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Thread: A Beatles song

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Default A Beatles song

    I'm not strong on theory (to put it mildly) but thought folks here might find this amusing: Wiki's analysis of George Harrison's Taxman from the Beatles album Revolver.

    “The song is in the key of D major and in 4/4 time… The chords stress the flat VII scale degree (C-natural in the key of D major) and frequently involve a major/minor I chord (D/Dm) in the harmony, which consequently evokes either Mixolydian or Dorian modes. There is one flat-III (F chord) near the end, but unusually no V (A) chord. The song is also notable musically for its use of both a 5th-string voicing of the dominant seventh sharp ninth chord to embellish the tonic D7 chord at the end of each two-line verse (at 0.12 and 0.19secs), and a 6th-string form to create a complementary ‘jarring dissonance’ with the lyrics in the subdominant (IV) G chord (to a G7♯9) at 1.29.”



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    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    Funny. I doubt they cared at all about this Ken, which is the best attitude to have for a composer imv regardless of the genre...if it sounds good, go with it. Their's was a natural, gifted talent and I reckon if they knew a lot more theory, their music would have lost some of its efficacy. I've had talks (and beer) with a few composers who had no formal training and where asking my opinion as to whether they should learn more and I always advised that they only learn as much as they feel they need or in some cases, none at all, because they where doing very well regardless.
    Best Harrison song for me is either I Me, Me Mine or Something.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Hilarious. A great song, of course, but subjecting the vast majority of Rock music to such analysis is not going to yield you much as far as useful findings.

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    Senior Member Haydn70's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    I'm not strong on theory (to put it mildly) but thought folks here might find this amusing: Wiki's analysis of George Harrison's Taxman from the Beatles album Revolver.

    “The song is in the key of D major and in 4/4 time… The chords stress the flat VII scale degree (C-natural in the key of D major) and frequently involve a major/minor I chord (D/Dm) in the harmony, which consequently evokes either Mixolydian or Dorian modes. There is one flat-III (F chord) near the end, but unusually no V (A) chord. The song is also notable musically for its use of both a 5th-string voicing of the dominant seventh sharp ninth chord to embellish the tonic D7 chord at the end of each two-line verse (at 0.12 and 0.19secs), and a 6th-string form to create a complementary ‘jarring dissonance’ with the lyrics in the subdominant (IV) G chord (to a G7♯9) at 1.29.”

    As flamencosketches wrote: "Hilarious".

    Yet another attempt to try to elevate rock music to the same level as art music. Such analyses are ridiculous. I can take even the simplest rock song (not that Taxman, with its three chords, is complicated at all) and apply the same process to it and dazzle the theory-ignorant masses.

    Here is George answering Cavett's question about whether he wished if he had studied composition (go to the 9'18" mark):



    And at 9'34" George says, speaking of his music: "It's not really, sort of, music, you know"

    George knew the difference....
    Last edited by Haydn70; May-14-2019 at 00:34.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    I'm not strong on theory (to put it mildly) but thought folks here might find this amusing: Wiki's analysis of George Harrison's Taxman from the Beatles album Revolver.

    “The song is in the key of D major and in 4/4 time… The chords stress the flat VII scale degree (C-natural in the key of D major) and frequently involve a major/minor I chord (D/Dm) in the harmony, which consequently evokes either Mixolydian or Dorian modes. There is one flat-III (F chord) near the end, but unusually no V (A) chord. The song is also notable musically for its use of both a 5th-string voicing of the dominant seventh sharp ninth chord to embellish the tonic D7 chord at the end of each two-line verse (at 0.12 and 0.19secs), and a 6th-string form to create a complementary ‘jarring dissonance’ with the lyrics in the subdominant (IV) G chord (to a G7♯9) at 1.29.”

    So how exactly in technical terms does this differ from Start by The Jam?

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    Senior Member BrahmsWasAGreatMelodist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haydn70 View Post
    As flamencosketches wrote: "Hilarious".

    Yet another attempt to try to elevate rock music to the same level as art music. Such analyses are ridiculous. I can take even the simplest rock song (not that Taxman, with its three chords, is complicated at all) and apply the same process to it and dazzle the theory-ignorant masses.

    Here is George answering Cavett's question about whether he wished if he had studied composition (go to the 9'18" mark):
    And at 9'34" George says, speaking of his music: "It's not really, sort of, music, you know"

    George knew the difference....
    Fascinating reply!

    I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on how "Supper's Ready" compares with classical masterpieces!


    Jk
    Last edited by BrahmsWasAGreatMelodist; May-14-2019 at 02:44.
    Casual composer, pianist, music enthusiast

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    Senior Member Room2201974's Avatar
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    "The song is also notable musically for its use of both a 5th-string voicing of the dominant seventh sharp ninth chord to embellish the tonic D7 chord at the end of each two-line verse (at 0.12 and 0.19secs), and a 6th-string form to create a complementary ‘jarring dissonance’ with the lyrics in the subdominant (IV) G chord (to a G7♯9) at 1.29.”

    All rights kids, break out your git fiddles and start practicing "5th-string voicing" and "6th-string forms."

    I usually work those in right after scales and arpeggios.
    "He who makes songs without feeling spoils both his words and his music. " ~ Guillaume de Machaut

    "Music that is born complex is not inherently better or worse than music that is born simple." ~ Aaron Copland.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    The description of chords in Taxman is an awkward compilation of three different people who are footnoted in the wiki article and not by Harrison himself, though it’s substantially correct.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; May-14-2019 at 08:13.
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    Senior Member MacLeod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    “The song is in the key of D major and in 4/4 time… The chords stress the flat VII scale degree (C-natural in the key of D major) and frequently involve a major/minor I chord (D/Dm) in the harmony, which consequently evokes either Mixolydian or Dorian modes. There is one flat-III (F chord) near the end, but unusually no V (A) chord. The song is also notable musically for its use of both a 5th-string voicing of the dominant seventh sharp ninth chord to embellish the tonic D7 chord at the end of each two-line verse (at 0.12 and 0.19secs), and a 6th-string form to create a complementary ‘jarring dissonance’ with the lyrics in the subdominant (IV) G chord (to a G7♯9) at 1.29.”
    Yes? And? Is this supposed to mean something of significance?
    "I left TC for a hiatus, but since no-one noticed my absence, I came back again."

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    As I said, posted for amusement. I take it you are not amused.


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    Senior Member MacLeod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    As I said, posted for amusement. I take it you are not amused.
    Don't get me wrong, Ken. My question is directed at the wiki analysis, not your posting of it.
    "I left TC for a hiatus, but since no-one noticed my absence, I came back again."

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    Senior Member haydnguy's Avatar
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    More Reflections on the subject



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    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by haydnguy View Post
    More Reflections on the subject
    Some interesting thoughts, thanks for posting it, but that said I think it over states The Beatles achievements. I can't agree with the idea that no composers of classical music would have continued to compose tonally without The Beatles. Sure, The Beatles probably had some influence across genres, but the same can be said for many classical composers. The Beatles do have some brilliant songs, but they don't ever develop into larger structures, so regardless of their innovations and influence I don't see them as comparable to composers like Beethoven or Wagner as this film suggests.

    I do see some of their songs as fairly sophisticated, perhaps even comparably sophisticated to some of the songs of classical composers but it requires more than composing songs to be considered among the best composers of the 20th century in my opinion. For me their music just doesn't have the depth to stand up to the best classical music, because it is too repetitive and simple in structure. I don't even think it should be compared directly to classical though because it is too different, and has different goals.

    Were The Beatles great composers of pop music? Definitely. Great composers of classical music? No. (Nor were they trying to be). I don't think these boundaries can be erased so easily as the film seems to suggest.

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    The wiki article reminds me of a feature called Dr. Rock Dissects the Hits which used to be in Mojo magazine.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

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