-- Tabs, Chords & Tunings: Fascist Architecture --
Transcribed by Nigel Parry

Tabs Index

Disclaimer: The following tab is intended for private enjoyment and educational purposes and should not be read as an encouragement for members of the general public to play the song live. The lyrics and music of "Fascist Architecture" are the intellectual property of Bruce Cockburn, his management, and record companies, etc,.


Fascist Architecture has been transcribed from the Humans album. This is a rough and ready 'start you off' tab for the song. If you want to take it further, please do, but this is the basic idea that you will recognise from the song. There are two main musical parts to the song, the VERSE and the BRIDGE. But before that, you'll need to do a simple retune of your guitar to what is known as the drop F# tuning. All you need to do is tune down your 3rd string, or G string (more tea, vicar?) to an F#, the note you get from the 1st string, second fret of a guitar in standard tuning.


For the verse's fingerpicking there are two chord shapes. The first is Em (depress second fret of both the 4th and 5th strings) and then an A variation (depress the second frets on both the 3rd and 4th strings).

Playing the Em shape gives you the first half of the verse fingerpicking like so:


Then the second half, an A variation:


You'll recognise it. Listen to the song a few times to get the timing right.


Then for the bridge part - "Bloody nose and burning eyes, raised in laughter to the skies" - you need to get into an Em-shaped descending series of four ringing bar chords. In other words, if you are playing this on the fifth fret (an A bar chord), the tab will look like this:


Notice you are playing all the strings. This is what gets the ringing sound going and, with the intensity you should be hitting it, you'll find it gives a nice wide sound. This is also achieved with a chorus/flanger-type effects pedal sound.

The bass notes (i.e. what's going down on your 6th or bottom E string) during the descending four bar chords (listen to the song for their beat and rhythm and keep the same chord shape as above for all) are:

B B                B B          A A       A
   Bloody nose and burning eyes

G# G#                    G# G#        F#
      Raised in laughter to the skies

After this, return to the fingerpicking (or strumming if you like) of the VERSE part for the "Been in trouble but I'm okay" lyrics.


Fascist architecture of my own design
Too long been keeping my love confined
You tore me out of myself alive

Those fingers drawing out blood like sweat
While the magnificent facades crumble and burn
The billion facets of brilliant love
The billion facets of freedom turning in the light

Bloody nose and burning eyes
Raised in laughter to the skies

I've been in trouble but I'm okay
Been through the wringer but I'm okay
Walls are falling and I'm okay
Under the mercy and I'm okay

Gonna tell my old lady
Gonna tell my little girl
There isn't anything in the world
That can lock up my love again

Tabs Index

This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.