Thursday, 23 September 2010

12:1 Abbey Road - Because (pt 1)

A great song, some real songwriting lessons here, but not a very likeable song to my mind. It got a very detached ‘soulless’ feel to it.

Like I Me Mine, Because can’t be consider the last Beatles song because Ringo doesn’t appear on it (though he did play the role of human click track playing a bongo track which was later erased).

Lennon claimed he wrote the song by getting Yoko to play the chords Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata backwards, but really there are only the most tenuous of links.

They’re both

in the same key  - C#m
based largely on arpeggios (as is much of Abbey Road)
and use C#m, A, & G#7 (very common) and D major (very unusual)

    Musically this song is a good example of how to balance complex and simple ideas in the music.


    The melody is made up almost totally of chord tones which gives it a very static feel. There is almost no development arrangement-wise throughout the whole song.

    The intro is one complete instrumental verse (30 seconds worth!). This is quite a ‘stock’ thing to do nowadays but the Beatles were usually better than that (think about the creative intros on Help, She Loves You and all the other T4 songs aswell as the non-existent intros!).


    The song works because the chord progression is out to lunch.

    The song is in the key of C#m. Here’s a complete list of chords that they use from that key.
    A major 

      Here’s the chords they use in the song that don’t belong in that key.

      D maj
      D maj b5
      D dim
      F# maj

        In plain English that means they spend more time out of key than in key. Despite the arrangement the song never feels static or boring because you’re constantly being wrong-footed by the chords.

        The melody sticks like glue to the chord tones but that’s not a problem when the chord changes are so bizarre.

        Next time: the Lennonised 5th and the Bridge to nowhere.

        Because pt 2 (acappella)
        Because pt 3 (melody, bridge)
        Because pt 4 (lyrical musical disconnect)
        Because pt 5 (lyrical parallels)


        1. I'm a sucker for bands that sing in multi-part harmony, so I like it, in spite of the oblique zen lyrics.

        2. Gary - If you like harmonies I think you're going to love tomorrow's post!