July 13: "The Beatles: Band of the Sixties" at the Emma S. Clark Memorial Library
PART 3 OF 5: RINGO'S ROCK BEATS
While the metronomic beat (considered yesterday) is found in 71 (33.6%) of the Beatles' 211 tracks, the rock beat is more than twice as common, appearing in 166 (78.7%).
The rock beat might be thought of as a subset of the metronomic beat because it, too, articulates all four downbeats. However, it does so in a specific way: with the bass drum on beats 1 and 3, and the snare on 2 and 4.
'I Saw Her Standing There' is a textbook example.
The alternation of bass on odd beats and snare on evens defines this rock beat pattern, but Ringo will often supplement that basic framework, creating subtle varieties within this pattern.
He sometimes gives the & of 1 to the bass in 'I'm So Tired'.
He gives the & of 2 to the bass drum throughout 'Nowhere Man'.
He adds the & of 3 to the bass drum throughout 'Michelle'.
And he sometimes (but not always) adds the & of 4 to the bass drum in the verses of 'Hold Me Tight'.
In 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' he adds the & of 1, and the & of 3.
In 'Doctor Robert' he adds the bass drum to the & of 2, and the & of 4.
'Here There And Everywhere' adds the & of 3, and the & of 4.
'Penny Lane' sometimes adds the & of 2, the & of 3, and the & of 4 in the choruses.
And 'Revolution' adds the & of 1, the & of 2, the & of 3, and the & of 4.
* * * * * * * * *
The above are all examples of added bass drum kicks. In other songs he'll supplement with the snare, though this is less common and less diverse.
'Please Please Me', for example, features the snare on the & of 2.
The opening phrase of the bridges in 'Fixing A Hole' add the snare on the & of 2, and the & of 4.
And the introduction of 'What You're Doing' adds a few extra snare hits on the & of 3.
* * * * * * * * *
All of the above rock beat examples are from songs in simple meters (beats divisible by two, or swung). But some are in compound meter (beats divisible by three).
'Yes It Is' is in 12/8, but nevertheless implements a standard rock beat (bass on 1 and 3, snare on 2 and 4).
This, too, can be supplemented (but always with the bass drum - for whatever reason, Ringo never supplements compound meter rock beats with additional snare hits), such as in the bridges of 'This Boy' and 'Good Morning Good Morning', and throughout 'Yer Blues'.
Once again, this is not an exhaustive catalog of Ringo's use of the rock beat in Beatles recordings. I've cited 17 examples, but there are 148 more Beatles tracks not listed here that also employ this rock beat. Rather, the goal for this post is to illustrate what the rock beat is and to provide examples of the many different ways that Ringo uses that pattern in Beatles music.
Tomorrow I'll do the same for his syncopated beats.
The tour continues tomorrow with my third and final presentation in New York:
Wednesday, 13 July 2016, 7:00-8:00 p.m.
Emma S. Clark Memorial Library, 120 Main St, Setauket, NY
The Beatles: Band of the Sixties
Explore the music of The Beatles in this 60-minute multimedia presentation (part history and part musical analysis) spanning the full 1960's: beginning with the band's seminal visits to Hamburg, continuing through Beatlemania, and concluding with Abbey Road. The program will be supplemented with audio clips of music and excerpts from interviews with the band members.
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This blog is a workshop for developing my analyses of The Beatles' music.