The Beatles - For no-one analysis

Essay by diamondize1 April 2004

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This piece features four instruments and one voice, giving it a deceptively simple, but extremely poignant first impression.

The song opens with McCartney's vocal accompanied by the piano which provides the rhythm. The dynamic is quiet, and both piano and voice are pitched low giving the piece a subdued timbre. Although the basic pulse remains constant, the close wording and higher vocal notes of the following two lines give the impression of an increase in tempo. This gives maximum effect to the low heavy, 'she no longer needs you'.

This pattern is repeated in the next four lines , but with the subtle reinforcement of the soft drumming. The drum compliments and is secondary to the piano which still sets the rhythm.

In the chorus, the notes lengthen , the pitch of both voice and piano is raised, the piano becomes more melodic while the bass and tambourine combine to maintain the rhythm.

The higher notes cleverly convey both the false hope and despair simultaneously.

In the second verse the bass which gave a richness of timbre to the chorus is missing, giving this verse a bare sound in keeping with the desperation in the lyrics. This short verse emphasises its simplicity.

Following the second chorus we first hear the French horn which weaves contrapuntally through the tune created by the piano. The impression is of a separate voice. It is in the higher register, and, as with the voice, this higher pitch gives it a plaintiff quality.

The song then returns to the structure of the first verse, but with a fuller sound as all the instruments accompany it.

The texture is quite spare ,the rhythm created by the piano, the harmony between that and the voice, the simple structure and the lack of drama within the piece...