Why/How does this work: Europe The Final Countdown Solo

Discussion in 'Guitar Lessons' started by kfowler8, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. kfowler8

    kfowler8 Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,933
    Likes Received:
    4,670
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Help me understand the theory behind this.

    The Final Countdown by Europe is everyone's favorite annoying intro riff. However it's got a pretty cool solo in the middle of it.

    The song is in the key of F#m so we've got F# - G# - A - B - C# - D - E notes to work with.

    During the solo, the following chords are being played behind it:
    F#m (F#-A-C)
    D (D-F#-A)
    Bm (B-D-F#)
    E (E-G#-B)

    The first solo is the part I have a question about. He's playing arpeggios over the chords above. As I understand it, the four arpeggios are:

    Bm arpeggio (B-D-F#) over the F#m
    C#dim arpeggio (C#-E-G) over the D major
    D arpeggio (D-F#-A) over the Bm
    G arpeggio (G-B-D) over the E major

    My first question is more of a general one related to playing an arpeggio over a chord. Are there any "rules" to go by? Example the Bm arpeggio over the F#m chord. All of the Bm notes are part of the F#m scale so I get that it would work but why a Bm arpeggio?

    Second is the C#dim and the G arpeggios. The G note in both arpeggios is not part of the F#m scale. Is simply changing to F# Phrygian here? How does the G major arpeggio not directly clash with the E major chord since it has a G# in it?

    Appreciate the help.
     
  2. kfowler8

    kfowler8 Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,933
    Likes Received:
    4,670
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Here's the solo: 3:15 mark

     
  3. huw

    huw V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    3,527
    Likes Received:
    4,746
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Your first question is best answered this way : you have the chords wrong under the solo. The chords change, and basically follow the arpeggios. So the "rule" is simply arpeggiating the chord. ;)

    Look at the notes in relation to B minor during the solo, 'cause that's where the song has gone to. We've modulated.

    But even if we hadn't, don't be so attached to the idea that you can only use notes from this scale when we are in this key. That's theory 101, but we're not in theory 101 anymore. The truth is more like this : we're in this key because it sounds like it, and we can use any notes at all that will support the tonic.

    That's more how real music works.

    Does that help?

    :)
     
    frankv, parts and kfowler8 like this.
  4. kfowler8

    kfowler8 Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,933
    Likes Received:
    4,670
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Doh! I see what you mean by the chords. I was going off a tab sheet I found. I looked again at a different one and it basically follows the arpeggio except that the second chord looks like an E5. See how having the wrong info from the start can lead you astray!

    The modulation part makes total sense now.

    Thanks Huw!
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
    huw likes this.

Share This Page