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Lecture 3

MUS321H1 Lecture 3: Please Please Me

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James Kippen

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MUS321 Lecture 3—1963: Please Please Me & with the Beatles By rejecting other writers’ material, The Beatles showed they were confident in their abilities and trusted their own material. In 1963 • How did they respond? • How did they develop their craft? • How was their music shaped by George Martin? • How were they marketed? They rejected idea of releasing singles of other people’s material. Live shows, covered wide range of songs and styles so • What role did that material play in shaping their music? • What do these musical choices tell us about the different personalities of The Beatles? • Music man: musical in 1950s o a con man who goes to a town and sells to the community musical instruments with a promise of teaching them o but has no intentions to teach them o “Til there was you” by Meredith Willson” ▪ McCartney is gravitating towards this repertoire • Beatles chords o Major/minor triads (roots/inversions) o Sevenths (major, minor, dominant/diminished/augmented) ▪ seventh chord usually adds a flat seven o Extended (ninths, elevenths) o Added (e.g., C major add 9) o Suspended o Altered…and more • We create different textures with all these chords, the whole idea of jazz • Making the chords very complex • the context pf rock and roll in 1960s, it’s still basically base on blues and root position • many songs, if they didn’t have three chords, they’d have one extra chord added in them • Chord structure of “Til There was you” o Intro: F, F#dim, Gm7, C7 ▪ nobody in pop music was doing this at that particular time th o Transition to 9 chord : complexity o This extended their chord and technical repertoire o “Love Me Do” ▪ Intro: GCGC ▪ Verse: GCGCGCCCC ▪ Bridge: DDCGx2 o not a blues structure, but limited to the musical language and easier on the guitar • What else was popular? o US – Elvis, Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison o Motown first #1 in 1961—The Marvelettes ▪ “Please Mr. Postman” ▪ Beatles also covered this song and heavily influenced ▪ Back and forth between soloist and chorus was a new thing at the time • UK: 1960 o Lonnie Donegan [top of the chart] ▪ born skitful artist, but came to an end in 1960 o Everly Brothers o Shadows o Roy Orbison o Elvis • 1962: o Frank Ifield o Tornadoes • A lot of American bands coming • Timing? o British-post war youth were seeking new pop music icons o The energy/excitement generated in the mid-1950s by American rock and roll had dissipated o The competition? o Cliff Richard ▪ Clean image, non-threatening • Something new? o The Beatles had… ▪ Different, anti-establishment image (but not too threatening) ▪ New sound that blended elements if rock and roll, show tunes, Motown, crooner songs, numbers etc. ▪ Lots of musical variety, appealing to broader audience ▪ Difference personalities (everyone had a favourite) • everyone had a different favourite Beatle • most bands were not marketed as individuals at all and no one knew the backing band then • The Beatles were four equal individuals with different personality and each singing a song on the album and becoming known for individual voice ▪ Wit and humour • attracted George Martin ▪ Great songs, beginning with “Please Please Me” • Please Please Me Analysis • Recorded in November 26, 1962 • George Martin’s input • Instrumentation • George wanted it to be a more rock and roll • Vocal harmonies o interesting harmonies • Mounting tension through the refrain • Musical sophistication of the middle eight: does the music match the text? o usual for a pop song, each word is only two lines and a refrain o harmonica hook is an interesting sound because it’s being doubled by the guitar, giving it a much richer sound o two verses, two refrains ▪ Motown change o texture, we often ignore o effective bass line for McCartney o the bass underpins and supports the verse, until the refrain it creates a counter point o the bridge section—middle A o sounds like whining, and Lennon did this a lot o he was a wordsmith, and when he created melodies around word, he created melodies that were inflections of the way you speak o in the end it explodes in frustration, leaping up to falsetto o and the bridge ends with an equivalent with a resign sigh “why do you make me blue” o music underpins his frustration with this relationship ▪ he doesn’t want to sound complaining but the music does the opposite o the music mirror/aligns the lyrics • First #1 after the revision Martin told them to do in Jan 1963 • 1963 Overview o Two weeks in Hamburg Dec 1962 o Feb 11 –PPM Album Session o March 22—PPM released o Busy year of UK Tours, BBC radio/TV recordings ▪ they were funny unlike most pop musicians who were less witty ▪ comedies with other stars o July, Sept, Oct—sessions for With The Beatles ▪ second album o #1 Singles: “From me to you”, “She loves you”, “I Want to hold your hand” ▪ all of which got to #1 and began to sell in vast numbers o Second album: With the Beatles o London Palladium and Royal Command performances (Oct/Nov) ▪ big shows ▪ throughout this year, you get this building energy o Beatlemania! • Feb 11, 1963 session o 10 hours, 11 songs (5 by Lennon and McCartney) ▪ albums consolidates #1 single
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