Bing Hodneland logo

Google

Links

Alan Pollack's "Notes on ..."

Wikipedia



All the information on this site is free. But if it is of value to you, I appreciate a tip.

The Beatles: PS I Love You - - (Table view)

Other recordings of PS I Love You:

This song, which was the B-side of The Beatles' debut single, and was also included on their first album Please Please Me.

This is a love letter in the form of a song, written to Paul McCartney's girlfriend at the time: Dorothy Rhone ("Dot"). In april 1961 The Beatles was playing in Hamburg, and were staying there for 10-12 weeks. The girlfriends of Paul and John, Dot and Cynthia, decided to visit the boys in Hamburg. When the girls returned to Liverpool, Paul wrote this song to Dot.

It is in the key of D. I don't know what to say about the first chords. It starts with a series of G-C#?-D changes. I write C#? because I am not sure what kind of C# chord it is. Alan W. Pollack says:

"The strangest chord of all in the song is the dominant seventh chord on C#, employed in the intro as a surrogate V. The naturally occurring chord on C# in the key of D is a diminished seventh chord and that VII chord works nicely as a substitute V because it is the sonic equivalent of the V7 chord with the root note missing. In modifying the C#-diminished chord into a dominant seventh, the Boys throw us a curve ball in that you'd sooner expect the latter chord to resolve to the key of F#. Against all textbook rules and logic, they rely on the stepwise movement of all voices (C# -» D, E# -» F#, G# -» A, and B -» A) to make it "work". Still, coming right at the beginning as it does, it's an attention grabber."

But in The Complete Beatles Scores it is written as a C#dim chord. So what can a poor man do? The experts disagree. In my ears, it sounds like a C#7. I prefer to play the G as a barre chord, the C#7 as a C7-shape on 2nd to 4th fret (only the middle four strings played), and a normal D-chord. But I cannot say if that is the way The Beatles plays it - and I do not inted to spend much time trying to find the answer.

The intro ends with D - A - D, which gives a I - V - I ending.

The verse has the chord stream with the chords D - Em - D, which gives a I - ii - I progression. The next chords are Bm-A, which is a vi-V change, and we expect the I chord. But it does not happen. Instead we get the Bb - C - D, which gives a VIb - VIIb - I progression. This is what Alan W. Pollack calls a deceptive cadence, and the deceptive cadence includes a chord stream: vi-V-VIb-VIIb-I.

The ending starts as the intro, but without the C#? chord.

Progressions

  • VIb Chord The Buddy Holly - VIb-chord
  • From Alan W. Pollack's Notes on "PS I Love You":

    The group of chords used in this song is much more exotic than what we've seen in the other very early period songs we've looked at. In addition to the standard fare of what is diatonically available within the home key, we have the chords of the flat-VI (B flat) and flat-VII (C Major), both of which may be said, in theoretical terms, to be borrowed from the parallel minor key of 'd'. The very use of these chords lends an exotic mixed-mode feeling to the song.

  • VIIb Chord Flat Seventh Chord
  • From Alan W. Pollack's Notes on "PS I Love You":

    The group of chords used in this song is much more exotic than what we've seen in the other very early period songs we've looked at. In addition to the standard fare of what is diatonically available within the home key, we have the chords of the flat-VI (B flat) and flat-VII (C Major), both of which may be said, in theoretical terms, to be borrowed from the parallel minor key of 'd'. The very use of these chords lends an exotic mixed-mode feeling to the song.

  • Decptive Cadence Ending Decptive Cadence
  • From Alan W. Pollack's Notes on "PS I Love You":

    The second unusual type of progression is called a "deceptive cadence", characterized by the V (dominant) being followed by something other than the I chord. In the verse section, yet again, we find examples of the V being resolved in one case to the plain vi chord, and later on to the flat-VI. Aesthetically, it suggests a last minute retreat from coming to closure; a musical approach/avoidance.

    (...)

    Articulation of the phrasing is nicely aided by the harmony with its multiple deceptive resolutions of V, first to vi, then to flat vi, then *finally* to I, but even then, only via the flat VII!

    (...)

    Aside from the sophistication of any specific technical device used here per se, the most creative touch of all (IMHO) is in the way that the the successive deceptive cadences in the verse provide an exquisitely realistic shyness and emotional "playing footsie" that otherwise belies the readymade paper-cut valentine of the words.

  • VIb-VIIb-i Minor
  • From Alan W. Pollack's "Notes on P.S. I Love You":

    The first unusual type of progression is called a "chord stream", characterized by sliding, stepwise root movement from chord to chord. In the verse section, we find I->ii->I, and flat-VI->flat-VII->I as examples. This is a technique is most closely associated with either early 20th century Impressionism or Jazz and it happens to break one of the standard old-fashioned rules against using parallel octaves and fifths between chords. Aesthetically, it suggests a languid sensuality.

  • VIb-VIIb-I Chord Stream Deceptive Cadence
  • P.S. I Love You is in the key of D. The song seems to prepare for an end by setting up a ii-V change (Bm - A), and you expect the tonic D as the next chord. But instead the song lands on the Bb chord, and goes in a chord stream Bb - C - D, or bVI - bVII - I.

  • VII7 Chord Dominant Seventh on the major 7th.
  • From Alan F. Pollack's Notes on PS I Love You:

    "The strangest chord of all in the song is the dominant 7th chord on C#, employed in the intro as a surrogate 'V'. The naturally occurring chord on C# in the key of D is a *diminished* seventh chord and *that* VII chord works nicely as a substitute V because it is the sonic equivalent of the V7 chord with the root note missing. In modifying the C# diminished chord into a dominant 7th, the Boys throw s a curve ball in that you'd sooner expect the latter chord to resolve to the key of F#. Against all textbook rules and logic, they rely on the stepwise movement of all voices (C# -> D, E# -> F#, G# ->A, and B -> A) to make it "work". Still, coming right at the beginning as it does, it's an attention grabber."

    Special chords

    dim7

    In the introductory chorus to P.S. I Love You, they play the chords G - C#dim7 - D. In the other choruses the C#dim7 is omitted, and it just goes G - D (meaning that you may play these two chords in the opening as well if you find the C#dim7 difficult, and very few will notice ....).

    Modulation

    Books including the song

    More >>
    The Beatles Fake Book (Fake Books)
    RefNr: HL240069
    Order From:
    MusicRoom
    Amazon UK
    Amazon US

    More >>
    The Beatles Book
    RefNr: HL699266
    Order From:
    SheetmusicPlus
    Amazon UK
    Amazon US

    More >>
    The Beatles - Complete Scores
    This outstanding hard-cover edition features over 1100 pages with full scores and lyrics to all 210 titles recorded by The Beatles.
    RefNr: HL673228
    Order From:
    SheetmusicPlus
    MusicRoom
    Amazon UK
    Amazon US

    More >>
    The Beatles Complete Fake Book
    Every song by the 'Fab Four' in freshly engraved top-line arrangements.
    RefNr: NO90535
    Order From:
    MusicRoom
    Videos including the song
    CDs including the song

    More >>
    Please, Please Me
    RefNr: CD327524
    Order From:
    Amazon US

    Amazon UK

    Further references:

    Next page: Technique Next page:

    Previous page: Previous page: A Guitar for Fingerpicking