September 29, 2023

If I were a betting man, I’d wager that Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak will win a lot of hardware come Grammy night 2022. While their hit “Skate” is racing up the charts, their first collaboration “Leave The Door Open” was a smash and an instant soul classic.

For the record, the composers are Mars (Peter Hernandez) and .Paak (Brandon Paak Anderson) as well as Brody Brown and Dernst Emile, the latter two of whom were the first-credited composers on the song.

“Leave The Door Open” is one of those songs that makes you wonder where you heard it before. And if you’re a musician, it’s a song you want to learn — and that’s where I come in. I’m going to teach you how to play it with the help of a video I posted to my YouTube channel.

First, here’s my performance of the song. Typically, I perform the song before I post the tutorial.

There are six parts to this song: the intro, the verse, the pre-chorus bridge, the chorus, the bridge and then the final chorus. The intro is a combo of Am and G in the right hand and F and E in the left, making it technically an Fmaj7, Em back-and-forth with a G/F in between. The precise start to the song is Fmaj7, G/F, Em7 and Am.

Structurally, the intro and verse are almost the same. The verse has an Am, G/B, C walkup that happens a couple of times. The musical magic happens when we get to the pre-chorus bridge.

“I ain’t playin’ no games / every word that I say / is coming straight from the heart”

That is an Ebmaj9 that goes to an Abmaj7. The progression that takes us to the chorus is Abmaj7, Gm7, Fm9 and an Fmaj7/G.

‘I’m a leave the door open …’

The chorus is almost the same chord-wise as the intro and verse until the end of it. You’ve got a Fmaj7 and then you take your left hand to the G in the bass line and resolve that to a Cmaj7. Your transition chord to the second verse is an A7b9 or an F#/A7 as I like to play it — a funky, gospel chord.

The bridge-bridge (not the pre-chorus bridge) is a transition between Abmaj7 then F/G and Gbmaj7 then Eb/F — and then before the big final-chorus key change, you go to Ebm7 and Gbmaj7/Ab.

That final chorus is Gbmaj7, Ab/Gb, Fm7, Bbm, Gbmaj7, Gb/Ab.

These are the basics of the song, a tutorial for which I posted on my YouTube channel. I’d be honored if you subscribed! And I’m embedding it here for your use. If you get value from this, I’d love to hear from you!

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