ok i have a small amount of music theory down, enough to understand how songs work.. this is the first song i have tried studying and was wondering if i am doing it right..

The song is born of a broken man by rage against the machine... i picked an easy song first.. its in drop d and from what i can tell is its in the key of D like most are from them (thats in drop d)

the intro/verse notes are open chords with one note changing (on g string)
they are: A G# B G B A

chorus is G raised to A then pull off to F and to D
then power chords A D F some mutes then F D A D F D with a raise from A to A# in the back ground

bridge is C to D

so what i concluded was its a song built off of a Dminor chord and a G chord. And Focus is on the A note which is the scales fifth note.

is there anymore i need/can take from this and am i headed in the right direction.. thanks for reading.
Last edited by elihu4321 at Oct 1, 2010,
Take each bit and play it paying attention to what the guitarist does in the certain position he's playing. Everyone has patterns and positions on the fingerboard that they prefer, so really look into them and play the line segment and improvise in the same manner as the line. Keep alternating between each phrase of the song and improvisation.

Eventually you'll get used to playing in that position and it'll be another addition to your vocabulary and a new place on the fingerboard you can use instead of just sticking on one position.

Also look at how the harmony works, how each note within the bar/chord has a relationship with the current chord. Look at the intervals in the lines, see what the guy uses to build it.
I like to take it a step further if I am really studying a song (I've been doing this for a long time, but maybe you'd like to try it).

Find the key, then find the progression. Then label the progression using numerals (I, IV, V for example). Now try it in different keys. Then take the melody or the riff, try to find out how it works over the chords that are played. Are they emphasizing 7ths and 9ths? Or sticking to 3rds and 5ths?

One tip right away would be to not say that the song is built off of a D- chord, but simply that the song is in D and the progression is (this). That will help in the long run.
Quote by Guitardude19
The world is a fucked up place.


"Oh I'll play the blues for you"
thanks for your inputs that's the direction i wish to go in and kinda doing... improvising is what i mainly do, i need to start incorporating the other notes of the chord rather than single note stuff of scales.

i'm having a hard time with the progression with this style. i've done some similar songs of his and all use 3rds and 5ths... and sometimes 7ths... should i look at it as a D chord because F & A are the 3rd & 5th of the chord. Also for the songs that use the 7ths as well as the 3rd and 5th (and root) would i view it as a D7 chord? or 4 individual notes/chords?? this is my main stopping block with progression.. any advice would greatly be appreciated. i think i may be making it more complicated than it is.
Last edited by elihu4321 at Oct 1, 2010,
Why exactly? i do scale work in different keys and some song making but the only time i transcribe a song to other keys is when my guitar isn't tuned to it... but i do songs/riffs up or down some octaves just not keys. im not against it, is changing the keys really that beneficial?
Last edited by elihu4321 at Oct 1, 2010,
No, learning a song in all 12 keys really doesn't help at all.

Changing keys can be, but working it through all 12 is dumb :p

Yes, if it's F and A, you could call it a D-, but make sure it isn't an F. It just takes practice (you've heard that more than once) to really get where chords move to and what sound they make. Just keep working at it!
Quote by Guitardude19
The world is a fucked up place.


"Oh I'll play the blues for you"
Playing in 12 keys helps, because you'll learn the whole fretboard and play in any key instead sticking to the same ones so if a singer ever asks for a different key you'll be ready for it. But for analyzing songs like you want, it's completely useless as it doesn't tell you anything new about the composition, just the same thing transposed.

The 12 keys thing is essential for horn players that don't have patterns or a visual thing like a fretboard to look at all the notes. Horn players dont have the advantage guitar players have that they can just shift the whole thing to transpose so practicing the stuff in all keys is extremely beneficial for them.
alright thanks.. i will, i think i can get the hang of it sooner rather than later. and ill be sure to improvise more with their riffs. i may post another song in a couple days that has more notes to work with...