One, Two, Three, Four, Can I Have A Little More?: SRDC Form in Beatles Songs, Part 1
The brilliant pop music scholar Walter Everett is credited with coining the term "SRDC form". It refers to a section (usually a verse but occasionally a chorus or bridge) that can be parsed into four phrases, the first of which is an expository statement (S), the second a restatement or revision of that initial statement (R), the third a departure from what has already been heard (D), and the fourth a conclusion (C).
The Beatles used SRDC form frequently, and a textbook example can be found in 'I'm Looking Through You'.
S: "I'm looking through you. Where did you go?"
R: "I thought I knew you. What did I know?"
D: "You don't look different but you have changed."
C: "I'm looking through you. You're not the same."
In this case, the alphabetic labeling of these phrases would be "aaba" - the first, second, and fourth phrases (S, R, and C) are all related and thus labeled "a", but the third phrase (D) is different and thus labeled "b".
S (a): "I'm looking through you. Where did you go?"
R (a): "I thought I knew you. What did I know?"
D (b): "You don't look different but you have changed."
C (a): "I'm looking through you. You're not the same."
Ten additional Beatles songs use this SRDC/aaba form:
Similarly, some songs maintain the SRDC structure but base the conclusion on the music of the departure, resulting in an alphabetic label of aabb. 'I Will' is a good example.
S (a): "Who knows how long I've loved you"
R (a): "You know I love you still"
D (b): "Will I wait a lonely lifetime?"
C (b): "If you want me to I will"
Six additional Beatles songs use this SRDC/aabb form:
Most common, however, is to leave the conclusion musically independent from the statements or departure. This results in an aabc structure, as found in 'Please Please Me'.
S (a): "Last night I said these words to my girl"
R (a): "I know you never even try girl"
D (b): "Come on, come on, come on, come on"
C (c): "Please please me like I please you"
This SRDC/aabc form is found in an additional 23 Beatles tracks:
In total, The Beatles use a clear SRDC phrase structure in 42 tracks (19.9% of their 211-song output). From there, however, things get complicated and ambiguous. But that will be the topic for a future blog.
Tomorrow begins the busiest stretch of my career so far: 23 speaking engagements in the next 19 days.
Tuesday, 11 October 2016, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Bridgewater Public Library, 15 South St, Bridgewater, MA
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.