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Music Theory for Electronic Musicians 2: Minor Keys and More

Lesson 2 of 26

Analysis: Shame on Me (Avicii)

 

Music Theory for Electronic Musicians 2: Minor Keys and More

Lesson 2 of 26

Analysis: Shame on Me (Avicii)

 

Lesson Info

Analysis: Shame on Me (Avicii)

Okay, Um, I think where we're going to start is we're gonna do a little analysis. So analysis is something we're gonna do a lot in this class. And all that really means is that we're gonna dissect a song, and we're gonna figure out what's going on harmonically like. And by harmonically, I mean with the cords or melody or rhythm or whatever we're working on at the time. So to get us started, I picked this song by a VT. The shame on me tune. Um, it's pretty popular recently last year. Mostly, Um, what we're going to look for in this tune is we're gonna analyze the core progression really of just one section so that we don't, you know, take 10 hours to do this. Um, we're gonna look at one section, and then we're going to, um, picking apart. Find the cords. This should be all be review if you took the first Ah, music theory for electronic music class. So, um, we're gonna build cords out of what's happening and try to find the core progression. So this takes Ah, a little bit of skill. There...

's no cheat for this. Um, you kind of just have to use your year for quite a lot of it. Um, there are some things we can do, some tools we can use to help us, but and we'll use some of those later in the class for this particular case. We're just going to use our here, and I'm gonna walk you through how I would figure it out. So let's hear a little bit of the track. I'll play it up into up until the ah, point where we're gonna actually analyze. No. Okay, So, um, as you could probably see from my screen here, this is the part we're gonna analyze. So I'm gonna, um Let's just loop that little section s So this is two times through the same riff. So here it is. Oops. I didn't for my Luton. Um, OK, so when I said it's two times to the same riff, what I meant was the core progression cycles through twice. So we hear the core progression twice. The melody is only one time or maybe even 1/2 a time. I think it goes on longer later in the track. So let me explain that one more time to make sure I said that clearly, Um, the core progression is four chords long. There's four chords that happen in that. And we heard, Let me just actually point out where they are. There they happen. Every two beats, we get a different chord, so I'll go on Now it's one again. So we have four different chords, and the pattern of four chords cycles through twice. So, um, when we're trying to figure something like this out, the easiest way to get a start on it when you're just using your ear is to focus in on the base, focusing on the lowest note. Or, if there isn't like a really pronounced baseline, just, ah, experiment with low notes on your keyboard or on the piano roll editor or something until one really latches on. Um, start with C. Ah, lot of songs. Aaron C. C. Major. So start with C. And if that doesn't work, start moving around until something sounds right. Now, whenever you're trying to find, figure out something by year, here's the key. The key is you might play something or program something and then play it against the track at the same time. as the track. And you might say that. I think that sounds right. That sounds kind of right. If you say that, it's probably not right. It usually, like, locks in when you're when it's right. You're like, That's it. That's totally right. So keep that in mind. Ah, as you do this, I don't expect you to be able to just do this, um, to just, you know, use your year and figure things out. But I wanted to walk you through how I would figure out a tune with practice. You'll be able to do this. No problem. Um, So, um, I skipped a step for us here and I figured out the baseline. So here's what I hear in the base. It might not sound super obvious to you right away, but just bear with me here. So let's hear. Just this baseline. Uh, okay, so there it is twice. Um, let's play it at the same time as the actual tune, so you'll hear my baseline against the actual tune happening at the same time, and you'll see how it fits together a little bit Better. Do it again. Okay, so you should be able to hear that that fits together. There's nothing dissonant happening. Um, those notes work against the song. So let's go in and see what we got. Because in order to figure because we haven't figured out what the cords are, all we figured out is, is what the bass notes are. And the bass notes can be a really good tell for what the cords are probably going to be, Um, but not always. Um, we're gonna talk specifically about baselines and looking at some tricks you can do to make really interesting baselines later on in this class. But for now, um, let's just see what we got. So let's zoom in a little bit here. Okay? So we have ah, see a d in an e on then this g down below, and then it cycles again. Okay, so, um, remember our pattern? Right? Um, whole step, whole step, half step. Whole step multiples of half time. That's the major scale pattern. So what I want to do first is see if I can get all of these notes to fall into one of those patterns. Now, this doesn't always work. Sometimes there are exceptions to this rule, like kind of often, um, but in this case, it's gonna work. So what I mean is let's pretend de, um, d is the key. Let's say it's not, but I'm doing this just to prove us wrong. So what I want to do is see if I can get a pattern of whole step, whole step, half step whole step, whole step, whole step half step to see if it's in a major key. Because if I can find that pattern, even with holes in it, But if there's no wrong notes than it should tell us what Kitson So here's ah whole step right C t E is a whole step. The next hole step would be up to here. That's f sharp, and we don't have enough sharp. Um, but that's okay. Ah, there's no wrong. No, if we had an F natural way, would know that it's not D because we would have whole step half step, and that breaks the pattern so we don't have any F. So we can still assume it's possible that it's D. So we have whole step whole step. Sorry. Whole step, whole step and then half step would be here do we have a G anywhere? We do have a G down here, so there is a G. So the pattern is still alive. It's still working. So then we would go whole step. Do we have in a anywhere we don't? So let's assume there's that there could be in a do we have a B anywhere we don't and then hold step again with BC Sharp. OK, now we know we're wrong about this d business, right? Because we do have a C See here this pattern leads us to a C sharp, so a C sharp happens in the pattern. If we start undies, we know that d cannot be the key were in guys some of your these notes. Let's try that again from C. Okay, so whole step two d whole step e and then half step would be to f. We don't have any efs. So let's just keep going. Ah, whole step would be to G. We have a G and it is a G, not a g sharp. So that means it works, Holst up will be the half step or sorry would be a We don't have any A's. So that's fine next to a B. We don't have any bees and then again gets us back to a C. So all of our pitches work. C d E N g work within C major. So we don't have any of these knows actually, in the riff while we have that one. Let's get rid of that So we don't have these way have we don't have these three notes in the riff, so we're guessing that those notes will work in this key. Um, but it's pretty safe bet. Um, so I think the key is C. Now there are a couple other clues that will get us to the key of C. The first biggest clue is that it's the first note of the baseline that's like the most prominent hit you over the head thing is like, See, see, see, it keeps like, pounding us, see over and over at the beginning of the phrase. That's a pretty good clue that it's in. See, another big clue we have is that it ends in G if you remember from the first class. The relationship between the tonic note, which is the name of the key, were in and the fifth of it. They have a really strong relationship. G is the fifth of See If We count Up c d E F G G is the fifth G. The fifth always likes to lead back to the key. So if you confined these fifth relationships, then that's a pretty good clue. OK, all that being said, we're in the key of C major pretty safe assumption. Or at least this section of the song is in the key of C major. It could change. So let's take a guess at What are cords? Could be Let's do our 1st 3rd 5th chord building. So this'll would be the second. This is the third, the fourth and the fifth. So I'm just counting up every other note in C Major, starting with the first chord. I'll do the same thing for D. Here's D. Now I'm in the key of C major, so that's my 1st That's my third my fourth and my fifth from D. So five away from D, not five away from sea from the root note of the court, not the key. Ah, and I will do the same for e me. There's the third and there's the fifth. I'm gonna do the same for Geo. There's the third on and there's the fifth above G. Okay, so now I have three chords. I don't know if these are the right chords or not. Four chords. Sorry, I don't think they're right chords or not, but I think they are. Um, they're going to sound goofy because they're so low. So let's, um, let's get him in a similar register, so I'm gonna select all of them and move that up an octave up one more active. So I moved the whole thing up two octaves. Now I'm gonna take this g and just get it in the same range by maybe taking the bottom two notes, moving them up and active to. So now everything's in a very similar range, and it looks pretty good. So now let's just try copying this whole thing on and having it fill out the second half asses. Well, okay, so now we have the same thing twice, and let's hear that against the actual song. While it's here by itself. First wait here with the song and see if we guess right? I think we did I could analyze this more and probably get nit picky about individual notes, but, um, and like where they change and maybe it changes the quality of the court slightly, but more or less, I think we're right and knowing what chords we have here, um, now it might sound funny because we're using a piano in the middle of this track that doesn't have a piano. We could change the sound of the used to be ah, synth or a pad or something. But really, what we're getting is the general essence of what is in this. So all the notes that play in this span of time are in or closely related Teoh this cord, Remember, the core progression is like the skeleton of the peace. Um, so we're kind of slicing everything away. We're slicing the drums away, the melodies away the base away, and we're just getting it down to a very simple core progression. So ah, another way to think about it. We like the framework of your house. So if you got rid of all the crap in your house and just had, like, the two by four studs putting it together, that would be the chord progression of your house. Kind of weird analogy, but maybe it works. Um, okay, so we have our general Corps progression of this section of the tune. So let's hear it one more time and maybe all adjust the volume a little bit of the piano to see if we can get it. Teoh fit in. Okay. Um great. So if we were wrong, we could go back to our thing and say, Well, this core doesn't sound great. I am suspicious of that cord. To be honest, I am a little bit. So we started off with a G. Remember, it was way down here, actually was lower than that. Um but we'll leave it there for now. We start off of the G in the baseline. Maybe a G isn't the cord that it's built on. Maybe it's built on one of the other notes that we found. So what if it was built on a be, uh so the bass note is still a G, but Annabi works pretty well. So what if we made, like, a cord out of B, so that would be be and we go up to the third of B two b d and then the third of that, which would actually be f sharp if we counted it all the way out. Well, let's do F f natural because we're going to stick in the key of C. Let's get rid of that. And let's see what this sounds like. Let's see if maybe we think we might be right. We've got one rial sour note in there, right? Um, it's just not lining up. Let's try this as an f sharp just for the heck of it. Kind of different flavor to it, but I don't think it's right. I think the G cord sounded more in line with the to go up, So there we have it. Oh, let's do one more thing. Let's figure out the names of these chords, right? That's kind of important. So first we need to find the root of the cord. So our first chord is in route position, right? We talked about inversions in the other class. Inversion means that the route of the cord the route is the note that it's named after the route is not in the base is not the lowest note, Um, but in this case, the route is the lowest note. Um, so this is a C chord and it's going and we're in the key of C, so it's gonna be a C major chord. This is Accord built on D. It's in route position. So in the key of C major, we know that the second chord of C major must be a minor chord because of that pattern. Major, minor, minor major, etcetera. So this must be a D minor chord. Same thing with this one is root position. So it's an e chord, and it's ah, cord built on the third scale degree of sea. So it must be minor because the pattern is major, minor, minor, cool. This one is a little different. This one is not in root position. If we were going to get it in route position, we'd have to spell it in terms of thirds. That's how we know if it's in route position. So if we counted up in third from D would have d, this would be to would be e here, and then f would be the third. But we have a G. So we know that d can't be the root because the 1st 3rd 5th rule doesn't work. So let's try counting up from G G and then the third. This is the second, the third would be B. And in the fifth there's the fourth. The fifth would be here if we look over here, that is a d which we have down here. So if I shoot this note up in Octave, then it's in route position now. So we know it's a g chord because it's in route Position G is at the bottom. That makes it a G court. So, um, G is the fifth scale degree, which we've already talked about, cause C D E F g. And then, ah, according to the pattern, that means it must be major. So our core progression here is C major D major D minor. Sorry, e minor and G major two times in this particular case, that's our core progression. Ah, so now we could take that if we wanted to make a tomb that had a similar sound. We know that that particular core progression works pretty well for doing this kind of a sound so we can use it. Last thing about this is that you might say to yourself, while I can't just copy that core progression? Um, because that's not my tune. Actually, you can. Ah, you can't copyright a core progression. Uh, if you could copyright a chord progression everyone from the Beatles to Mozart to I don't know me would be in ah, whole bunch of hot water. Um, there are a 1,000,000 songs based on the same chord progressions, and this is a pretty common core progression C d minor e minor G. So you can use this exact core progression. You shouldn't do it and make it sound exactly like this track. Then you might be opening yourself up to a lawsuit. Um, but you cannot copyright a chord progression. So if you like the way this sounds, give it. All right. See you in the next lesson.

Class Description


In the first part of Music Theory for Electronic Musicians, we learned how to work with the piano roll editor in a DAW to make harmonies, melodies, and whole tracks. In this second part, we'll expand on those ideas. We'll work with minor keys, focus some time on melody and bassline writing, and we'll talk about how different tracks work. 


Extensive Analysis 

In this class, we feature an extensive track analysis segment by Daft Punk, Avicii, Skrillex, and many more. In each of these segments, we'll look at their tracks on the piano roll editor. We'll talk about why they sound the way they do, and how you can use similar techniques in your own music. Each of these segments picks apart multiple elements of the song and dissects it in an easily digestiable manner. 


Who should take this course? 

Anyone interested in producing their own tracks. This will get you up and running and give your tracks a unique sound in no time.


Structure 

This course consists of video lectures, which all contain a session in Ableton Live 9. If you are using a different program (or none at all), no worries! This isn't a class on how to use Ableton Live, and the concepts can be applied to any DAW.  

Reviews

MikeD
 

Well, I slobbered all over you after your first class and this one is as good or better. I realize people don't go to college for 12 years and learn what you shared in a few hours and you didn't earn your doctorate with just this stuff. I mean Julliard must offer a lot more, but you have advanced my knowledge by miles and I've got to say thank you. Make some more of these simple, common talk courses - I'll buy them all.

Nick van Lochem
 

This course its so good he makes it al sound so easy. that ists easy to remember and use in your creations.

Scott Vincent
 

Very cool class - learned a lot from this class as well as from the Part 1 class. Highly recommend both classes!