The Incredible Harmonic Complexity Found Within Each Part of the Iconic Eagles Song ‘Hotel California’

Doodling music theorist and musician 12tone, who analyzed the “internet’s favorite song”, did the very same for the iconic Eagles song “Hotel California”. The narrator specifically noted the song’s complexity, its unusual chord progression, the key changes, the changing use of dominant and subdominant chords, the harmonic motifs, and a concept called “deceptive resolution”.

The verse ends with F-sharp 7 which we said is supposed to go to B minor but the chorus starts with G major instead. This is what’s called the deceptive resolution and it works because G major is almost identical to B
minor, there’s only one note difference. So even though it’s not where we expect to go it’s still a pretty solid resolution.

He also noted that many of the intro chords were decorative; that when he broke down to the bare minimum, he located the Andalusian cadence – a walk down of the i–VII–VI–V notes within the minor scale.

you know what let’s drop this E minor seven to get a nice even number of chords and while we’re at it we’ll clean this up to a major which leaves us with one of my favorite chord progressions. Often called the Andalucian cadence, …a popular technique in flamenco and other guitar heavy genres and this whole intro seems to be just an intensely decorated version of it that.