Musical Analysis of "September" by Earth, Wind & Fire

"September," released by Earth, Wind & Fire in 1978, is a timeless classic that continues to be a staple at celebrations and gatherings around the world. Written by Maurice White, Al McKay, and Allee Willis, the song is known for its infectious groove and joyous energy.

Chord Progressions

"September" is in the key of A major. The bright, uplifting tonality contributes to the song's celebratory feel.

The song features a sophisticated yet catchy chord progression. The main sections can be notated as follows


F#m7 - B7sus4 - F#m7 - B7sus4

F#m7 - B7sus4 - Emaj7 - A/E - Emaj7

roman numeral analysis for the key of A major

vi7 - II7sus4 - vi7 - II7sus4

vi7 - II7sus4 - Imaj7 - V/I - Imaj7


Amaj7 - Bm7 - Dmaj7 - C#m7 - F#m7 - B7sus4

Roman numeral analysis

Imaj7 - ii7 - IVmaj7 - iii7 - vi7 - II7sus4

These progressions feature extended and suspended chords that give the song its rich harmonic texture.

Download sheet music click here,


The structure of "September" follows a classic pop format with some variations

  1. Intro
  2. Verse 1
  3. Pre-Chorus
  4. Chorus
  5. Verse 2
  6. Pre-Chorus
  7. Chorus
  8. Bridge (Instrumental)
  9. Chorus
  10. Outro

This ABABCBC structure ensures that the song remains engaging, with the chorus serving as a memorable high point.


The melody in "September" is characterized by its lively, rhythmic quality. The vocal line often syncopates with the beat, creating a playful and energetic feel. The repeated "Ba-dee-ya" motif in the chorus is a memorable hook that contributes to the song's catchiness.

Rhythmic Style/Meter

The song is in 4/4 time and features a strong, syncopated rhythm that is typical of funk music. The interplay between the bass, guitar, and brass sections creates a dynamic and danceable groove. The rhythm section drives the song forward, making it nearly impossible to sit still while listening.


"September" is a blend of funk, soul, and disco. This fusion creates a sound that is both sophisticated and accessible, appealing to a wide audience.

~What Makes It Interesting?

Several elements make "September" particularly interesting

  1. Rich Harmonic Structure: The use of extended and suspended chords adds depth and color to the music.
  2. Infectious Groove: The syncopated rhythm and tight interplay between instruments create an irresistible dance groove.
  3. Catchy Melodies: The memorable vocal lines and motifs, especially the "Ba-dee-ya" refrain, ensure the song sticks in listeners' minds.
  4. Expert Production: The production quality highlights the talents of each band member, from the tight brass arrangements to Maurice White's charismatic vocals.

Context in Music

"September" is a quintessential example of late 1970s funk and disco music. Its success helped solidify Earth, Wind & Fire's place in music history and influenced countless artists across various genres. The song's joyful, celebratory nature has made it a timeless anthem for parties and special occasions.

Chart Position and Awards

Chart Position "September" peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the US R&B chart.

Awards While it didn't win specific awards, the song's enduring popularity and frequent inclusion in various "greatest hits" compilations and soundtracks speak to its impact.


"September" by Earth, Wind & Fire is a masterful blend of funk, soul, and disco that continues to resonate with audiences decades after its release. Its sophisticated harmony, infectious groove, and catchy melodies make it a standout track in the band's illustrious catalog. Whether at a wedding, party, or just for a feel-good moment, "September" remains a beloved and timeless classic in the world of popular music.

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