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#507738 - 02/25/23 12:57 AM Did the Beatles know music theory?
Taike Offline
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Registered: 03/28/02
Posts: 2814
Loc: Xingyi, Guizhou (China)
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#507742 - 02/25/23 08:24 AM Re: Did the Beatles know music theory? [Re: Taike]
travlin'easy Offline
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Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 15566
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
I saw one of the interviews several years ago, when Paul revealed that no one in the entire group knew music theory, and most everything the performed was off the top of their heads with no sheet music. Ironically, the same seems to be true for a lot of prominent musicians. My son is an incredible guitar player, had a 5 piece grunge band that went on the road for a national tour, but broke up after just one month into the tour because of a couple members and their obvious drug abuse. He could not read a note, but was revered for his guitar performances.

Thanks for the post, it brings back a lot of memories,

Gary cool
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#507743 - 02/25/23 08:45 AM Re: Did the Beatles know music theory? [Re: Taike]
montunoman Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 10/20/09
Posts: 3209
Loc: Dallas, Texas
Sorry, but the link won’t open on my iPhone, but to answer the question, I’d say they didn’t know music theory in an academic sense. I think they had a genuine curiosity about music, and grew up in a unique time period where one could hear all sorts of styles of music on the same radio station. I think they were familiar with the Tin Pan Alley era, Great American Song Book, Big Band / Jazz, blues and early rock n roll. I think through their natural talent and curiosity they developed a very intuitive musical sense. Their producer, George Martin definitely knew his music theory, so I am sure he provided some guidance along the way, but without stifling their creativity.
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#507744 - 02/25/23 08:48 AM Re: Did the Beatles know music theory? [Re: Taike]
montunoman Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 10/20/09
Posts: 3209
Loc: Dallas, Texas
Another thing, to piggyback off of what Gary said. I would say there’s lots of people that can read music but they don’t really understand music theory . In other words , just cause you read music doesn’t mean you understand, chord progressions, intervals, time, signatures, polyrhythms, chord substitutions, transposition, and so forth.


Edited by montunoman (02/25/23 10:43 AM)
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#507746 - 02/25/23 09:41 AM Re: Did the Beatles know music theory? [Re: montunoman]
bruno123 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 4912
Loc: West Palm Beach, FL 33417
When asked if he knew music theory; he said.
”Yes, but not enough to hurt my playing”.

John C.

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#507747 - 02/25/23 09:49 AM Re: Did the Beatles know music theory? [Re: Taike]
montunoman Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 10/20/09
Posts: 3209
Loc: Dallas, Texas
[video:youtube]https://youtu.be/j9403Nxvt3M[/video]

Amy Nolte does an amazing analysis of both the lyrics and melody of the Beatles “ Here, There, and Everywhere “ enjoy.
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#507752 - 02/26/23 03:59 AM Re: Did the Beatles know music theory? [Re: bruno123]
Diki Online   content


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 14208
Loc: NW Florida
Originally Posted By bruno123
When asked if he knew music theory; he said.
”Yes, but not enough to hurt my playing”.

John C.


This. This above all things. This is the zenith of musical wisdom…

Know your stuff. And know when to throw it away..! 🎹♥️
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#507766 - 02/27/23 09:40 AM Re: Did the Beatles know music theory? [Re: Taike]
montunoman Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 10/20/09
Posts: 3209
Loc: Dallas, Texas
The great jazz legend Charlie Parkers said,
“Master your instrument, Master the music, and then forget all that bullsh*t and just play.”
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It not the keyboard, it's the keyboardist.

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#507778 - 02/28/23 03:38 PM Re: Did the Beatles know music theory? [Re: Taike]
Bill in Dayton Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 2202
Loc: Dayton, OH USA
I think the Beatles had great ears, great natural chops, an openness to different musical styles and were extremely fortunate to have Sir George Martin advising and directing them.

A perfect musical storm...
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