The Beatles and polylinearity

please please

In an experiment, three groups of music students transcribed the first 64 seconds of The Beatles’ Please please me.

Analysis of these transcriptions yielded a ninefold typology of polylinear listeners: holistic melodists, holistic formalists, impressionists, melodic conventionalists, semiprofessional generalists, nonmelodic semiprofessional generalists, nonprofessional melodic generalists, semiprofessional rhythmicians, and holistic graphicians.

This according to “Dynamics of polylinearity in popular music: Perception and apperception of 64 seconds of Please please me (1963)” by Tomi Mäkelä, an article published in Beatlestudies. III: Proceedings of the Beatles 2000 Conference (Jyväskylä: Jyväskylän Yliopisto, 2001, pp. 129–38).

Below, the boys get polylinear on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Related article: The Beatles and “Please please me” November 1962


Filed under Curiosities, Popular music