Por qué no consigo cuadrar el «All you need is love» de los Beatles

I will say, though, that it was one of the more colorfully painted pianos of all the ones I've seen... ********************************** On the 5th day of the "Play Me, I'm Yours" project, my main objective was to photograph all of the pianos in the Bronx -- though I also intended to get the piano at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, which I had somehow overlooked in northern Manhattan... I started at 149th and the Grand Concourse, where a lonely piano sat out on the street, in front of the Eugenio Maria de Hostos Community College; and from there I went up to 161st Street and the Grand Concourse, to track down a lonely piano sitting in a corner of Joyce Kilmer Park. (For all of you baseball fans, the park is located just a couple blocks due east of the new Yankee Stadium.) From there, I traveled further north into the Bronx, to find the piano at Fordham University. Contrary to what the piano-website's map had indicated, the piano was not located on the main campus (where I searched high and low, and listened to several guards and admin people tell me they had never heard of such a thing), but instead across the street in the entrance to a local railroad stop. From there, I went to my northernmost stop in the Bronx, at the corner of Van Cortlandt Park, on Jerome Ave & E. Gun Hill Road. For some reason, the piano was placed in the passageway of the outdoor restroom facility of the park ... at least it had the advantage of not being rained on in bad weather. When that was finished, I took a cab back down to Manhattan, and tracked down the final piano of the day -- in the outdoor garden of St. John the Divine. Like all the others I saw today, this one was also unoccupied ... but at least it was in a lovely setting, so I got a few nice pictures before calling it a day... ***************************************** A few years ago, a British artist by the name of Luke Jerram came up with the intriguing idea of spreading pianos around the city, with an open invitation for anyone nearby to wander up and begin playing something. Anything. First it was London, and now it's here in New York City. Starting on June 21st, sixty pianos have been donated, painted, and "installed" throughout the five boroughs of New York; you can see the locations here. I managed to visit seven of the pianos on the first day, and another seven on the second day. The program will only be running for two weeks, and I'll be out of town for at least a few of those days ... so it won't be easy, but my goal is to track down, visit, and photograph all 60 pianos by the time it's over. Even the one at the Staten Island Zoo, and the one located somewhere in the Joyce Kilmer Park up in the Bronx. Aside from the logistics of getting to these remote corners of the five boroughs, it sounds like a straightforward task: ride a subway train to the appropriate stop, walk a block or two, take photograph or two, and then go back where you came from. But it's turning out to be a little more difficult than I had thought, partly because the maps provided on the Web site are somewhat ambiguous and imprecise, and partly because the officials (e.g., guards, cops, grounds-keepers, etc.) whom you would expect to know about such things have been remarkably clueless. I've also been hearing rumors that some of the pianos are being moved around between one day and the next. That might explain why I had to abandon today's plan to photograph the piano in Bryant Park: after circling the park and the adjoining New York Public Library a couple of times, I concluded they had either hidden the piano, or moved into a subterranean cell. As for the pianos I've found, the experiences have been quite varied. Some of the pianos sit mute and abandoned -- including, oddly enough, the very fist piano in Times Square, which had been plunked down at Seventh Avenue and 44th Street, and basically ignored by everyone. The same was true of one of the pianos situated in a hard-to-find corner of Lincoln Center, as well as a piano ostensibly located at the Metropolitan Museum of Art -- which turned out to be sitting next to the giant obelisk behind the museum, and on the far side of the inner park roadway. As for the pianos that do attract some musicians: it's quite a varied bunch. Some are casual amateurs, some of whom have no idea what the program is all about, and who had no advance warning that the pianos would even be there. Some have obviously been planning and practicing for months. Some of the musicians sing, some don't; some bring along drummers, guitarists, and vocalists. I even heard that one musician brought some dancers to help liven up his performance, but I haven't seen that myself... Anyway, I'll keep photographing the pianos, and uploading the best of the photographs, until I run out of pianos, run out of time, or run out of energy -- whichever happens first.

Es la primera vez que me propongo tocar el All you need is love de The Beatles. De hecho, quizá nunca me lo habría planteado si no es porque un amigo me ha pedido que lo toque el día de su boda. Y yo, como no podría ser de otra manera, me he puesto de inmediato a ello.

Estudiando el All you need is love de los Beatles

En realidad, la canción no tiene mucho misterio: posee la clásica estructura de introducción-estrofa-estribillo-estrofa-estribillo; acordes sencillos dentro de la tonalidad de sol mayor (sol, re, mi menor, la mayor, si mayor) y ritmo de negras en el acompañamiento. Y, sin embargo, la canción encierra una pequeña sorpresa que, si te pilla desprevenido, puede hacer que no consigas tocarla bien a la primera: todas las frases musicales de la estrofa -excepto una- son irregulares y tienen 7 pulsos en lugar de 8, que es lo habitual.

La frase típica de ocho pulsos

Como ya vimos en este artículo, la música se desarrolla sobre la base de pulsos constantes que sirven para organizar los sonidos en el tiempo. Los pulsos, a su vez, se unen en grupos de dos o más dando como resultado el compás.

En la música popular (y también en mucha música clásica) lo más habitual es emplear frases musicales de 8, 16 o 32 pulsos agrupados en compases binarios o cuaternarios -como por ejemplo el compás de dos por cuatro (2/4) o el de cuatro por cuatro (4/4)-. Menos habitual es el empleo de frases con compases ternarios (tres por cuatro), y desde luego, son muy infrecuentes las canciones que tienen frases basadas en ciclos de compases irregulares de 5, 7 o 11 pulsos.

En el siguiente vídeo podéis ver a una señora muy simpática marcando los ocho pulsos correspondientes al ciclo típico (dos compases de 4/4) de un rock and roll: un, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, un, dos, tres,… Os recomiendo que contéis en voz alta con la señora y que sigáis sus indicaciones porque es bastante divertido:

A continuación tenemos otro vídeo que muestra de manera más gráfica, aunque con un poco menos de gracia, cómo contar los pulsos de una canción:

Muy bien, pues volviendo al All you need is love de los Beatles, y como ya os he comentado, nos encontramos con que curiosamente la estrofa de la canción no cuadra las frases en ocho pulsos si no que se basa en ciclos de siete pulsos (7/4 en notación musical). El coro “looove, looove, looove” tiene 2pulsos+2pulsos+3pulsos, estructura que se repite en la primera, segunda y cuarta frases (en la tercera frase sí que tenemos un ciclo cuadrado de ocho pulsos). El esquema queda de la siguiente manera:

-Primera frase: 1-2-3-4-1-2-3

-Segunda frase: 1-2-3-4-1-2-3

-Tercera frase: 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4

Cuarta frase: 1-2-3-4-1-2-3

El estribillo sin embargo mantiene la estructura tradicional de ocho pulsos por frase. Pero lo mejor es que lo veamos en el siguiente vídeo:

Y aquí tenéis el original completo subtitulado en español:

Curioso, ¿verdad? Lo cierto es que la estrofa se desarrolla de una manera tan natural y con tanta espontaneidad que si no se presta atención parece que estuviera cuadrada, bueno… a nosotros ya no, je,je.

Para finalizar, y haciendo un poco de memoria, he preparado una lista de algunas canciones que tienen compases irregulares. Las podéis escuchar pinchando sobre el nombre:

Money-Pink Floyd: compás de 7/4 (siete por cuatro)

Dave Brubeck- Take five: compás de 5/4 (cinco por cuatro)

Tchaikovsky-Sinfonía nº6, 2º movimiento: 5/4

Misión imposible-Tema de la película: 5/4

Radiohead-15 steps: 5/4

¡Que las disfrutéis! ¡Hasta el próximo artículo!

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5 comentarios en “Por qué no consigo cuadrar el «All you need is love» de los Beatles

  1. Que bueno. Siempre tan didáctico. “All you need is Love” la identificaré a partir de ahora como una “Marsellesa” lisiada. (Que igual era la intención de Lennon)

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