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Norwegian Wood: Introduction

 

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Norwegian Wood

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In this tutorial we'll learn "Norwegian Wood" as made famous by The Beatles. This song is in triple time and is a beautiful example of the use of simplicity and repetition.

The first western pop songs to feature a sitar, the song is a succinct, 2 minutes long, has no chorus and is made up of 3 verses and 2 bridges. the lyrical "hook" (the title phrase) is used only twice, once at the top of the tune and once at the end, and yet it is unforgettable.

The song has several interesting features. It is in 6/8 times which creates a trance-like, yet compelling and swinging groove. We’ll learn a basic strum that will be the launching point for the signature bassline/riff of this song.

It's harmonically simple, and extremely repetitive, using a total of 6 chords, 2 for the verse and 4 for the bridge.

A large part of the song features a melodic "hook", a descending baseline that is played repeatedly, a 4 bar structure outlining a D major chord with a brief, 1/2 bar visit to the bVII chord (C major) in bar 3.

The bridge goes from the key of D major to what is called the parallel minor, D minor. This unusual use of the parallel minor and creates a very interesting shift in the vocal and we get a G major chord, an Em chord and an A7 chord (IV ii V7) which leads us very neatly back to the key of D major for the verse. a lot of harmonic interest is created simply by invoking the parallel minor.

The song is primarily made up of layers of acoustic guitars and sitar. Everyone has to be in the right place at the right time for this to sound good!

The overall song form is:

FORM
intro
verse
bridge
verse
interlude
bridge
verse
outro

Let's get started!