Friday, February 22, 2008

136. FRANK ZAPPA: What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body?

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition, including notated musical examples.
What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body?

LYRICS


Eight lovely bars of 12/8 in G, just like Uncle Frankie teaches you how to play on "Excerpt From The Uncle Frankie Show" from Mystery Disc -- then

7/8! This is the first chronological example of an entire section in this meter. There is nothing too tricky here, as far as the subdivision of the seven (that'll come later!) -- just 2-2-3 -- but very very effective because of the way FZ sings the melody. Notice all the suspended chords!
Amazing writing! The A Minor chord (victims of systems and gray despair of your) is one of those completely brilliantly effective moments among the many brilliantly effective moments we discuss in these pages??? Why does it seem so heart-wrenching?
The lyric, once again, plays right into the musical system -- perfectly integrated. The reason the chord sounds "tender" -- if we may be permitted that word in these circumstances -- is because it's the first time we've heard it! The I-vi-IV-V 12/8 section established G Major and then for this 7/8 section, he starts off on the subdominant (C), moves to E-sus and then finally to the ii of G -- A Minor! The E-sus chord is also very effective.
And finally, one last note about the "replacement" bass and drums in this particular 7/8 section. The original playing was simple yet so effective, we feel, due to the beautiful complexity of the above-notated vocal part! Arthur and Chad embellish this quite a bit -- Arthur plays it with almost a funky kind of a feel, and Chad plays 1/8th-notes on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th beat of each measure.
Where did Annie go
What a beautiful effect on the original with the massive delay. Frank eliminated any trace of it on the '85 version.

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