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The Compositional Power of Monochordal Music: Sonic Youth Meets the Beatles

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Author Topic: The Compositional Power of Monochordal Music: Sonic Youth Meets the Beatles  (Read 349 times)
Bad Penny
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« on: November 29, 2010, 10:27:08 pm »

I've been fascinated since childhood by monochordal music (such as the classical music of India), and have just recently (oh, boy, do I feel stupid now!) realized that monochordal music is the chicken thigh of music: just as the chicken thigh is the most abusable piece of meat on planet Earth (you can overcook it (almost!) all you want and it will still come out juicy and tasty), monochordal music can be decorated to an unbelievable degree without depriving it of its gravitas.

Here are three of my all-time (i.e., since I was of single-digit age) favo(u)rite Beatles songs, all of which are monochordal (except for "The Word", in which the portion of the chorus which corresponds to the words "It's so fine; it's sunshine" gives the song (technically) a three-chord structure (thus creating an interesting blend of east and west):

THe Word:

Love You To:

Tomorrow Never Knows:


And, just for a little bit of psychedelic overload, here's a part of an overlay of "Tomorrow Never Knows" upon "Within You; Without You":


So, I know you're all thinking that monochordal music incorporated into the Western tradition primarily consists of drug-oriented music (and you'ld be correct in believing so), but here's a song by Sonic Youth which uses the monochordal structure to express the anxiety and trepidation of the entirely natural act of falling in love:


So, what does anybody think?
« Last Edit: November 29, 2010, 10:38:02 pm by Bad Penny » Report Spam   Logged

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