July 14: "A Four-Headed Monster: The 4 Beatles in 5 Songs" at the Women's Civic Club of Stone Harbor
PART 4 of 5: RINGO'S SYNCOPATED DRUMMING
Having analyzed Ringo's metronomic drum beats the other day and his rock beats yesterday, today I look at his syncopated beats.
Where both the metronomic and rock patterns articulate all downbeats, syncopated patterns are defined by the absence of articulation on at least one downbeat. This gives a "limping" effect (imagine the instability of walking on a peg leg) since the rhythms are not as solid because they don't articulate all the beats.
From an analytic standpoint, syncopated beats are the most musically complex. They are also the least common. Where metronomic drumming is heard in 71 (33.6%) of the Beatles' 211 tracks and rock drumming is heard in 166 (78.7%), syncopated drumming is heard in just 44 songs (20.9%).
The previous blogs aimed to illustrate what the metronomic and rock beats were and illustrate how Ringo used them - NOT to create an exhaustive catalog of EVERY example of those two patterns. But because of the comparative scarcity and complexity of the syncopated beat, such an exhaustive catalog IS the goal for this post. I will systematically address and classify each of the 44 Beatles tracks on which Ringo plays a syncopated beat in order of frequency.
MISSING BEAT 3 AND ONLY BEAT 3
By far the most common syncopated pattern omits beat 3 and only beat 3. This is the case in 29 of the 44 tracks to employ a syncopated beat. (Another 9 tracks omit beat 3 but also omit at least one other beat. Those will discussed momentarily.)
Of those 29, 15 employ the pattern [1 |2 & | |4 ] or the nearly identical [1 |2 & | |4 & ] or a combination of the two.
Of those 15, seven articulate the bass drum on the & of 2, essentially taking the rock beat and moving up the second bass drum hit one eighth note to create a syncopated beat:
By contrast, 'All My Loving', 'Little Child', 'Don't Bother Me', 'Revolution', and 'Revolution 1' make the & of 2 snare hits (instead of bass drum hits).
Lastly, the bridges of 'The Night Before', the verses of 'I Feel Fine', and the solo and fifth and sixth verses of 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)' place tom toms on 2 and the & of 2.
* * * * * * * * *
Of those 29, another six employ the pattern [1 |2 & | & |4 ] or the nearly identical [1 |2 & | & |4 & ] or a combination of the two.
Three of those six put the bass on 1, the & of 2, and the & of 4, the snare on 2 and 4, and a closed hi-hat on the & of 3:
Both 'Paperback Writer' and 'Here Comes The Sun' place snare hits on beats 2 and 4, and bass hits on 1, the & of 2, and the & of 3 (and sometimes the & of 4), giving it the same [1 |2 & | & |4 (&) ] rhythm as the three songs above, but with different articulations.
Lastly, the third section of 'You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)' employs the same rhythm, but using bongos.
* * * * * * * * *
The remaining eight syncopated patterns that omit beat 3 and only beat 3 are unique (not found in any other Beatles song).
[1 &a|2 & | & |4 & ] is unique to third phrase of the verses in 'Please Please Me'
[1 |2 | |4 (&) ] is unique to 'Thank You Girl'.
[1 |2 | |4 ||1 |2 & | |4 (&) ] is unique to 'Slow Down'.
[1 (a)|2 & | (&) |4 & ] is unique to 'Mr. Moonlight'.
[1 |2 & | & |4 ] is unique to the refrains 'I Don't Want To Spoil The Party' (which simultaneously employs a metronomic bass drum pattern).
[1 |2 a| & |4 ] is unique to the bridges of 'Taxman'.
[1 |2 & | &a|4e& ] is unique to the refrains of 'She Said She Said'.
Lastly, [1 | & | ||1 |2 & | & |4 ] is unique to the tags of 'Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey', the second measure of which fits the current category (the first, however, does not).
MISSING BEAT 4 AND ONLY BEAT 4
This is found in just three tracks. Each of these three employs a different variation within the "missing beat 4 and only beat 4" framework. Thus, no overall patterns emerge so they will be considered individually.
The choruses of 'She Loves You' maintain a two-measure drum pattern, the first of which is a standard rock beat, the second uses quarter note triplets which do not articulate beat 4.
Since Ringo adopts the same rhythms as that guitar on 'Ticket To Ride', and the guitar lick omits beat 4 ([1 |2 & |3 & | & ]), the drums also omit beat 4.
Lastly, 'Tomorrow Never Knows' adds toms on the & of 3 but leaves out beat 4 entirely: [1 |2 & |3 &a| ].
MISSING BEAT 1 AND ONLY BEAT 1
Like the previous category, only three tracks fit this criteria: the third phrase of each verse in 'No Reply', some of the verses in 'Glass Onion', and parts of the beginning of 'The End'.
Unlike the previous category, however, all three of these songs fit into the same rhythmic pattern: hits on the & of 4 essentially anticipate the initial downbeat of the subsequent measure.
MISSING BEAT 2 AND ONLY BEAT 2
The last category to omit a single beat contains just two examples, both of which use the same rhythm: [1 | & |3 |4 ].
Interestingly, eight other tracks employ syncopated beats that omit beat 2, but they also omit other beats.
MISSING BEATS 2 AND 3
The turnaround (retransition?) in 'Twist And Shout' uses the rhythmic cliche of 3+3+2 in [1 | & | |4 ].
The verses in 'Don't Let Me Down' employ the same rhythm, but in rather less energetic music.
The [1 | & | |4 & ] initial two phrases of the verses in 'All I've Got To Do' are unique among Beatles songs, but reminiscent of the syncopated beats found in 'Anna (Go To Him)', 'It's Only Love', and 'In My Life' (see above).
The initial two phrases of the verses in 'No Reply' employ a [1 | & | |4 || |2 | & | ] 2-measure rhythm, the first of which fits the current criteria...
... as does the first measure (but not the second) of the 2-measure tags in 'Everybody's Got Something To Hide'.
Lastly, both 'Golden Slumbers' and 'Carry That Weight' incorporate the pattern [1 | & | & |4e& ], though they're not completely identical (notice how 'Slumbers' has a snare hit on beat 4 that is not found in 'Weight').
Note: There is no category "missing beats 2 and 4" because such a rhythm would fit better into the "metronomic" label.
MISSING BEATS 2, 3, AND 4
The only song here is 'You Never Give Me Your Money', the second verse of which hits cymbals on [1 | & | | ] but leaves beats 2, 3, and 4 silent (except for the ring of the cymbals, of course).
MISSING BEATS 1, 3, AND 4
Here, too, there is only one song: The initial two phrases of each verse in 'No Reply' features a 2-measure rim click rhythm, the second of which articulates [ |2 | & | ].
And if anybody has actually read this far and followed it all (or any of it), I'm impressed! :-)
I drive to Setauket, NY this afternoon to deliver another round of Band of the Sixties at the Emma S. Clark Memorial Library this evening. And tomorrow I drive to New Jersey to deliver my newest program (debuted last month in Fort Wayne, IN):
Thursday, 14 July 2016, 7:00-8:00 p.m.
Women's Civic Club of Stone Harbor, 96th & The Beach, Stone Harbor, NJ
A Four-Headed Monster: The 4 Beatles in 5 Songs
If you had to pick songs which represent each of the four Beatles, which would you chose? This 60-minute multimedia presentation observes and analyzes each band member through the lens of one or two songs: For Paul McCartney, “Yesterday”; for Ringo Starr, “In My Life”; for John Lennon, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, and for George Harrison, “Something” and “Here Comes the Sun”.
9/7/2016 06:42:30 am
Aaron you do good work, but is it true that you are Beatles Lennonist and don't like Paul very much? Your posts and "Beatles minutes" seem to point that way.
9/7/2016 07:24:48 am
No, I don't consider myself a Lennonist at all. In fact, I once had somebody complain that I don't give Lennon enough credit - I focus too much on Paul, George, and Ringo!
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This blog is a workshop for developing my analyses of The Beatles' music.