Licks and Riffs: Mark Cohn - Walking in Memphis

Licks & Riffs : Mark Cohn - Walking in Memphis

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Mark Cohn's Walking in Memphis is one of the most instantly recognisable piano intros there is. And yet how simple it is! It's based on a very standard chord progression: IV - V - I - VI

In the key of C that translates to F - G - C - A minor. Try playing these triads as an arpeggio, missing out the middle note of each triad as follows:

Mark Cohn

The more observant among you may find the rhythm of the original opening puzzling.

The answer is that each phrase of the arpeggio starts on the up-beat, making the second note of each 4-note pattern the down beat. The exception to this is the very first arpeggio, which does not have an upbeat and consists of only three notes (F - C -F). What that does is to throw your expectations of what's going to happen and makes the whole of this otherwise simply intro more interesting.

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