The Beatles John Lennon; Paul McCartney; George Harrison; Ringo Starr "I want to Hold your Hand" No.1 on the Top 40, FEbruary 1964 "The British Invasion" pop music becomes "Art" Music Beatles formed in Liverpool, England in 1957: rooted in rockabilly, rock 'n' roll, rhythm and blues. Tin Pan Alley, folk (skiffle), British music hall, and country The Beatles Artistic Evolution: Imitation: Performing 'cover versions' Emulation: writing original material based on models of their early influences Innovation: the Beatles entered the public eye as a 'pop-rock' act, but in the course of their career they became 'avant-garde' pop musicians (avante-garde the advance group in any art, formerly applied to classical and jazz musicians) Please, Please Me LP (1963) released in U.K.; contains six cover songs and eight Lennon/McCartney compositions Producer: George Martin, "the fifth Beatle" Title track of U.K. album is released as a single in the United States; score #3 in the wake of "I want to hold your hand" and "she loves you" "Please, Please Me" (1963) Ex. of early Beatles Form: AABA (I dream of jeanie with the light brown hair uses something similar to this) 'A' section internal form comprises four melodic phrases, one phrase per line: a. "Last night..." a. "You know.." b. "c'mon..." c. "Please, please me..." Lyrics: internal rhymes "I don't want to sound com-plain-in' but you know there's always rain in my heart" Instrumental introduction: the harmonica and lead guitar play melodic phrases of 'A' - a melodic "hook" that previews the main melody sung by Lennon and McCartney In the first section, we see a rise in ascending melody at the words "come on, come on..." then the high point arises at the title phrase of the song, "Please please me, oh yeah, like I please you" Listen in class Paul McCartney: "We wrote for our market" - "I want to hold your hand," "P.S. I love you", "From me to you," "Thank you girl" "Yesterday" (1965) acoustic guitar and classical string quartet Form: AABA uses word painting, is a ballad style song Listen in class "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" Released on Rubber Soul, 3 December 1965 A primarily "acoustic" sonority: acoustic 6-and 12-string guitars; finger cymbals, tambourine, maraca, bass drum; sitar; [and electric bass] George Harrison studied Indian classical music and sitar with master musician Ravi Shankar The 'a' and 'b' sections alternate between parallel major and minor keys ('a' is in E major; 'b' shifts to E minor) Acoustic guitar plays main melodic theme; guitar joined by East Indian sitar played theme in unison NOTE: All of these songs we are listening to are strophic Rubber Soul album (late fall 1965) marks the end of the Beatles' touring career and the beginning of intensive creativity in the recording studio Revolver (spring 1966) shows the exploration of new timbres and experimentation in electronic sound "Tomorrow Never Knows" last track on Revolver, 1966 John Lennon to George Martin: "[I want to] sound like I'm the Dali Lama singing from the highest mountain top" Instead of a supporting chord progression, the instrumental accompaniment sounds a sustained drone performed by a tambura Both the bass drum parts are based on cyclic patterns; the bass performs an ostinato pattern focused on a single pitch The melody is also cyclical and chant-like (two melodic phrases repeated over and over) This also produces a "variations and themes" form of A, A1, A2, A3, A4, etc. Bizzare sound effects produced by feeding tape loops of prerecorded electronically altered sounds into mixing console Middle "guitar solo" produced by "backtracking" the guitar track (recording it, then reversing the tape spool to play the sound backwards in the mixdown) "Listen to the color of your dreams" - Psychedelic experience, L.S.D. and chromesthesia (experiencing sounds as colors) Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) Designed to be a unified work of art and to be experienced as an album, rather than a random set of single tracks "A Day in the Life" Closing track on the album; a composite of two tunes Song text was inspired, in part, by a newspaper account of the death of Tara Browne, friend to John Lennon Middle and closing orchestral passages: forty musicians from London Phillharmonic Orchestra instructed to play from their lowest to highest note, with a soft to loud dynamic expression Passage performed and recorded three additional times and layered over one another in the multi-track mix: 40 (instruments) x 4 (taped tracks) = 160 streams of notes, producing an amorphous and massive complex of sound "A Day in the Life" Cresendo passage culminates in four pianos crashing down on a final E major chord: piano chords sustain into fade out; run-out grooves (on the original vinyl pressing) are imprinted with a tape loop of gibberish, and an extra-high frequency signal, for the benefit of the Beatles' canine fans
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