Song structure and the blues

April 7, 2009

Today we looked at the various components of a [popular] song, as espoused by Wikipedia. We picked our way through the relevant appellations and critiqued the language, spelling, and content. They encouraged me to go in and change it right now, but I declined.

I gave them an assignment to analyze a popular song using one of the three methods they will be taught over these two weeks.

    I shared a few of my own analyses of Rufus Wainwright music last week.

    Today, we looked at Alan Pollack’s entertaining analyses of Beatles music — “When I’m 64” is the one I chose. It’s interesting in that it doesn’t have a chorus. Only a hook/refrain at the end of the verse (“Will you still need me? Will you still feed me?”).

    Here is the song in a clip from YELLOW SUBMARINE.

    On Thursday, after studying resolutions of embellishing diminshed chords, we will hear from Robert Fink, who will discuss analyzing popular music, using Motown as examples. Should be interesting.

Back to the class, we then watched “Hound Dog” [see below] and discussed 12-bar blues structure. My finger was the bouncing ball as we followed the prescribed chords accurately listed in Wikipedia, while listening to sexy Elvis.

Students brought in more good examples of falling bass music, and the most fun was “Hit the Road Jack.”

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