Song: Whaling

Artist: DD Smash

Songwriter: Dave Dobbyn

Album: The Optimist

Release date: 1984

Genre: Rock/Pop

Key: C

Chords in Key:
















Whaling is written for vocals, guitar, bass, violin, keyboard and drums.

Intro/ Verse

The intro begins with arpeggios of the chords major chords in the key of C. The subdominant is in its second inversion, meaning it has the 3rd in the bass position; in rock/pop and jazz notation this is written as F/A. Instruments begin to be added, usually on the repeat of a chord progression: the violin comes in first, playing the lead melody for the song. The lyrics begin on the next repeat of the chord progression and the guitar changes from an arpeggio to a strummed pattern with guitar accents on 2nd and 4th beat of each bar. The drums enter halfway through the first verse. The gradual entry of the instruments gives the feeling of a crescendo. At the end of the verse, there is a volume drop as the guitars are palm muted and the drums play a crescendo of quaver notes on the floor tom and snare under the subdominant for two bars, setting up a plagal cadence with chord in the chorus. The violin is elaborated on in Verse 2. 


The chorus mostly goes back and forth between two major chords in C Major. The guitar plays arpeggios, but in a different pattern from the intro. The chorus ends with chord stabs on the strong beats (beats one and three in four four meter) on the dominant and subdominant, setting up a plagal cadence as the intro plays again after the chorus.

At the end of the chorus the violin melody and Dave Dobbyn’s vocals are sustained, creating a moment of polyphony. This is followed in verse two by the vocals and violin performing in a call and response manner.


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