Key: D Minor

Time Signature: 4/4

Tempo: 104 bpm with gradual speed up in the outro

Length: 4.11

Total Bars: 96 bars


Mountain At My Gates uses ABC (verse – chorus – bridge) form with the addition of instrumental interludes, a solo and an outro. These musical ‘breaths’ are super effective because they add depth to the song and keep things moving by breaking the pattern of eight bar sections. The double time feel change and acceleration in the outro keeps the groove from becoming stale and ramps perfectly into the climax of the song.

Foals - Form and Instrumentation



– Rhythm guitars x 2

– Lead Guitar

– Bass

– Drums

– Keys

– Synths



Mountain At My Gates uses a total of five chords and two progressions. The first progression applies to the intro, verse, interlude and bridge sections and the second progression applies to the chorus, solo and outro sections.  The progressions differ in the following ways.

  • Minor and Major:
    • Progression one starts on the D minor (i) and uses the G minor (iv) – minor feel.
    • Progression two on the other starts on Bb (VI) and uses the G major (IV) – major feel.
  • Chord Changes
    • Progression one changes chords twice within each bar, whereas progression two changes chords each bar.
  • Shape
    • Progression one descends from Dm (i) to Gm (iv)
    • Although progression two also ends on the fourth chord in Dm, the chord type is switched from minor to major. This gives it an ascending feeling.




Along with harmony, rhythm is playing an important role in contrasting the two main sections. Let’s compare section one (intro, verse, interlude and bridge) and section two (chorus, solo and outro).

  • Section one is syncopated. Listen to the rhythm guitar, the slinky bass line, the ghost notes on the snare and the busy hi-hat pattern. The elements (including the lead vox) are playing around the beat, especially beat one.
  • Section two is straight. The drums and bass are now locking into a driving eighth note pattern. The instrumentation is focusing on accenting the beats, especially beat one. Listen to the vocal phrasing.
  • The chord changes are on upbeats in section one and downbeats in section two.

Mountain At My Gates. Rhythm Pattern





Range        D to C (five notes; D, F, G, A, C)D to A (four notes; D, F, G, A)C to C (seven notes; Mid C, D, F, G, A, Bb, C (8ve)First time we hear the Bb C to D (six notes; Mid C, D, F, G, A, Bb(8ve)
ShapeStrong focus on repetition of the note A.Phrases descend from AFocus is on the root note.Phrases start and end on D.

Phrases move to a climax and curve back down

Strong focus on repetition of the note A.Phrase descend from A

Reaches highest note in fourth phrase.

 Similar to Verse shapeStrong focus on repetition of the note A.

Phrases descend from A

RhythmTies in with the other rhythmic elements.Rest on beat one.

16th notes + syncopation

Starts on beat oneUses longer note duration’sRest on beat one.Main rhythm – Bridge melody main rhythm Rests in the middle of most bars (beats two/or three)Combination of long and short note durations
LeapsMainly repetition

Also contains 2nds, 3rd, 4ths and 5th


Mainly stepwise2nds, 3rd and 4thsMainly stepwiseAlso contains 3rd and 4thsMainly stepwiseAlso contains 3rd, 4ths and 5ths


Mountain At My Gates. Melody


The verse, chorus, bridge and solo each use different rhyme schemes to help contrast the sections. In an interesting twist verse four uses the same rhyme scheme as the chorus.

Mountain At My Gates. Lyrics