Tuesday, January 31, 2012

John Lennon - "I Know (I Know)" (1973)

This song goes to the chorus right away after the first verse. More unusual is the fact that the chorus then repeats! There's only been one verse, but we're hearing the chorus twice. It has different words the second time.

After that, there's another verse and then it seems to go to a bridge section ("Today I love you more than yesterday" etc.). A repeat of the chorus with a derivation on its first set of words follows, but then what? The bridge repeats here?

Looking back at this point, we can see how those three choruses with the different sets of words are actually functioning like verses in relation to the bridge, which frankly sounds kind of like a chorus itself and is indeed functioning like one now in the way that it's repeating.

This notion seems to be borne out by the fact that Lennon then proceeds to use a derivative of the first part of this bridge/chorus as a refrain line that repeats four times for the song's closing.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Move - "Blackberry Way" (1969)

There's a chromatic chord movement in the second half of this song's verse that descends from the iii chord in G (B minor) to the ii chord (A minor) by way of the chord in between (A# minor). Of particular interest here is the melodic sequence of two descending thirds that's sung over the top. The melody starts on D, the third of the B minor chord, then moves down a third to the root, and then another third to the sixth (G). The chord then switches to A# minor and the melodic pattern is repeated: third (C#), root (A#), and sixth (F#). The melody then ends with the final note of the line back up at C natural, the third of A minor.

The only thing that might be considered unusual about this is the sixth, a nonchord tone appearing in what otherwise seems to be a triadic melody. Surely, one of the reasons it's used is that these notes are happening quickly and a bigger melodic jump from the root down to the chord tone, the fifth, would have been awkward. These sixths cannot be accounted for in terms of melodic analysis, though; they are not neighbor tones, escape tones, or passing tones. They are, seemingly, pure color, and their use here by composer Roy Wood is quite remarkable.