The Harmonic Language of the Beatles


KG Johansson

This descriptive study of the harmonic language in the music of the Beatles is an investigation of what chords are used in this music, and how the chords are used. It was found that the chords I, IV, V, vi, ii, bVII and II are combined totally freely in the material. Usage of II and bVII suggests they enjoy a status equivalent to that of the usual, diatonic triads. Other chords further away from the tonic, e.g. bVI and III, follow traditional rules. The conclusion is that Beatles harmony might be regarded as "exploding tonal harmony".

©KG Johansson, 1999

STM-Online vol. 2 (1999)


ISSN: 1403-5715