Friday, February 22, 2008

141. FRANK ZAPPA: Let's Make The Water Turn Black

A detailed analysis of the above Frank Zappa composition, including notated musical examples.
Let's Make The Water Turn Black

LYRICS



One of FZ's most covered composition...

More cool piano arpeggios start us off...

The CD is a whole step lower than the LP! (C Major on the CD; D Major on the LP!)

We'll give this to you in C Major, from the CD:

Now be-lieve me when I tell you...it's a-

I-iii6/4-vi-(vi)-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-(vi)-ii-iii-IV-V
C-Em/B-am-(am)-F-G-am-G

bout some little people...neighbors didn't know
I-iii6/4-vi-(vi)-bVII-III-bVI-V
C-G/B-am-(am)-Bb-Eb-Ab-G


Once again, a beautiful turnaround in the last four bars above -- using half-steps to insinuate new keys, yet he goes right back to C here...

Next verse -- however:

feeding all the boys at Ed's Cafe

Everything's the same as the above until the Bb chord. Then another fine modulation -- he descends to A Major from the Bb which then goes to D, (bVII-VI-II in C) -- and turns II into the pivot chord -- now a V of G...going to

Whizzing and pasting

G Major. Notice how he gets back to C Major, with a very dramatic modulation at

Kenny's little creatures on display

Wait till the fire turns green

IV-V-vi. Then for the final chord, just like all those dudes with wigs did in the Baroque Era (if it ain't Baroque, don't fix it), he goes to Major! We hear A Major for only the second time on the last note of the piece! Constant ear surprises, both obvious and subtle, are a major tool in FZ's compositional palette.


Another nice electronic transition to

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