Vente Pa' Ca: surprising harmony behind Ricky Martin's party song

Ricky Martin's Vente Pa' Ca cd cover
Ricky Martin's Vente Pa' Ca cd cover
Vente Pa' Ca is a 2016 dance track recorded by award-winning Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin featuring Colombian urban-pop artist Maluma. Unanimously praised by critics as one of the best party tunes of the 2010s, the song scored a prestigious spot on multiple world charts, and its music video quickly garnered 1.7 billion views on YouTube.
Curiously, Vente Pa' Ca is credited to an impressive team of nine songwriters including Ricky Martin and Maluma, a fact that largely explains the stylistic diversity seen in the piece by music reviewers.
Following the general trend of Latin dance genres, the Vente Pa' Ca lyrics (literally means Come Here) are romantic in nature, replete with almost unmasked sexual innuendos.
Watch Vente Pa' Ca by Ricky Martin feat. Maluma:
Compositionally, Vente Pa' Ca stands out from most dance tracks with its uncomplicated but classically oriented chord progression whose harmony follows the Dorian minor, one of the modal modes rarely used by songwriters. In the harmonic analysis of the song chord chains, the scale degrees (denoted with Roman numerals) show the following progression in E Dorian:
  1. Em–A–D–G or i–IV–VII–III;
  2. Em–A–Bm or i–IV–v.
The first progression generates a fairly major mood set by the three major chords of the Dorian mode that appear after the opening Em minor tonic chord.
The second progression ends with an essential musical turnaround that uses subdominant and dominant triads, forming the classically shaped IV–v half authentic cadence creating a strong expectation of the Em tonic chord at the beginning of the upcoming phrase. This chord chain goes beyond an average pop standard of single four-chord progressions looped through all song sections.
Discover more songs composed in Dorian minor mode and check out their harmonic analysis in the following articles:
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