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 of "Good Day Sunshine":
Intro 0:00-0:08 uncertain (E?)
Chorus 0:08-0:20 B major
Verse 1 0:20-0:37 A major
Chorus 0:37-0:49 B major
Verse 2 0:49-0:57 * A major
Solo 0:57-1:06* D major
Chorus 1:06-1:18 B major
Verse 3 1:18-1:34 A major
Chorus 1:34-1:46 B major
Chorus 1:46-1:58 B major
Coda (chorus) 1:58-2:08 ambiguous (F major? C major?)*
Comments: Tonally, this is the most sophisticated of Beatles tunes so far: 3 explicitly clear tonalities (B major, A major, D major) and two sections with ambiguous tonal orientation (the intro and coda).
The coda is an extension of the chorus, taking the last two measures of the chorus and jacking them up a half step. This is the same modulation (up a minor second) that was used in  "And I Love Her".
The solo replaces the vocals for the second half of verse 2 (also found in  From Me To You,  "A Hard Day's Night",  "The Night Before",  "You Like Me Too Much",  "In My Life",  "Taxman",  "I'm Only Sleeping", and  "For No One").
Lastly, "Good Day Sunshine" is just the third Beatles song to date to use contiguous choruses (the three precedents being [44b] "Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey",  "I'm Down", and  "Think For Yourself").
Formal structure of  "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)"
Intro (verse) 0:00-0:16* E major
Verse 1 0:16-0:32 E major
Middle 8 0:32-0:48 E minor
Verse 2 0:48-1:04 E major
Break 1:04-1:20 E major
Middle 8 1:20-1:36 E minor
Verse 3 1:36-1:53 E major
Coda (verse) 1:53-2:05 E major
Comments: Another two-part intro (along with [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", and  "Run For Your Life") in which a single instrument - in this case guitar - is heard briefly before the rest of the instruments join in to create the backing track over which the lead vocals will be added at the start of the first verse.
The song is in E major, but the Middle 8s switch from E major to E minor - a shift between the parallel major and minor, reminiscent of  "I'll Be Back" and  "Things We Said Today".
Formal structure of  "Wait":
Verse 1 0:00-0:12 F# minor
Chorus 0:12-0:21 A major
Verse 2 0:21-0:33 F# minor
Chorus 0:33-0:41 A major
Middle 8 0:41-0:57 A major
Verse 3 0:57-1:08 F# minor
Chorus 1:08-1:17 A major
Middle 8 1:17-1:32 A major
Verse 4 1:32-1:44 F# minor
Chorus 1:44-1:53 A major
Verse 5 1:53-2:03 F# minor
Coda (verse) 2:03-2:13* F# minor
Comments: No intro - starts right up with the verse (just like  "All My Loving",  "Not a Second Time", [29b] "Long Tall Sally",  "No Reply", [46b] "Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby", and  "I'm Down").
Coda is an extension of the verse.
The formal structure of "Wait" is often delineated through tonality. The verses are all in F# minor, while the choruses and middle 8s are all in the relative major, A.  "And I Love Her" uses similar tonal dialogue between the relative major and minor, and  "I'll Be Back" and  "Things We Said Today" between the parallel major and minor.
Formal structure of  "You're Going to Lose That Girl":
Chorus 0:00-0:09* E Major
Verse 1 0:09-0:23 E Major
Chorus 0:23-0:30 E Major
Verse 2 0:30-0:45 E Major
Chorus 0:45-0:56 E Major
Middle 8 0:56-1:10* G Major
Solo 1:10-1:25 E Major
Chorus 1:25-1:36 E Major
Middle 8 1:36-1:49* G Major
Verse 3 1:49-2:03 E Major
Chorus 2:03-2:12 E Major
Coda 2:12-2:20 E Major
Comments: Begins with chorus instead of an introduction (like  "She Loves You",  "It Won't Be Long",  "Can't Buy Me Love",  "Any Time at All",  "When I Get Home", and  "Another Girl"), though in this case sans drum set (but with hand percussion).
Also like "Another Girl" is the Middle 8 - in which both songs modulate to the lowered submediant (A Major to C Major in "Another Girl"; E Major to G Major in "You're Going to Lose That Girl"). This is the same modulation that the Beatles often use, and will culminate in the Abbey Road Medley (which uses that particular modulation extensively).
Formal structure of  "Things We Said Today"
Intro (verse) 0:00-0:04 A minor
Verse 1 0:04-0:33 A minor (with a touch of C)
Verse 2 0:33-0:59 A minor (with a touch of C)
Middle 8 0:59-1:15 A major
Verse 3 1:15-1:41 A minor (with a touch of C)
Middle 8 1:41-1:57 A major
Verse 4 1:57-2:23 A minor (with a touch of C)
Coda 2:23-2:34 A minor
Comments: "Things We Said Today" employs a very similar verse structure as  "A Hard Day's Night". The verse may be split into four parts:
You say you will love me if I have to go.
You'll be thinking of me, somehow I will know.
Someday when I'm lonely, wishing you weren't so far away,
Then I will remember things we said today.
The only difference between the first and second parts is the lyrics. But then with the third segment, the chords change and vocal harmony is added before reverting to the characteristics of the first two segments for the final part.
Like  "Any Time At All", "Things We Said Today" plays between A major and A minor. It is no coincidence that these two were recorded consecutively.
Formal structure of  "I'll Be Back"
Intro (verse) 0:00-0:05 A Major
Verse 1 0:05-0:27 A minor (with Picardy third)
Middle 8 #1 0:27-0:40* A (major or minor)
Verse 2 0:40-1:03 A minor (with Picardy third)
Middle 8 #2 1:03-1:21* A (major or minor)
Verse 3 1:21-1:46 A minor (with Picardy third)
Middle 8 #1 1:46-1:58 A (major or minor)
Verse 4 1:58-2:05* A minor (with Picardy third)
Coda (verse) 2:05-2:21 A (major or minor)
Comments: "I'll Be Back" marks the first Beatles recording in several categories:
First, there are two distinct Middle 8s, the second of which is slightly longer, but both of which end with the same music.
Second, the structure is perfectly palindromic (the same forwards as it is backwards), with the second Middle 8 serving as the centerpiece. The title even suggests the composer's knowledge of this fact on some level - "I'll Be Back" could refer to the structure of a rondo, where a particular theme or melody reappears several times. In this case, the song may be seen as a nine-part rondo (or a seven-part rondo with an intro and coda).
Third, there is an interesting tonal play between A major and A minor (which will appear in later songs, such as  "While My Guitar Gently Weeps). The intro is in A major, but the first verse is in A minor (but it ends in major with a Picardy third). All three Middle 8s explore other chords, but never to the extent of rivaling A as tonic. The coda, which fades out, alternates A major and A minor, offering no more weight either over the other. Although tonal ambiguity is not a trademark of Beatles music, the album A Hard Day's Night features two songs that are tonally ambiguous: "I'll Be Back" and  "And I Lover Her".
In addition, although less substantial and not unique, Verse 4 is abbreviated to prepare for the coda. Also, "I'll Be Back" features an interesting use of triplets - something I plan on blogging about in the future.
Formal structure of  "If I Fell''
Intro (independent) 0:00-0:18
Verse 1 0:18-0:40
Verse 2 0:40-1:02
Middle 8 1:02-1:13
Verse 3 1:13-1:35
Middle 8 1:35-1:46
Verse 4 1:46-2:09
Coda (verse) 2:09-2:18
Comments: One of the most developed and harmonically unusual introductions (it's in Eb minor while the rest of the song is in D major), but ultimately a very straight-forward macro-scale formal structure. Verses 3 and 4 share identical lyrics.
This installment of my index of Beatles song structures will feature a new element to the analysis: tonality. The Beatles grew progressively more sophisticated in terms of tonality and tonal relations. In their first two albums, not a single song ever changes key. But beginning with "And I Love Her" on A Hard Day's Night, that changes. And since these changes in tonality often coincide with formal design, all of my structural analyses from now on will consider tonality where applicable.
Formal and tonal structure of  "And I Love Her":
Intro (verse) 0:00-0:09 C# minor
Verse 1 0:09-0:30 C# minor
Verse 2 0:30-0:50 C# minor
Middle 8 0:50-1:08 C# minor
Verse 3 1:08-1:29 C# minor
Solo 1:29-1:50 D minor
Verse 1:50- 2:11 D minor
Coda (verse) 2:11-2:28 D minor*
Comments: "And I Love Her" is the first Beatles recording to feature any sort of key change (the technical term is modulation). This happens right at the solo section, at 1:29, from C# minor up a half step to D minor - a modulation I've heard called the "shoehorn modulation", the "truck driver's modulation", and the "Barry Manilow modulation". It has sine become a cliche to jack up the tonality in the final chorus of a song. (Paul would use it again on  "Good Day Sunshine".) Although the key change sounds very natural, I have never been able to figure out why it's there. What purpose does it serve? Why right before the solo? I'm not sure.
The song ends with a D major chord - a Picardy Third, in which a composition in a minor key concludes on the parallel major.
This blog is a workshop for developing my analyses of The Beatles' music.