REVOLUTION NUMBER 9
Studying the Beatles
In this article we deal with sections 3.4, 4.1 and 4.2, finishing the
basic analysis of the work.
Note: this section has been substantially edited since appearing in Rec.Music.Beatles.Moderated.
4.1 7.00 Coda
Now, none of the material, beyond the overlapping material at the beginning, seems to be shared with the earlier sections. One assumption was that this was a section Lennon had recorded at home. I propose a better explanation: I think this section is nothing more than a segment of the original Take 18 six minute outro, with dubs, that Lennon prepared before deciding to record Revolution 9 as a separate piece.
This theory explains the following:
1. The key of A major
The ten second period between 6:55 and 7:05 has elements that might belong with 3.3 or with 4.1. I will
6:55 Mechanical ratchets
7.00 (E*) Shooting
The piano part here appears to be a continuation of the Waltz part. The glissando ends with an emphatic crash, which seems to be made by striking a bunch of white keys with an open palm. This appears to be an auxiliary close to the main cadence.
Section 4.1 Coda
Here's a rough overview of the main events:
7:00 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60
The first ten seconds handled the transition from the preceding section. At a stretch we could say that Ono and piano become a new home group, starting and finishing the section.
An episode for tenor and bass runs for 25 seconds. It sounds like a radio broadcast with static and interference. Who are the bass and tenor? The bass sounds like Lennon to me. The tenor could well be McCartney. It's possibly all a little Freudian.
That's followed by a bright piano close. Ono has the last word and a Football crowd is used for the outro.
7.00 (E*) Shooting
The shooting sounds are transmuted by echo into an sonar space which suggests some submerged Roman baths. The transformation is quite magic, with the bullets being reshaped as the space for the remarkable JohnAndYoko coda.
7:06 YO: "Maybe" (C#-A#)
For a brief eight seconds all we hear are John and Yoko. Yoko has an other world voice that is perfect for this piece. Lennon sounds half asleep.
7.14 (dc#d) Lennon sings bass until 7.40
7.15 YO: "It's difficult to say..."
7.22 YO: "It's almost like being naked"
A radio piece for tenor. Lennon appears to sing bass. I cannot decipher what he sings and would be eternally grateful to know what is in fact sung here.
The piece appears to be in some form of G, with a D in the bass.
7.33 (E A) Tenor: "a-gain"
The tenor returns repeating again, half spoken, but clearly singing E to A. This entry sounds very much like McCartney.
7.43 A Piano figure -- cadential
The bright cadential piano figure apparently formed part of the Revolution 1 outro, or an early demo. It reminds me of similar bits used to close Tomorrow Never Knows and Strawberry Fields.
7.47 Sound of large wave, bus or wind...
At this point the body of the coda finishes.
Section 4.2 Outro
7.56 (G) Low electronic hum
This is the same phrase that appeared earlier in the work, making it probable that it was grafted on to the end of the coda in the studio.
The work fades into Goodbye, another piece recalling the Second World War, and scored appropriately.
Goodbye is played in G major. I often feel the transition would have worked better were it played in A major, although I can't explain why.
For those interested in this series (and I'm grateful for the encouragement I receive for writing about this arcane topic) this is what's coming next:
The next step is produce an overview chart of the entire piece with the main events in place. This should be useful for reading the piece while listening and will come in handy for later sections.
After that's complete I should deal with the Acetate mix of Revolution 9 and then deal with the question of influences. But I will skip straight to the influence issue since it has generated many posts over the last year.