Title: Take on Me
Album: Hunting High and Low
A few days ago, I talked about the unusual descending 7th interval in the synth line of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill." A lot of music theory teachers use songs like this as so-called "cue tunes" for training students to recognize and sing intervals. (As an aside, I'm not one of them. To me, there's a big difference between sol-mi as a major sixth and re-ti as a major sixth. But I digress.) Almost universally, the cue tune for an ascending major 7th is "Bali Ha'i" from South Pacific, which opens with an octave leap and then a descent to the major 7th. It's not a great example, but there just weren't any better options. Until now!
"Take on Me," from the Norwegian band A-ha has so many things going for it: the infectious synth line that proceeds the first verse, the still-noteworthy music video, and the bubbly rhythmic jets that propel the song forward. But of course, it's the soaring chorus that steals the show with lead singer Morten Harket impressively spanning two-and-a-half octaves within eight bars and unknowingly ruining the evenings of future karaoke bar patrons everywhere.
While I've always appreciated the pure glee associated with singing this chorus, I never noticed how valuable it is as an interval source. Right off the bat, Harket gives us an ascending major 7th with the first two words of the chorus (Take[A2] on [G#3]). In the second line, he begins with a perfect 5th, but I suggest listening to "me" to get the major 6th (Take[A3] me on [F#4]). In the third line, he provides an ascending minor 6th (I'll[C#4] be gone[A4])! And then for good measure, the last two words of the chorus (a[A4] daaaaaaaaaaay [E5]) demonstrate a perfect fifth. These are some of the hardest intervals to learn and here they are all in one place! Takk Morten Harket!!