markus heuger's



  Abstract 0381
  Hannan, Michael (2001), "Melodicism in Paul McCartney's bass playing." In: Yrjö Heinonen, Markus Heuger, Sheila Whitely, Terhi Nurmesjärvi and Jouni Koskimäki (eds.), Beatlestudies 3. Proceedings of the Beatles 2000 conference. Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä (Department of Music, Research Reports 23), 2001, 231-242.
  This paper was conceived after a visit to Paul McCartney's East Sussex studio in late 1997. During a tour of the instrument collection, McCartney handed Hannan one of his Hofner 500/1 basses explaining that "it was because this bass guitar was so light that I was able to develop my melodic style of bass playing." Various commentators have also referred to McCartney's melodic or (melodically) inventive bass playing including the Beatles' producer George Martin (1994: 47), and researchers such as MacDonald (1995: 45, 144, 158, 184), Kozinn (1995: 143-147), and Mulford (1992: 4).
  The aim of this paper is to investigate the notion of melodicism in popular music bass guitar playing, with specific reference to Paul McCartney's playing in the Beatles' recorded repertoire. The extent of McCartney's bass melodicism is examined along with stylistic developments in this part of his career. The literature — including trade magazines like Bass Player — is examined to gain insight into commonly held notions of melodicism in bass guitar playing, and to assess specific references to McCartney's work as a bassist. The entire recorded repertoire of the Beatles is assessed using musicological principles of analysis to identify trends in the bass playing. Specific songs are isolated for more detailed discussion.
  Results of the analyses are compiled into tables to show trends in McCartney's bass playing over the duration of the Beatles' career. Specific melodic techniques are illustrated with the aid of transcribed excerpts. Although McCartney's early Beatles' basslines are well crafted no obvious melodic approaches occur until the album Rubber Soul (1965). Rather than the lightness of the Hofner, it appears that the advent of McCartney's use of the Rickenbacker 4001S bass around April 1966 signals a clear escalation in melodicism in his playing. There is also a connection between melodic inventiveness and the Beatles' practice of adding the bass last, which began with the four-track recordings for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967).
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