21M.299 | Fall 2017 | Undergraduate

The Beatles


Weekly Analysis

For the weekly analysis, each group needs to address the following:


  • Author(s): If the author is someone other than a member of the Beatles (John, Paul, George, Ringo), give some information about them.
  • In your own words, recount the story being told.
  • If there is a subtext or secondary meaning, describe it in your own words.
  • Comment on relevance of the text and/or subtext at the time it was written, when the Beatles released it. Are these points still relevant for audiences today?
  • List and define any words or concepts that need explanation (due to cultural context, location, or a specific usage).


  • Composer(s): If the composer is someone other than a member of the Beatles  (John, Paul, George, Ringo), give some information about them.
  • Outline the overall form of the song.
  • Outline the overall chord progression: make note of any unusual chords and how they are used in the song.
  • List the instruments used and describe how they are used to define the overall form.
  • Explain any uses of text painting in the song.
  • Discuss any other text-related or musical moments that you find striking. This could relate to repetition of text / music, changes of syntax in the text or music, how the song begins or ends, etc.

Format: 1–2 pages.

Required: Names of each member of the group and a list of works consulted, including scores and recordings.

For musical analysis, see the complete transcriptions: The Beatles: Complete Scores; Every Song Written & Recorded by the Beatles. Hal Leonard (2nd Edition), 1993. ISBN: 978-0793518326.

Weekly Analysis Topics

Weekly Analysis Report Reflection

For the two weekly analysis reports, you will write a 1–2 page reflection on the report.

In your reflection, you need to include:

  • Two ways in which the analysis was successful
  • Two concepts/points that you would explore further
  • One new point about the song that is based on the presentation you heard. This can come from either the presentation or the discussion associated with the presentation.

Each reflection should be at least one page and should not exceed 2 pages, using a 12-point font, double-spaced.

Be sure to include specific references to the analysis in your reflection.

You may not write a reflection on your own analysis.

Final Paper

You choose the Beatles-related topic of the final paper. Plan on a moderate amount of research (approximately 5 sources). Topics need to be approved in advance.

Papers should be 5–6 pages using a 12-point font, double-spaced.

There will be opportunities to meet with the instructor to discuss topics, research, and during the writing process.

Two class session are set aside for each student to talk about their paper in an informal discussion.

Please consult the Paper and Citation Guide (PDF).

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2017
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Lecture Notes
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