Formal structure of "Baby You're a Rich Man":
Intro (verse) 0:00-0:20
Verse 1 0:20-0:48
Verse 2 0:48-1:15
Verse 3 1:45-2:12
Coda (chorus) 2:41-3:01
Comments: 2 part intro (like [6b] "A Taste Of Honey",  "Thank You Girl",  "Little Child", [14b] "Roll Over Beethoven",  "You Can't Do That", and [31b] "Matchbox",  "Baby's in Black", [38b] "Mr. Moonlight",  "I Feel Fine", [46e] "Honey Don't",  "Ticket to Ride",  "Run For Your Life",  "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)",  "Day Tripper",  "If I Needed Someone",  "Tomorrow Never Knows",  "Love You To",  "Paperback Writer",  "Rain,  "Taxman",  "I Want to Tell You",  "She Said She Said",  "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band",  "Good Morning Good Morning",  "Lovely Rita",  "Getting Better", and  "Within You Without You").
It is also yet another Beatles song with three macro sections (similar to  "Think For Yourself"  "Got to Get You Into My Life",  "For No One",  "Yellow Submarine",  "Penny Lane",  "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds",  "Getting Better",  "She's Leaving Home", and  "Magical Mystery Tour", although that's not an exhaustive list - at some point I will need to review all the songs and make such an exhaustive list), with each containing a verse and chorus, but the first abbreviated by omitting the chorus, all bookended by the intro and coda.
Formal structure of "Magical Mystery Tour":
Intro (chorus) 0:00-0:09 E major
Verse 1 0:09-0:32 E major
backing only 0:09-0:21
with lead 0:21-0:32
Chorus 0:33-0:41 D major
Verse 2 0:41-1:04 E major
backing only 0:41-0:53
with lead 0:53-1:04
Chorus 1:04-1:13 D major
Break 1:13-1:27 ambiguous (B major? E major?)
Verse 3 1:27-1:57 E major
backing only 1:27-1:42
with lead 1:42-1:57
Chorus 1:57-2:20 D major
Coda 2:20-2:50 D major, D minor
Comments: This is yet another McCartney song that features a macro-scale formal layout of three iterations of a particular combination of sections - in this case a verse (each consisting of two subsections) followed by a chorus. In between the second and third such iterations is a break, with the total product bookended by an intro and coda.
Of course, all songs need variety. In fact, you might say that the fundamental challenge of musical composition is how to (a) continue in a way that is complementary to what preceded it (meaning it contributes to what was heard earlier rather than being completely unrelated), while simultaneously (b) varying the material enough to avoid monotony.
In "Magical Mystery Tour", Paul achieves this balance between same and different in three ways:
1. By making each macro-scale section consist of a verse (in two parts) in E major and chorus in D major. This builds a certain degree of tonal contrast into each macro section.
2. By adding an instrumental break in between the verse 2/chorus and verse 3/chorus. As the section name implies, this offers a break to the vocalists - both background and lead. Moreover, the chords used in this break are chords not found anywhere else in the song. In that sense, the break functions rather like a middle 8 in that it provides harmonic contrast to the verses and choruses. Had this break included a melody and/or lyrics, I probably would have labeled it a middle 8. But without a melody or lyrics, it is quite clearly a break.
3. By changing musical parameters for the final verse/chorus. Where the tempo from the beginning until the final verse/chorus is q=168, the tempo abruptly slows by about 20% to q=136. A listener will clearly hear this sudden tempo shift as something new (not heard previously in this song), while simultaneously hearing that the chord progression and backing vocals are identical (just slower) to those heard previously. In short, it's both the same and different.
Additionally, when McCartney's lead vocals are heard again, he's singing the same pitches, but has jumped one octave higher. This helps give the final verse/chorus energy. In general, fast tempos have more energy (think of your heartbeat - faster heart beats almost always mean more energy or exertion). In this case, however, the opposite is true: The slower tempo actually has more energy, and McCartney's higher vocals help give it that boost in energy despite the decrease in tempo.
Furthermore, the final chorus takes the additional step of changing time signature in addition to the tempo. Where the first two iterations of the chorus were in duple meter (beats divisible by two), the third and final chorus is in triple meter (beats divisible by three). This contributes to the increase in energy and ultimately leads to the climax of the song at the point where the chorus concludes and the coda begins. The function of the coda, then, is to provide a respite from the continually increasing energy of the verse/chorus immediately prior. The coda maintains the triple meter of the final chorus, but without the vocals or any significant melody, the energy steadily decreases. A fade out aids in this decrease in energy.
Formal Structure in Beatles Music:  "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise)"
Formal structure of "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)"
trans/intro 0:00-0:20 F major
Chorus 0:20-0:44 F major
Chorus 0:44-1:01 G major
Coda/trans 1:07-1:19 G major
Comments: The reprise of the title track to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band employs only the chorus from the original - neither verse, nor the break/middle 8 appear in this version. Conversely, the chorus (used exclusively in the reprise) was only heard once in the original.
The key change from F major to G major is worth a brief note because it helps delineate the structure. In this abbreviated reprise, with just two choruses plus transitional material on either side, the modulation serves as the halfway point, separating the two choruses. This modulation is something I will look at in more detail when I do a harmonic analysis of this track.
Formal structure of "With a Little Help From My Friends"
Verse 1 0:09-0:26
Verse 2 0:43-1:00
Middle 8 1:13-1:30
Verse 3 1:30-1:48
Middle 8 2:00-2:17
Coda (Chorus) 2:30-2:44
Comments: This is the most clear formal design of any recent Beatles song I've analyzed. No ambiguity. I got nuthin more to say...
McCartney vs. Chopin
I was humming "Mother Nature's Son" on a walk the other day with my wife when she asked why I was singing Frederic Chopin's "Raindrop Prelude". After a perusal of the Chopin score, I can see (and hear) her point - there is indeed a brief melodic similarity (click the graphic to enlarge):
No doubt this was unintentional on McCartney's part - although he has been known to steal ("nick" to use his own verbiage) - but it is an intriguing similarity.
Formal structure of "She's Leaving Home"
Intro (ind) 0:00-0:05
Verse 1 0:05-0:50*
Verse 2 1:17-2:04
Verse 3a 2:31-2:54*
Coda (chorus) 3:21-3:39
Comments: The verses can be divided into two parts, labeled a and b above. The initial two verses use both halves, but the third and final verse only uses the first half.
It seems to be a trademark of McCartney's 1966-67 songs that they fit quite nicely into three iterations of a combination verse & chorus (or verse & middle 8). In this case, it's three iterations of a verse & chorus, with the final repeat halving the verse, but extended the chorus an extra measure.
Formal structure of "Within You Without You"
Verse 1 0:31-1:15*
Verse 2 1:15-1:58*
Middle 8 1:58-2:22*
Verse 3 3:47-4:33*
Middle 8 4:33-4:59
Comments: It is worth noting (once again) that with these Indian-influenced Harrison compositions, the conventional terms of verse, middle 8, chorus, et cetera do not necessarily correspond to how those same terms are used in other more standard Beatles recordings. I retain this verbiage to maintain consistency throughout my analysis of formal structure in all Beatles songs, but despite nomenclature their function in a song such as this one will inherently differ from their functions in other songs.
2-part intro (like [6b] "A Taste Of Honey",  "Thank You Girl",  "Little Child", [14b] "Roll Over Beethoven",  "You Can't Do That", and [31b] "Matchbox",  "Baby's in Black", [38b] "Mr. Moonlight",  "I Feel Fine", [46e] "Honey Don't",  "Ticket to Ride",  "Run For Your Life",  "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)",  "Day Tripper",  "If I Needed Someone",  "Tomorrow Never Knows",  "Love You To",  "Paperback Writer",  "Rain,  "Taxman",  "I Want to Tell You",  "She Said She Said",  "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band",  "Good Morning Good Morning",  "Lovely Rita", and  "Getting Better"), in which the first section features a sitar drone and melodic fragments by another instrument (I'm not sure what instrument), and the second section adds percussion and establishes the beat for the rest of the song.
Verses 1 and 2 are contiguous (as they were in  "Love Me Do",  "Do You Want to Know a Secret",  "Misery", [9b] "Anna (Go To Him)", [9c] "Boys", [9d] "Chains", [9f] Twist and Shout,  "From Me To You", [13e] "Till There Was You",  "Little Child",  "Not a Second Time",  "Can't Buy Me Love",  "And I Love Her",  "I Should Have Known Better",  "If I Fell'',  "I'm Happy Just to Dance With You",  "A Hard Day's Night", [31b] "Matchbox",  "I'll Cry Instead",  "Things We Said Today",  "I Don't Want To Spoil the Party",  "What You're Doing",  "No Reply",  "Eight Days a Week",  "She's a Woman", [44b] "Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey", [46d] "Words of Love",  "Ticket to Ride",  "I Need You",  "Yes It Is",  "The Night Before",  "You Like Me Too Much",  "Tell Me What You See", 56b] "Dizzy Miss Lizzy", [56c] "Bad Boy",  "I've Just Seen a Face",  "Yesterday",  "If I Needed Someone",  "We Can Work it Out",  "Michelle",  "Tomorrow Never Knows",  "Paperback Writer",  "Doctor Robert",  "Taxman",  "Yellow Submarine",  "I Want To Tell You",  "She Said She Said",  "Penny Lane",  "A Day in the Life",  "Fixing a Hole",  "Only a Northern Song", and  "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite").
Also, all verses are identical melodically for the first 24 seconds, then they diverge: Verse 1 continues in the same register as the beginning of the verse, but verse 2 jumps to a higher register of Harrison's voice and abbreviates the first verse by omitting one phrase. They still share melodic characteristics and are clearly related (which is why I've opted to analyze them both as verses) but they are not identical. Verse 3, then, is abbreviated further. This will be easiest understood visually, and for that reason I have included a graphic below (click to enlarge).
This graphic divides the sections under consideration into four sections: A, B, C, and D. Notice that verses 1 and 3 use melodically identical A sections, with verse 2 sharing the first three of its four notes with the others.
This change establishes the second verse as a slight contrast to the first, thereby diminishing the need for contrast in the middle 8. And indeed the middle 8 is more similar to the verses in this track than is usual for Beatles recordings.
The coda consists of a group of people laughing. What this has to do with anything is beyond me...
Paul McCartney's "World Without Love" had trouble finding a home. It was rejected by the Beatles, mostly on account of Lennon's dislike of the lyrics (particularly the opening line, "Please lock me away..."), so Paul offered it to Billy J. Kramer, who had recorded 4 other Beatles giveaways already to that point, but Kramer declined for reasons unknown. So Peter Asher, the brother of Paul's girlfriend at the time Jane Asher, requested the song for his newly-formed duo Peter & Gordon. McCartney happily obliged, and "World Without Love" was released on 28 February 1964, and reached number 1 in the British charts the following June.
The Beatles never made a recording of "World Without Love", but Paul's brief demo, which he gave to Peter Asher some time in late 1963 or early 1964, surfaced unexpectedly in January 2013.
Formal structure of "Getting Better"
Intro (chorus) 0:00-0:08
Verse 1 0:08-0:25
Chorus A 0:25-0:44
Verse 2 0:44-1:00
Chorus A 1:00-1:20*
Chorus B 1:20-1:40*
Verse 3 1:40-1:57*
Chorus A 1:57-2:18
Chorus B 2:18-2:36
Coda (chorus) 2:362:48
Comments: 2 part intro (like [6b] "A Taste Of Honey",  "Thank You Girl",  "Little Child", [14b] "Roll Over Beethoven",  "You Can't Do That", and [31b] "Matchbox",  "Baby's in Black", [38b] "Mr. Moonlight",  "I Feel Fine", [46e] "Honey Don't",  "Ticket to Ride",  "Run For Your Life",  "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)",  "Day Tripper",  "If I Needed Someone",  "Tomorrow Never Knows",  "Love You To",  "Paperback Writer",  "Rain, and  "Taxman",  "I Want to Tell You",  "She Said She Said",  "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band",  "Good Morning Good Morning", and  "Lovely Rita") with Martin's piano and Lennon's guitar being part one, then part two consisting of the addition of vocals.
This song features two related but different choruses, which I've labeled as Chorus A and Chorus B. Both share identical chord progressions and backing tracks, but the vocals differ from one to the other. They are similar enough to call them the same thing (chorus), but different enough to need distinguishing (chorus A, chorus B).
The macro-scale structure of this song may be seen as three iterations of a verse, chorus A, then chorus B, with the first iteration omitting chorus B:
Similarly, the third verse is clearly related to but distinctly different form the previous two verses - though approximately the same duration as the first two verses (it's extended a single measure in the middle), the sung melody is more far-reaching and rambling.
Henry the Horse
On 2012.12.01 I posted a blog titled "A Three Ring Circus" all about the song "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite". I tried to be quite thorough in that post, however I have recently discovered a new and intriguing aspect to this song, and that is what will be discussed in this post.
In "A Three Ring Circus", I discussed the text painting of the line "And of course Henry the horse dances the waltz". Observing the original poster that inspired Lennon to write the song in the first place, however, you can see that the horse's name was actually Zanthus, not Henry. "Zanthus" is a bit unwieldy to sing, so it is not surprising that Lennon took liberties on grounds of artistic license (rather similar to Paul McCartney changing the original "Hey Jules" to "Hey Jude"), but there are any number of two syllable names that Lennon could have chosen that would have worked just fine. In addition to being easier to sing, I see two reasons why Lennon might have chosen the name Henry over other equally easy to sing options: (1) "Henry the horse" features alliteration as both nouns start with the letter "h"; and more significantly (2) to avoid confusion between George Harrison and George Martin, the latter was sometimes referred to as Henry - Martin's middle name (Emerick, page 6). And since much of "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite" was Martin's doing (he played the organ in the break section, was responsible for the calliope collage coda, and is probably behind the ingenious three-part tonal structure), Lennon's selection of the name "Henry" to replace "Zanthus" seems like Lennon's way of acknowledging Martin's contributions to his song. I have never encountered any quotes from either Lennon or Martin to support this idea, but the facts do fit and they seem to fit too well to be coincidence.
Though I included a photo of the poster in "A Three Ring Circus", I just now found a better resolution picture (in which you can read the text much more easily) and have included it below. (Click to enlarge.)
Emerick, Geoff and Howard Massey. Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles. Gotham Books, published by Penguin Group (USA) Inc., New York, NY, 2006.
This blog is a workshop for developing my analyses of The Beatles' music.