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Thursday, February 14, 2008

I am so glad Tiffypoo thought of this! Mixture chords aren’t only for people like Fanny and Ludwig; the Beatles were masters of the mixture chord. “It won’t be long” is the opening track on the album With the Beatles released in 1963. It was a collaboration of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. It is written in E Major, but uses the modal mixture chord bVI. This chord is effective text painting. It appears in the first verse, which says “Every night, when everybody has fun” on the word “everybody”. And it is used again on the next line “here am I, sitting all on my own” beginning on the word “sitting”. The slightly darker sound of the bVI serves to add a pouting quality to the lines. The singer appears jealous that everyone else is having fun while they are stuck sitting alone. The overall mood of the song is not pouty or whiney, it is an upbeat song. “It won’t be long now, till I belong to you” is the refrain, which has a feeling of hope and excitement, appropriate to its major key. As a performer, the mixture chord should be emphasized, maybe adding an accent to le, to really highlight the different moods of the verse and the refrain. A performer might also try stretching the measure of the bVI chord, if they wanted to really stress its importance. It affects the listener by making them appreciate the upbeat sounds of the chorus, and making them listen more carefully to the lyrics. This can be dangerous, however. For instance, when Amy Winehouse listened to this song, she was reminded of “me Blake (her husband) incarcerated! (for hitting her)” and instead of focusing on the happiness of the fact that “it won’t be long” until they are reunited, she let all her attention remain on their separation. Just look how unhappy it made her!

I’m sure neither John nor Paul had that in mind, when using the bVI.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Good analysis, though I'm not sure Amy was listening to this song. I would think she was more of a "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" kind of girl. Give more detail about the lyrics, how emphasizing "everybody" foreshadows that that everybody doesn't include the singer.