A song called Debutante by 65daysofstatic theory


I recently tabbed out this song:


It’s amazing. I love the harmonies involved, but my general question is, what mode is this mimicking?

I put it in e mixolydian, but is there a better mode to describe this sort of song structure?

I tried switching it to dorian, but this is a complicated tab. interested to hear communities thoughts.

Just edited, I think it’s best described as E minor with borrowed E major chord. (Also changed the time signature.)

Yeah I had it set to a dorian which is the same as e minor. Thanks for the help with time signature though I think thats what was throwing me off.

In a tab that alternates between I and VI (or i and vi), how do you know which one sets the tone of the song?

In other words, how could this song not be considered Emajor?

Here’s another tab for reference: My question: Is this Cmajor or is this Cminor?


I set the first one as minor because the entire melody and progression fits within the E minor scale except for the raised 3rd for that E major chord, so it’s the exception not the rule. From an analysis standpoint it does feel a bit weird that the tonic chord and the mode conflict with each other, but I think it’s better to go with the balance of the chord progression overall—if the tab were in E major then every single chord would have to be borrowed except the E major chord, which seems less useful than just putting it in minor.

The second tab you posted moves back and forth between C and Ab major chords with the C dominating at the end, and I’d definitely put it in C major because one borrowed chord isn’t enough to outweigh the major tonality. The only time C minor would make more sense is if the C major chord was fully surrounded by an otherwise minor progression, like in the No Man’s Sky tab.