Hey everyone, this week I wanted to post a transcription I’m really happy about. Ever since it came on the scene I’ve been in love with the Sigur Ros song “Gobbledigook.” It is really pretty and energetic, plus it’s got some really cool time games going on. The drums are pretty much static throughout, which gives the odd phrasings a lot of impact.
The first odd phrasing is in the recurring A section melody. It is a melody of 7 notes which are each given a dotted quarter value against the drum quarter notes. This forces the melody to occur on both the strong downbeat as well as the upbeat in alternation. This rhythmic displacement is one of the things that gives the melody its etherial and floating quality. The next time shift is an augmentation during the C section (when the bass starts pumping out quarter notes). The phrasing is 2 bars of 4/4, one bar of 6/4, then another 4/4 bar. The melody is strong and the harmonic augmentation created is powerful and subtle. I get that feeling of hang time at the end of the vocal melody.
Another interesting quality of this arrangement is how the background vocal manipulates your sense of expectation. The first time the background vocal appears in the C part it sets up the trick. After the first time, they change the second bar of the accompaniment. The same note that would be on the second bar beat one is shifted to beat 3 and there is a 2 beat gap of space. This is interesting because they set up the expectation to hear that first phrase again and then trick your ear by dropping out and then playing the next expected note 2 beats late. This is a strong little trick. They set up the expectation so well, that every time it comes around it is slightly surprising not to hear the accompaniment melody parroted back again the first way. Awesome!
Anyway, there are lot of great things about this song. My transcription is as accurate as I could make it. The guitar part might need a little tweaking, but I thought it sounded good and pretty accurate this way. I’ve included a MIDI file of the arrangement also so you can give it a listen.
Download the transcription —> Gobbledigook