Monday, February 23, 2009

The Beatles ...

... as you never knew them: Then and Now.

Take the Beatles' song "A Day in the Life", in which, Professor Mellers states, "the verse section is without modulation, except in so far as its pentatonic-tending E minor acquires tight, Phrygian F naturals". This is not a piece of information that will interest all Beatle enthusiasts, but it is a fact which, when checked against the recording and totted up with all the many similar observations on other songs, quickly points up a revealing, perhaps even central, aspect of the Beatles' music as a whole: its ambiguous tonality.


  1. I doubt that the Beatles would know this, either, which casts some doubt over the whole enterprise. As we know, Paul could not read music, and their studio work was marked by experimentalism that was notable for its lack of technical theory or philosophy any more complicated than "does it work?"

  2. No doubt about that, Bill. As a composer friend of mine once said - a composer of classical music, that is - if it sounds right, it probably is right.