Harmonious Aeolian Bastards

”It was only after a critic for the [London] Times said we put ‘Aeolian cadences’ in ‘It Won’t Be Long’ that the middle classes started listening to us. … To this day, I have no idea what ‘Aeolian cadences’ are. They sound like exotic birds.”

– John Lennon

The critic was referring to another song, and no one knows what Aeolian cadences are, but whatevs. Me likey!

Props to these young Argentinians.

5 Replies to “Harmonious Aeolian Bastards”

  1. I remember reading that Times review in a Beatles book years ago and thought it was boneheaded, mainly because he compares the ending to Not a Second Time to the ending of Gustav Mahler’s Song of the Earth. Dork that I am, I’m very familiar with Song of the Earth, and there is no similarity whatsoever. He literally has no idea what he’s talking about.

    I don’t remember the Aeolian cadences part. I do know that Aeloian refers to a modal scale, and that outside of George Harrison’s Indian songs, most Beatles’ songs operate in standard major/minor modes. All this is indicative of that sad fact that very many music journalists are just plain ignorant of their subject.

    And I’ll extend this rant by posing that even if a rock song has a melody or chord progression in common with a classical piece, so what? You can find thousands of similarities, and 999 out of 1000 won’t mean a thing. The Beatles wouldn’t likely have heard anything by Mahler, at least not yet. Most classical listeners only gradually became acquainted with Mahler in the late 60’s after Leonard Bernstein completed a groundbreaking LP set of the complete symphonies. So any similarity between a Beatles song and Mahler would be a coincidence. Now, Ray Davies became a big Mahler fan in the late 60’s or early 70’s, so any similarities there might be interesting. But I’ve never heard any.

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