and to B (above). It then moves down for a chromatic descent of F to E to Eb, though, and as it hits that last note, the piano melody resolves from the repeating B down to G. With this, we seem to have some kind of Eb harmony (given Eb and G together), especially given the fact that it's followed by a D minor ii chord, perhaps suggesting that it's some type of chromatic upper neighbor.

I've got four questions about all of this. What function does the B7 chord have? What are those guitar chords we hear over the chromatic run in the bass (and how do they help explain the logic of the progression)? What is that chord the chromatic line lands on with the Eb and the G? And exactly how genius is it that Terry Adams devised this structure that supports a six-note diatonic melody that never strays from C major???

* Except from this group, maybe, anyway.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Raspberries - "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)" (1974)

So, you've got a song here in F that tonicizes both the dominant harmony of C (in the rocking part of the verse - "If the program director don't want it," etc.) and the subdominant harmony of Bb (on the title words "overnight sensation" that come at the very end of the verse). I'm not a piano player, but the solo piano line that occurs after Bb is tonicized seems to end on a bit of a bVII harmony. It's that Ab major harmony that functions the second time through as the pivot chord that leads to the key center of Db major for the bridge (Ab being the dominant of Db).

Here, though, is where the song does what is possibly my favorite thing. It's necessary to call the key center here C# instead of Db because the chords move from I (C#) to bVII (B). Now, of course, we just had bVII harmony eleven seconds earlier in a key (Bb) very remote from where we are now. There's an incredible continuity from this immediate repetition of the same harmonic vocabulary, but this moment is also rich in how it balances simple and complex elements. On the one hand, we've not only modulated (cleverly) to a remote key, but we're using unconventional chords once we get there. On the other hand, a I-bVII chord progression is actually an incredibly simple thing, and only unconventional in this context: a bridge where you'd think that we've just modulated a great distance and maybe we need to start thinking about getting back right away!

But they don't. Raspberries drag it out so sweetly with this chord, giving Carmen the time frame ("Amazing how success has been ignoring me so lo-o-o-o-ong") to state his plight.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Peter, Bjorn and John - "Young Folks" (2006)

The melody of this song is fairly ingenious. The chord progression for the verse is F, D minor, C, A minor, and then the second time through it just skips the C chord and goes straight to A minor. A minor is the key, and the melody sticks to A minor pentatonic throughout, but the relationship of the notes to the chords is very unusual.

Over the first F major chord, the melody starts on D and moves down to its lower neighbor, C (the fifth, and a chordal tone). The D, of course, is the upper neighbor of the chordal tone, but it's really emphasized as the first note of the melody and seems to color the chord as an added sixth.

Over the D minor chord, we continue moving around the pentatonic scale, first down to A and then back up to C. Once again, the root of the chord has not been voiced and there is some emphasis on a non-chordal tone (the C). Continuing with pentatonic step-wise motion, the melody then moves back down to A as the first note over the C major chord. A moves down to G and here we have an exact repeat of the note sequence (the sixth of the chord moving to the fifth) that was heard over the F chord previously. Once again, there is a sense of added sixth harmony.

The melody then finishes its descent on E, sung (or whistled*) over the A minor chord. Once again, the root of the chord has not been voiced.

Second time through the chord progression, we start one note higher, on E. Nice octave jump up from the lower E, and voiced over the F major chord, we now have major seventh harmony (again, all accomplished with A minor pentatonic notes). The shortened melody for the consequent lyric line that finishes this part of the verse then concludes by pentatonic step-wise descent to C and then A over the D minor chord (the seventh to the fifth), and then staying on that A to finally have a rooted note, on the very last note of the melody, over the tonic A minor chord.

* :D

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hanson - "MMMBop" (1997)

So, there are six verses in this song but none of them have the same structure. I guess it's the old soul music method of using lyrical text to vamp over a chord pattern and take the song in different directions; what's shocking about this song is how much these kids do it from beginning to end, though, and how brilliantly they pull it off throughout.

First two verses have four lines of text happening in four bars, and then four bars more in which to vamp on the last line. The second verse not only has a different, rising melodic part in the last two lines but also a delightful rhythmic delay that carries the last line further as part of the surge toward the chorus. Vocal harmonies add to the intensity.

The third verse adds four measures of vibing ("Said 'Oh, yeah'/In an mmmbop, you're gone") as a little buildup before it even starts, distancing it a little bit from the potency of the chorus that precedes it. Amazingly, what they do then is push the envelope of the second verse even further by starting the melodic rise earlier, this time on the second line. When this, in turn, pushes the third line even higher than it had been in the second verse, we're into some real Jackson Five territory.

Verses four and five replicate the pattern of one and two, with the second verse ramped up higher than the first. This time, though, it's all vamping on refrain lines until, in the extended fifth verse, Isaac Hanson takes over on the lead vocal part - just like Jermaine used to do!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Beatles - "She Loves You" (1963)

John Lennon sings a A on the line "She loves you and you know you should be glad." For a long time, I've assumed that this line is sung over a borrowed iv chord (C minor). In lieu of video footage possibly showing what the guitarists were playing, let's look at the possibilities for what's happening here:

1) Lennon is actually playing some voicing of an A half-diminished chord on the guitar during this line. If so, where might the idea of a half-diminished chord built on the supertonic, and used as a dominant prep chord, have come from?

2) Lennon is, in fact, playing a C minor chord, in which case the Beatles probably did not realize he was singing a non-chordal tone and this seemingly unique (?) harmonic phenomenon came about as a result.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

George Harrison - "If You Believe" (1979)

Wanted to point out a metric irregularity in this song. The chorus is a total of twelve bars long, consisting of one six-bar phrase that repeats. While the song is otherwise in four-four time, the third bar of this phrase is six beats long. The whole chorus looks like this:

Measures 1 and 2 - I chord
Measure 3 - I7 chord (3 beats)/IV chord (3 beats)
Measure 4 - IV chord
Measure 5 - iv chord (minor)
Measure 6 - V chord
Measures 7 and 8 - I chord
Measure 9 - I7 chord (3 beats)/IV chord (3 beats)
Measure 10 - IV chord
Measure 11 - iv chord (minor)
Measure 12 - V chord

The melody and cadence of the words both scan over this chord structure in a very fluid way in spite of both the metric irregularity and the seemingly consequent decision not to attempt to create rhymes with the words.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Edison Lighthouse - "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" (1970)

Just found an unusual note here. The first part of the refrain line where you hear the title words is over a chord progression of I-iii-vi-I. The melody starts on the fifth scale degree for that first I chord, but then climbs up to the sixth degree (on the word "grows") for the iii chord.

That's, of course, a non-chordal tone, but it's not really used as a passing tone. (It's the emphasized note for that chord.) Sure sounds awfully natural and right.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cass Elliot - "It's Getting Better" (1969)

Love how this is put together. The verse is twenty bars long and goes through seventeen chords, with a total of six lines of poetry. Twenty and six, of course, don't make for "square" structures the way that a number like eight or sixteen does. Here, line one and line two are each four bars, perfectly squared, but then line three is only two bars. Its rhyming line, line four, extends that so the last note falls on the downbeat of a third bar. Then there's a rest through the remainder of the third bar plus an additional fourth. That squares things off somewhat, but you've still got the irregularity of lines three and four adding up to six bars total. Same thing happens with lines five and six.

The extension that happens in line four creates a sort of ellipsis where things still need to move in order to resolve, but the lyrics here (as well as the seeming attempts to make this song fairly normal as a structure) are already dictating that we are nearing the closing. Songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil keep the flow of chords going, but use a classic I-vi-IV-V-I progression in order to quickly bring things to an end. Dropping this standard harmonic sequence all by itself at the end of the verse definitely seems unusual, but the sweetness of these chords really amplifies the sweetness already established earlier in the verse.

The flow of chords in this song continues through the chorus, a second verse and chorus, and then into the bridge, where we get derivations of chord progressions heard already, first sounding like an instrumental passage but then metamorphosing into a vocal bridge. Here, the I-vi-IV-V-I progression is used once again to bring things to a close, and claimed even more so than it was the first time.

To claim such a thing, of course, is bubblegum.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas - "Honey Chile" (1967)

This song may have provided more than a bit of a template for bubblegum soul of the later '60s/early '70s. Around the same tempo as "Want Ads" or "Band of Gold" and maybe no wonder that the Jackson Five covered it on their third album.

Construction of this song is so great. You've got these short, four-bar verses with three rhyming lines and then the title words used as a punctuation. Starts off with two of the verses followed by, strangely enough, a bridge already at 0:30.

When the third verse comes in at 0:40, the melody is already elevated into a higher register. You can't push too much, though, so here's where the song does its most brilliant thing. Instead of having two more of the short verses here, there's only one, and then we finally move to the chorus (which temporarily levels the energy out a little bit).

Of course, 0:50 is not a point where you'd normally be talking about "finally" getting to the chorus, but this song has already had a bridge. And by cutting the verses short here (one instead of two), they put that chorus in just the right place.

Topping this off, though, is the fact that the eight-bar chorus is split up into two four-bar sections, each with three lines and then the title words used as punctuation just like in the verses. Wow.

After this, it repeats the whole thing with new words through the two verses, the bridge, and the abbreviated single verse, then plows through the chorus again, after which Reeves finally gets to take a break at 2:06.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Jefferson Airplane - "Young Girl Sunday Blues" (1967)

Sometimes bands go to lengths that are heroic and sometimes you don't even notice it. This song has that kind of greatness and subtlety.

Verses one and two are a regular sixteen bars with eight lines of poetry, but only lines two and four rhyme. Instead of rhyming with line six, line eight leaves off on a sort of ellipsis that then leads into the refrain ("Young girl Sunday blues/And all her sorrow"). There are only three chords, but the melody is beautifully constructed without any kind of regularity at all, lines ranging anywhere from five to thirteen syllables in length. This is surely impressive in itself, but the Airplane arranged the whole thing for two-part harmony.

The two verses heard at the beginning make for some compositional heft right away, but then there's a beautiful, modulating passage that leads the way back for verse number three, now pitched up a whole tone. With the higher key, the energy of the song is continuing to build, but then they let it come down ("Let yourself wander free and easy") with a reprise of the chord structure from the instrumental passage now used as a bridge, Balin and Kantner STILL singing in harmony and allowing the energy of this great thing to build one last time to the end.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sherbet - "Summer Love" (1975)

This song is structurally beautiful and has a very unique way of drifting between two key centers, C and Eb. It starts off with a refrain over an alternation of C major, C major with a suspended fourth, and the same C major with the suspended fourth and an added flat seventh (all over a C pedal bass). After a few repetitions of this, the harmony breaks away to an Eb major seventh chord. This is then followed by Bb major, which turns out to be the dominant chord in our secondary key of Eb.

We move back then to Eb major as the tonic chord to start the verse. (This time, it's not a major seventh chord, though, as though its identity as the tonic is being grounded, whereas its tonal orientation was more ambiguous when the chord was heard just before.) Without any sense of where we might be heading, though, the chord that follows is D minor. Quickly, this is used as a ii chord, there's a ii-V-I progression, and the transition back to the home key of C is accomplished right in the middle of the second line of the verse! Very unusual.

The verse continues in C major for a bit, but then shifts to a second section that starts on an F major chord. F, of course, is the IV chord in C major, but there's a sudden shift from diatonic to blues pentatonic melodicism, and the harmonic direction from here is once again uncertain. Amazingly, the F chord turns out to be a secondary dominant (V/V) in the song's other key center of Eb, with the chords then moving from F to Ab (IV) and then Eb (I).

The Eb, however, moves once again to D minor with a repeat of the melody heard at the beginning of the verse. When we first heard that melody, of course, it sounded like an antecedent line within the lyrical structure (naturally, given that it was the first line of the verse). Here, however, it sounds like a consequent line, following after and completing the phrase begun in the two lines just before it. There's even a drum fill, as though we are reaching the end of the section.

Instead, however, that line is used just as it was the first time, as the first line of what is now the second verse, and a very unique liaison linking the two verses together is accomplished.

Amazingly, not only for a big pop smash (a number one hit in the group's home country of Australia) but for a song that genuinely sounds like a big pop smash, this song has no chorus, just repeats of that refrain in C from the beginning. The way these verses are put together, though, it doesn't need one.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Teena Marie - "Ooo La La La" (1988)

The expression, of course, is actually "Ooo la la," but when you add the other "la," then you've got a Teena Marie-ism. Here's how this works: for one thing, "la la la" means music, but notice what she does with it. Not only is her melody for "la la la" a true "la la la"-type melody, it's also a soul melody! What puts it over the top, though, is that it's specifically like a late '60s/early '70s soul melody AND the poetry in that refrain is also like soul lyrics from the time.

This song has to be one of her most astonishingly virtuosic performances, but everything in the composition allows for that to happen and it goes for the full five minutes and seventeen seconds right down to the narration finally kicking in at 4:26 and she's preaching. And then a little surprise at the end...


Friday, April 8, 2011

Stackridge - "Fundamentally Yours" (1973)

Imagine this song as performed by a freakbeat group ca. '67-'68 and it works perfectly. Two-chord intro could easily be executed with more of a rock arrangement and the first couple of lines of the verse really have the character of, say, the Move.

After those first two lines, the exposition expands into a gorgeous structure where the verse blends into the chorus as one ongoing segment. The whole thing looks like this:

A1 - Thirteen-syllable line
A2 - Thirteen-syllable rhyming line for A1

B1 - Five-syllable line
B2 - Six-syllable rhyming line for B1
B3 - Nine-syllable non-rhyming line

C1 - Seven-syllable line with internal rhyme
C2 - Six-syllable line
C3 - Eight-syllable line
C4 - Five-syllable rhyming line for C2*

The harmonic language in this structure is expansive and creative and yet still fairly simple. The violin, especially, leads one to imagine the last line with a buildup akin to something like "With Love from 1 to 5" by the State of Micky and Tommy.

With its own arrangement style, the song naturally ends up as a very different entity, most comparable perhaps to Klaatu, and in what is surely about the nicest way imaginable.

* Notice how the two sets of lines in this last section are unequal yet both add up to a total of thirteen syllables.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tyrannosaurus Rex - "Fist Heart, Mighty Dawn Dart" (1970)

Boy, this is an awfully good song. Two electric guitar parts and a really chunky tone on the one in the left channel for that opening G# minor chord. Interesting key center ambiguity in the verse with this chord progression:

G# minor/B major/E major seventh/A major

The tonic very much feels like G# or B here, but the A major doesn't feel like a borrowed chord. It feels diatonic, so there's really a modal situation going on (i.e., G# phrygian/B mixolydian). The sweetness of that E major seventh chord is so rich, I think, partly because of the fact that, in a way, it's actually the home chord here.

The descending guitar line played after the last words of the verse's second line is very strange and beautiful, a descending G#-F#-E-D# occurring over that A major chord.

The chorus adds rumbling electric bass with flat-wound strings and hand drums, then the arrangement switches back for the second verse. After the second chorus, though, the hand drums keep going even as the verse chords come back. Now, the other electric guitar part (just heard briefly at the beginning) takes the solo. With the high-pitched, wordless background vocals, the energy here is very concentrated, and with that descending line occurring again in the other guitar, it is just an incredible display.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Alan Parsons Project - "Old and Wise" (1982)

What a coup to have Colin Blunstone around to sing this one, his voice, sounding much as it did fifteen years earlier, so familiar a presence not just in this song's style, but in its sense of exploration as well.

After the instrumental intro, the verse starts off with a two-line rhyme. Instead of developing a longer verse out of these materials, however, they are abandoned and we are instead in a new key where we hear a four-line rhyme (rhyming lines two and four) that sounds like the chorus is starting already. Next comes the refrain line, though, and it seems only now that the chorus is truly beginning and that the previous lines were part of a broken verse structure.

In the first eight bars of what is perhaps, then, the chorus proper, there are three lines of text, the aforementioned refrain line (four bars) followed by a rhyming pair (two bars each).*

And oh, when I'm old and wise
Bitter words mean little to me
Autumn winds will blow right through me

The four-bar section then repeats, but it's followed by two lines where this time line three rhymes with line one instead of line two.

And someday in the mist of time
When they ask me if I knew you
I'd smile and say you were a friend of mine

This would have been a very clever way of creating closure for the chorus, but more clever still is the fact that the harmonies do not resolve on the last line and in fact shift into a modulating section where the words continue on without a break. It is at first as though we are in a bridge, but musical development is almost immediately truncated and the title words then appear again in a rhyme that lands the song back in its home key.

And the sadness would be lifted from my eyes
Oh, when I'm old and wise

This whole magnificent structure repeats once with slightly altered words and the song then comes to an end with an instrumental coda.

* Using the same word in both lines, but the intent to rhyme here does seem apparent.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Korgis - "Art School Annexe" (1979)

Lots of Korgis stuff up on iTunes. I'd never heard anything predating "Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime" (their top 20 U.S. hit from 1980) before and this track, as it turns out, is a treat. Was the b-side of their second single.

Starts off in new wave retro mode with muted (surf) rhythm guitar. Keyboardist is vamping in a retro style, but his tone is not very retro and the drums don't sound retro either. They don't have to sound retro, of course, and it sounds fine, but things end up working out in a different way when the retro style suddenly vanishes in the chorus.

For the first two lines, the chorus sounds like a power pop song, but the words are unusual and it could definitely be compared to Jonathan Richman. On the third line of the chorus, though, the song suddenly opens up into this post-progressive, hard rock/pop mode with overdubbed keyboards, power chords, and drum fills.

That's a long way to go in a minute and four seconds! Song is pleasantly constructed from there as well with a second verse, repeat of the chorus, and then a retro style guitar solo over the verse chords. With no third verse, it just goes to the chorus again afterward and, in fact, repeats the second part of the chorus as though the song was almost over already. To flesh it out, they play on the "art school" subject matter in a weird coda that extends the progressive rock aspect of the song with keyboard chords over a floating beat, a bass solo, and, finally, a fake ending.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Michael Angelo - "Oceans of Fantasy" (1977)

Key center is so seamlessly fluid in this song. Let's just look at the chords and see what's happening.

The opening riff is in G, but the verse begins with this four-bar progression (each chord lasting two beats in four-four time):

A minor/Bb major/F major/C major/Bb major/F major/Bb major/G major

Here, we're obviously starting off with iii/IV/I in the key of F major, but it's a weak cadence and the chords keep moving. The C major chord sounds more like a point of rest than you'd think it might, and there's something to be said for thinking of this progression in terms of C mixolydian.

The G major chord at the end does signal a key center shift, but it happens as the chords keep coming at two beats each:

D major/E minor/F major/C major

After the preceding four-bar phrase, D major on the downbeat of bar five here definitely sounds like the tonic. The tonal center quickly moves away, however, with the F major chord in the next bar. As it turns out, the F and C chords here function as bVII and IV in G, as the verse then ends with the title words sung over these three chords:

A minor/F major/G major

G is definitely felt as the tonic here, with the F major chord meaning that we are now more certainly dealing with the mixolydian mode.

The bridge that follows moves back and forth between two chords only, E minor and F major. This curiously echoes the A minor to Bb major progression played at the beginning of the verse. Like that progression, it sounds like iii and IV chords (in what would here be the key of C major). The final F chord of the bridge works as a simple pivot, though, resuming its function as a bVII chord when the song slides back up to G major. The song is now in its home key once again and the opening riff is repeated.

In addition to the harmonic fluidity, there's is something to be said for the seamlessness of the metric irregularities in this song, too, and how both of these pleasingly relate to the song's subject matter.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Buggles - "Kid Dynamo" (1980)

This song starts out with an instrumental section in Ab minor, but phrase modulates to the key of F minor for the first verse. It moves back again to Ab minor for the chorus, but this time it's really a question as to whether we can look at it as a phrase modulation or not. There is seventh harmony used for the iv and v chords in F minor (Bb minor seventh and C minor seventh) and it's a progression of these two chords that leads to the tonic chord of the new key, Ab minor, on the downbeat of the first bar of the chorus. We might not think of the Bb minor and C minor chords as having been related in any way to the key of Ab minor, but a Bb minor seventh chord is actually a Db major triad with Bb in the bass. Likewise, a C minor seventh chord is an Eb major triad with C in the bass. These chords, then, can really be seen as variants of the IV and V chords in the key of Ab.

Towards the end of the chorus, they modulate back to F minor in a completely unrelated, and also very clever, way. In a two-bar phrase, the chords first move from V to IV to III, then land back on V for the first beat of the second measure. On beat three of that measure, they move to the tonic harmony of Ab, but it's played as a major (rather than minor) chord. On beat four, the harmony moves up to a Bb major chord. In the next bar, the chorus begins on the tonic harmony of our new key, F minor. Looking back, we now can see the Ab major and Bb major chords as having been III and IV chords in the new key.

This is particularly clever because, in a sense, they did resolve that Eb dominant chord to Ab, but it happened in the middle of a measure, for one beat only, and as a pivot to the new key.