September 11: Drew Nobile

Drew Nobile (pronounced NO-beel), an Assistant Professor of Music Theory at the University of Oregon, will give a talk entitled “Form as Harmony in Classic Rock Music.”

Abstract: Most rock songs contain a chorus section, but not all choruses are alike. This presentation demonstrates that many of the differences among chorus sections can be traced to their song’s overall harmonic structure. In particular, I identify three types of “verse–chorus” form: sectional verse–chorus, continuous verse–chorus, and verse–prechorus–chorus, each of which gives rise to an entirely different type of chorus section. Through analytical examples from the Beatles, the Jackson 5, Van Halen, and others, I show that the three verse–chorus forms are distinct not only in their harmonic profiles, but also in their representations of the text, their internal formal layouts, and their interactions with listeners.