Thursday, February 21, 2008

103. FRANK ZAPPA: Wowie Zowie

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

Wowie Zowie


NOTES ON THE COMPOSITIONS INCLUDED HEREIN: "WOWIE ZOWIE ... is carefully designed to suck the 12 year old listener into our camp. I like the piano and xylophone accompaniment in the second chorus. It is cheerful. It is harmless. Wooly Bully. Little Richard says he likes it."

That's good 'nuff for us...

Key of C Major
Quarter note = ca. 138
There are 98 bars

BARFINDER: The syllable "wo-" from the word "wo-wie" is on the second beat of Bar 11; the word "love's" is on the first beat of Bar 12.

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

Part 1
Bars 1-6
Introduction #1

FZ composed two separate little introductory passages. Here are Bars 1-6:

Part 2
Bars 7-22
Introduction #2 (xylophone) ... "Wowie Zowie ... shave your legs"

Bars 7-10:

Part 3
Bars 23-38
Introduction #2 (xylophone) ... "Wowie Zowie ... brush your teeth"

Same as Part 2, but instead of returning to the tonic, moves to the

Part 4
Bars 39-50
"Dream of you each" ... "in the afternoon"

Subdominant (F Major). Check out Roy Estrada's falsetto in Bars 40-41! The C# in Bar 40 (which is really more like a 1/4-tone between C and C#) is completely wrong, of course, and is a perfect microcosmic example of the little goofy details which permeate this release and make it such a double-edged musical sword! (Roy did this a lot, by the way. We imagine Frank really liked it!)

A rare instance of sloppy production occurs in Bars 45-46 -- the tambourine quarter-notes are annoyingly out of sync with the vocals! Seems like a sync problem rather than a lousy take, but who knows?

Bars 47-51 show the dominant chord being strung out with vocal ba-om-di-dee's:

Part 5
Bars 51-62
Introduction #2 (w/voices) ... instrumental

A nice touch having a verse without a lyric.

Part 6
Bars 63-70
"Dream of you each" ... "in the afternoon"

Again, Roy adds a nice falsetto.

Part 7
Bars 71-86
Introduction #2 (xylophone) ... "Wowie Zowie ... Wowie Zowie"

Bar 75, we hear a loud thunk (tambourine? xylophone?) on the first beat which sounds like a brutal edit. Wowie Zowie.

Part 8
Bars 87-98
"Wowie Zowie" to end

Oh let's all dance!

Next track

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