A Day In The Life The Beatles. Background Recorded in 1967 as part of the concept album Sergeant...

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Transcript of A Day In The Life The Beatles. Background Recorded in 1967 as part of the concept album Sergeant...

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A Day In The Life The Beatles Slide 2 Background Recorded in 1967 as part of the concept album Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band exploring the theme of loneliness. Four track tape technology used. Designed for studio rather than live performance. Show within a show, in which all but one of the songs are performed by a fictitious band. Stylistic range of the album is huge. Slide 3 60s Counterculture Slide 4 Lyrics I read the news today oh boy About a lucky man who made the grave And though the news was rather sad Well I just had to laugh I saw the photograph He blew his mind out in a car He didn't notice that the lights had changed A crowd of people stood and stared They'd seen his face before Nobody was really sure If he was from the House of Lords. I saw a film today oh boy The English Army had just won the war A crowd of people turned away but I just had to look Having read the book I'd love to turn you on Woke up, fell out of bed, Dragged a comb across my head Found my way downstairs and drank a cup, And looking up I noticed I was late. Found my coat and grabbed my hat Made the bus in seconds flat Found my way upstairs and had a smoke, and Somebody spoke and I went into a dream I read the news today oh boy Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire And though the holes were rather small They had to count them all Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall. I'd love to turn you on. Slide 5 Lyrics The beginning of this song was based on two stories John Lennon read in the Daily Mail newspaper: Guinness heir Tara Browne dying when he smashed his Lotus into a parked van, and an article in the UK Daily Express in early 1967 which told of how the Blackburn Roads Surveyor had counted 4000 holes in the roads of Blackburn and commented that the volume of material needed to fill them in was enough to fill the Albert Hall. Lennon took some liberties with the Tara Browne story - he changed it so he "Blew his mind out in the car. McCartney contributed the line "I'd love to turn you on." This was a drug reference, but the BBC banned it for the line about having a smoke and going into a dream, which they thought was about marijuana. The final chord was produced by all 4 Beatles and George Martin banging on 3 pianos simultaneously. As the sound diminished, the engineer boosted to faders. The resulting note lasts 42 seconds, and the studio air conditioners can be heard toward the end as the faders were pushed to the limit to record it. The movie reference in the lyrics ("I saw a film today, oh boy. The English Army had just won the war") is to a film Lennon acted in called How I Won The War. Slide 6 The lyrics Slide 7 The Ending The final chord was produced by all 4 Beatles and George Martin banging on 3 pianos simultaneously. As the sound diminished, the engineer boosted to faders. The resulting note lasts 42 seconds, and the studio air conditioners can be heard toward the end as the faders were pushed to the limit to record it. This being the last song on the album, The Beatles found an interesting way to close it out. After the final note, Lennon had producer George Martin dub in a high pitched tone, which most humans can't hear, but drives dogs crazy. This was followed by a loop of incomprehensible studio noise, along with Paul McCartney saying "Never could see any other way," spliced together. It was put there so vinyl copies would play this continuously in the run-out groove, sounding like something went horribly wrong with the record. Kids, ask your parents about vinyl. David Crosby was at Abbey Road studios when The Beatles were recording this. In an interview with Filter magazine, he said: "I was, as near as I know, the first human being besides them and George Martin and the engineers to hear 'A Day In The Life.' I was high as a kite - so high I was hunting geese with a rake. They sat me down; they had huge speakers like coffins with wheels on that they rolled up on either side of the stool. By the time it got the end of that piano chord, man my brains were on the floor." Slide 8 Strucutre Slide 9 Verse Slide 10 Vocal lines Verses sung by Lennon and are: Generally syllabic word setting Semitonal melismas on turn you on Mid-to-high range of the voice in phrases 1 and 3 alternating with lower tessitura in phrases 2 and 4. Overall range of a 10th (E to G). Highest note (G) occurs at the close of verses 2 and 3. There are repeated melodic motives. Transition 2 (58-67) is also sung by Lennon wordless vocalise, again in high register. The middle section is sung by McCartney: It is lower in tessitura, gravitating more towards the lower E. It spans a range of an octave (B to B). It has a less echoed quality. Voice Slide 11 Piano and Acoustic guitar Simple chord patterns in the intro and Lennons verses strummed guitar. Piano plays concerto-like chords after the words Albert Hall. Bass guitar More elaborate version of piano left hand creating a heterophonic texture. Verses are dominated by downward scale motion. Plays pedal E in quavers during orchestral link passages More active part in middle section with some chromaticism. Arpeggio shapes in Transition 2. Avoids walking bass patterns. Piano and Guitars Slide 12 Drums/percussion Verse 1 and 1st phrase of Verse 2 accompanied only by maracas. Full Kit enters with a fill into phrase 2 in verse 2. Frequent tom-tom fills. Quaver rhythms on hi-hat and snare create double time feeling during middle section. Orchestral sections This section is a type of aleatoric (chance) writing, although the performers were given reference points throughout to indicate the rate of progression. The result is an atonal slide, made more powerful by the overdubbing of four takes into the finished mix. Drums and Orchestra