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The Beatles: Free as a Bird - - (Table view)

Other recordings of Free as a Bird:

Progressions

  • Decptive Cadence Ending Decptive Cadence
  • From Alan W. Pollack's Notes on "Free as a Bird":

    The second bridge is setup by a variation in the chord progression of the verse which precedes it; this allows the second bridge to be entered more directly and naturally than via the deceptive cadence used for the first bridge. That augmented chord on A-flat doesn't get an Roman numeral, by the way; think of it as the a minor chord sustained but with the bassline slipping in a chromatic passing note on the way down to G.

      |C a |A-flat G |
        I vi  Augmented      C: V
    
    

    Bridge

    The phrasing of the first bridge is very similar to that of the verse, but the harmonic shape makes an enormous difference. In spite of the chromatic trick with the minor chord, the verse section remains tonally crystal clear. Tonality wise, the bridge is extremely unsettled. The first bridge, especially, is entered by way of a so-called deceptive cadence (i.e. the V of A resolving to its flat-VI chord instead of I):

  • I-vi-iv-V
  • Harmonically, the song is characterized by a tricky variation upon one of the most hackneyed chord progressions of rock and roll. You're used to hearing a Major IV chord as the third one in the I-vi-IV-V series, but here the Beatles consistently break the rule by placing one of the following in its place: either the *minor iv* chord ([this is] d), or a Major chord on the flat VI'th degree (F Major).

    The d and F chords provide an ongoing measure of pathos to the song, and on a technical level, they set up the possibility for easy pivoting over the key of C Major parallel minor. The G Major chord also serves a pivotal role; being both the V chord of C Major and the flat-VII of the A Major home key.

  • I-vi-VIb-V
  • Harmonically, the song is characterized by a tricky variation upon one of the most hackneyed chord progressions of rock and roll. You're used to hearing a Major IV chord as the third one in the I-vi-IV-V series, but here the Beatles consistently break the rule by placing one of the following in its place: either the *minor iv* chord ([this is] d), or a Major chord on the flat VI'th degree (F Major).

    The d and F chords provide an ongoing measure of pathos to the song, and on a technical level, they set up the possibility for easy pivoting over the key of C Major parallel minor. The G Major chord also serves a pivotal role; being both the V chord of C Major and the flat-VII of the A Major home key.

    Special chords

    aug

    From Alan W. Pollack's Notes on "Free as a Bird":

    The second bridge is setup by a variation in the chord progression of the verse which precedes it; this allows the second bridge to be entered more directly and naturally than via the deceptive cadence used for the first bridge. That augmented chord on A-flat doesn't get an Roman numeral, by the way; think of it as the a minor chord sustained but with the bassline slipping in a chromatic passing note on the way down to G.

    Modulation

    I-major to IIIb-major IV7-IIIb-VIIb7-IIIb / II7-I-V7-I

    From Alan W. Pollack's Notes on "Free As A Bird":

    The harmony is unusual on the micro level:

    In context of the A Major home key, that opening phrase (E-F-G-E) sounds heavily inflected by the mode of the natural minor scale. When the guitar solo gets its turn with the tune, the song has momentarily modulated to the key of C Major [I to IIIb], giving a very different feel to the otherwise identical phrase. Brahms (not bombs) plays a very similar trick in the second movement of his 4th symphony with the exact same melodic phrase on E! (Check it out -- he plays the game between the keys of E and C.)

    (...)

    The verse contains an extremely short-lived modulation to the key of C which returns back to the home key at the beginning of the next verse via the parallel minor key of a. Given the several iterations of this section, I poetically react to the gesture toward C Major as the momentary raising of hope or yearning that "things" might change, only to have such hope dashed by the immediate reassertion of the not just the home key, but first its infinitely sadder parallel minor. And, as in a good detective novel, such early appearing and seemingly inconsequential details bear watching for in the later going.

    Books including the song

    More >>
    The Decade Series - The 1990s
    30 essential '90s classics. Guitar tablature songbook for guitar and voice.
    RefNr: HL690539
    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

    More >>
    Great Songs Of The 90s For Guitar
    All twenty-nine songs are presented in accurate guitar Tab with full lyrics.
    RefNr: HLE90002242
    Order From:
    MusicRoom
    Amazon UK
    Amazon US

    More >>
    Great Songs Of The 90s For Guitar
    Explore the diversity of 90s guitar, with songs from the grunge scene, pop classics re-written and re-recorded, and the best of the decade's original rock and pop.
    RefNr: HLE90002242
    Order From:
    MusicRoom
    Videos including the song
    CDs including the song

    Further references:

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