Words & Music

Observatory, The Arts

Opening my Christmas post, I was pleased to find a CD from Howard Goodall. I can’t work without music, and have long enjoyed Mr Goodall’s compositional work. In addition, his Channel 4 television shows anatomising the structure of music were wonderfully clear and intelligent (this was before the channel abandoned its ideals and ran Big Brother).
The way he discusses music is analogous to the way in which a writer operates when developing a plot, and he often touches on an important question; is creativity instinctive or learned? For example, did the Beatles know they were reviving long-abandoned musical principles? if you love music and missed the original show you’ll want to watch the rest.

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4 comments on “Words & Music”

  1. Steve says:

    I recall having seen a program in the 60’s where Leonard Bernstein analyzed the structure of “Good Day Sunshine” by the Beatles. Even as a teenager I found it fascinating. It was the Beatles, after all, that got me started as a musician.

  2. Helen Martin says:

    Those of us who grew up in the 50’s were almost too old for the Beatles so we got them as an echo behind us, as it were. Most of us didn’t appreciate them properly until later. Their stuff is fascinating, though, and I think it was their music that gave me a better feel for the odd things that percussion and rhythm can do under melody. (I think that’s what I mean.)

  3. Steve says:

    I think some examples of what you might be referring to would be the rhythmic hand clapping in “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, and the use of unusual(for the time)percussive instrumentation in “A Hard Day’s Night”.
    That is unless I’m totally misunderstanding you, which is possible!

  4. Helen Martin says:

    Nope, you got it right, Steve. Jimmy Dorsey, Les Brown and such are pretty predictable, if enjoyable. Once you get the pattern you’re set. After all, it was dance music. The Beatles were quite different. We had an hour of jazz on Saturday after the opera and before the hockey game, but it didn’t quite prepare me.These days, well – anything goes as they say.

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