I transcribed this song recently, and I wanted some insight for analyzing it. It seems to me that it is a diminished riff, using tritones, chromatic stuff, and major seconds. However, beyond this I am not certain exactly what sort of chord progressions or compositional techniques are being used. For example, even if the song is atonal what sort of atonal methods are being used?

recording of transcription: Seems to autoplay to some annoying songs afterwords, not sure how to stop this.

original song

Jade's Desert, mm. 1-4

Jade's Desert, mm. 5-8

Jade's Desert, mm. 9-12

Jade's Desert, mm. 13-15

  • What will you be doing with the results of the analysis? Do you want to make new arrangements of it, possibly altering the harmony, but keeping some aspects of the original intact? Or do you want to compose your own songs by using a similar perspective into harmony and song structure that might have been used to compose this one? What comes to the annoying autoplay thing, it seems to be a SoundCloud thing. Stop using SoundCloud and take your stuff elsewhere. community.soundcloud.com/desktop-230066/… Apr 4, 2019 at 8:19
  • I was going to be using it to compose. What I was trying to ask is, if I opened up a music theory textbook what sections would I go to to learn more about this sort of thing? What would you recommend using instead of soundcloud? Apr 4, 2019 at 13:59
  • this will be a good ear training to listen and notate music. This is always more effective if you're doing by yourself and looking for feedback. But you will not find help by a theory book as this music is outside of theory of traditional harmony. Dieter de la Motte has in his Harmonielehre some chapters about individual styles of contemporary composers. (you can download the book as pdf for free and translate those chapters in English.) This could be helpful to find out concepts of modern composers. My advice: make this training with music where you can control your trials with the original. Apr 4, 2019 at 15:44
  • If I understand your comment correctly. This is what I am trying to do, learn theory through transcribing songs and then trying to analyze what is happening rather than from a textbook. However, I was trying to figure out what sort of topics/concepts might be happening in this piece to explore further. Atonal/ Music outside of traditional theory is a pretty broad concept, so i'm not sure exactly where in that field to find concepts related to this piece. Apr 4, 2019 at 23:00

1 Answer 1


I hear the tune this way:

X: 1
K: C
T: Transcription differences
M: 3/2
L: 1/8
%%score V1 | V2 | V3
V:V1 clef=treble
V:V2 clef=treble
V:V3 clef=bass middle=D''
[V:V1] z12 :||: z12 :| B8-B3B/2c/2 | B8-B3 B/2c/2 | B2 _A2 =A2 c2-c2 d_e | B12 |]
[V:V2] zAdc f_ab=a c'_e'a'^f':||:zAc_A _eB^fd e=ac'_a:| z12 | z12 | z12 | z12 |]
[V:V3] D12 :||: D12:| z12 | z12 | z12 | z12 |]

So the overall pitch content can be viewed as the octatonic collection (0235689e), or, in other terms, the D diminished scale: D Eb F F# G Ab A B C.

In the opening two measures, and also the measures with the melody, all pitches are present in the measure. The "alternating" measures (mm. 3-4, and whenever there's no melody) leave out the F.

The melodic shape of the three parts is interesting: the unmoving (pedal) bass D, the wide-ranging arpeggios, and the narrow-ranging melody.

I hear D as the pitch center.

I haven't found a pattern for the arpeggios, so best guess is they were just designed to sound cool, but without a specific motif or pitch-class subset in mind.

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