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The Beatles as Musicians: The Quarry Men Through Rubber Soul

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The Beatles as Musicians: The Quarry Men through Rubber Soul is a comprehensive, chronologically-ordered study of every aspect of the group's musical life--composition, performance, recording and reception histories--from its beginnings in 1956 through 1965. Richly authoritative interpretations from every available reliable musical document are interwoven through a documen The Beatles as Musicians: The Quarry Men through Rubber Soul is a comprehensive, chronologically-ordered study of every aspect of the group's musical life--composition, performance, recording and reception histories--from its beginnings in 1956 through 1965. Richly authoritative interpretations from every available reliable musical document are interwoven through a documentary study of many thousands of audio, video, print, and multimedia sources. The text will enable general readers and musicians as well as educated music theorists to learn new levels of beauty in the music of the Beatles.


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The Beatles as Musicians: The Quarry Men through Rubber Soul is a comprehensive, chronologically-ordered study of every aspect of the group's musical life--composition, performance, recording and reception histories--from its beginnings in 1956 through 1965. Richly authoritative interpretations from every available reliable musical document are interwoven through a documen The Beatles as Musicians: The Quarry Men through Rubber Soul is a comprehensive, chronologically-ordered study of every aspect of the group's musical life--composition, performance, recording and reception histories--from its beginnings in 1956 through 1965. Richly authoritative interpretations from every available reliable musical document are interwoven through a documentary study of many thousands of audio, video, print, and multimedia sources. The text will enable general readers and musicians as well as educated music theorists to learn new levels of beauty in the music of the Beatles.

30 review for The Beatles as Musicians: The Quarry Men Through Rubber Soul

  1. 5 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    A thoroughly mediocre book. Everett’s The Beatles as Musicians is a music theorist’s exploration of the Beatles’ music. During the course of the book, Everett tackles all of their songs—from the early days to Rubber Soul—in the order in which they were recorded, including notes on the instrumentation and writing process. But the real meat of this book are Everett’s analyses of the harmonic structure and voice-leading of the music. In most contexts, I could comfortably say that I have a solid gr A thoroughly mediocre book. Everett’s The Beatles as Musicians is a music theorist’s exploration of the Beatles’ music. During the course of the book, Everett tackles all of their songs—from the early days to Rubber Soul—in the order in which they were recorded, including notes on the instrumentation and writing process. But the real meat of this book are Everett’s analyses of the harmonic structure and voice-leading of the music. In most contexts, I could comfortably say that I have a solid grasp of tonal music theory. (I’ve arranged songs, taken several courses on music theory, and played in many performing groups.) And in my spare time, I’ve probably played through almost every single Beatles song, at least once. Nevertheless, much of this book was over my head. Everett is a professional music theorist, writing for other professional music theorists. There are several Schenkerian diagrams (don’t ask), and the prose is often dense with technical terms. (He also makes frequent reference to the Beatles: Complete Scores, which was annoying for me, since I don’t own it.) So if you are a musician looking to better understand the Fab Four’s music, look elsewhere. But if you are a music theorist studying the Beatles, this book (and its companion volume) is probably indispensable. I can’t help to compare this book with Ian MacDonald’s fantastic Revolution in the Head (a book that I would recommend for any serious Beatles fan with a basic understanding of music), which also goes through the Beatles’ oeuvre song by song. However, the books are written with different aims and for different audiences. Although MacDonald includes some useful analysis, he is also a sharp music critic, and assesses the songs for their artistic merit as much as their technical innovation. Everett, by contrast, is mostly playing the role of a disinterested doctor performing an autopsy, rather than a judge at a beauty pageant. One thing about this book did irk me: its organization. In MacDonald’s book, the text is neatly broken up song-by-song, and each is easy to look up by flipping to the back. The result is a book pleasurable to read front-to-back (MacDonald’s prose is fantastic), but also useful as a reference tool. Everett’s book is sprawling by comparison, divided into hefty chapters and subdivided inconsistently—sometimes by groups of songs, and sometimes individually. If you go to the index in the back, you're still adrift, as he included every page that a song is mentioned on. As a result, its convenience as a reference book is severely marred. And because it is not exactly a book one would want to read on a lazy Sunday afternoon, and more likely to be used by a tired graduate student (like myself) flipping to one song or another, this is a serious oversight. But, all things considered, reading this book could have been much a worse experience. Everett’s writing is rarely inept, and occasionally pleasurable. Long sections are dense and technical, but he is generally not wordy or repetitive. And, of course, many of his theoretical ideas are probably quite impressive to those in the same discipline as himself.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kevin O'Brien

    This is ne plus ultra of books musically analyzing what The Beatles accomplished in their music. Although it covers the early part of The Beatles career, it was the second volume written, following one the covered from Revolver to the end of the group. And this is not exactly a "fan" book. There is some historical material here, but if you wanted Beatles history you should go to Mark Lewisohn's magisterial Tune In, which is the last word on that subject. This is a book for musicians, and frankly This is ne plus ultra of books musically analyzing what The Beatles accomplished in their music. Although it covers the early part of The Beatles career, it was the second volume written, following one the covered from Revolver to the end of the group. And this is not exactly a "fan" book. There is some historical material here, but if you wanted Beatles history you should go to Mark Lewisohn's magisterial Tune In, which is the last word on that subject. This is a book for musicians, and frankly would probably be mostly incomprehensible to anyone without a grounding in music theory. But if you have the background, I would sit down at a piano and work through this book for a deeper appreciation of the group that changed popular music for their time.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Giff Zimmerman

    This is perhaps my favorite book, of any kind, all-time. Each paragraph - sometimes each sentence - contains insightful information about a particular song (or phrase or chord or chord sequence or note or transition within a song) that enabled me to hear or understand that song in a different and much more informed way. Epiphanies abound! One can breeze through the book quickly and very enjoyably; or instead one can pause on a song or a paragraph of the book and listen to the song several times This is perhaps my favorite book, of any kind, all-time. Each paragraph - sometimes each sentence - contains insightful information about a particular song (or phrase or chord or chord sequence or note or transition within a song) that enabled me to hear or understand that song in a different and much more informed way. Epiphanies abound! One can breeze through the book quickly and very enjoyably; or instead one can pause on a song or a paragraph of the book and listen to the song several times and pull out the score and follow along and try to penetrate Everett's well-written but oftentimes highly technical way of describing things, and really, really get inside the song and its authors' minds. If you love The Beatles and have a strong music theory background, this is a must-read for you.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joel Ungar

    This was fascinating, even if I didn't understand half of it. I've long known that musically the Beatles did things differently, from their own ideas and from synthesizing what they learned from the artists that influenced them. This book goes into musical detail on what makes the songs work and what was going on in them. I read what I could understand. The book also had many observations and facts I hadn't seen before. I don't think I'm going to tackle the companion book, which goes from Revolve This was fascinating, even if I didn't understand half of it. I've long known that musically the Beatles did things differently, from their own ideas and from synthesizing what they learned from the artists that influenced them. This book goes into musical detail on what makes the songs work and what was going on in them. I read what I could understand. The book also had many observations and facts I hadn't seen before. I don't think I'm going to tackle the companion book, which goes from Revolver to Anthology.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anne-Marie Friedman

  6. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie VanderWel

  7. 5 out of 5

    Richard Trice

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Williams

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amin

  11. 4 out of 5

    McPhaul M.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alex Johnston

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stan Gershon

  15. 5 out of 5

    Moxie

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

  17. 5 out of 5

    Philip P. No

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jacks

  20. 4 out of 5

    Abbey Emerick

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mhenry2025

  22. 4 out of 5

    A. Sebastián

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sunspark

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alan

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vic Dillahay

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rob Hermanowski

    See review of other volume (above) - this second volume covered the earlier Beatles music.

  27. 5 out of 5

    David

  28. 5 out of 5

    Diego Sierra

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jonathon Campbell

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth Murphy

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