Colors of the Wind – Guide Tone Lines Revealed, Part II

As you may recall from the first post about this particular piece, the harmonic structures in the bridge are more sophisticated than the rest of the song. This is due to the use of an extended chord, in the word “high” is sung on a C natural, creating a Gb maj 9 (#11) – an advanced, “Lydian”-sounding harmony:

Note that the bass line (highlighted in yellow) is treated separately, not as a guide tone line.

In the last two measures, the composer could have simply used a V7 (Ab7), but decided instead to use some substitutions in order to create greater aural interest:

In Schenkerian terms, this whole phrase – starting with the Cb maj7 – is nothing more than an extended V7.

Note the asterisk by the pitch on which the word “cut” is sung creates a #11 for a brief moment. Because it is only half a beat, I hear that F as an appogiatura of the Eb that follows, not really as a chord extension, however.

That pretty much covers Colors of the Wind.  In future posts, we’ll be taking a look at some more complex harmonic progressions.


Print Friendly

About KJ at Guide Tone Lines

KJ McElrath earned his Masters degree in Music Theory and Composition from Central Washington University. Composer of several works for big band, wind ensemble and orchestra, which can be heard at I perform a cabaret act with Athena McElrath as McElrath Cabaret, which you can find at
This entry was posted in changes, chord extensions, color tones, disney musicals, guide tone lines, Hollywood Scores, modes, pocahantas, Shenkerian Analysis and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Colors of the Wind – Guide Tone Lines Revealed, Part II

  1. adam says:

    thankyou for completing, great work..please continue with the awesomeness of this site 🙂