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Week 9 Listening Guide to The Beatles Albums Essay

Week 9 Listening Guide to The Beatles Albums Essay.

I don’t know how to handle this Music question and need guidance.

PART I (50%): Listening Guide
Prepare a listening guide to one of these six following Beatles albums (UK versions):

• Rubber Soul (December 1965)

• Revolver (August 1966)

• Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (May 1967)

• Magical Mystery Tour (November 1967)

• Abbey Road (September 1969)

• Let It Be (May 1970)

Your listening guide will provide an overview of the album as a whole, and discussions of at
least three songs from the album. Two of the songs must be songs NOT played or discussed in
lecture or in section,(list of songs played are included) while at least one song can be a song played/discussed in lecture and/or
section (you may discuss additional songs so long as you meet the requirement of discussing two
songs not discussed in lecture and/or section). Use course material – historical, musicological,
etc. – to narrate your understanding of the album.
Your overview of the album can include information on the composition and recording of the
songs, but the larger focus should be your overall impressions of the album. You may also
compare any of the songs to other music, from the past or the present. Remember, this is an
exam, not a term paper: in preparing and writing it, you should draw on materials from the
second five weeks of class, including readings, lecture notes, listening, videos, discussion
sections, and the weekly online writing questions. You do not have to do any additional research
for this exam, but if you want to include additional information, make sure to footnote your
sources.
Some questions to ask yourself when choosing a focus for your exam include: What do you
think is interesting about this album, what stands out to you? How are the Beatles addressing
their audience? How are the Beatles responding to other music they know? What emotions or
2
ideas do you hear the songs conveying? What (if anything) do you think the Beatles are saying
about themselves with this album? How does this album relate (or not) to the Beatles’ earlier
work? How does the album cover relate to the listening experience? What do you think a
listener in the 1960s would have thought about this album? What do you think about the album
as a listener in 2019, and how does that compare with what you think listeners in the 1960s
would have heard? (You don’t have to answer all these questions in your essay, but it is worth
thinking about them as you prepare to write.)
The songs you choose will give you the opportunity to provide evidence for your overview of the
album. Your discussion of each song must include specific musical details, as we have been
discussing them in class. You do not have to account for every element for each song! Instead,
think about what particular musical element(s) contribute to your impression and understanding
of the song.
Musical elements include:
Things composers play with: Meter & Rhythm; Melody; Harmony; Instrumentation (including
voices); Texture; Form; Lyrics/language (see slides, Week 1 Class 1; as well as the
document Musical Terms Glossary “Things To Listen For” on the Course Info page of our
CCLE webpages.
Things performers play with: Composer instructions; Training and skill; Timbre (sound
characteristics); Expression (tempo, dynamics, phrasing); Re-arrangement (for covers,
especially forces); Recording techniques (see slides Week 1 Class 1)
And things Listeners play with: Paratexts; existing knowledge (about musicians, other music, etc);
Listening contexts (see slides Week 2 Class 1)
You may of course discuss the lyrics of songs, but make sure to consider purely musical
elements as well. Additionally, your framework for interpreting/understanding the album and its
songs can be based on concepts you know from outside this class, from other classes or fields of
study that seem appropriate, including (but not limited to) gender, sexuality, masculinity/
femininity, race, class, nation (US and/or UK), consumerism, music industry politics, teenage
identity, etc. but it is not necessary to include material from outside this course.
Part I: 3-5 pages, double-spaced, 12-point font, 1 inch margins.

PART II (50%): 2 Essays (25% each)
Write an essay for each of the following prompts. Each essay will be worth 25% of your Final
Exam grade.
1. The Beatles made four live-action films (A Hard Day’s Night (1964), Help! (1965), Magical
Mystery Tour (1967), and Let It Be in 1970) as well as numerous promotional videos for
individual songs. They also “appeared” as animated characters in the film Yellow Submarine
(1968). How were the Beatles, as a group and as individuals, presented to their audience in these
films? How were their presentations similar or different from one film or video to another?
How might the audience’s perceptions of the Beatles’ characters and interactions influence the
listening experience, the way their music was heard? Would audience perceptions be similar or
different between the 1960s and today? (You may also consider Beatles performances on
television that we have seen, but focus primarily on the films.)
2. Throughout their recording career, The Beatles were influenced by twentieth-century trends
in the visual arts as well as trends in both popular and experimental music. First, discuss the
ways in which the Beatles’ album covers used Modern art in creating paratexts for the listeners’
experience. Then, discuss the ways in which the Beatles adapted surrealist techniques of collage,
montage, juxtaposition and non-sequitur, and distortion, as well as techniques from avant garde
musical composition, in their music. Choose and discuss at least three songs.
PART II: The two essays TOGETHER should be 3-5 pages long. Double-spaced, 12-point font

Beatle Songs Played in Class (all songs Lennon/McCartney, unless otherwise indicated)

Week 5:

“Drive My Car” (album: Rubber Soul)

“Norwegian Wood” (album: Rubber Soul)

“In My Life” (album: Rubber Soul)

“Nowhere Man” (album: Rubber Soul)

Week 6:

“Paperback Writer” (single: not released on a UK album)

“And Your Bird Can Sing” (album: Revolver. We didn’t really talk about this song, I played
it because the early take that broke down into giggling was so amusing!)

“Eleanor Rigby” (album: Revolver)
“Yellow Submarine” (album: Revolver)

“Tomorrow Never Knows” (album: Revolver)

Week 7:

“Strawberry Fields Forever” (UK single, but released on the US album Magical Mystery Tour)

“Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (album: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)

“With A Little Help From My Friends” (album: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)

“Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” (album: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)

“Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!” (album: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)

“Sgt Pepper” reprise (album: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)

“A Day In The Life” (album: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)

Week 8:

“All You Need Is Love” (UK single, but released on the US album Magical Mystery Tour)

“Magical Mystery Tour” (album: Magical Mystery Tour; I played the video, but
didn’t really talk about the song, so this song counts as not discussed in class)

“I Am The Walrus” (album: Magical Mystery Tour)

“Hello Goodbye” (UK single, released on the US album Magical Mystery Tour)

“Your Mother Should Know” (album: Magical Mystery Tour; I played the video, but
didn’t really talk about the song as a song, so it counts as not discussed in class)

“Back In The USSR” (album: The Beatles aka the “White Album”)

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (album: The Beatles aka the “White Album”)

“Happiness Is A Warm Gun” (album: The Beatles aka the “White Album”)

NB: The Beatles (aka the “White Album”) is NOT on the list of albums for Part I of the Final Exam. I’m listing
these songs for their part in an overview of the quarter, but you cannot choose to focus on the White Album
in Part 1 of the Final Exam

Week 9:

“Hey Jude” (single: not released on a UK album)

“Get Back” (album: Let It Be; I played the video from the Rooftop Concert, but
didn’t really talk about the song as a song, so it counts as not discussed in class)

“Something” (by George Harrison. Album: Abbey Road)
“Here Comes The Sun” (by George Harrison. Album: Abbey Road)
“Because” (album: Abbey Road)
The Abbey Road Side 2 Medley

Week 9 Listening Guide to The Beatles Albums Essay

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