Barely Breathing by Duncan Sheik

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons' started by LiveSimply, Nov 18, 2017.

  1. LiveSimply

    LiveSimply Senior Member

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    Hello all.

    I have a question for some of you theory hounds.

    I'm having a hard time figuring out what mode "Barely Breathing" by Duncan Sheik is in.

    I hear it resolve to the F chord and the song uses the following progressions:

    Verse:
    Em7
    A7
    C add 9
    D sus2/F#

    It then uses a Fmaj7/add6 to transition to the chorus, which is"

    Cadd9
    Gsus2
    Am
    Fmaj9/C

    The Bridge uses the following"
    D
    Am
    Cadd9
    Gm13

    It's been an interesting acoustic song to learn. Quite challenging for me.

    Any help or guidance on the mode it's in would be appreciated.

    Thanks much.
     
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  2. KP11520

    KP11520 Senior Member

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    Always loved this song. In fact, the whole CD. And never figured it out.

    I'll have to dissect it now that I see someone else is also on board! :cheers2:

    As far as Mode? Might be more than one used. Is the whole song in one key?
     
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  3. LiveSimply

    LiveSimply Senior Member

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    Yeah, KP, I've been at it for about a month. The chord progression isn't all that bad, it's trying to sing it at the same time that I have the hardest time with.

    I hear the tonic as F throughout the song. Though my ears aren't the best, so I can be off on that.

    Its not using the F major chords because the verse has an Em and Dsus2, which aren't in the F major Key (Dm and Edim), so I'm assuming its in some sort of mode. Unless those chords are typical substitutions for the Dm and E Dim, which I don't think they are.
     
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  4. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    It's a great song. I too hear it in F, and at times at Dmin, but I hear E dorian in the verse. The chorus is F or Dmin, depending on how you hear things. With that strong E, I hear Fmaj7 throughout it.

    It's definitely got E Dorian going on in the bridge, too.
     
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  5. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    Set your voice to the picking in the verse, rhythmical as it is, and set your right hand to "strum" in the chorus.
     
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  6. LiveSimply

    LiveSimply Senior Member

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    Thanks, Thump.

    I am doubting my own Key assessment now.

    The verse does sound like it is emphasizing tothat Dsus2/F# as it cycles through the Em7 - A7 - C add 9 - D sus2/F# a few times before finally hitting that Fmaj7 chord that leads into the chorus. To my ears it sounded like that Fmaj7 was the "resolving" key tone, but I can also hear that if that chord wasn't there the verse would seem to emphasize the Dsus2/F# as more of the resolution. Uggggh.

    Wouldn't E dorian contain a C# chord instead of the Cadd9 seen in the verse, Thump?

    Regards.
     
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  7. Pop1655

    Pop1655 Premium Member

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    WOW. I love this song. My wife's gotta be tired of hearing it. Others come and go. It keeps making the list about four nights a week.

    I'm embarrassed to post this and publicly show how stupid I actually am in real life.
    I'm just nothing fancy Em Am C D - F - C G Am F - F - D Am C Bb - F bar chords
    Lots of songs I feel like I'm missing something I haven't found. I've never really felt that way on this just using the basics. I'm pleased. I'd love to see a tab or hear more on what y'all are doing.

    Silly FYI footnote: I almost always go from this to The Calling - Wherever You Will Go
    There's something about the two together I like.
     
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  8. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    No prob. Honestly, I wouldn't worry about it unless I were improvising a lead over it.

    That was a typo -- I meant A Dorian, not E. Sorry for the confusion.
     
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  9. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    Another song that has a similar feel is Eagle Eye Cherry's "Save Tonight".
     
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  10. KP11520

    KP11520 Senior Member

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  11. LiveSimply

    LiveSimply Senior Member

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    Nice backing track to have in order to try to get his rhythm right. How on earth do you manage to isolate that KP from the recording?
     
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  12. Pop1655

    Pop1655 Premium Member

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    Wow. Almost doesn’t sound like the same song. Thanks. That’s cool.
     
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  13. KP11520

    KP11520 Senior Member

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    A software product called "Transcribe" that can be downloaded from seventhstring.org Best $39 I ever spent to really get close to perfection when figuring out guitar work in songs. https://www.seventhstring.com/xscribe/buy.html

    There's a bunch of effects that you can try. Usually one or several help isolate parts more clearly.

    And Pop, you were asking about acoustic songs..... Transcribe can help you perfect what you already know for starters and then open the doors to many more!
     
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  14. Thumpalumpacus

    Thumpalumpacus Senior Member

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    About two months ago i was looking into adding this to repertoire for open-mic stuff, and came across a youtube of Sheik doing this on solo acoustic. Really good stuff.
     
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  15. LiveSimply

    LiveSimply Senior Member

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    Thanks. This is one JonR has also recommended before, but didn't know it had that isolation feature.

    General questions: does the software also allow you to isolate and record just the vocal track on songs?

    Nice tool to have.
     
  16. LiveSimply

    LiveSimply Senior Member

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    It's a fun song to learn Thump. Hope it makes your list. This song and "Melissa" by the Allman Brothers are two of my favorite to play.

    I've also been working on a set of acoustics. I'm not good enough to perform, but I just want to have a set of songs that I can play from beginning to end.

    Incubus' "Drive" is next up on my list. That's another one where to save my life I'm completely thrown by where I'm feel the resolution. Can't tell if its in the A7 chord or the Em. I know the chords fit the Em scale, but I feel the resolution more on the A7 chord.
     
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  17. JonR

    JonR Senior Member

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    What it does (on the "mono/karaoke" effects tab) is take a stereo track and put the R and L channels out of phase with one another. The effect is to remove anything panned dead centre, which is usually the lead vocal (and often the bass).
    That's what KP11520 has done with this track. It works well with this one because lead vocal, bass and drums are all panned dead centre, so removing those leaves the guitar pretty much on its own.

    It obviously won't work with a mono track, and has mixed results (ha literally!) with other kinds of stereo mix.

    You can also pan stereo tracks, which may highlight certain instruments. But you can't actually isolate individual instruments in a stereo mix - not unless one instrument really is on its own in one part of the stereo spectrum, which is very rarely the case.
    E.g., it might seem that if one can remove the centre-panned vocal to hear everything else, the opposite ought to be possible - to hear the vocal on its own (or at least without the extreme R and L of the stereo). But this doesn't in fact seem possible, at least not with this program.

    The EQ function lets you remove or highlight different parts of the frequency spectrum, but most instruments share the same regions of the spectrum (certainly guitar and vocal do). Only bass removal is much effective, if that's ever useful.
     
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  18. huw

    huw V.I.P. Member

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    The verse is in E minor. The interesting quirk being the "floating 6th" - ie major 6th (C#) in the A chord, minor 6th (C) in the Cadd9. So you can think E dorian (Em > A) then E aeolian (C > D), if you like, or just enjoy the freedom to use both those notes in E minor.

    The Fmaj7 is a transition chord - it introduces the note F for the first time instead of the F# in the D chord, and sets up for...

    The chorus is in C major. I > V > vi > IV. The chord progression that ate the world, 21st century version. Think Don't Stop Believing, Axis Of Awesome, etc etc

    The bridge is in D, utilising notes from both D major & D minor :

    D = D F# A
    Am = A C E
    Cadd9 = C E G D
    Gmin13 = G Bb D F A (C) E

    From D you get : D E F F# G A Bb C = 1 2 b3 3 4 5 b6 b7 = D aeolian + the major 3rd (F#).

    So, the result is that whilst on the one hand it's easy to say, yup - that bit's in D, it doesn't settle : the only chord from the major is the D major itself, all the others are from D minor, so there's some unease which remains until the music leaps back to the next section of the song.

    And the classic "hanging IV", unresolved subdominant chord (F) to end.

    :)
     
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  19. LiveSimply

    LiveSimply Senior Member

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    Wow. :eek2: Thanks so much for your input, Huw. It's always great getting your perspective on these topics.

    I guess I was just trying to fit a square peg in a round hole again. It's so frustrating to not have the ear to hear those varying resolutions CLEARLY.

    As I mentioned to Thump above, I actually mistakenly hear the Dsus2/F# as the resolution in the verse :(. However, I thought that transition F chord to the chorus sounded like it could possibly be interpreted as a "resolution" of the verse and then I saw the song emphasize the F chords at it's very end for multiple bars, which I also mistakenly hear as the song's final "resolution" and I used those facts to frame F as likely Key, but clearly I knew I was off, hence my post....but ,wow.... I wasn't even in the same area code on this analysis... I must admit it's the very first time I read of this classic hanging "subdominant" chord you reference.... I guess my the songs I play are still a bit basic in nature :oops:

    I don't personally play a lot of songs that have these sort of key changes within them. Most of the ones I know mostly stick to one key. Really the only ones that I play that don't are probably Layla (E for verses/Dm chorus) and Badge (A Dorian verses/D mixo) choruses -- you and JonR were also very helpful in helping me figure out what was going on there. So I guess my bias is to always find the ONE key - I shouldn't fall into that bias or trap.

    Hey... ummm, Huw.... given that I now have you in the room and all :) ... would you be familiar with Incubu's' "Drive"? It's next up on my list. I also seem to be thrown by where it resolves. Can't tell if its in the A7 chord or the Em. I know the chords fit the Em scale, but I feel the resolution more on the A7 chord. The notes on the verse are (2 notes per measure): Em Em9 / Cmaj7 A7 (and it just cycles like that various times)

    No worries if your not familiar... your thoughts above were great... thank you... I actually have a spreadsheet with all these progressions and notes on the various songs, and my notes on this song will now just have your analysis pasted word by word.. lol... :dude:
     
  20. huw

    huw V.I.P. Member

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    Aw, shucks - always happy to talk...

    Well, lets be clear. Although I tend to speak with certainty, as if my opinion were fact, there are situations where it will always depend on how you hear it, and in those cases resolution can be in the ear of the beholder. If you hear it resolving to a different place than I do, don't be afraid to fight about it. :)

    Particularly in modern pop you often find what I call a chord "cycle" rather than a chord "progression. ie it goes around and around, and doesn't get anywhere. That always makes it so much harder to agree on a point of resolution.

    As example, do you know Dreams by Fleetwood Mac? Which chord does it resolve to? Does it even resolve? etc etc

    That's just my name for it! However lots of songs with otherwise unambiguous keys have ended on the subdominant chord (IV) for an unresolved, ambiguous, ending. Literally we're "left hanging" instead of getting a nice easy resolution to the tonic. Personally I love it - it's one of my favorite song endings ;)

    Me too. You don't measure music, you feel it. So if a song with two chords moves you, which happens to me all the time, then great.

    Nope - not in the slightest. But that won't stop me! :laugh2:

    See what I mean about "cycles"? Without hearing it I would be guessing about the resolutions, but on paper, never having heard it, and with all disclaimers in place, I would call that as E minor, for exactly the same reasons as the verse in the other song. Same C/C# as well.

    And I bet they'll come back to bite me on the ass sometime, too! :laugh2:

    :)
     
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