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Alternative title

Characteristics of the Beatles in Rhythmic Analysis

Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation

Music History and Literature

Degree Name

Master of Music (MMus)



First Advisor

Van Boer, Bertil H.

Second Advisor

Hamilton, Bruce, 1966-

Third Advisor

Halka, Charles, 1982-


This thesis focuses on the characteristics in the music of the Beatles using different methods to find stylistic and formal trends and why they may have occurred. These are found through the analysis of every individual song released by the Beatles in the United Kingdom between 1962 and 1970. The band’s output can be divided into four different periods: Pre-Beatles, Early, Middle, and Late. This forms a part of the broader context of the Beatles’ style analysis and rhythmic structure, as noted in the scholarly work by Steven Porter and Charles Stetzer. The thesis starts with a chapter on historical context by explaining why the Beatles are being used as the subject of the analysis. Chapter two classifies terms covered throughout the thesis. Chapter three is an analysis on the Beatles’ album characteristics emphasizing the three main periods of musical development (Early, Middle, and Late). Chapter four focuses on rhythmic structure by using score analysis and rhythmic form. Chapter five covers form by means of song types and what can be defined as Intro and Outro. The final chapter covers other characteristics including section lengths, solos, and percussion. Analysis of the songs are included in the appendices, including tempo, song length (by minutes), meter, Intro/Outro, main sections, section length, form, percussion, solo instruments, and solo features. The analysis shows trends in the three main periods of the Beatles’ development with an evolution of style in all the parameters listed above.




Rhythmic Structure, Style Analysis, Style Characteristics


Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subjects – Names (LCNAF)

Beatles--Criticism and interpretation

Subject – LCSH

Rock music--History and criticism; Musical meter and rhythm; Style, Musical; Melodic analysis




masters theses




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