Song analysis dead flowers

I have gone thru chord melody courses one and two and I am able to play all the lessons well from those 2 courses. I am now finally starting to learn songs after starting this IFR process / learning music theory. I am working with Dead Flowers by the Rolling Stones in the key of D. Even though I can go thru all the lessons in chord melody one and two … I am still a bit lost as if I use the same strategies from the chord melody course this is more difficult as If I use the root note D from the open D string a lot of the notes in the scale are on open strings. Is there any coaching offered or any IFR students I could work with to figure this out.I am going to try to get the hang of it but Let me know. Thanks

David Reed (@ImproviseForReal) is the most likely source.

Is there anyone on this forum that is familiar with IFR’S melody guitar course that could offer any help or strategies figuring out this song Dead flowers by the rolling stones?

I haven’t done any of the IFR guitar courses, but have watched some of the free videos when I was interested in learning some guitar.

As far as I could see, David mainly teaches using fretted notes rather than open strings. He seems to get oriented somewhere around the middle of the fretboard, creates his tonal map, and finds the chord tones around where he is located using fretted notes.

Open strings get a bit trickier, but once you can visualise where they are in terms of the tonal map, then you’re good to go.

Not sure if this will help, but once I got this notion in my head it made working with open strings a lot easier.

Hi @Randy,

I understand the problem. You want to play the song in the key of D, but you’re finding that this key doesn’t allow you much space on the guitar to separate the melody from the bass notes. Because the lowest D you have is that open D string, you’re stuck putting both melody notes and chord notes on the top three strings whenever you’re in the 1 chord, and this doesn’t turn out to be very convenient for the melody to that song.

But this problem isn’t related to your chord melody skills or knowledge. It’s a fundamental limitation of the guitar that its range is not very big. From the lowest string to the highest in any given part of the fretboard, you only have about two octaves of range. This is more than enough to play any melody in any key. But if you also want to put chord notes and bass notes under that melody, then you find that it’s not easy to fit everything into just two octaves.

There are a couple of strategies for addressing this limitation, and you’ll find many examples of both strategies in arrangements for classical guitar. The easiest and most obvious strategy is to choose the best key for each song. The key of D was chosen by the Rolling Stones for reasons that have to do with their own vocal ranges and the way the chords sounded on their instruments. So that might have been the best key for the sound they wanted. But that doesn’t make it the best key for an arrangement of this song for solo guitar. If you can be flexible about the key, you might find that playing this song in the key of G or A suddenly makes everything possible, and all of your problems go away.

The other strategy is to be more creative in how you blend your melody and accompaniment. The approach that I taught in my video course is intended to help you learn to start thinking about melody and chords at the same time, and controlling both on the guitar simultaneously. But as I said a thousand times during that course, when we’re playing in chord melody style we don’t accompany every single note by a chord. We only play bass and chord notes when we want to. So as you become more experienced with chord melody playing, this is another way that you can solve the problem of having limited range to work with. But this way of playing is more advanced and it’s not something you can learn with a single explanation. First you need to have a foundation in chord melody playing in general, exactly as I showed in my video course.

So my advice would be to approach the song the way you learned with my video course, but transpose the song to another key that gives you more room to work.

I should also say that a third strategy involves choosing songs that lend themselves well to chord melody guitar arrangements in the first place. Not all songs make for especially nice solo guitar performances. You can always create your own arrangement out of any song, and you can always make any song “work” in chord melody style. But some songs work out so nicely in chord melody style that it’s much easier to make an arrangement that is fun to play and beautiful to listen to. Other songs make it much harder to come up with an arrangement that really sounds good. So just be aware of that too. Sometimes our favorite songs for listening or singing don’t turn out to be our favorite songs for playing in chord melody style. Meanwhile other songs that might not seem so special to us can turn out to be incredible when arranged for solo guitar. So part of your experimentation with chord melody is to discover which songs really work best for you.

In summary:

  1. Some songs are easier to play beautifully in chord melody style than others. You need to experiment and choose the songs that work the best for you.

  2. The guitar has a limited range. You will almost always want to choose a key on the guitar that is the best for accommodating the specific melody and chords of your song.

  3. As you get more experienced with chord melody playing, you can be much more free in your arrangements (for example, playing bass notes other than the root of the chord). This gives you many more options for solving some of the tough problems with range that come up.

I hope this helps give you some new directions to explore.