Frank Zappa's musical language
Frank Zappa's musical language
A study of the music of Frank Zappa

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Frank Zappa's musical language - 5th edition - 2020 (102 MB)

As an appendix to this study the "Response to Kasper Sloots" by Brett Clement can be added. It's sort of a joint writing by Brett and me, including my original critique and Brett's response. See the The Lydian theory page from the left menu of this site for the details. Combined a mass of data is getting presented, where I'm mostly leaving it to the public to verify examples.
Because of some corrections upon this 5th edition, mentioned below, the last two updates are relevant as an appendix too:
Update summer 2020 (3 MB)
Update fall 2020 (1.5 MB)

On behalf of the open access site, this pdf is split into three volumes:
- Frank Zappa's musical language - 5th edition - 2020, Volume I (38 MB)
- Frank Zappa's musical language - 5th edition - 2020, Volume II (37 MB)
- Frank Zappa's musical language - 5th edition - 2020, Volume III (28 MB)
These are circa 500 pages each. The page numbering is done to keep it identical to the total study above of 1569 pages.

I'm also considering a print on demand version on paper.


Frank Zappa's musical language - 4th edition - 2012

© Kasper Sloots
Utrecht, The Netherlands.
ISBN: 978-90-806552-0-1

Deposited at:
- The I-depot, The Hague, The Netherlands.
- Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Royal Dutch Library), The Hague, The Netherlands.

Changes and corrections upon the 5th pdf version, included in the current on-line version:
- The analysis of Treacherous cretins has been refined.
- The titles "Shut up 'n play yer guitar" and "Shut up 'n play yer guitar some more" are turned around in the FZ Guitar book, compared to the album.
- Dance me this (title song): the "flute" comes from throat singing too.
- Dog breath: section C has been renewed.
- But who was Fulcanelli? is correctly listed as Mixolydian in my Mixolydian list in Brett's response, but I appear to have taken this over incorrectly as Lydian in the 5th pdf version of my study.
- The opening of Winos do not march has been added: it's a VII-I alternation in G Mixolydian, with G as pedal note for both chords.
- The "Outside now again" example has been renewed.
- Two corrections/additions have been added to "Frogs with dirty little lips".
- "Exercise #4" has been renewed.
- Bar 1 from my "I'm stealing the towels example" should be notated differently.
- The "It must be a camel" example has been renewed as a result of the ZFT releasing the recording of the basic tracks. Several inaccuracies have been corrected.
- The main theme from "Dancin' fool" has been renewed, leading to two corrections.

Changes and corrections upon the 4th pdf version, included in the 5th edition:
- The quintuplet from The black page #1 did not go literally like that into The black page (1987) in a slower version. The rhythm got changed too.
- Peaches en regalia: I miswrote myself in bar 6. Cm-5 en Cm should be F#m-5 and F#m.
- Little umbrellas: opening chord progression has been corrected.
- The perfect stranger (Boulez version): in the percussion-beats line the notation for half and whole note pauses got switched.
- Montana: some detail corrections.
- 200 years old: the scale is G Dorian instead of minor.
- Sad Jane: a couple of details were wrong.
- Ride my face to Chicago: I miswrote myself, I-IV should be I-V.
- Variant I processional march: identification of the example as E dorian should better be as D.
- Original duke of prunes: the transcription is renewed, with as consequence that the keys/chords should be identified differently. The G-A bass alternation for theme A from 1975 was off too.
- I promise not to come in your mouth: chord in bar 7 is of course Ebmaj7 and not Em.
- Description of the Be-bop tango, Piquantique version, has been renewed (there were some writing errors and inaccuracies in it as it was).
- 1st Debra kadebra example: notation of bar 1 corrected (the downbeat lies at a different position).
- Stucco Homes should be called D Mixolydian only. Other than during While you were out, the F natural appears only occasionally.
- Penis dimension: bar 6 does not go like bar 2.
- Toad of the short forrest: the G is natural most of the time (the midi file has it correct).
- Lost in a whirlpool (renewed).

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