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When The Beatles Modulated in the First 8 Bars



A modulation and two tritone substitutions within just the first 18 seconds of the song. I analyse just the first eight bars of one of John Lennon’s most deceptively clever tunes, ‘If I Fell’.

Listen to Andrew Gray album:

The Beatles interviewed in 1964:
John’s demo of ‘If I Fell’:

‘If I Fell’ recreation sang by Al Pick

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source: https://tim2lead.com

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26 thoughts on “When The Beatles Modulated in the First 8 Bars

  1. This song has another context. Many songs in circulation back when the Beatles were kids had spoken introductions – some set to a section of music, some just spoken words – with perhaps a little separate and different melody for these intro words. So, a stand-alone section. When the song was lifted from a stage show and re-recorded by another artist or by the performer who was in that show, the spoken or sung intro (a kind of scene-setting passage) would be included before the song proper got started. The spoken part or sung part might also be a link from dialogue in the "book" of a musical. An example would be Tiptoe Through The Tulips. But there are stacks of songs like that. The Beatles grew up in a music hall town – Liverpool. They would have heard many many songs with that structure. My Dad was born 1917 and sang many tunes that had this intro scene-setting part – there is a term for it that escapes me just now. Another tune like this is The Bandolero – A key change is implicit in this kind of song structure. Dad had memorized these intro sections, even though more recent recordings might not use them. If this device was used these days it might be something like Bruno Mars speaking about how he's grateful to live in a hip city where people celebrate life, and then launch into Uptown Funk. – Please don't think I'm attacking you, YOUR VIDEOS are EXCELLENT, Mr Bennett. Final point – as we use the Beatles for models on how to write, so to did The Beatles refer to their past to find devices for making music interesting.

  2. This guy says the Beatles used modes. The Beatles didnt know a damn thing about modes or nothing. The Beatles admit that they couldn't even read a lick of music if they had to.

  3. None of them read music. It seems like the more people know the less creative they are, missing that original feeling they fisrt had for music

  4. I wouldnt normally correct you, but since this video does such a wonderful job for educating beginners, I feel this mistake is important, as it miseducates students. You define a tritone sub as the major chord a tritone away from the dominant. While this is true, that's not why it's called what it is, as you said. It's called a tritone sub because you are building the only possible dominant chord that has the same tritone interval in it. In a Bb7 chord, for example, the source of dissonance is the tritone between D and Ab. There is only one other dominant chord with this tritone (Ab becomes G#), E7. We are substituting the root and 5th, and keeping the tritone. To explain that its simply the chord a tritone away is to deny people of the reasoning for which this new chord functions the same. While yes the 5 and 2b both want to resolve to the tonic, the similarity in these chords' function is a result of their shared 3rd and 7th, which are simply switching roles. A much more minor nitpick is that that the second chord, if analyzed as a tritone sub without a 7th, should be Ebb Major. But that's far less important!

  5. Heard some commentator once talk about the unique characteristic of the two-part vocals in this; that the parts sound better together than either does individually. I noticed this back when I was a kid singing along to it (yes, I'm that old). I'd sing one part and feel it was lacking somehow, and sing the other part and feel it, too, was lacking somehow, and it felt unsatisfying to sing each one, yet it sounds so pretty on the record. It's the only song I know like that. Don't think even contrapuntal Baroque songs are ever quite like this; there's always a melody "supported" by harmony. Can sing the lower part (mezzo) of Offenbach's Barcarolle; it's a pretty part but am still aware of it "supporting" the soprano part on some level. If I Fell is the only song that seems to require both parts equally to sound good, so what a love song!

  6. Cat Stevens's "Morning has broken" drops a tone within a few seconds during the intro. I didn't realise this until a few weeks ago, when I needed to listen hard and then play it. For years and years and years I never noticed. Whooocch!

  7. This video is great, another song that i didn't notice it had key changes was "Take i bow" and "Knights of cydonia" by Muse, the whole feel of that songs comes from the key changes, definitely needs one of your videos, nice work as always!

  8. Here's what's fascinating to me…. none of the Beatles had lick of schooling, when it came to music. They had no idea what diatonic was, or any of it… so how did they do it? Where did that kind of very subtle and original songwriting come from?

  9. as you asked in your video for a song that changes keys in their first 8 bars
    of montreal "sleeping in the beetlebug" changes keys like its common, i mean, something like every 2 or 4 bars

  10. Having been raised during Beatlemainia, 50 years later that same "Beatles magic" remains. Beautiful music, harmonies and lyrics coupled with wonderful voices. Beatles forever 😎

  11. Lazy Sunday (The Small Faces)
    Wouldn’t It Be Nice (The Beach Boys)
    Care Of Cell 44 (The Zombies)
    Maybe I’m Amazed (Paul McCartney)
    Panis Et Circensis (Os Mutantes’ ‘68 version)
    Bicycle Race (Queen)

  12. Beautiful example! The Beatles are without question the greatest masters of modern music in the sphere of Mozart. A close second is indeed Brian Wilson (I cracked up when he popped in towards the end as if to say "Hey! I'm right here". Hilarious! And quite true. I'm a melody guy and in addition to The Beatles and The Beach Boys, I'm also a huge Chicago fan (the original group with the cosmically phenomenal Terry Kath!). When you asked for other examples for some reason Chicago's "Poem for the People" popped into my mind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2m6RLS_0IUE
    Written by Robert Lamm, it starts off with only piano, then only the horns, then the full-on ensemble with each of these 3 sections fulfilling your requirement. The many key changes are truly inspired and give me goosebumps to this day. It is a fantastic work of melodic genius. Thanks for giving credit to the Beatles, I hope many songwriters will find this video and be inspired. Great job making this video!!! As to my Chicago suggestion, it's not "If I Fell" but it's beautiful in it's own right. A real masterpiece. And yes, Chicago loved and were inspired by The Beatles, and at one point actually toured with The Beach Boys, so there you go! They are all more than great artists, they are important artists. 🙂

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