Frank Zappa's musical language

Frank Zappa's musical language

A study of the music of Frank Zappa

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During most of 1974 Zappa continued to tour with the band, that had performed at Roxy. At first only few live recordings from 1974 were used for the albums. The "elsewhere" part form "Roxy and elsewhere" is from 1974 and two songs from "One size fits all" include live-recorded tracks. This would change later on, also because of the popularity of "Roxy and elsewhere" among fans. So volume II of "YCDTOSA" is entirely devoted to the 1974 concert at Helsinki. Zappa also made a video of a live performance at KCET studios, combined with clay animations by Bruce Bickford. The intention was to have it broadcast by tv stations, which succeeded in France and Switzerland. In the 1980s material form this video got included in "The dub room special" video, that he distributed himself. It's a combination of footage from a 1974 concert and the 1981 "You are what you is" MTV-concert, augmented with interviews and clay animations by Bruce Bickford. Bootlegs from the tv broadcasts circulated as "A token of his extreme", the title given by Zappa himself. In 2013 the ZFT released the original video in its entirity.


Both on the "Helsinki" concert and the "Dub room special" is a performance of "Approximate". The "Helsinki" CD has the complete execution, but the "Dub room special" has as a special treat that parts of Zappa's handwritten scores are shown. "Approximate" is a piece with four ultrafast written themes and four improvised solos. These written melodies have irregular rhythms played over 4/4 and the idea of the composition is that these themes can be played thus fast, that the pitches of the notes with crotches don't have to be accurate, as long as the rhythm remains correct.

First the opening theme is played instrumentally, next sung and then danced. It's quite funny on the videotape. The "Helsinki" recording thereafter continues with an entire performance:

- 3:26 Theme 1.

Approximate, opening (midi file).

Approximate, opening (notes/transcription).

- 4:03 Guitar solo 1.
- 4:39 Theme 2.
- 4:44 Drum solo.
- 5:20 Theme 3.

Approximate, third theme (midi file).

Approximate, third theme (notes/transcription).

- 5:25 Keyboard solo.
- 6:01 Theme 4.
- 6:09 Guitar solo 2.
- 6:47 Theme 1.

I continue with this composition in the Zappa in New York section, where this title re-appears as "The purple lagoon/Approximate", thus in combination with another title.

Pygmy twylyte

Other than the pieces from the previous Roxy section, "Pygmy twylyte" is a song relatively easy to perform. It's mostly in 4/4 and its main theme is a single melodic line without rhythmical difficulties. The theme is in Bb Lydian for bars 1-12. The sax is at some points blowing some chromatic notes, along with indeterminate guitar noise. Next the guitar part from bars 13-14 modulates the song to a G minor type of scale, where it stays till bar 28 (except for the guitar solo bars). The D is altered to Db during these bars. So it's not exactly G minor, but a minor variant (the A/Ab and E/Eb aren't used, so the exact complete scale can't be identified here). For the guitar solo bars (19-22), the pedal note changes from G to C. Here Zappa is using both D and Db, again making it difficult to assign the notes to a scale (there is some keyboard harmony in bar 19 here, with a C plus E chord). After this solo you've got a one time only bar in 3/4. The 8 minutes 1974 Helsinki version is quite enriched compared to the 3 minutes 1973 Roxy version. It has additional themes and a fine guitar solo in it.

Pygmy twylyte (Helsinki), opening (midi file).
Pygmy twylyte (Helsinki), solo section (midi file).

Pygmy twylyte (Helsinki), opening (transcription).
Pygmy twylyte (Helsinki), solo section (transcription).

This solo takes up half of the time of the track. It begins with a chord progression in straightforward 4/4: Bm-G-Bb-C-A (bars 1-4). Thus one minor triad, followed by four parallel major triads. The solo is in B minor, so in the transcription the opening is also notated this way. The soloing in bar 5 begins with variations upon a very small cell, C#-D-C#, with Zappa taking much pauses between these variations:

- bar 5 beat 1: C#-D-C#.
- bar 5 beat 2: Pause with only a string lightly scratched.
- bar 5 beat 3: C#-D-C#-D, an octave higher. The rhythm of the cell and the notes are slightly varied upon each time.
- bar 5 beat 4: Pause and a C# just before beat.
- bar 6 beat 1: D-C#-D.
- bar 6 beat 2: Pause.
- bar 6 beats 3-4: Half-pausing, half a little figure with F#-E.
- bar 7 beat 1: Pause and C#-D before beat.
- bar 7 beat 2: C#-D-C#.
- bar 7 beat 3: Pause.
- bar 7 beat 4: Pause and B-C# before beat.
- bar 8 beat 1: B-C#-B, thus the figure from bar 5 now on B.
- bar 8 beats 3-4: Pause with only a little scratching of a string during beat 2.
- bars 9-10: The cell is left and a new theme enters the scene with a repeated F#, rhythmically dominated by 16th notes. This returning F# was already briefly touched upon in bar 6.
- bars 10-12: Variation upon this new theme.
- bar 13: Another variation, where the repeating F# is replaced by a repeating E. The rhythm becomes more varied.

The cell from bar 5 and the theme from bars 9-10 are thus opposites because of their length, but both get rhythmically and melodically varied upon. It's the standard way Zappa improvises much of his soloing, combining it with a total harmonic freedom. See also the "Mo' mama" example from the Sheik Yerbouti section. The interesting part here is the presence of many pauses during bars 5-8, a less common way of beginning a solo. It makes the keyboard accompaniment by George Duke come out quite effectively. The bass follows a progression of two bars: one bar with a B followed by one bar with G-E moving back to the tonic. The G takes up a dotted quarter note, the E the remainder of the second bar.

Pygmy twylyte (A token of his extreme), solo section (midi file).

Pygmy twylyte (A token of his extreme), solo section (transcription).

A token of his extreme The "Pygmy twylyte" version you can hear on the "A token of his extreme" DVD was recorded in August 1974, a month earlier than the Helsinki concert from September 22nd. The differences in the non-improvised bars and staffs are thus minor, but of course the solo is another one (to the right: FZ playing this solo, source: A token of his extreme DVD). When you're doing a tour with dozens of venues it becomes likely that the solos get common elements. No series of entire solos are available, but you can see here that the C#-D-C# cell from above is also present in the shape of some sort of an irregular tremolo when the "A token of his extreme" solo starts. It takes up the first three beats of the opening theme (bars 5-6). This theme gets varied upon in bars 7-8. The next element to get varied upon over a longer period is a group of three notes, E-F#-A. Setting of in bar 10, beat 4, you can see a string of notes with little rhytmic figures using these notes till bar 13 in the example. Other than the Helsinki solo, Zappa hardly pauses during the last example. The keyboard playing is now present as standard background harmony. The bass pattern is much more loose. Still it's B-G sometimes followed by E, but it hasn't the rhytmic pattern as on the Helsinki version.

The idiot bastard son

"The idiot bastard son" is present in Zappa's catalogue in four different shapes. The original recording stems from 1968 for the "We're only in it for the money" album. In 1984 Zappa recorded the bass and drum part anew and remixed the other parts. This later version is now available on "Lumpy Money". A piano arrangement by Ian Underwood got published in the "Frank Zappa Songbook vol. I" from 1973. This version is closer to the way the band performed this song live, as you can hear it on YCDTOSA vol. II. When the band starts this song on this album, they return to some riffs from "Pygmy twylyte". In between comes the opening lick from "The idiot bastard son". In the following example bars 1-2 and 6-7 stem from "Pygmy twylyte". In between you have phrase 1 from theme 1 from "The idiot bastard son". It's played via triplets in bars 3-5. Bars 6-8 demonstrate various forms of syncopes. Bars 8-9 move over to theme 1 from "The idiot bastard son" with the last chord being held for a while. Napoleon Murphy Brocks starts with the first note from the lead melody, also held longer. So it doesn't function as a pick-up note, which might explain the little inequality at the beginning of theme 1 (staff 2 compared to the others in bar 1, 1974 theme 1 example from below). Theme 1 begins slower than the intro. Because phrase 1 is played via triplets at first, it returns almost twice as slow at the beginning of the main part of this song. The intro starts in B minor moving over to D Dorian for bars 2-5. The situation here is a bit tricky however, because in a wider context this episode could also be interpreted differently (see below). For bars 6-9 the music modulates to D. The last two beats of bar 9 evade from this key. It ends with what you might call a Bbdim chord plus A.

The idiot bastard son (1974), intro (midi file).

The idiot bastard son (1974), intro (transcription).

While the meter of the main part of "The idiot bastard son" is constantly 3/4 and its rhythm pretty standard on beat, the use of scales in this song is highly flexible. It's one of the many songs that are identified as multi-scale in the table from the Burnt weeny sandwich section. The structure of this song is in all four versions the same, except for the intro from above (1974 version only) and the interruption/outro with spoken text (1968/84 recording only). The pitches in the three versions below are transpositions. The original begins on E. For the 1984 version Zappa sped up this track, to the point of transposing it a minor second up, so that it begins on F. The 1974 version is lower, beginning on D. The differences between the 1968 and 1984 transcriptions are not only caused by the newly recorded bass, but also by remixing. The accompaniment is made up of 4 to 6 tracks. By mixing some parts in or out you get the picture from the transcriptions, which represent the audible parts in reduced form. There are, of course, no newly recorded accompanying tracks. The timing below, and the pitches, follow the 1974 version. The numbering of the bars applies to every version.

0:00-0:18: Intro.
0:18-1:03: Theme 1. Theme 1 is made up of three phrases, of which the third is a variation upon the first.
- bars 1-3: phrase 1.
- bars 4-8: phrase 2.
- bars 9-25: repetitions.
- bars 26-30: phrase 3.
How the scales of theme 1 can be identified depends upon how you look upon it, which version you take and which specific bars you're looking at. It can lead to contrary results, though not in direct conflict with each other:
a) One could look for sections where the pedal note is relatively stable and group the notes used. Then the scale could be identified as D minor or Dorian for bars 1-3 (1974 version only) and B or C Dorian for bars 7-8 in the 1968/84 versions. So this standard approach explains relatively little. Other instances of phrases 1 and 3 point at parallel playing only and the Dorian pedal in bars 7-8 in 1974 is weak. Moreover the final bar moves over to another pedal note.
b) Phrases 1 and 3 can be seen as a form of parallel playing. These parallels are perfect for phrase 1 from 1974 and the representation in the Songbook. Other instances are more variants upon this. Parallel playing soon gets incompatible with following one scale, like the F-F# conflict during phrase 3. In my opinion parallel playing can best be identified as the first chord indicating a scale. Next the following chords should be seen as transpositions of that scale. Phrase 1 begins with just D2 (1974) and nobody playing over it, giving too little clues for a scale. But in phrase 2 it becomes D add 2, thus implying a major type of scale. For another example of parallel chords, see the "Bwana Dik" example, bars 9-13.
c) Because the pedal note keeps moving for most of the song, one might also take each instance of a pedal note as equal. In this case this approach proves to be the most fruitfull, because all versions can be explained in this way in the same manner by transposing the scheme. The scales below are chosen to explain all versions. When you also identify the scales in a way that they alter the least notes from one bar to another (whether actually used or not), you get the picture below. The scales for phrases 1 and 3 can be taken as the same.
- Bar 1: D Mixolydian.
- Bar 2: F Lydian.
- Bar 3: D Mixolydian.
- Bar 4: E minor.
- Bar 5: C Lydian.
- Bar 6: D Mixolydian.
- Bars 7-8: A Dorian - chromatic.
- Bars 9-25: repetitions.
- Bar 26: D Mixolydian (1974 only).
- Bars 27-28: F Lydian (1974 only).
Other than the 1974 version, the 1968 and 1984 versions use different pedal notes for phrases 1 and 3. These last two end with using Dorian and major instead of Mixolydian and Lydian, caused by the bass playing a fourth lower or a fifht higher. The bars that go as bars 7-8 in 1974 always have an individual extra with a couple of chromatic notes, almost directly following upon the brief A pedal (the A lasting only one beat). Two such examples are included below.

The idiot bastard son (1974), theme 1 (midi file).
The idiot bastard son (1968), theme 1 (midi file).
The idiot bastard son (1984), theme 1 (midi file).

The idiot bastard son (1974), theme 1 (transcription).
The idiot bastard son (1968), theme 1 (transcription).
The idiot bastard son (1984), theme 1 (transcription).

1:03-1:27: Theme 2. This theme is also made up of three phrases:
- bars 30-35: phrase 1, following G Mixolydian in bars 30-33 and C in bars 34-35.
- bars 36-38: phrase 2. The music now continues chromatically as shown in the next example. Most of it is identical to the Songbook. Thus also here with the A13(b9) chord in bars 36-37 and the counterpoint figure by the bass during bar 44.
- bars 39-41: the lead melody is a transposition of phrase 2.
- bars 42-45: phrase 3. During bars 44-45 the music has become diatonic again, moving from D to D Mixolydian.

The idiot bastard son (1974), section from theme 2 (midi file).

The idiot bastard son (1974), section from theme 2 (score).

1:27-1:59 (bars 46-67): Variations upon theme 1, phrases 1-2.
1:59-2:14 (bars 68-77): Add-in. Bar 68 begins in E minor, next the music continues in C Lydian.
2:14-2:19 (bars 78-80): Theme 1 continues with phrase 3.
2:19-2:39 (bars 81-94): Theme 2 returns.


The two above songs are only two examples of numerous version differences. They form an important factor in Zappa's music, reason why still relevant releases from the tape vault are appearing. Short descriptions of all versions differences can be found at the website. Other examples that are coming by with note examples in my study are:
- "Why don't you do me right": Paul Buff section.
- "Status back baby": Projects section.
- "How could I be such a fool": Ruben and the Jets section.
- "No, no, no" and "Stuff up the cracks": Ruben and the Jets section.
- "Uncle Meat" and "Dog breath": Uncle Meat section.
- "King Kong": Lumpy gravy, Uncle meat, Hammersmith Odeon and YCDTOSA sections.
- "Rudy wants to buy yez a drink" and "Transylvania boogie": Chunga's revenge section.
- "Chunga's revenge"/"Chunga's basement": Chunga's revenge and the Bootleg and archive recordings sections.
- "Who are the brain police?": Bootleg and archive recordings section.
- "Do you like my new car"/"The groupie routine": Fillmore East 1971, section.
- "Nun suit": 200 Motels section.
- "The girl's dream": 200 Motels section.
- "200 Motels - the suites"/"200 Motels" 1971 scores: 200 Motels section.
- "Big swifty": Waka/Jawaka section.
- "One shot deal"/"Frog song": Waka/Jawaka section.
- "Farther O'Blivion": Imaginary diseases section.
- "The be-bop tango": Roxy and elsewhere section.
- "Cucamonga"/"Farther O'Blivion": Bongo fury section.
- "Duke of prunes", "Music for low budget orchestra" and "RDNZL": Orchestral favorites section.
- "Bogus pump": Orchestral favorites and the LSO sections.
- "City of tiny lights": Philly '76 section.
- "The black page #1/#2": In New York, Sheik Yerbouti, YCDTOSA and Make a jazz noise here sections.
- "On the bus" and "Occam's razor": One shot deal section.
- "Stinkfoot": Halloween section.
- "Tush-tush-tush"/"A token of my extreme": Joe's garage section.
- "Peaches en regalia"/"Peaches III": Hot rats and Tinsel town rebellion sections.
- "The perfect stranger": Perfect stranger section.
- "Naval aviation in art?": Modern rock band section and instrumentation section.
- "No not now"/"Won ton on": Thing-Fish section.
- "Honey, don't you want a man like me?": YCDTOSA section.
- "The torture never stops": Zoot allures, The man from Utopia and The best band sections.
Version differences that get referred to:
- "Black napkins"/"Pink napkins": FZ plays FZ and Shut up 'n play yer guitar sections.
- "Watermelon in Easter hay": Joe's garage section.
- "Easy meat": Tinsel town rebellion section.
- "The deathless horsie": Shut up 'n play yer guitar section.
- "Zomby woof": Best band section.
- "King Kong" (1988)/"Diplodocus": Make a jazz noise here and Trance-fusion sections.

Room service

Napoleon Murphy Brock "Room service" belongs to a series of folklore songs, in which there was plenty of room for textual improvisation. To the right Napoleon Murphy Brock holding his oversized phone (source: A token of his extreme DVD). Zappa mostly included one or two of such songs in every tour. The differences in the prescribed parts can be small, but the improvisation kept developping itself into different directions each night. So you can hear what happens to "Room service" in a month by comparing the "A token of his extreme" and "YCDTOSA II" versions.

Room service, opening (midi file, tempo changes not included).

Room service, opening (transcription).

The example from above deals with the opening, the composed section. It's a sequence of riffs of one bar, each repeated a number of times:
- bars 1-4: a I-III-IV progression in B Dorian. The meter is 5/4.
- bars 5-8: a single melody played by the band in parallels. The meter is 4/4, but via a tempo change the set-up of this song is such that the 5/4 and 4/4 bars last just as long. During beats 1 and 3 a septuplet is being used. So the rhythm of this song at this point gets pretty complex. Beats 3-4 follow the same rhythm as beats 1-2, while the melody is much different. Staff 1 is Napoleon cheering over it.
- bars 9-12: variation upon the riff from bars 1-4. In this case there's an additional upwards line during beat 5. Staff 3 represents the marimba part by Ruth. She's playing a chromatic string about as fast as possible. You can't play a figure like that as a glissando or some sort of an arpeggio on a marimba, you actually have to hit each woodblock seperately.
- bars 13-14: progression of two chords, B and Bm7. The first one might imply a switch to a major tonality, the second one immediately returns to B Dorian.
- bars 15-16: improvisation over B pedal. This continues for quite a while before another riff enters the picture and the dialogue starts. Zappa starts playing a couple of melodic notes on his guitar, but then continues as a rhythm guitar. On "A token of his extreme" he immediately starts playing this way. It's only these improvised elements that make the difference between the two versions for the bars in the examples presented here.
On album the song goes on as:
- bars 17-31: the improvisation from bars 15-16 is maintained for another 15 bars.
- bars 32-33: drum solo.

Room service, section (midi file).

Room service, section (transcription).

- bars 34-41: another riff. Smaller time units are getting the upper hand here, so I've split a 4/4 bar into two 4/4 bars. The indicated time change is solely caused by this change in notation. One might also decide to already take this step at bar 15. The pedal note has switched to E and the melody/harmony is combining E minor and E Mixolydian. In bar 34, beats 1-2, you have C/G natural (E minor). In bar 35, at the start of beat 2, you find C/G sharp (E Mixolydian). G natural and G sharp keep alternating.
- bars 38 till the end: vamp for the dialogue. It begins with another progression in B Dorian, I-VII-IV-III. The vamp soons gets flatter and flatter, till only the drum remains as accompaniment. Other than in the "Dummy up" routine from "Roxy and elsewhere", Zappa here lets the text largely prevail over the music. Towards the end however the music returns with yet another riff in B Dorian. This time with the progression: I-I-I-III-IV. It's also used as the coda for this song.

Dummy up

"Dummy up" and "Room service" are two examples of a number of story-telling routines Zappa and the band did during his career. Mostly these have a vamp for a minimal musical accompaniment. Here it's a little bass theme of two bars, forming the chords I 7th and II 7th in B minor. The two root notes of these chords alternate B and E, or I-IV. Rhythmically this bass theme is half on-beat, half syncopic.

Dummy up, opening bars (midi file).

Dummy up, opening bars (transcription).

The two phrases of the theme both stop about halfway the bar. Ruth on bells and George on synthesizer provide a harmonic fill-in. The central chord for the synthesizer is Bm7, that can appear along both bass phrases. The story in this case is about somebody walking downtown (Napoleon), encountering a dope pusher (Jeff Simmons). Both get co-credited for their contribution to this song.


Compared to other rock bands Zappa's concerts and his stage behaviour were rather static. It was all about the music, thus little dancing and visual effects. Zappa compensated for this by adressing himself to the audiance frequently and sometimes include audience participation events. So you have pieces like:
- "YCDTOSA IV": "Tiny sick tears". One earlier example form the sixties.
- "Fillmore East": "The mudd shark". Zappa is retelling a story that he got to hear from the Vanilla Fudge during their stay at the Edgewater Inn. Towards the end Flo and Eddie start singing along the vamp and Ian Underwood joins in with arpeggio movements on his keyboard.
- "Fillmore East"/"YCDTOSA I": "Do you like my new car?"/"The groupie routine". See the Fillmore East section.
- "Roxy and elsewhere": Preambles. The orginal album listed Zappa's four introductions to his songs as individual introductory tracks for each of the four sides of this double album. This is plain spoken text without the band playing.
- "In New York"/"Baby snakes": intro to "Punky's whips", respectivily by Don Pardo and Zappa himself.
- "YCDTOSA VI"/"Baby snakes" DVD: "The poodle lecture". This is an instance where you can actually see Zappa doing such a routine on DVD. He carried around a large toy poodle.
- "YCDTOSA VI"/"Hammersmith Odeon": "Is that guy kidding or what?"/"I have been in you" intro. See the Sheik Yerbouti section.
- "Buffalo": "The "real world" thematic extrapolations". A very long outro for "Dancing fool".
- "Tinsel town rebellion": "Panty rap". See the Tinsel town rebellion section.
- "Tinsel town rebellion": "Dance contest". One example of Zappa inviting members from the audiance to come dance on stage, as first recorded during the "Be-bop tango" from "Roxy and elsewhere". On the "Baby snakes" DVD you can see such an event taking place.

Dupree's paradise (1974)

"Dupree's paradise" is one of the four songs in this study, that Zappa performed during the 1973-4 tours, but only got released years later. The other examples are "Approximate", "T' Mershi Duween" and "Dickie's such an asshole". "Dupree's paradise" first appeared on record in 1984, re-using the central theme, but with a large newly composed block between this opening theme and its reprise. See the Perfect stranger section for examples from the "Dupree's paradise (1984)" execution. The 1974 version from "YCDTOSA vol. II" fits in well in this section because of the two routines included in this song and, again, the version differences. The set-up of the 1974 rendition goes as:

0:00-1:31: Block I, Fingercymbal routine.
The song opens with Zappa explaining how George Duke is going to hurt himself while playing a fingercymbal, presented as some sort of quasi-SM. It's thus thouroughly stupid, that you keep laughing about it, no matter how often you listen to it. This applies to most of the routines, pre-ambules etc. on Zappa's records. The humor in it is sufficient enough to be able to keep listening to these texts, even though you know exactly what Zappa is going to say.

Dupree's paradise, fingercymbal-keyboard transition (midi file).

Dupree's paradise, fingercymbal-keyboard transition (transcription).

1:31-6:08: Block II, Keyboards and lyrics extravaganza by George Duke.
The first example above is a transcription of the last seconds of the fingercymbal act, followed by the opening chord progession of the keyboard solo. The first two bars contain a series of triads moving through various scales. Next this section is getting wild with George improvising on his synthesizer along with telling a little story. Zappa introduces it with "The Modest Moussorsky's songbook presents". Similar performances like this block got released as individual tracks. You can find "The booger man" and "Smell my beard" on "YCDTOSA vol. IV", and "Earl of Duke" on "A token of his extreme".

6:09-7:26: Block III, Hotel towels routine.
The song continues with the band getting caught at the customs control for stealing hotel towels. Again it's very funny. The topic already got a prelude in the preceding song, "Approximate", with Napoleon saying "we tried to pay for them". The next example contains the end of this episode, followed by the main theme from the written "Dupree's paradise" score.

Dupree's paradise, hotel towels-main theme, phrase 1 (midi file).

Dupree's paradise, hotel towels-main theme, phrase 1 (transcription/score).

7:26-8:24: Block IV, Main theme.
The main theme from "Dupree's paradise" is a composed part of two sheets with 63 bars (repetitions included). Recently I found two original examples in Zappa's handwriting being auctioned. They are both keybooard parts. The first has "Ian" in its header, thus written for Ian Underwood for the 1973 tour (Ian would leave the band during the fall of 1973). The other has no reference to an instrument or person, but, seen the positioning of the notes, can only be another keyboard part. Below I'm referring to these parts as keyboard #1 and #2 respectively. It's not certain if these two sheets were meant to be played jointly, but it's very well possible to do so. If you do, you're getting the following:

Dupree's paradise, keyboard parts (midi file).

Dupree's paradise, keyboard parts (score).

The construction of the main theme is as follows:

- Bar 1: an atonal string of 16th notes, mostly going up and down. By the method of counting the amount of minor second steps in an interval, these intervals in numbers are: 1-7-7-1-7-4-11-3-1-7-1-7-7-7-1 for keyboard #1 and exactly the same for keyboard #2, but beginning a fourth higher. The fifth and next the minor second appear the most often in the series. On album bars 1-4, by Ruth Underwood on marimba and George Duke on keyboards, are a variation upon the prescribed bars. Thus once again you have an album version that, to a certain degree, goes different from the written score. The accelerando on album is also not prescribed in the score.
- Bars 2-4: the string returns three times, each time starting lower: D#4 for bar 1 gets followed by G3 for bar 2, B3 for bar 3 and D2 for bar 4 (keyboard #1). Keyboard #2 is a major third higher during bar 2, a fourth againg during bar 3, and a fifth during bar 4. Quite obviously bars 1-4 form a sequence.
- Bars 5-6: A and E pedal for the two keyboards respectively. On album it's a bass E pedal with the Em-chord (no 3rd).
- Bars 7-8: Keyboard #2: vamp for the upcoming phrase 1 of the main theme. It's played via a 2/4 plus 6/8 meter. The chord is an easy example of what I call using a scale as a harmonic field. In this case all seven notes from the E Lydian scale get played at once: E-D#-G#-F# by the held notes and the remaining B-A#-C# combination by the repeated chord. Keyboard #1 only plays the held notes. On album this keyboard #2 vamp isn't played at all. Here the seven notes appear as a broad chord by the guitar and keyboards, played over E-pedal by the bass with a B ticking in the background. On album the meter notation is only recognizable via the drumbeats and the pulsing B.
- Bars 9-14: bars 7-8 repeat three times.
- Bar 15: a pattern breaking bar in 4/4. After the opening sequence the composition gets tonal, but this bar interrups this. Zappa liked to do things like that; see also the One size fits all section with an example from "Inca roads". The series of 16th notes is in this case deliberately irregular. The interval numbers are 18-9-10-11-9-13-3-13-18-9-10-18-21-11-3, thus without a pattern. On album this bar gets filled in in an improvised way. It doesn't even look similar, except for that it's atonal as well. "To ARP" in the keyboard #1 part stands for a switch to a synthesizer type, ARP being a synthesizer brand from the seventies.

Phrases 1-3:
- Bars 16-19: phrase 1 form the central theme. The central theme gets indicated as "A" in the keyboard scores. Keyboard #1 plays the melody, keyboard #2 the vamp. Phrase 1 gets subdivid into two sub-phrases of two bars, the second sub-phrase being a variation upon the first. On album the accent of the pedal note switches from E to B, thus an argument to call the composition B major at this point. 1973 performances of this song - as released on the 2014 ZFT CDs "Road tapes, venue #2" and "Roxy by proxy", as well as the "Piquantique" bootleg - also have the accent on B pedal. Even stronger so, because there this also happens in bars 7-8. The corresponding 1984/88 tracks on "The perfect stranger" and "Make a jazz noise here" feature E pedal. So Zappa used the E and B as alternative pedal notes for "Dupree's paradise". They are both present in the "YCDTOSA vol. II" version, but sometimes a low held E dominates and sometimes the repeating B, with the E only being touched upon.
- Bars 20-31: phrase 1 gets repeated three times.
- Bars 32-39: phrase 2, also made up of two sub-phrases. The sub-phrases get both repeated once and only differ by the chord from the 5/8 bar. Other than the keyboard #2 part indicates, the second sub-phrase also gets repeated on album. The 2/4 four bars contain a little string of 4 eighth notes: Ab-G-C-Bb. The 5/8 bars contain wide chords of six and five notes : D-G-B-D-C-E and Eb-G-Bb-C-F. Zappa's fondness of rhythmic variety in this case gets mostly achieved by the changing meters of the main theme: 4/4, 2/4, 6/8, 4/4, 2/4, 6/8, 2/4, 5/8 and 3/4.
- Bars 40-47: repetition of phrase 2.

Dupree's paradise, main theme, phrases 2-3 (midi file).

Dupree's paradise, main theme, phrases 2-3 (score/transcription).

- Bars 48-61: phrase 3. A through-composed block, again using a different meter: 3/4. Here it's multi-scale. The keyboard #2 chords don't appear on album at all. If they would have been included you're getting the next midi file instead of the last one. For phrase 2 it hardly makes a difference, because the keyboard part plays the same notes as on album, but for phrase 3 the climate changes. The prescribed chords are combinations of six or seven notes, not necessarily the same as the other parts use. Thus together with the notes on album, it's denser and there's much more dissonance going on.

Dupree's paradise, main theme, phrases 2-3 with keyboard chords (midi file).

- Bars 62-63: end of the main theme, indicated as two bars for an improvised cadenza. On album the song moves over to a couple of solos, taking up the larger part of the duration of this song.

8:24-9:45: Block V, Flute solo.

The vamp for the flute solo by Napoleon Murphy Brock is in an odd meter, 10/16, subdivided as 4+3+3. Regarding the scales it's an alternation between four bars in B Dorian and four bars in A Dorian, sort of a transposition of the vamp, a second lower. Both the meter and this change of scales are unusual as it comes to solo sections.

Dupree's paradise, flute solo, opening (midi file).

Dupree's paradise, flute solo, opening (transcription).

9:45-11:23: Block VI, Bass-drum solo.

11:23-14:29: Block VII, Keyboard solo.

The vamp for the flute solo returns for the keyboard solo in a different shape. The bass figure goes different, but the meter is 10/16 as above, now subdivided by the drummer as 3+3+4. The alternation of the two Dorian scales also returns. George Duke starts the solo with a beautiful melancholic melody. In bar 5 he first turns to step VII of B Dorian, but soon switches to A Dorian.

Dupree's paradise, keyboard solo, opening (midi file).

Dupree's paradise, keyboard solo, opening (transcription).

14:30-19:18: Block VIII, Drum solo.

19:18-23:59: Block IX, Percussion-drums-synthesizer collage.
A collage of percussion, drums and synthesizer sounds, ending with the bass playing the Louie Louie progression. It's a progression Zappa first covered on "Uncle Meat", since then returning to it every now and then. There's no reprise of the theme, as there is one on the 1973 and 1984 executions.

Other examples from YCDTOSA Vol. II and A Token of his extreme

"YCDTOSA Vol. II" and "A Token of his extreme" are live registrations without the intention of releasing much previously unreleased music. Many titles are coming by in this study in other versions from other CDs. The following four examples are the versions from these two specific issues, presented elsewhere in this study:
- The concert opener on "YCDTOSA Vol. II", "Tush-tush-tush", is included in the Joe's garage section.
- The "YCDTOSA Vol. II" version of "Inca roads" contains more of the guitar solo that was used for "One size fits all". A transcribed example is included in the corresponding One size fits all section.
- The Uncle meat section contains the opening of the 1974 version of "Dog breath", transcribed from the "Dub room special" DVD (the same track as on the "A token of his extreme" CD/DVD).
- The previous Roxy and elsewhere section contains three examples from different executions of "Village of the sun", among them the opening from the "YCDTOSA Vol. II" version.
Of the previously unreleased material on "YCDTOSA Vol. II", "T'Mershi Duween" is coming by in this study in a version from 1991. This one got released by the ZFT on their "Everything is healing nicely" CD.

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