Dissertation Diary 2015-12-03

I had fun working on analyses and drawing on paper this week. Topic included how chromaticism effects interpretation and effect of function in Bruckner, novel chords as dominants in Duke Ellington (even tho structural, functional harmony is still present), and multiple dominants in “popular” music.

Since our quarter is wrapping up here. I might post next week, but I might not.

Here’s an analysis of “In My Life” by the Beatles. Glossary follows (let me know if there’s anything I should add).

The chords are:

intro
A E7 A
Verse
(A F#m A7 D Dm A)x2
Verse 2
F#m D G A, F#m B7 Dm A

I guess we might call “verse 2” a chorus, but the words change the second time, so I’m not sure. The overall form is Intro, V1V2V1V2bridgeV2coda, where the coda resembles V2 and the intro, and the bridge resembles V1.

Now, in the repertoire FA was designed for, A E7 A is definitely T D T, easily setting up the key. But other than the intro and the coda, E7 is a very uncommon chord in this song. For V1, the primary chord that pulls to tonic is Dm (iv), which functions as a dualistic/plagal subdominant – instead of the leading tone pulling up (7-1), we have a different tone pulling down (b6-5). That means that the analysis of V1 would be:
T Tr (D)S s T.

For V2, some interesting stuff happens. It starts out as if it were going to use similar functions as V1, but then we get G as the pre-tonic, dominant pull chord. This is an alteration where te (flat 7) pulls up to tonic, even tho the half step isn’t present. The first phrase of V2 is then:
Tr P dR T
but the second phrase changes again. B7 is the dominant of E7 – the dominant that is only present in the intro, but instead of resolving to E as expected, this double dominant pulls to the subdominant that was the standard pre-tonic in V1:
Tr DD s T

The bridge is in a more classical style and adjusts the chord progression to be more standard D -T to reflect that, but the coda puts the structural ending (where the singer finishes) on the s – T cadence, treating the classical D – T almost as a Bach would a plagal tag – as an afterthought that helps solidify the key.

Terms:
pre-tonic: chord that comes before tonic, and usually implies tonic or pulls to it. Up until this chapter, this has always been D, dominant, built on the 5th scale degree, sol.
subdominant (abb. S or s): pre-tonic chord that pulls to tonic. built on the 4th scale degree, fa. Same pitches as Predominant from previous chapters, different function. can be major or minor. minor usually pulls le-sol (6-5) down, but major S can also use la as a pentatonic leading tone pulling up to do (6-1) where there is no ti/7.
dR: major relative of the minor dominant. in this key, e minor is the minor chord built on 5, and it’s relative is built on flat 7, G. G B D. Can function as a pre-tonic chord in this idiom.
plagal/dualistic resolution: in classical music, particularly hymns or chorals, it is common to end after the last cadence with “Amen.” Such that a common final cadence is D-T-P-T (V I IV I), and has been borrowed in to other genres (other than religious music). This brief tag is often seen as reaffirming the key. The pull is  stronger in minor because of le-sol. Some scholars saw/see this plagal pull as a mirrored resolution, where ti pulls up in major, le pulls down in minor, and this gets back to all that history stuff with Hauptmann and Öttingen and such (https://functionalanalysis.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/dissertation-diary-2015-10-22/)

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