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Studying the Beatles


(c) Ian Hammond 1999
All rights reserved

This is the sixth article in a series examining Revolution 9 in some detail.

Section 2:
2.00 Rabble strip
3.00 Kids strip
4.00 Demo strip
4.30 Stretto
In this section we handle the second strip of section two: the kids strip. Here's an overview:
3.0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60
@@Choir@@@| | | | | | | | | | |
@@@ (Rabble) | | | | | | | | | |
|@@ (Number9) | | | | | @@ | | | @@
| ## (Bell) | | | | | | | @@@@ (Waltz)|
| @JohnAndGeorge@@@@@@@@@@@@| | | | @@@@ | |
| | @@@@@ (Plunge) | @@@@ | | | | | |
| | | ##Beethoven### | | | | | | |
| | | |@@Geoff@@@@@@@@@ | @@@@@@@@@@@@@ | @
| | =========Stretto====##Kids####### | | | |
| | | | | | | #Wind##==Tiddle==| | |
| | | | | | | | | ## |## (Plane) |
| | | | | | | | | | | ##Crowd##
| | | | ## | | | | (Wounded) #######
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60
The strip begin with a home area, before a Plunge takes us to the first episode, a mini stretto. Another brief Plunge opens the second episode, based on the Kids crowd and various sound effects. The Return is marked by the Waltz and JohnAndGeorge dialogue. Lennon's solo voice closes the strip.

Section 2.2 -- Kids Strip

3.00 (B-Bb) "number nine"
F7 Bb7 Choir
Rabble crowd seating continues
The Choir acts as local seating. The Rabble crowd continue briefly,
an overlap from the previous section.
3.04 L? Bass guitar notes
(Bb C) Two notes from a bass guitar

Two random bass notes appear. I have not assigned them. I assume they are residue of the original Revolution 1 track.
3.05 D7 "Bell"
(c#G) Bell rings
A Bell rings. Lennon introduces a number of distinctive single note sounds, or short sound-effects into the remaining four minutes of the body.
3.07 GH: every few days...
3.09 (B)C Plunge
A Plunge leads into a 15-second mini-stretto made recognisable by the punch-ins. New material includes the Beethoven fragment.
3.11 L17 "Beethoven" -- Landler and Honk
C: Landler: C major. 4/4. 2 bars.
Source: Unknown
Style: Austrian Landler
|e g e g f g |c b | Clarinet
|c e c e d e |g g | Clarinet
|c g c g f c c g |c g | Bass (Piano?)
GG| |GG | Honk Chord (flat)
G(flat) Honk:
Source: Unknown. EMI sound library
Style: Early car horn
Repeated G triad. Prominent (B). Distorted and flat.
A compound loop comprising a short piece of Austrian/Bavarian folk Landler and a car Honk is introduced.
Some have assigned the Landler to Beethoven's Choral Fantasy. There is a bit where a pair of clarinets duet with the piano (at 6:31 on my CD), but the bass in the original is a piano, not strings. Now, this is the second excerpt that's not quite like the original, which raises an interesting possibility (which might also explain the Honk). There used to be a market for comedy records based on classical music. Spike Jones kind of things. These had classical bits, rescored, with things like honks etc.
Now, Martin used to produce comedy, so, it's a possibility to be explored. Such recordings would solve a prolem for me: I have asked myself the question: did Lennon really sit through all the Sibelius symphony or half the Choral Fantasia just to find these tiny fragments?

3.11 (B) Honk
3.12 C-G Choral Fantasy
3.16 Eight bursts on "Geoff" on alternating channels.
Bursts decrease in frequency and amplitude.
"Ssshh", "Geoff", Bulge, Bulge, ?, ?, "Geoff", ?
3.20 (FF#FD) Lennon "oh-oh..."
Unsure where this comes from.
3.25 Stretto ends (end of bursts)
The mini-stretto consists of only three voices: the JohnAndGeorge seating, Beethoven, and punchs on Geoff. Note how well suited a compound loop like Geoff is for punching.
I got stuck here for a few days, knowing I'd missed something. The problem, it turned out, is not unusual in large prohects: I had become bland and was starting to let my method take over my madness. What I missed was that the mini-stretto is a complete little piece of music all by itself, with an intro, body and close. A miniature that fractally reflects the structure of the larger pieces.
To be overwhelmingly precise:
3.09 Plunge starts
3.10 Honk (soft)
3.11 Landler start
3.12 Plunge ends (soft)
3.13 Honk
3.14 silent
3.15 Honk
3.16 "Sshhh"
3.17 "Geoff"
3.18 Bulge
3.19 Bulge
"Oh" soft
3.20 Honk
3.21 ..
3.22 Honk
3.23 "Geoff" + Landler + morse
(E) signal?? against G
3.24 Stereo Bulge Distortion
Cutoff Honk
3.25 Bulge duet
3.26 Bulge 'D'
3.27 bb clarinet

5 10 15 20 25 30 35
@@JohnAndGeorge@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ | |
| @@Plunge@@ | | | @@@@@@@ |
| | @@Beethoven@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ | |
| | |@@Geoff@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ |
| | | @Oh@ | | |
5 10 15 20 25 30 35
The intro is a couple of seconds of the plunge. The combined Honk and Clarinet Beethoven loop is new material, and provides the backing. The combined Geoff loop is used for bursts. A Lennon utterance adds a little colour. The close is a bulge of electronic interference (from the Geoff loop).
This is an ideal opportunity to speak about another crucial aspect of Revolution 9: the orderly, regular succession of musical events, which is more aligned to a composed piece than it is to a random piece.
If you listen to this section, the Plunge, Honk, Clarinets, Sssh, Geoff etc all occur at a fairly steady pace. Each is given space to be comprehended -- and rarely is any space left empty. Here's a rough map of the events:
5 10 15 20 25 30 35
| Plunge. | Oh.. | | |
| H L H H L H H H | (Honk Landler) |
| | | s g B B BB Bg B B B (Bulge geoff shh)|
5 10 15 20 25 30 35

Having provided some excitement, Lennon can now do pretty much what he wants for the remainder of the strip. He brings down the dynamics right down for an episode that has no musical voices: just the kids crowd, Geoff compound loop and various sound effects.
3.28 D8 Kids Crowd
JL: "I've missed all of that".
This is the second of three of four crowds. The first was a disoriented rabble. Here we have kids, possibly at the beach. Their high pitched voices fit well with the Tape Rewind and Tiddle. Of course it reminds us of the outro of Beautiful Boy. 3.30 (B)C Plunge; Geoff
It's the Plunge and Geoff that formally mark the start of this episode.
3.31 C Plunge
The C major chord of the Plunge and the electronic Bulge come together rather magically.
3.34 (E~A) Tape Rewind (part of J&G dialogue)
Source: Echo tape rewind
A tape-driven echo unit reached its limit and automatically rewound, creating this effect. It was caught, I believe, on the JohnAndGeorge dub.
3.40 L18 Tiddle Piano C#: (10 seconds)
(C#A#) The Backwards Piano, forwards
Almost four times faster/higher.
Almost inaudible (left channel)
If you slow down the left channel four times, the high frequency tiddle-tiddle reveals itself as the Backwards Piano, forwards, and a third lower. A similar event takes place at 5.xx with the Beethoven fragment.

3.40 "shh" -- echo
a#: Clarinet
(AE) Metallic pluck
3.45 D9 WW1 plane buzzes around
(A#F#) Source: EMI Sound effects
In the part of the episode, a Plane sound imitates the Rewind.

The episode is over. Lennon brings back the Waltz and JohnAndGeorge duet briefly to mark the transition. Then, some solo Lennon utterances close the strip.
3.47 b: Waltz returns
3.49 GH: the situation
3.50 b: Waltz alone
JL: they are standing
3.52 GH: upon a telegraph
3.55 JL: [wounded sounds]
3.55?? (CBBb) High pitched hum -- soft
3.58 (B-Bb) NumberNine
The strip finishs at 3.58.
In many places, sections enter two seconds early. But later sections return to 60 second mark exactly. Perhaps the gap occurred during dubbing. I tend to treat the two second period as the basic tolerance of the piece, for joins, events and panning effects. The form and function of the strips becomes clearer. Lennon starts off from his home base, staying about ten seconds, and then goes on an excursion, only to return to base. This repeated Home-Episodes-Return pattern sets up an expectation.

Geoff [turn the light on]

I noted earlier that I had become a little lazy, not seeing the forest for the trees. That reminded me just how energetic great artists like Lennon are. They seem to grow in strength as a piece proceeds. Although they have structures in place, they never seem to become slaves to them.
This analysis of Revolution 9 really is just a starting point. For example, here's another detail of this strip.
Have you noticed how Geoffed the second half of this strip is? Lennon uses Ssshh Geoff to mark the boundaries of the sections very clearly. The Clarinets precede most entries.
Clar. Geoff
3.26 3.29 Rewind and Tiddle
3.39 3.42 Plane
3.46 3.49 Return
4.01 Section 2.3
Note, the other components of this compound strip are not used and it is always the smooth transition from the Clarinet to the Geoff bit. And nestled between each such marker is a sub-section. Lennon continues to use the Geoff loop in subsequent sections, but they never reappear in quite this form, or with this function.

In the next post I look at the final 30 second strip and the concluding 30 second Stretto of the development.

Filling me up with your rules...

I have employed a number of conventions in these articles. You will need to use a fixed size font to read these posts sensibly. In the first column I indicate the time, in minutes and seconds, as it occurs on CD. I'm not always exact to the second when referring to the time in the main text. This is not physics.
1.50 (A) This is something that happened at 1 minute 50 seconds In the second column of titles I use "D" to indicate dubs (e.g. D1) and "L" to indicate loops.
In the second column of examples I indicate the notes, chords or key of a section, using the following conventions:
(A) the note A. (ABC) implies the notes A, B and C.
a the chord a minor
A the chord A major
a: the key a minor
A: the key A major
[A] square brackets enclose almost inaudible sounds The third column may have quoted text, which is preceded by the initials of the speaker, if known. JL, GH, YO and GM are obvious. AT: is Alistair Taylor. The text is highly conjectural in places. In melodic examples, "'" and "_" are used to indicate non-intuitive jumps. "a' b" indicates the "a" is above the following "b". "b_ a" indicates that "b" is below the following "a".

copyright (c) ian hammond 1998 -- all rights reserved ===================================================== "upon the telegraph"

IAN HAMMOND'S BEATHOVEN: PAGE 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, - Back To Revolution Number 9

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