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Skill Centre: Madness

Seamus Beaghen of Madness goes to | Madness

Pianist Seamus Beaghen shows you the way around "Our House" in words, diagrams and pics.

Put down that crumpled megaphone. There is now an easier way of divining the chords to your favourite songs. Each month Miking Music asks a top band to show the way to their hits in chords and pictures. This time Seamus Beaghen, ivory coaster for Madness, tells Paul Colbert about Our House.

"We've already got a name for this one," revealed Seamus, not referring to a new Maddy's song, but one of five kittens born a few days earlier to the family cat. The miaowing bundle had its eyes closed and a right leg stuck out, straight as a stick, with a paw plonked on its Mum.

"We're calling it Little Richard."

These are the intimate details you discover when attending an accomplished pianist's flat in preparation to lifting a few well turned chords. When Seamus joined Madness last year, they gave him 35 numbers to learn, a bag full of tapes and a few songbooks - not their own, personal scribblings, mind you, but some shop-bought volumes, hardly known for their rigorous adherence to the truth.

"This isn't exactly how it appears on the album, but how it's done live," said Seamus. "The piano's quite low in the album mix anyway. The rhythm part is meant to be a bit like the Philly sound, the strings are really like that. Terry Disley has got a really good feel for strings. There's a different string part for every verse - I dunno how he remembers it all. "One of the things I like about "Our House" it is that the progressions are the same all the way through, for the verse and the chorus. It's just the melody that changes. Very clever."

A quick listen to the record will give the rhythm, but it's probably already locked in your brain, anyway, so we'll press on with where to put the fingers.


Intro (3), verse (2), E chorus (2), verse (2), E chorus (2), Db chorus (2), verse (2), middle eight (2), verse (2), E chorus (2), verse (4), E chorus (2), Db chorus (2) D chorus (2) then cycle.


A run of single notes (three octaves worth of each one) down and up the scale four, times then into the verse. With welly.

"Used to be just octaves on the record, but live I use an extra octave on top because the low end of the Kawai piano we use is a bit muddy. The intro covers the same sequence as the verse - down to A minor and up to G minor, then you're in."




"I purposely use the same inversions for each bit to pull it together. The last Gminor has got that extra G on top -makes it sound more complete when it goes back into the verse or into the chorus."

L.H. - octave Ds ... R.H. - A/D/F#

L.H. - octave As ... R.H. - A/C/E

L.H. - octave Es ... R.H. - G/B/E

L.H. - octave Gs ... R.H. - G/Bb/ D/G


E major
L.H. - octave Es ... R.H. - B/E/G#

B minor
L.H. - octave Bs ... R.H. - B/D/F#

F# minor
L.H. - single F# ... R.H. - A/C#/F#

A minor
L.H. - octave As ... R.H. - A/C/E/A

"I only use the one F# for the bass note in the F#minor as two would be going a bit low."


Db major
L.H. - octave Dbs ... R.H. - Ab/Db/F

Ab minor
L.H. - octave Abs ... R.H. - Ab/B/Eb

Eb minor
L.H. - single Eb .... R.H. - Gb/Bb/Eb

Gb minor
L.H. - single Gb .... R.H. - A/Db/Gb

"Single Ebs for the Eb minor again, same reason as before. Single F# if you want, depends what country you come from."


"This comes up after the verse which ends 'she's the one they're going to miss in lots of ways'. You don't go to a chorus but go to this bit, which is I suppose what we would technically call 'a bridge'. In octaves. Twice."

Ab/A ... A/Ab ... Ab/B ... B/C#


"This goes over the verse, then there's one chorus in E followed by a quiet verse. Hang on, where is the quiet verse, I'll have to think about this. We may have to listen to the record. No, it's okay. It's where the vocals are fast with a different melody and we just... ah... play the verse again but a bit quieter and I don't keep up the rhythm. The strings are different as well, or sometimes they drop out altogether."


D major
L.H. - octave Ds ... R.H. - A/D/F#

A minor
L.H. - octave As ... R.H. - A/C/E

E minor
L.H. - octave Es .. .R.H. - G/B/E

L.H. - octave Gs ... R.H. - G/Bb/D/G
G minor

"Those are the last chords, you just cycle round the E, Db, D twice on each. And there's another G on top of that last Gminor, to make it sound complete again.

"That's it. Pop Power."

And next month we teach you how to build an atom bomb and bring peace to the world? "Not round here, though."

Previous Article in this issue

The Dumb Chums

Next article in this issue

Bass Briefing

Making Music - Copyright: Track Record Publishing Ltd, Nexus Media Ltd.


Making Music - May 1986

Feature by Paul Colbert

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> The Dumb Chums

Next article in this issue:

> Bass Briefing

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