Composer(s) : Lennon and McCartney
Year : 1967
Chords/Tabs: Lovely Rita
Notes on "Lovely Rita" (LR)
KEY E Major (with an ending in a minor?!)
FORM Intro -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse -> Verse (piano solo) ->
Bridge -> Verse -> Outro (w/complete ending)
GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST
Style and Form
- Talk about your changes of pace; by track 10, can you remember even if
you try hard (ah, ah ... no peeking), when was the last time you heard
something even approximating explicitly "rock"-like music on this album?
Especially following the likes of
(not to mention BFTBOMK,
et al), this tongue-in-cheek tale of work-a-day floating lust on the
curbside is very much welcome by the time it now appears.
- It's got an unusual form -- we haven't seen one this difficult to call
The issue here isn't so much one of where to parse
the section boundaries as much as it is one of how to characterize the
sections *labels*. What I decided to call the "Verse" can arguably
be labelled as a Refrain, except that the words are different each time
except for the opening line. Similarly, I've called labelled the
intervening section as a "bridge" because of its wandering harmonic
character; again, the words change each time. Yet, some peopl might be
more comfortable labelling *it* as a Verse, as long as you call the
other section a Refrain. Beyond a point, it's a matter of semantics
more than anything else. One thing's for sure: I think the ordering of
the sections still comes out the same.
Melody and Harmony
- There's a large quotient of chord root movement by 5ths and 4ths which
is very much at the heart of what gives the song its strong transitive
sense of kinetic, physical action being expended. We even have the
familiar "Hey Jude"
progression in prominent evidence!
- The bridge section uses the so-called non-diatonic circle of fifths
to stretch the harmonic plane almost to the point of breaking before
it gives up and abruptly returns to the home key, creating those
very much Beatlesque chromatic false relations in its wake.
Tech Support note: the "diatonic" circle of fifths using only
chords that are indigenous to the home key so that it cycles right
back to I in the space of 7 chords:
E: E A d# g# c# f# B E
The "non-diatonic" circle of fifths ignores the key signature and
slavishly moves by 5th each time, with each chord being a Major one.
This cycle spans a full 12 chords and forcibly challenges your clear
sense of home key for a large part of its mid-section:
E A D G C F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb/F# B E
- The arrangement is surrealistically traditional, and in keeping with
the tone established for the rest of the album, it features and almost
wall-to-wall overlay of special effects. I'll spare you one of my
slavish detailed trackings for today, but I encourage you to keep your
ears open for examples of the following:
- - The main vocal treated with a kind of ADT that makes it sound
"peculiarly" *single* rather than "normally" double tracked.
- - Stray spoken comments on the backing track; is it a matter of
hidden messages, sloppy work habits, or a desire to contrive
a sense of informal live performance?
- - An electronically altered if not completely synthesized "kazoo."
- - Backing vocals of an ethereally far-away pristine sweetness.
- - Heavy breathing the likes of which would have been equally at home
on "Day Tripper" as it is here.
- Parsing it in fast tempo, the outro weighs in as an eight-measure
section in which the same phrase is repeated twice:
------------------------------ 2X -------------------------------
|B |- |A |- |E |- |B |- |
E: V IV I V
- The texture is steadily thickened by staggered entrances. At the very
opening you can actually savor the strumming of the acoustic guitar before
Paul's lead vocal, drums, and backing vocals are added in sequence.
- The harmonic shape of this section is convergent on the home key.
- The verse is eight measures and is built of two four-measure phrases:
|E |D A |E |B |c# |F# |B |- |
I flat-VII IV I V vi V-of-V V
- In contrast to the intro, both phrases here converge toward V. The
predominance of root movement by fourth of fifth is manifested in the
first phrase by the Hey Jude progression, and in the second phrase by
the interpolation of the secondary dominant chord.
- The verse which precedes the piano solo is prolonged by what one of my
teaches, George Rochberg, would call an "harmonic envelope" of the V
chord; don't let all those 9/11/13 passing dissonances fool you into
thinking it's anything other than that.
- The bridge is the most radical of the sections here, introducing
uneven phrases as well as the non-diatonic cycle of fifths trick.
You'd expect this bridge to be 16 measures long, instead of the 14
that it actually is. The sung phrases are essentially an identical
AA couplet, but the two measures of
"This Boy" cliche are included
only the second time around.
|E |A |D |G |E |B |
I IV flat-VII flat-III I V
|E |A |D |G |E |B |E c# |f# B |
I IV flat-VII flat-III I V I vi ii V
- Those final couple measures at the end of each sung phrase here are the
only place in the song where the rhythmic emphasis moves from being
exclusively on the syncopated 3rd beat of every measure to fall,
albeit temporarily, with equal four-square empahasis on 1 and 3.
- Also no the marrcas being carefully saved for the *second* phrase in
- I strongly suspect that this solo is not only played by George Martin
but also recycles the
"In My Life" trick of recording it played an
octave lower at half speed in order to sound in normal range but at
close to humanly impossible speed on playback.
- Only this time the finishing scale flourish is also upside down :-)
- The outro takes up a surprising almost one-third of the duration
of the piece.
- It starts off with a reprise of the two-phrase intro, scored with
increasing complexity in the vocal parts.
- Then, in a rather unprecedented move, it shifts into an extended
20-odd measure long improvised vamp, the jazzy harmonic content of
which is easily boiled down to yet another harmonic envelope; this one
a i->iv->i cadence in the key of a minor.
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
- Rather a non-sequitor of an ending. And in the meanwhile, the
Boys in the backroom are having a grand old time making funny
noises and saying rude things with the sound turned way up for
(Alan later changed his mind, and wrote an extended commentary on the
outro at the beginning of the Good Morning,
Good Morning note)
"... the little white boook." 042396#115
Copyright (c) 1996 by Alan W. Pollack
All Rights Reserved
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Ook op Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band:
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