In the process of trying to improve my songwriting skills, I decided to do a little more "structured" transcription (see also Justin's explanation why this is helpful). I'm posting my progress here and hope to get corrections and confirmations as answers, and that this may be helpful for others. The first song is Arlandria by the Foo Fighters, because I like it.
The first thing I did was to listen to the song a few times and try to identify its parts, and their length. This is the result:
- Intro (4Bars)
- Verse 1 (14Bars)
- Part 1 ("Ain't that..." - 8B)
- Part 2 ("Hey..." - 6B)
- Pre-Chorus ("Hush hush..." - 4B)
- Chorus (16B)
- Chorus pt1 ("You used to say..." - 8B)
- Chorus pt2 ("You are not me..." - 8B)
- Interlude (4B)
- Verse 2 (two parts, 14Bars, just like the first one)
- Pre-Chorus (4Bars, just like the first one)
- Chorus (two parts, 16Bars, just like the first one)
- Part 1 ("My sweet Virginia... - 8B)
- Breakdown (4B)
- Part 2 ("Shame..." - 16B)
- Chorus (16B)
- Outro (8B, like Bridge part 1)
I'm not sure about some of the names - e.g. do you call the bridge 'bridge', or maybe 'coda'?
I used these tabs to get startet a little quicker, but didn't verify if they are correct.
Verse, Pre-Chorus, Interlude, Breakdown, Br2:
| C♯ A | E F♯ |
Chorus pt1, Br1, Outro:
| C♯ | A | E | B F♯ | C♯ | A | E | B C |
| C♯ | F♯ G♯ | A | B C |
Basically just three progressions - pretty simple, huh?
To me this looks like C♯ minor (C♯ D♯ E F♯ G♯ A B); the C chords in the chorus are just chromatic transitions to make things more interesting.
Ok, this is where things got a little confusing for me, and even more interesting. Since I haven't memorized the pattern of the natural minor scale yet (my bad), I drew it on a piece of paper and tried to play the melody of the vocals along with the song. Here is a little diagram with the positions I used:
- - - o o - o - O - - - o o - o - - - o - O - - - - o - o o - - - O - o o - - - - - - -
The large Os are the C♯s.
I noticed this didn't work - I didn't use any As (even though there are plenty of A chords), and instead hit some A♯s in the verse ("round of conversation",). So I did some research and found a scale which includes the same notes as C♯ minor, but an A♯ instead of the A: C♯ dorian.
A little more reading turned up an interesting paragraph in one of my books (translated from German): "...this leads to the assumption, that there practically aren't three, four or more different minor scales(!). We rather use the first five notes and add the 6th and 7th depending on the harmonic circumstances.". This helped to relieve my confusion a bit, although I'm not sure I really "get it".
Allright, this should be enough for now. Next I'll probably look into the guitar parts, until then I'm happy about any corrections feedback - I'll vote up any constructive answers and incorporate them into the main part.