Lesson Plan

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Lesson notes

Ultravox are a British new wave band formed in London in 1974.

Vienna, taken from their 4th studio album with the same name, became a major hit in Europe in 1981.

To date, it remains Ultravox’s signature song, being their most commercially successful single and is often played live by Midge Ure in solo performances. He co-wrote the song and was the band's lead singer and front man during most of the eighties.

This lesson is entirely based on how Ure plays it on guitar in such performances.

He plays it in the key of C Mixolydian, primarily using chords I, IV and VII, with the guitar tuned down a half step or sometimes even a whole step to fit his vocal range.

He doesn’t necessarily copy the rhythmic feel of the original recording, but does incorporate the main little piano riff.

The song is probably too hard to sing for most male vocalists, in particular the high notes in the chorus, so for that, we also take a look at the keys of A and G Mixolydian, which turn out to work really well.

A little bit of theory regarding the Mixolydian mode is included.