A study of the music of Frank Zappa by Kasper Sloots, containing many note examples and midi files. See the foreword below for how it came into existance.
The midi sound can be different from the intended sound. Click here for more details.

Introduction (text only)

The lost episodes: Zappa's teens
- Lost in a whirlpool; Sleeping in a jar;
The legend of the golden arches; Guitar waltz

The mystery disc #1: movie scores
- Run home, slow (theme and soundtrack); The little march;
The world's greatest sinner (single and soundtrack); Holiday in Berlin

Pal and Orginal sound: working with Paul Buff
- Any way the wind blows; Waltz; Why don't you do me right
Take your clothes off when you dance; Walkin' out; Speed-freak boogie

Cucamonga years: singles and broadcast music
- Grunion run; Love of my life; Breaktime
Memories of El Monte; Opus 5; Jessie Lee

The mystery disc #2: projects
- I was a teenage maltshop; Status back baby; Duodenum
Bossa Nova; Mondo Hollywood; Toad of the short forest

Freak out! - Fillmore West, 1966: into the rock industry
- I ain't got no heart; Help, I'm a rock; Monster magnet; Downtown talent scout
Trouble every day; You're probably wondering why I'm here

Absolutely free: complexities
- America drinks; Plastic people; Brown shoes don't make it
Invocation & ritual dance of the young pumpkin

We're only in it for the money: the sixties
- Mother people; The ugliest part of your body; Concentration moon
No matter what you do; Absolutely free; Bow tie daddy

Lumpy gravy - Lumpy money: a collage
- Oh no; King Kong (1968); Foamy soaky; Unit 3A and 9
I don't know if I can go through this again; It's from Kansas

Cruising with Ruben and the Jets - Greasy love songs: doo-wop
- Jelly roll gum drop; Stuff up the cracks; Oh, in the sky; "No, no, no"
Cheap thrills; You didn't try to call me; If only I could be your love again

Uncle Meat - Ahead of their time: integration
- Uncle meat; King Kong (1969); Dog breath
Project X; Epilogue; Agency man; Zolar Czakl; Uncle rhebus

Hot rats: overdubs
- It must be a camel; Peaches en regalia;
Little umbrellas; Twenty small cigars; The Gumbo variations

Burnt weeny sandwich: atonality and the use of scales
- Igor's boogie I and II; Eric Dolphy memorial barbecue
Kung fu; The little house I used to live in; My guitar

Weasels ripped my flesh - YCDTOSA V: counterpoint #1 and improvisations
- Dwarf nebula; Didja get any onya?; Baked-bean boogie
What will this evening bring me this morning?; Sofa; Weasels

Chunga's revenge: mainstream pop
- Tell me you love me; Sharleena; Chunga's revenge
Rudy wants to buy yez a drink; Transylvania boogie

Quaudiophiliac - Fillmore East, 1970 - Carnegie Hall - Finer moments: bootleg and archive recordings
- Vegetable and Berlin solo; Chunga's basement; Twinkle tits
Brain police (1970-71); Dance of the just plain folks; The subcutaneous peril

Fillmore East, June 1971 - Playground psychotics: comedy shows
- Latex solar beef; Willy the pimp (1971); Do you like my new car?
Bwana dik; Brixton still life; Scumbag; The sofa suite/Divan

200 Motels - Just another band from L.A.: sequences
- Penis dimension; She painted up her face; Magdalena; Overture; Number 7; Dental hygiene dilemma
Billy the Mountain; Call any vegetable (1971); Nun suit; The girl's dream; Mystery roach

Waka/Jawaka - The grand wazoo: the jazz band in the studio
- Big swifty; One shot deal; The grand wazoo; Your mouth; Think it over; Blessed relief
For Calvin; Eat that question; Another whole melodic section; Waka/Jawaka

Wazoo - Imaginary diseases: the jazz band live
- Imaginary diseases; Variant I; Rollo; D.C. boogie; Farther O'blivion

Overnite sensation - Apostrophe ('): riffs and collaborations
- Dirty love; Don't eat the yellow snow; Montana; Fifty-fifty; Apostrophe (')
I'm the slime; Nanook rubs it; St. Alfonso/Father O'blivion; Uncle Remus

Roxy and Elsewhere: metres and rhythms
- Echidna's arf (of you); Orange county guitar solo; Tangos; All skate; Village of the sun
Don't you ever wash that thing; Dickie's such an asshole; Pojama prelude; Inca roads (1973)

YCDTOSA II - A token of his extreme: versions differences and routines
- Approximate; Pygmy twylyte; The idiot bastard son
Room service; Dummy up; Dupree's paradise (1974)

One size fits all: through-composed melodies and song structures
- Florentine Pogen; Evelyn; Inca roads (1975); San Ber'dino; Andy

Bongo Fury: working with Don van Vliet
- Debra kadabra; 200 years old; Muffin man; Cucamonga

Orchestral favorites - Studio tan: classicism
- Duke of prunes (1963-1975); Bogus pomp; RDZNL
Music for low budget orchestra; Greggery Peccary

FZ:OZ - FZ plays FZ - Joe's series - Philly '76: the 5- and 6-piece band
- Kaiser rolls; Black napkins; Rhythm guitar solo;
City of tiny lights; Keep it greasy; Phyniox; Reeny ra

Zoot Allures - Sleep dirt: harmonies and vamps
- Disco boy; The torture never stops (1976); Zoot allures; Friendly little finger
Filthy habits; The ocean is the ultimate solution; Sleep dirt; Regyptian strut

In New York: irregular rhythmic groupings
- The black page #1; Titties and beer; Manx needs women
I promise not to come in your mouth; The purple lagoon

Lšther - Baby snakes: boxes and concert footage
- Duck duck goose; Down in de dew; Green rosetta/Ship ahoy
Punky's whips; Jones crusher; Conehead; Bowling on Charen

Sheik Yerbouti - Hammersmith Odeon: disco references and solo building
- The black page #2; Dong work for Yuda; Watermelon in easter hay (prequel)
Wild love; Mo' and Yo' mama; Flakes; I have been in you; Dancin' fool; King Kong (1978)

One shot deal - Halloween: live compilations #1 and xenochrony
- Heidelberg; Stinkfoot; Ancient armaments; On the bus; Occam's razor

Joe's garage: the emotional dimension
- Joe's garage; Watermelon in easter hay (1979-1984); A token of my extreme
Fembot in a wet T-shirt; Outside now; No more Mr. nice girl; Packard goose

Tinsel town rebellion - Buffalo: fashions
- Fine girl; Easy meat; Panty rap; Pick me, I'm clean; Peaches III

Shut up 'n play yer guitar: modes
- Five-five-FIVE; Return of the son; Pink napkins
Canarsie; Why Johnny can't read; The deathless horsie

You are what you is - The dub room special: rock 'n roll
- Doreen; You are what you is; Heavenly bank account;
Beauty knows no pain; Stevie's spanking; Jumbo go away

The LSO - The perfect stranger: a modern composer
- Mo 'n Herb's vacation; Pedro's dowry; Outside now again; Envelopes; Sad Jane
The girl in the magnesium dress; Dupree's paradise (1984); The perfect stranger

Drowning witch - Them or us: the modern rock band and instrumentation
- Drowning witch; Sinister footwear I-III; Valley girl; Frogs
Marque-Son's chicken; I come from nowhere; Naval aviation in art?

The man from Utopia: recitatives
- The jazz discharge party hats; Moggio; Tink walks amok
The radio is broken; The torture never stops (1980)

Thing-Fish: an opera
- The evil prince; Wistful wit a fistful; No not now; Won ton on
Mammy nuns; Harry and Rhonda; The crab-grass baby; Harry-as-a-boy

Does humor belong in music?: the lyrics
- Baby take your teeth out; Hot plate heaven;
Let's move to Cleveland; For Giuseppe Franco

Mothers of prevention - Jazz from hell: the synclavier #1
- G-spot tornado; One man - one vote; Night school; Alien orifice
Aerobics in bondage; I don't even care; Damp ankels; Baltimore; Massagio Galore

Guitar - Trance-fusion: solo types
- Sexual harassment intro; Trance-fusion; GOA; Bavarian sunset; In-a-gadda-Stravinsky
Sunrise redeemer; Republicans; Canadian customs; Orrin hatch on skis; Soul polka

You can't do that on stage anymore: live compilations #2
- Shall we take ourselves seriously; Ride my face to Chicago; Thirteen
Babette; Don't you want a man like me? (1976-1988); King Kong (1971/82)

Broadway the hard way: parodies and conventions
- Rhymin' man; Any kind of pain; Jesus thinks you're a jerk
Welcome to the U.S.; Promiscuous

Best band - Make a jazz noise here: live compilations #3
- The black page (new age version); The torture never stops, part two; Zomby woof
Heavy duty Judy (1988); When yuppies go to hell; Let's make the water turn black

Outrage at Valdez and others: documentaries
- Outrage at Valdez; The Valdez score; Improvisation in A; Budapest solo

The yellow shark - EIHN: counterpoint #2
- Strictly genteel (1987); Times beach II and III; T'Mershi Duween
This is a test; 9/8 Objects; Ruth is sleeping; What will Rumi do?; Exercise #4

Civilization phaze III: the synclavier #2
- Put a motor in yourself; Get whitey; Samba funk
Beat the reaper; Xmas values; Reagan at Bitburg


Various items

Be aware that this material is copyrighted and that printed copies are available and catalogued (1st edition ISBN 90-9013158-2; 2nd edition ISBN 90-806552-1-X; 3rd edition ISBN 978-90-806552-2-5). Copyright includes music transcriptions as regulated via article 2, item 3, of the Berne Convention.
It may be self-evident from the title of this study that the author of the music itself represented in the note examples in this study is Frank Zappa, of which the copyright since his death has gone over to the Zappa Family Trust.


This internet site is the fourth edition of my private research into the music of Frank Zappa, augmented with several recent additions. The first printed version was finished in April 2000, simultaneously with an internet release as www.zappa-analysis.com. The site keeps attracting more visitors than I had expected, so I considered it worthwhile to come up with a second version in September 2001, a third in 2007 and this one in 2012. Compared to the first one it has about eight times increased in size. The number of sections as well the number of note examples has been extended. The conclusion has remained the same, nor are there any significant changes upon the first one included. I extend the site every once in a while, see the what's new section above for recent additions.
Originally this study started with several sketch transcriptions of fragments that sounded interesting to me and for which I tried to find out what technical elements could be found in them. Maybe there was something typical Zappa in them. But what a found was more an amazing variety of deviations from standard patterns going into all directions, than something that could be called Zappa-esque. While the number of sketch transcriptions increased I thought of writing an article about them and trying to get the transcriptions correct. The latter proved to be much more of a problem than the writing of the text. Though most of Zappa's orchestral scores and chamber music scores are available, at the time I started writing only one songbook and a guitar book were published. This situation has improved significantly with the Hal Leonard series of album transcriptions by Andy Aledort, Paul Pappas and Addi Booth. So partially I could rely on transcriptions made by others, but for about two third I had to do it myself. At first I underestimated the effort it would take to produce transcriptions. In some cases the unpredictability of Zappa's music makes it hard to be positive that the transcriptions and analysis are correct. The risk that there's some stupid looking error in it somewhere remains present. I also must apologize for my unsophisticated English; English is not my native language.