#1
A few weeks ago, I became interested in writing a song. Since then, I've learned that a great way to write songs that you like is to look at pre-existing songs that appeal to you. Ideally, using this method, your song will have the same "feel". Music theory, as I've learned, is a way of explaining why music is appealing. To get to the point, I thought that it would be a good idea to create a thread that incorporates this idea. In learning the techniques of musicians we admire, our works will (with any hope), resemble their creations. Here, we can help each other as musicians in creating our next piece.

In this thread, feel free to post your own theory analysis of pieces that you (and undoubtedly others) enjoy; In addition, don't hesitate to request a theory analysis for your favorite songs. For this post, I will only discuss guitar, but you can include other instruments such as bass and drums if you like. If a post needs to be supplemented or corrected, feel free to contribute. I do insist, however, that you stay on-topic .

"But theory analyses are all over the internet" you say. Precisely. All over. I created this thread with the idea of putting this information in a single, convenient location.

Without further delay, I'll begin the inaugural theory analysis.

Foo Fighters- Walk

Key: A major (I'm not positive on this; my sources said A major, but some chords make me think A minor)

Chord progression (if in A major): I-V-ii-IV

Intro

Lead: The song begins with an arpeggio on the G,B, and high E strings of an E sus4 chord. This is followed by a whole rest- this pattern continues through the intro. This is followed by almost a full bar of an E major arpeggio; however, the last note is changed to a B- a suspended fourth of E major. Next, in the same area of the fretboard, is a partial arpeggio of a D6 chord, using the notes D, A, and B. Next the arpeggio changes to an Fb5 chord for roughly half a measure, before switching to an F chord (again in the same area of the neck) to create a sense of tension.

Rhythm: While the lead melody is playing, the rhythm guitar plays an A5 (the tonic or I) chord for 14 measures, then E5-B5-D5; these all last for 2 measures each. This progression repeats a second time; however, this time all chords last 2 measures. The progression repeats a third time without the B5. In its place is an 8th note ascending octave riff (a staple of the Foo Fighters) of the subdominant (D), dominant (E), as well as the non-diatonic notes of F and G, which add tension and energy to the section. Immediately following are 4 measures of an A major/A5 chord which acts as a sort of pre-verse.

Verse

Lead: The lead guitar, as is the case with many Foo Fighters songs), plays unique chord voicings. The chords of the Verse are A-E-B-D.

Rhythm: During the verse the rhythm part is nearly identical to that of the lead. The only difference is that the rhythm guitar plays open, barre, or 5th chords. Again the progression is I-V-ii-IV.

Chorus

Lead: Again, lead plays alternate chord voicings. The chords are once again I-V-ii-IV. This time, however, they are played in a straight 8th note rhythm.

Rhythm: The rhythm part is nearly identical. It follows the same chord progression; however, the chords are in open position.

Bridge

Lead: The lead plays yet another energetic ascending octave riff. The progression is C#-D-E-F#-G#-A or iii-IV-V-vi-vii-I. Clearly, this riff is climbing the scale, and resolving to the tonic for a sense of resolution.

Rhythm: The chords for the bridge are the same as in the verse and chorus- I-V-ii-IV.

Final chorus

Rhythm: The chord progression here is the same as the previous chorus.

Lead: The chord progression here is the same as the previous chorus. However, there is the addition of the bridge octave riff. In addition, there is a chromatic octave riff of A-G-F-G.

Well, that's all of it. I'm relatively new to theory, so it isn't very "theory-heavy", but I think that I did my best. I'm hoping that the format of this thread can become something like this: http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/DATABASES/AWP/wcwio.shtml.

I feel very confident about this idea, and I really hope that it thrives.

If any moderators would like to do so, please "sticky" this thread.

Thanks, and enjoy the thread!
#2
Good idea. Someone here pointed to the Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles to understand how theory applies to rock music. It's a great book, especially since most theory books focus on examples by Mozart or Schumman and other period composers. Dense, loaded with plenty of examples.

Foo fighters are great at taking chords/voicings not often used in rock music and exploiting them through a rock medium.

Every Breath you take by the Police. Andy Summers strings together add 9 chords throughout.
#3
Quote by sweetdude3000
Good idea. Someone here pointed to the Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles to understand how theory applies to rock music. It's a great book, especially since most theory books focus on examples by Mozart or Schumman and other period composers. Dense, loaded with plenty of examples.

Foo fighters are great at taking chords/voicings not often used in rock music and exploiting them through a rock medium.

Every Breath you take by the Police. Andy Summers strings together add 9 chords throughout.


Thanks for the feedback! I'm sure many members of the forum would appreciate it if you could mention which add 9 chords are being used (since that is the purpose of the thread). Also, be sure to mention relevant facts such as key signature, if you can. The more in-depth your theory analysis is, the more useful it will be.
#4
How's it going mate. Nice idea but I'm not tempted to sticky. Cheers.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#5
Quote by Jake P
Thanks for the feedback! I'm sure many members of the forum would appreciate it if you could mention which add 9 chords are being used (since that is the purpose of the thread). Also, be sure to mention relevant facts such as key signature, if you can. The more in-depth your theory analysis is, the more useful it will be.


Key of Ab

The major 9th is added onto the triad. For instance, Ab major triad is 1 3 5 and you would add a 9. In this song, the third is skipped to go directly to the 5 to the maj 9. The third is played in the upper octave instead. That's all I have for now. I can try to add later.
#6
That's the problem with Western Harmonic Theory. There is much much more to music than just harmony, melody ect.
#8
Quote by GoldenGuitar
That's the problem with Western Harmonic Theory. There is much much more to music than just harmony, melody ect.


Cool. Why not show an analysis of the TS song, in your manner, (Schenkerian?) And show people just how much "more" can be looked at using the exact same song as an example. Erc can help you.

Best,

Sean
#9
Most people passively listen to music to forget. They experience it on some instinctual level. They like that one of a kind sound that is not categorizable like a singer's angelic voice, and so you have people sit around watching the Voice on t.v. Seeing who is the next person who has "it". Rhythm and a good 4/4 beat is primal & catchy as hell, as evidenced by the Puff Daddy oevre. Schenker's analysis would be, " it ain't nothing but tricks an' hoes".
#10
Sorry to not be able to contribute, but sweetdude3000 thank you so much for mentioning that book! I've been reading it all day and it's brilliant, I'll be recommending that to many others.
#11
Quote by Sean0913
Cool. Why not show an analysis of the TS song, in your manner, (Schenkerian?) And show people just how much "more" can be looked at using the exact same song as an example. Erc can help you.

Best,

Sean


Thanks for the great contribution, Sean! I would definitely be open to this idea. I feel very passionate about this thread, and would really like to see it get off the ground!
Last edited by Jake P at Jul 19, 2013,
#12
For those curious about schenkerian analsysis, the wikipedia is actually pretty good on the subject. I'm still looking for a book that is actually useful (its been passed down from teacher to teacher for quite some time) so if anyone has any recommendations who is actually qualified in the subject, please tell me. I've heard that An Introduction to Schenkerian
Analysis by Forte is quite good, but I haven't read it myself.