The Choice

Although I haven’t played The Last of Us game, I think the HBO series is amazing. The Choice has long been one of my favorite pieces of music by composer, Gustavo Santaolalla. He truly has a knack for the “major lift” which is why, I believe, his music is so affecting and popular. Often times he’ll start with a minor or dark verse — then lift into a chorus section that is so beautiful — it almost shimmers. This piece was used in Episode 6 of the HBO series.

In the case of The Choice, the verse is in the A minor position and the chorus lifts to A Major. Musically, that’s tough to pull off. The natural inclination is to go to the C major position. Santaolalla has stated in many interviews that he “doesn’t read or write music”. Most likely he has a functional understanding of music theory, but he’s not bound by convention when it comes to writing music.

I wanted to update my performance of The Choice (from 10 years ago) and I started playing around and riffing on Gustavo Santaolalla’s initial melody. The result became, The Choice (a variation). Far be it from me to alter or extend Santaolalla’s original work. However, this was a ton of fun and I intend to do more arrangements like this — especially with early Last of Us material. I go off the rails at about 1:27.

You might also like to play…

The Last of Us (HBO) | fingerstyle guitar + TAB

On the Nature of Daylight | fingerstyle guitar + TAB

All Gone (Seasons) | fingerstyle guitar + TAB
(also from Ep. 6 of HBO series.)

How to play The Choice (a variation) | fingerstyle guitar

The guitar tab for this arrangement is beautifully written across 3 pages. The original was a great song for pure beginners, but my variation is a little tougher. I recommend this piece for intermediate guitar players and up. I hope you enjoy playing this as much as I did creating it.

Enjoy, the guitar tab is available below:

The Choice (a variation) is played straight through. You take take care to repeat the sections within the brackets 2x.

*The Last of Us: The Choice (a variation)

The original Choice is played on a guitar bass; and unusual instrument from the 60’s that’s neither a functional guitar or bass. The tuning ended up quite low in B.

My variation is played in C. You’ll tune your guitar like this — from low to high: C F A# D# G A#. This is two full steps lower than standard tuning. I drop the 1st string an additional full step to A#.

You may not have to tune this low to play The Choice (a variation). It still sounds really good at a full step down: D G C F A C. You notice the 1st string is tuned down an additional full step.