Posts tagged john

You Listen and You Learn

Since I have been focusing on sharpening my skills as a Songwriter, (which has completely overtaken my desire to be a ‘guitarist’) I decided to put the Beatles Revolver album in my car today. Which crazily enough, is the first time I’ve given the Beatles a good listen since my insatiable desire to better myself as a composer. So after listening to the album several times, I noticed how immediate Lennon/McCartney were in establishing a great melodic hook early on. It’s hard to find a Beatle song that doesn’t get your attention within 10 seconds. And what’s even more remarkable and interesting about this, is that almost every ‘Revolver’ song uses the VERSE as the main melodic hook. 

Most typical music and typical (good) music of today, uses the chorus as the focal point to get you interested. Which is the formula I have geared my brain to song write. Not that the verse should be unimportant or dull, but it’s usually the chorus that has that climactic release. Well the Beatles didn’t care to wait that long. 

This song I have attached ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’ (which we all know) grabs your attention immediately and uses the first line of the verse to do this. To establish a brilliant melody. This is the melody we sing. Over and over again. The ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’ is a statement at the end, which cements the title of the song - but not the lyrics of the melody that we associate with this song. 

I find something as little as that very interesting. Because if someone said to me or most other contemporary writers, “I want you to use ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’ for a song title”, I’m sure 9/10 people would wait till the chorus to sing something worth remembering. And only thinking of that line as the ‘hook’. That’s what’s so great. Lennon and McCartney didn’t think like that. The hook came immediately. 

I’m gonna go try this….


J.Cage, 4’33” Theories of Sound & Silence

When John Cage wrote his controversial compositional piece 4’33” he was certainly aware that he was questioning one of culture’s most ingrained assertions; when most people think of silence, they think of the state of being completely and utterly without sound.

That is exactly the thing Cage challenged when he composed a piece that could be played on “any instrument”; a piece with no musical notes – only tacets – that would highlight to the world that it was absence of silence, not absence of sound, that truly defined the limitations of music.

As a musician who is willing to try and understand and accept even the most unique musical forms of expressing one’s self - I struggle to wrap my head around this piece of music…..if it can be called music?  -T.