Thursday, February 21, 2008

101. FRANK ZAPPA: Motherly Love

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition, including notated musical examples.

Motherly Love

NOTES ON THE COMPOSITIONS INCLUDED HEREIN: "MOTHERLY LOVE ... is a body commercial for the band. It is sung during live performances to advise the female audience of potential delights to be derived from social contact with us folks. Trivial poop."

Key of A Major
Quarter note = ca. 130
There are 88 bars

BARFINDER: The syllable "mo-" from the word "mo-ther-ly" is on the third beat of Bar 2; the word "love" is on the second half of the fourth beat of Bar 2.

PERCEIVED INSTRUMENTATION: Vocals, electric guitars, electric bass, piano, vibraphone, kazoo, drums and percussion.

Part 1
Bars 1-12
"Motherly love" ... "don't know what to do. The"

No introduction, right into it! The "body commercial" begins with "Beatles"-type harmonies:

Again, we can't emphasize enough the incredible "stupid" effect achieved by the use of the kazoo! We believe two kazoos are playing in octaves here. Bars 11-12 of the Kazoo part:

Part 2
Bars 13-20
"Mothers got love that'll" ... "what you need

FZ plays another nice A minor riff in the background:

Part 3
Bars 21-32
"Motherly love" ... "don't know what to do"

Same as Part 1

Part 4
Bars 33-40
"Nature's been good" ... "what you need is"

Same as Part 2

Part 5
Bars 41-52
"Motherly love" ... "don't know what to do. We can"

Same as Part 1

Part 6
Bars 53-60
"Love ya till ya" ... "what you need is"

Same as Part 2

Part 7
Bars 61-70
"Motherly love" ... "don't know what to do"

Same as Part 1, except no two-bar kazoo tag. This time we go right to

Part 8
Bars 71-88
"You know I got" to end

A bunch of cool things go on here: After the first line "You know I got..." we hear a voice goofily bellow out "yeah!" -- and then again after the second line. As in the case of another deep bass voice moment we discussed at "I Ain't Got No Heart" -- for some reason this just cracks us up! Especially, the second "yeah." This careful juxtaposition of "goofiness" with "groovy pop music" is what makes this release so special ... FZ plays an amazing little "solo" (but we won't call this an "official" solo) behind the vocals:

And at Bar 78 we get this wonderful figure in the bass vocal:

Next track

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