Learn How to Play Transatlanticism by Death Cab For Cutie

2018 – After 12 years I finally got around to making a video tutorial showing how to play Transatlanticism. Check out the video below and if you like these kinds of videos then subscribe to my new channel. I’m planning on doing a whole series of tutorials for all the songs I’ve taught myself how to play over the years. Should be loads of fun!

October 15th, 2006: I mentioned a few days ago how I wanted to transcribe Transatlanticism instead of trying to describe how to play the song in words. Well I found some old software I had called MIDI Orchestrator Plus and thought I’d give it a shot. It was kinda a pain to do because you have to click on every note you want to play and the piano is sideways along the side of the page and really small so it’s hard to even see what you’re playing. So it’s not done, but I don’t have time to do anymore tonight. Basically this gets you up about the middle of the song. Anyway, here’s what I’ve got so far of Transatlanticism by Death Cab for anyone who plays the piano out there. The left hand is played at the same time as the right hang, even though the sheet music shows the notes as being off. I don’t know why it does that, but when I print to a .pdf, it scoots that left hand over.

November 5th, 2006. This will get you through almost the whole song. Listen to the MIDI for an instrumental piano version. Enjoy!

May 24th, 2007 – Okay, I’ve been playing this song for the last few months now and I’ve got the whole thing figured out, but I somehow messed up the original “orchestrator” file so I can’t update or edit it anymore. Anyway I was bumming around YouTube and couldn’t believe the thousands of videos people post of them playing songs on the piano, so I’ve been thinking about doing a YouTube-style version of the song so you actually can see how to play it all the way through (for those of us who can’t read sheet music, like myself). Also I finally figured out the small chord changes in the middle that sound so cool. Any takers on a video tutorial?

June 29th, 2008 – I fixed the file and redid the transcription and made it a little more accurate. I removed the # next to each note and just put them in their normal place. Also, the notes line up better now for some reason. The middle part just repeats over and over, I didn’t want to write it all out, since it’s already 6 pages long, but you repeat the Asus2, F#m, E, D, D over and over, with a couple of little changes in the right hand that are shown. I think they mix up those notes a few more times, but this is the gist of it. Thanks for checking it out!

Click Here for the Piano Sheet Music for Transatlanticism by Death Cab.

Click Here to Listen to the MIDI version.

About Dan

For a complete biography, stop by www.danmarx.org and click around for a while.
This entry was posted in Music and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Learn How to Play Transatlanticism by Death Cab For Cutie

  1. Renee says:

    Hey, you did an awesome job transcribing the first half of the song. I can tell it’s not complete but it’s super good so far.

    there’s a key change 3:24 minutes in. i’ve been trying to figure it out, but i can’t seem to get it.

    did you finish the song yet?


  2. Tyler says:

    Hey Thank You So much! I hope you continue to work on it! It would be nice to have the entire song….but this is great! Keep it Up!

  3. david says:

    hey..i’m really glad you’re so enthusiastic about this song! i’ve been trying to find a really good piano version of this song for a long time. what you might try is playing around with the clefs, as reading all those ledger lines is really difficult. try putting more of the chord in the bass clef and i think you’ll have a winner. otherwise, thanks for getting this together.

  4. Dan says:

    Thanks for the comments. So where would be a good place to put the split? Should both the upper and lower sections be in the bass clef?

  5. Tom says:

    Yeah, I think both hands should absolutely be in the bass. it would be much easier to read. (not all on the same staff, obviously) But yeah, thanks for posting this. Definitely made my life a million times easier.

  6. Dan says:

    Okay, I tried putting both bass clefs in the upper and lower staffs and my stupid software won’t do it. It forces the two staffs to be different no matter what I select. The only other option is to put everything in a single staff on the left hand, but it looks ridiculous and would most likely be even harder to read. Changing the split point doesn’t seem to make it any easier to read either, it just moves more notes to the bass. I need some better software for doing this. :-p

  7. Jessica says:

    hello :)

    thanks so much for the sheet music of transatlanticisim!

    i’ve been trying to look for it for ages! :D

    that’s cool how you figured the notes out by yourself :)

  8. danielle says:

    why don’t you use finale software? its super easy to use. you can download a free version on the website. thanks for what you have so far by the way!

  9. Sweet. Thanks for this. My brother and I are recording a cover of this – him on keyboards and me on drums and vocals. This helps a great deal.


  10. amelia says:

    hi, i cant read sheet music but want to play this song,

    i am on youtube so your idea of a tutorial there is good, or letters or somthing please

  11. Zashime says:

    Thanks for the sheets… Keep up the good work!

  12. Its really hard for me to find this sort of sheet music so thanks!

  13. Dannie says:

    Is there any way I can download your MIDI version? There are no tutorial online and I cant read music and I really need a piano version. I would learn it but I can’ t seem to hit the right notes.

  14. Benjamin Barlowe says:

    Hey I really appreciate this! A couple suggestions: I would put the chords in the clef and just put an 8ve symbol below the clef. That way it’s easier to read without all those leger lines and people will know that it’s supposed to be played an octave lower than it’s written.

    Also, it looks like you pretty much have the whole song, just add some repeat signs at certain points so it makes sense. This is really good. I’ve been trying to figure out these chords for awhile. It’s a lot simpler than I thought. :)

  15. Daniel Marx says:

    Thanks for the comments Ben. I wish I was able to update the transcription with your feedback but the to tool I used to do it isn’t that sophisticated. I’ve heard Finale can do it, but am not too familiar with it. Anyway, glad you like it just the same despite its imperfections. It is still one of my faves to play on the piano. And once you learn it, you don’t really even need the sheet music any more.

  16. piano chords says:

    I have tried playing piano chords for this song and i found augmented and diminished chords. The augmented chord is similar to the diminished chord. It serves as a passing chord. When used appropriately, it will make the piano music sounds spectacular.

  17. Sebastian says:

    I think everything posted made a great deal of sense. However, what about this?
    what if you composed a catchier post title? I am not suggesting your content is not solid, but what if you added a post title that grabbed a person’s attention? I mean Blog For Whoever ? Transatlanticism Sheet Music, Death Cab For Cutie is kinda boring. You could peek at Yahoo’s home page and note how they write post titles to get viewers to open the links.
    You might add a related video or a pic or two to grab people interested about what you’ve got to say. Just my opinion, it might make your posts a little livelier.

  18. Trina says:

    Hey thanks for this lovely sheet!! I’ve been searching it a while! <3

  19. Kendall N says:

    Thank you so much for this! Good sheet music is hard to find anymore!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.