Dave Matthews’ music is as colorful, diverse, and uncategorizable as the man himself. His sounds do get categorized -with clumsy media labels like “jam band rock,” “bebop pop,” or his own tongue-in-cheek offering, “Con-fusion” – but these terms never do them any justice. His output must ultimately be appreciated for and perceived as what it is – adventurous and eclectic modern music for everyone. Raised in South Africa and now a native of Charlottesville, Virginia, Dave leads the currently very popular Dave Matthews Band.
The main riff, Riff A, is a perfect example of what Dave calls “circular modal motion.” He admits to “trying to find the right drones to build bridges on,” and this is what we get in “Satellite.” The intro lick, Riff A, also heard in the verses and interludes, is a noteworthy case in point. It is composed of perfect 5th intervals moving in mostly two-note units around the fretboard, setting up a droning, hypnotic pattern in 3/4 time. Let’s look a bit closer and break it down into easy-to-digest sections. The first component is a chord stack built from two perfect 5ths in a row [Fig. 1]. This voicing emphasizes wide intervals, Ab-Eb-Bb and can be seen as two root-5th power chords combined. The remaining notes in the riff are also arranged in 5ths, and played at the 4th fret (Db5), 3rd fret (C5), and 1st fret (Bb5) [Fig. 2]. Dave plays the riff in single-note form which emphasizes the angularity of its wide interval perfect 5th melody. The concept of building chords and riffs on perfect 5ths, called quintal harmony, is not a new one in rock. It’s an approach favored by Andy Summers (“Message in a Bottle”) and Steve Vai.
The chorus figure, Rhy. Fig. 1, expounds on the quintal concept. Here, Dave uses a high Ab5 form on the 3rd and 4th strings as the axis or center of the activity. The other voicings pivot around this shape which is established in the first measure of the figure [Fig. 3]. The rhythm approach in the chorus features Matthews’ buoyant strum style which drives the section forward smoothly.
It’s a part of Dave Matthews Band Satellite guitar tab and sheet.
Through the link below you can download
a full transcription of Satellite
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