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Author Topic: Attn. music theory people!! (Beatles infographics)  (Read 1800 times)

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WalrusGarden

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Attn. music theory people!! (Beatles infographics)
« on: January 24, 2009, 07:21:56 PM »

Hi.  I'm a graphic design student working on my final senior degree project involving the mapping of musical structure in the Beatles through a series of musicology-related information graphics printed in poster and book form.  

I would love this to be a fairly collaborative project, so I'm looking for as much input as possible.  If you're unfamiliar with information graphics, here are some slick examples:

Masterfully re-interpreted subway maps: http://zeroperzero.com/2008/crc.html
Somebody's relationship map:  http://dizzia.deviantart.com/art/DIZZIA-Gregory-M-PDF-59770086
The work of Josef Muller-Brockmann: http://www.quentindelobel.com/index.php?/cartographie-josef-mueller-brockmann/
The ebb and flow of blockbuster movie revenues: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2008/02/23/movies/20080223_REVENUE_GRAPHIC.html
Jack Kerouac's "On The Road," mapped by sentence length and subject matter: http://www.notcot.com/images/2008/04/Sentence-Drawings-Poster.jpg
zoo populations: http://simplecomplexity.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/animals-in-the-house.jpg
much more if you're interested: http://vi.sualize.us/search/all/infographics/

As you can see, infographics aren't just boring numbers, and they can be elegant and colorful visual solutions to presenting data.

I have some ideas for different musical/Beatles factors to map, ranging in focus from song-specific harmonic analyses to discography-spanning comparisons.  I'm trying to develop a system to represent songs in a linear timeline graphic, with the possibility of charting just about anything that can be measured in a song over time.  For example, chords expressed with tonic color-coding, along with marks representing a song's meter, demarkations of the song's sections (intro, verse, chorus, bridge, etc), accompanying color-coded lines representing the toggling on/off of the vocals of each band member.  

I would love to hear what people think would be good variables that could be reasonably measured.  I'm somewhat versed in music theory, but plenty of you will know more than I.  The best means of gathering some of this info I can think of is to use sheet music and fake books, with some extra guidance from Alan Pollack's "Notes On..." series.  If anybody has any suggestions for the best Beatles musicology books, let me konw.

I would love to flesh out some career-spanning variables, which could be mapped onto a big poster or fold-out section in a book, that would provide some indication of the evolution in their musical structure.  It would be great to look at different sections of this graphic timeline, with album release dates and other events labeled, and be able to observe subtle shifts in the patterns of the data as a result of their progression.  Perhaps certain visual elements would actually appear more orderly earlier on and start to melt into even less predictable patterns in their later recordings.  Any ideas??

These visuals DO NOT have to be time-based like the examples I've given.  I was hoping to find something indicating their evolution, but there might be plenty of other factors to examine and illustrate.  Again, I am very open.  For the book, I'd love to include pages with graphs of random (and perhaps pointless) Beatles facts, statistics, maps, etc.

I'm very excited about this.  I'd love to sent out the final screen-printed posters to those who help, so let me know what you think about possible factors to measure.
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An Apple Beatle

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Re: Attn. music theory people!! (Beatles infographics)
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2009, 07:28:20 PM »

Hmmm sounds interesting..Welcome, hope u manage to stick around...2 books straight away that I would suggest are The Beatles Complete for chordal & structure info and Revolution In The Head, which has time charts, dates and instrumentation etc etc.

Sounds like you could go very in depth, so I shall wait for some more info on which way your heading. Best of luck. :)
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Xose

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Re: Attn. music theory people!! (Beatles infographics)
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2009, 09:45:59 PM »

It also interests me. I'm musicologist and I could help. Regarding Beatles musicology books don't forget Walter Everett's ones, and also the proceedings of the Beatles conferences held at Finland University

Of course, my main interest is Beatle organology...

Best!! ;)

Xose
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An Apple Beatle

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Re: Attn. music theory people!! (Beatles infographics)
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2009, 11:57:35 PM »

Xose, you certainly have the Spanish guitar chart covered. :)

It's a pride to know that our many Beatle members on DM's maybe be of assistance. :)
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alexis

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Re: Attn. music theory people!! (Beatles infographics)
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2009, 05:05:10 PM »

Random idea ... maybe the # of times a song was recorded without all four present in the studio could be used as a marker for growing dissonance among the Beatles leading to the breakup?
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WalrusGarden

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Re: Attn. music theory people!! (Beatles infographics)
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2009, 09:01:55 PM »

Thanks Xose and Apple Beatle for the book suggestions.  And thank you Xose for your interest!  I'll continue to post more as this develops.

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Random idea ... maybe the # of times a song was recorded without all four present in the studio could be used as a marker for growing dissonance among the Beatles leading to the breakup?

Wow alexis!  What a brilliant idea.  Seriously, I'm very happy you suggested it because it would be a great complementary visual to counter the graphs showing the evolution of their sound.  Does anybody know in which book(s) I'd most easily find this information for all of their songs?  Lewisohn's Complete Beatles Recording Sessions?  

What an awesome suggestion.  Thanks for the input.
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BlueMeanie

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Re: Attn. music theory people!! (Beatles infographics)
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2009, 09:21:58 AM »

^ Lewisohn's Beatles Chronicle is more up to date. You may also want to try 'Recording The Beatles' http://www.recordingthebeatles.com
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WalrusGarden

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Re: Attn. music theory people!! (Beatles infographics)
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2009, 03:50:51 AM »

^ Thanks for the suggestions BlueMeanie.  I hadn't heard of "Recording the Bealtes."  I'm about to break the bank here with Beatles books!
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