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

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Make a jazz noise here In 1987 preparations were made for Zappa's biggest tour effort. At first the rock band section rehearsed, afterwards a brass section joined in, bringing the band's magnitude up to twelve members. In total it took four months of practicing for a program of five hours, enough for two completely different shows. Touring started in the east of the U.S., next Europe. The U.S. west and south coast, planned for the autumn, had to be cancelled however. Tensions within the band had become too big to continue. Zappa let everybody vote whether they could move on with bass player Scott Thunes and the general opinion was no, so in Zappa's words the band self-destructed. The financial loss was compensated by releasing as good as all material on CD. "Broadway the hard way" was dealt with in the previous section. Here we continue with seven examples from the two double CDs that ensued from the tapes.

Right: Part of the CD cover for "Make a jazz noise here" by Larry Grossman/Art Attack featuring a night club in a desert landscape (copyright Barking Pumpkin Records). The original "The best band you never heard in your life" CD cover featured a photo of the band playing on stage, today replaced by a drawing by Cal Schenkel.


Heavy duty Judy (1988)

The 1988 "Heavy duty Judy" version opens "The best band you never heard in your life". It only overlaps with its predecessor from "Shut up 'n play yer guitar" in reusing the vamp in 12/8, otherwise it's a new composition. Steve Vai notated the "Heavy duty Judy (1980)" vamp in 4/4, using triplets (see the corresponding section). He might just as well have used a new title as "Son of Heavy duty Judy", as he had done several times before. The brass section is used for creating an opening theme around the vamp. After up to two minutes Zappa falls in with a sharp solo (in the midi file below some bars with repetitions are skipped).

Heavy duty Judy (1988), opening (midi file)

Heavy duty Judy (1988), opening (transcription).

The repeated bar 1 represents an intro for this version of "Heavy duty Judy". In bars 4-5 you've got the characteristic vamp returning, beginning before beat at beat 4 in bar 4. Steve Vai describes it as "sort of boppin'", using triplets if you would notate it in 4/4. At this point it's in a different key compared to the original. Here it's in D Mixolydian with the progression I-II-VII. At bar 13 you get at an interlude without the vamp. Here the band gets to play through varying keys. The basic chord progression in rock terms in staff 3 is Eb-F-Db-Eb-F#m. The bass moves downwards: Ab-G-Gb-F-E. In none of these instances is the bass part of the 5th chords of staff 3, thus the bass enlarges the total sounding chords. In bar 13 for instance to Abmaj9. In bar 20 we get at the vamp in its final key: E Mixolydian again as in the original (same I-II-VII chord progression). Other than in the original the bass doesn't give an E as a pedal note, but forms part of the chords.

The torture never stops (1988)

As it comes to new compositions "The best band you never heard in your life" has only one unreleased song by Zappa himself, the others are covers. More than on "Make a jazz noise here" it's the alternative bars and solos that make this collection worthwhile, like the six minutes solo from "The torture never stops part two". Regarding the live versions of the original studio songs from "Zoot allures", the themes are more brought back to their basic elements. In the case of "The torture never stops" the "Zoot allures" version has a lot more of adornal embellishments to it, and of course the moaning of Gail Zappa. You can compare the black dots from the Zoot allures section with the one below. Biographer Neil Slaven states that he prefers the group effort above Zappa playing most of the overdubbed parts on "Zoot allures", so there are people who don't see this as a disadvantage. Zappa included "The torture never stops" in about every tour since it was written, each time playing a large solo in the middle of the song. Next is the main theme plus the opening of the guitar solo from the 1988 version.

The torture never stops part two, opening (midi file)

The torture never stops part two, opening (transcription).

This one is in A Dorian instead of G Dorian on the "Zoot allures" album. Zappa frequently transposed his songs for his different tours. The harmony in bars 1-2 is also different. On "Zoot allures" it's I followed by a blending of I and VII in G Dorian (bar 1). Here it's I 7th - I 9th in A Dorian (bars 1-2).

Zomby woof

"Zomby woof" is present three times in Zappa's catalogue. The original studio version appeared on "Overnite sensation" in 1973. Next you've got live versions from 1982 en 1988 on "YCDTOSA I" and "The best band you never heard in your life" respectively. They differ in various minor elements. The bigger difference lies in the included guitar solo. Wolfgang Ludwig transcribed the lead melody of the first minute for his study from 1992, whereas all of "Zomby woof" (1973 version) got published in the Hal Leonard series (2011, transcr. Paul Pappas). It's a complex song, made up of a multitude of motifs, smaller themes and riffs. The meters keep changing. The below follows the set up from 1988:
Instrumental opening:
- 0:00. Instrumental opening theme of three bars, played in parallels. Bar 1 returns the most in this song and can be seen as the central melodic element. As for most of "Zomby woof" it's diatonic material from varying scales without clear key notes. Ludwig and Pappas use different meter notations for most of their bars. The first bar lasts 3/4, subdivided into four times 3/16. Wolfgang Ludwig notates this as actually four 3/8 bars, while Paul Pappas chose for 3/4 with a syncope. Ludwig is using smaller units in most cases in a similar way (I'm here following the Pappas meter notation).
- 0:05 Motif 1 (bar 4 in the example below) made up of five beats with quintuplets. The bass plays a chromatically descending line. You can see this bar as polyscale, with a scale fragment per bar.
- 0:08 Motif 2, played four times (bars 5-8) with the instrumentation building up in layers.
Block with lyrics alternated with instrumental bars:
- 0:18 First sung theme ("300 years ago ..."). It's played over a bass riff.
- 0:28 One intermediary bar ("You know I ..."). Whereas the larger part of "Zomby woof" is relatively monodic, without much chords, or composed polyphonically, this bar has a clear chord present for the bass plus brass section (Dm7).
- 0:31 Motif 3 (bar 14) in 2/4, instrumental.
- 0:32 Motif 1 repeats.
- 0:35 Second sung theme, starting over motif 2 as a guitar/bass riff for the first two bars ("Seems to me ..."). Beat 4 of the riff gets augmented with one 16th note so that it now lasts a normal 4/4 bar instead of 15/16. In bars 17-18 you can see the B-D motif of bar 1 returning.
- 0:45 Two bars (20-21) with instrumental improvisation.
- 0:51 Two bars from the second sung theme (bars 18-19) get repeated instrumentally. The first example ends here.

Zomby woof (1988), opening (midi file)

Zomby woof (1988), opening (transcription).

Second instrumental block:
- 0:57 Motif 1 gets varied upon. Here you've got a 6/4 and a 5/4 bar. The first one contains the melody of motif 1 identically followed by a one beat pause with some percussion. Bar 2 plays this melody backwards. Instead of the quintuplets, Zappa is now using normal 16th notes, thus beats of 5/16 (Ludwig notation). Paul Pappas chose to maintain the original quintuplet notation of motif 1 and then has to change the tempo: it goes from the metronome tempo of a quarter note being 90 to being 76. Arithmetically the result is as good as the same: (90/76)*(4/5) is about 1.
- 1:05 Instrumental bars with a little chord progression and the bass riff for the next third sung theme.
Second block with lyrics alternated with instrumental bars:
- 1:15 Third sung theme over this bass riff ("I am the Zomby woof..."). It's a theme of four bars, played twice, of which the first bar is a variation upon bar 9.
- 1:35 Fourth sung theme of two bars, of which the first is a variation upon bar 1 ("Tellin' you all ..."). These two bars can also be interpreted as a free variation upon bars 18-19.
- 1:40 Motif 4, an instrumental sequence of 32nd notes, played four times.
- 1:46 The fourth sung theme returns once more.
- 1:52 Little theme of two bars, repeated four times with variations. The first contains two-part counterpoint and gets either instrumentally played or sung ("Reety awrighty ..."). The second bar is monodic.
- 2:12 Two bars with a flatly sung fifth theme, that introduces the guitar solo ("They was awreety ...").
Guitar solo:
- 2:18 Guitar solo in A Dorian, played over a one bar bass vamp in 4/4. The original 1973 solo is played over a bass pedal note, though also here you can discern the vamp in the first couple of bars. Both the 1982 and 1988 solo are using the bass vamp from below all through. It comprises about half of the time the song lasts.

Zomby woof (1988), section (midi file)

Zomby woof (1988), section (transcription).

Third block with lyrics alternated with instrumental bars:
- 4:36 Polyphonic instrumental bars, not present in the 1973 version. The brass and bass play a melody twice. It's made up of two bars in 4/4 over which the guitar lets the figure from the second bar of the little theme return, that started at point 1:52.
- 4:47 Sixth sung theme ("I gotta great big ..."). For the larger part it's sung with only accompaniment by the drummer.
- 5:09 Motif 3 returns in a 4/4 bar: the first two beats are motif 3 played identically, beats 3-4 are for the drummer.
- 5:12 The sixth sung theme continues, now sung over motif 2.
- 5:16 The fourth sung theme now returns as the outro theme, followed by two bars with instrumental improvisation. All four bars are played twice.
- 5:35 The instrumental opening now returns as the coda. It gets augmented by one beat where Zappa at last seems to settle for a key: A Dorian.
- 5:41 End.

Other tracks from The best band you never heard in your life

"The best band you never heard in your life" is a live compilation. Various original recordings of the included tracks turn up elsewhere in this study. The three titles from above are the ones specifically transcribed from the "The best band you never heard in your life" version.

Yet another opportunity to see this Best band came around in 2019, when Ahmet Zappa set up the Bizarre world of Frank Zappa tour with members from the original eighties band and Zappa himself as a hologram.


The black page (new age version)

Next is another variant upon "The black page #2" from "Make a jazz noise here", taking this composition a step further regarding tempo changes, instrumentation and soloing. This "new age" version opens in a very slow relaxed tempo with percussion embellishments, but later on everybody accelerates to the original tempo. When you compare this version to the "The black page #1", and the disco version example from my Sheik Yerbouti section, you can see that everything is played much slower. What used to be the five notes of a quintuplet during two beats, now gets spread out over four bars. When I first included this example in 2001, I assumed the rhythm had remained a quintuplet, but that's not really accurate. Zappa changed the rhythm too. The quintuplet with five over four eighth notes didn't become enlarged as five whole notes over four 4/4 bars. Instead it got the division 4+3+3+3+3. This is one of the reasons why Zappa called version #2 the easy version. The more difficult irregular rhythmic groupings got re-ordered towards more even divisions.

The black page (new age version), opening (midi file)

The black page (new age version), opening (transcription).

It begins with a sequence of thirds and fourths in bars 1-4. The beginning of this sequence returns half-speed in bar 10-12. This version can be called the jazz version. The bass is playing like a walking bass. You can also see that the brass players from staff 1 are applying some rhythmic freedom. The basis, however, remains strict 4/4. This piece was the opener of the first of two concerts at Ahoy, Rotterdam (1987 tour), the first time I had the opportunity to see a Zappa concert myself. Luckily so, because nobody at that time knew it was also going to be the last chance. After having conducted the band, Zappa again falls in with a strong solo.

The black page (new age version), 3:10-3:43 (midi file)

The black page (new age version), 3:10-3:43 (transcription).

Apparently Zappa had the guitar he used for this solo tuned down to get at least at C2, a third below the standard E2 root of the guitar tuning. While the "Zappa in New York" versions of "The black page" are heavily embedded in Lydian keys, this goes less for the 1988 version. Bars 1-5 are the end of the written part. No note can be identified as key note, the bass is playing along with the melody. From bar 5 onwards this piece settles in F major. In his discussion with me Brett Clement disagrees saying "It's Bb Lydian, as all Black page solos are". I can't verify the latter (I'm not a bootleg collector), nor do I consider it much relevant. If this was the only occasion the bass followed the figure from above, I still would call it major. The choice of Brett is peculiar:
- Like me he's looking at pedal notes to determine the tonic, the approach that he himself calls vertical. I'm hearing two alternating bass pedal notes, F and E. With the F appearing first in bar 5, the accompaniment becomes a I-VII alternation in F. In this bar 5, you've got a downwards figure with the F being the lowest note, held longer as well. So it's awkward to call the Bb the pedal note. As the opening note of both bars of the vamp, some people might "horizontically" call Bb the tonic, but "vertically" the F definitely takes the weight of being the tonic. The keyboards and rhythm guitars are playing lightly in the background during the solo, not following a particular pattern.
- In other instances, like "Watermelon in Easter hay", Brett is also taking the lowest bass note as tonic.
- The chord progression in bars 5-12 is Dm-Gb-F-Gb-F-Gb-F, with the Gb being a chromatic element. Though this isn't decisive in my study, the "horizontal" chordal approach makes a reading in F more obvious as well.

When yuppies go to hell

Zappa at his synclavier, Barcelona For the 1988 tour Zappa took the synclavier with him on stage. To the left an image from the Barcelona concert with percussionist Ed Mann in the background. "Make a jazz noise here" contains three larger pieces with combinations of written themes, solo improvisations and synclavier sections. You could see Zappa typing in the parameters to set off stored music and modulate sampled sounds via the pc keyboard and the keys of the synclavier keyboard. The results are bizarre collages. "When yuppies go to hell" opens with a synclavier theme made up of a sequence of sustained 5th chords. These chords belong to varying keys, so the melody as a whole becomes chromatic.

When yuppies go to hell, theme (midi file)

When yuppies go to hell, theme (transcription).

The plain notes of the theme itself are rather simple. They get their special character by sound effects from the catalogue of the machine, like (de-)crescendo, moving a sound from one type to another and various sampled emotional outbursts of the human voice. The synclavier theme gets interrupted by written bars for the band with some irregular counterpoint figures in varying meters. This part is also chromatic. After this little interlude the opening theme returns in another meter and via 7th chords. Then you get to the weird sounds collages, solos and little stored composed parts. Above is the opening theme.

Fire and chains

"Fire and chains" begins with a figure that is played in a loop, probably a tape or a synclavier file being run. It consists of three layers: a sustained A, an A-D chord in the shape of an arpeggio, and a D-G chord on top of that. The two chords alternate their restarts, but are always sounding together, forming a stacked fourth. It begins without a meter and a bass pedal. A number of elements must have been rehearsed. The meter becomes 4/4, and the bass pedal and key become D Mixolydian, but the bass can start with using a number of different pedal notes first before it settles as D.

Fire and chains, 0:05-0:37 (midi file).

Fire and chains, 0:05-0:37 (transcription).

In traditional harmony a stacked fourth is an uncommon chord that would need resolution. It got an independent status in modern music, most notably in Debussy's later works, as well as in jazz circles. Zappa loved uncommon chords as sus2- and sus4-chords, as well as stacked fourths and fifths, being a set of related chords, that are inversions of each other. In Brett Clement's 2009 study several examples of a stacked fourth, or quartal chord, are being shown or mentioned. In the context of his theory he is primarily interested in this quartal chord being played upon the Mixolydian and Dorian tonics, but "Fire and chains" shows other positions can be relevant too. In the example above you can hear this chord as:
- Bars 2-3, F Lydian, step III (not full scales, but implied in this context).
- Bar 4, G, step II.
- Bars 5 and 16, D Mixolydian, step V (the one that will get the lead).
- Bars 6, 8-9 and 12-14, A Dorian, step I (the one Brett is interested in).
- Bar 7, B Phrygian, step VII.
- Bar 15, C Lydian, step VI.
This initial varying of positions along with, of course, Zappa's soloing contribute to the strength of this solo. As said, D Mixolydian with the quartal chord being played upon step V, is getting the lead, but at the beginning, as a listener, you can't have a clue which note will become the tonic. You can also notice that the F# gets altered to F natural frequently, the bass actually starts with it.

Star wars won't work

"Star wars won't work" begins with Zappa singing, normally and speech-wise, over a synclavier vamp. The subject is the idea, that was brought up first during the Reagan administration, to construct a missile defense system. It was also the most recent subject that could be included in "The real Frank Zappa book", planned to be published the next year.

Star wars won't work, section (midi file).

Star wars won't work, section (transcription).

In between a guitar solo is being played. It's in D Dorian, with 7/8 as meter. This solo is unrelated to the synclavier vamp. The vamp simply fades out when the solo starts and comes up again at the end of it. The example above is the end of this solo, to be heard between 2:33 and 2:55. The solo ends with Zappa playing a couple of chords. It must have been rehearsed to let it end like this, because Scott Thunes is playing the final two alternating chords along with him. They are Dm7 and Em7, thus two unresolving 7th chords. It sounds more like jazz than as rock music in this manner. It's also a sign to let the synclavier vamp come in again after a few repetitions.

King Kong (1988)

"Make a jazz noise here" is not an overall jazz album as "The grand wazoo", but the executions of pieces as "Big swifty" and "King Kong" justify its title quite accurately by their inclusion of extraordinary improvised sections. During most tours "King Kong" would serve as a vehicle for band members to improvise extensively. The theme itself is short and usually gets repeated towards the end. Here it doesn't. From 1:02 onwards this version might just as well be seen as a separate composition. No reference whatsoever is made to the thematic material from "King Kong".

King Kong (1988), section (midi file)

King Kong (1988), section (transcription).

Briefly summarized, the 1988 version of "King Kong" is built up as:
- 0:00 Main theme.
- 1:02 "Diplodocus" intro.
- 1:29 Sax solo.
- 4:07 Smaller solos mixed with synclavier extravaganza.
- 10:53 Trumpet solo.
- 13:11 End.
The example above begins with the last repetition of the "Diplodocus" intro. I'm calling it this way, because this intro would return under that name on "Trance-fusion". On "Trance-fusion" it stays in the Eb Dorian key as "King Kong" is in, but here it swiftly modulates to D Dorian. It's also harmonized quite differently:
- Bar 1, beats 1-3: two times I 7th - V 9th and one time I 7th - II 7th. The difference between beat two and the other two beats is caused by the bass not picking an A too at the end of beat two, but holding the D. As a fast 32nd note the difference is hardly audible.
- Bar 1 beat 4: I 7th - II 7th.
- Bar 2 beats 1-2: II 7th - V- II 7th - I.
At some points it's difficult to distinguish each individual note. It can also be argued that some notes should be interpreted as incidental harmonic fill-in or as passing notes, like the A by the bass and the notes in my keyboard staff. Someone else might identify the chords here and in "Diplodocus" from "Trance-fusion" differently, but things like this conform Zappa's flexibility towards harmony over and over again.
The CD liner notes don't say who's playing the sax solo. In bars 3-4 from the above example you can see that the sax solo is played in a chromatic manner, while the bass player maintains the D Dorian tonality. The rhythm guitar remains in D Dorian as well, whereas the keyboard follows the sax soloist as it comes to altering notes. Because it's improvised, the keyboard player can't know in advance what the sax player will do, so the whole sounds a bit weird. Diatonic or atonal ... truly a jazz noise, especially when the synclavier oddities enter the picture. The lizard again, coming soon in a theatre near you.

Let's make the water turn black (1988)

On disc I of "Make a jazz noise here" Zappa returned to some of his sixties tunes, now with a brass arrangement and without lyrics. Below is the opening of "Let's make the water turn black". It's in C, with altered notes in bars 6 and 9-10. Bars 9-10 are an example of a progression of chord types, unrelated to a specific scale: Bb, Eb, Ab and G, thus four major triads. It's another example of Zappa using a fast reggae or ska rhythm, as he occasionally did during the eighties (see also "The black page (1984)" example from the YCDTOSA section). The song starts with four bars with the Cadd2 chord, played as an arpeggio. The example begins with the last two of these arpeggio bars. The guitar/keyboard chords from bar 3 onwards are the same as the ones used in the Songbook Vol. I. The brass arrangement is standard, playing the lead melody mostly via parallel thirds, every now and then replaced by a fourth. See "Let's make the water turn black (1968)" from the We're only in it for the money section for more about this song.

Let's make the water turn black (1988), opening (midi file)

Let's make the water turn black (1988) (notes/transcription).

"Let's make the water turn black" is also an example of a song that is present in Zappa's catalogue in both an instrumental version and one with lyrics. The degree instrumental music is present in Zappa's output is one of his distinctive features compared to standard pop albums. You've got many entirely instrumental compositions, many compositions with instrumental sections and songs that have appeared on CD both instrumentally and with lyrics. Just to mention a few:
- Oh no! (Lumpy gravy vs. Weasels ripped my flesh).
- Tuna sandwich suite/Bogus pump (200 Motels vs. L.S.O.).
- Strictly genteel (200 Motels vs. L.S.O.).
- Sofa #1 and #2 (One size fits all).
- Sleep dirt album (CD re-release vs. Läther/original vinyl version).
On some occasions ZFT releases have shown the existence of both versions where you might not have expected this:
- Think it over/The grand wazoo (Joe's domage vs. The grand wazoo).
- Farther O'blivion/Cucamonga (Imaginary diseases vs. Bongo fury).
- Envelopes (Odeon Hammersmith vs. L.S.O.).
- Amnerika (Civilization Phaze III vs. FZ for president)
The guitar solos are of course by definition instrumental. The effect of the instrumental element in Zappa's music is that half of the examples in my study are instrumental. Whether a Zappa song has lyrics is partially determined by the feasibility of singing the lead melody. Also here Zappa could push things to the limits, like the second "Montana" example in my study, the part that Tina Turner and the Ikettes are singing.

The Barcelona concert of May 1988 got filmed for television and broadcasted several times by the Spanish TV entity RTVE. Below is an announcement from their 2006 program. It says: "Live from Barcelona the concert given by the composer and guitar player Frank Zappa, May 1988, as part of his last tour as a rock musician. Frank Vincent Zappa (U.S.A., 1940-1993) founded the group The Mothers of Invention in 1964, till he dissolved it in 1969, when he started a long solo career. In 1973 he triumphed commercially with his records "Apostrophe (')" and "Overnite sensation". Apart from being a musician Zappa also was a composer, who let himself to be influenced by doo-wop, rhythm and blues and contemporary modern music, thus his compositions include all modern styles: classic, rock, jazz, reggae, blues. His music is characterized by the intensive use of instruments that are unconventional for a rock band, like the marimba or the violin."


Zappa began this concert by addressing himself to the audience in Spanish. Like in 1971 (with some German texts) he read the lyrics phonetically. Apparently he got sufficient aid, because his pronunciation is good enough for following the message:
"Buenas noches, España. Hola, sonámbulos, disculpe mi pronunciatión, pero he apprendido mi discurso como un loro. Este concierto lo quiero dedicar a las gentes que hablan y sienten en Español. Trescientos milliones en España, Sud-America y Norte-America, quienes cooperando entre ellos y salvando sus diferencias podran llegar a ser el tercer poder."
In English: "Good evening, Spain. Hello, night wanderers, forgive me my pronunciation, but I've learned my speech like a parrot. I would like to dedicate this concert to the people who speak and feel in Spanish. Three hundred millions in Spain, South-America and North-America, who, working together and solving their differences could become a third power".

Other tracks from Make a jazz noise here

"Make a jazz noise here" is the second live compilation from the 1987 tour. Various original recordings of the included tracks turn up elsewhere in this study. The four titles from above are the ones specifically transcribed from the "Make a jazz noise here" version.

Make a sex noise

Some eight titles from the 1988 tour are included in "YCDTOSA Vols. IV and VI". Compiling this series had started before the 1988 tour took place, showing that the series wasn't completed at once. The next track is Zappa talking to the audience on St. Patrick's day, inviting some Irish women on stage to make sexy noises. This to show that the idea, purportedly, that they would be less sexy isn't true.

Make a sex noise, 0:01-0:13 (midi file).

Make a sex noise, 0:01-0:13 (transcription).

The music is subservient to the text. Just a one-bar bass vamp in D Dorian in standard 4/4, with the band improvising the harmonies. Towards the end the band is singing "make a sex noise" a couple of times, with the invited women doing their best.

Packard goose (1988)

Still more from the 1988 tour got released with the ZFT double CD "Zappa '88: The last U.S. show". It includes a couple of titles not yet included in earlier CDs, among them "Packard goose". In 1988 this song got performed in the shape of a series of five tracks:
- "Happy birthday, Chad!" Zappa is inviting the audience to participate in singing "Happy birthday", this concert being held during the 28th birthday of drummer Chad Wackerman. This track ends with Zappa explaining the set-up of the next title, "Packard goose", as a four-part suite. During the "Royal march" part there will be a brief appearance of the Long Island Ballet Company.
- "Packard goose pt. I". Apart from detail differences, the vocal part of "Packard goose" is getting played as on "Joe's garage". An exception is the Mary part, ending with the famous line "music is the best". The following is the end of the "journalism's kind of scary" part from this song with its last two bars, "wonder what became of Mary?". It goes similar to bars 9-10 from my "Packard goose (1979)" example, as included in the Joe's garage section.

Packard goose pt. I, 2:12-2:36 (midi file).

Packard goose pt. I, 2:12-2:36 (transcription).

Bars 1-2 are in F# Mixolydian. Next Zappa and Ike Willis are singing the Mary lines over a newly composed vamp in 12/8. This vamp is basically a F#-E alternation. I've notated this as if still being in F# Mixolydian, but there are too many chromatic notes involved to actually call it that way. For bar 6 Zappa choose for a repitition of a bar upon F# because of the start of the "information is not knowledge" statement.
- The "Royal march" from "L'Histoire du soldat" (A soldiers tale) by Igor Stravinsky.
- Opening theme from "Piano concerto #3" by Bela Bartok. For both interludes, Scott Thunes is credited as arranger. These interludes replace the guitar solo from "Joe's garage".
- "Packard goose pt. II". As on "Joe's garage" the vocal part of the song is recommencing after the guitar solo/interlude. The first 25 seconds are repeating the opening theme, next part II goes its own way.

Packard goose pt. II, 0:55-1:25 (midi file).

Packard goose pt. II, 0:55-1:25 (transcription).

This second example is most of the end of "Packard goose". Bars 1-2 are the last repetition of the "cosmic utensil" line. Next Ike is singing bars 3-4, accompanied by Ed Mann on marimba, followed by Mike Keneally soloing for two bars. Bars 7-8 contain the outro theme. Nominally this example is in E, at various points accents can lay elsewhere. In 1988 the song ended with the progression A-Am-E.

Packard car

The Packard goose, more commonly referred to as Packard swan, was a hood ornament of the American car producer Packard. This company was active between 1899 and 1958. Photo posted on Twitter as "Chad's Capture".

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