Listening to the Beatles as an Introduction to
Classical Music and Music History


Scheduled for the
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UTEP
Fall 2017


Course Description
This class examines the music of the Beatles as a starting point for understanding classical music and music history. The class will focus on the Beatles as songwriters and musicians rather than pop icons.

Students taking the class will understand the connection between pieces of music listed on this page and the music of the Beatles. All others are advised simply to follow the links and enjoy the music.




Week One – Introduction to the Beatles and the Creative Process in Music
"I had a vision when I was twelve. I saw a man on a flaming pie, and he said, 'You are Beatles with an A.' And so we are." –
John Lennon

Benny Goodman Sextet, "Wang Wang Blues"
Stan Kenton and His Orchestra, "Artistry Jumps"

Canadian Brass, "Michele"
Johnny Cash, "In My Life"
Linda Rondstadt, "Good Night"

Beethoven, String Quartet No. 7 in F major
Louis Armstrong and His Hot Seven, "Potato Head Blues"

Monteverdi, "Zefiro torna" (first version)
Monteverdi, "Zefiro torna" (second version)

Songs by the Beatles played during Week One
"Slow Down" • "Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey" • "Can't Buy Me Love" • "Ticket to Ride" • "Tomorrow Never Knows" • "Let It Be" • "Something"


Week Two – Placing the Beatles in Historical Context
"The Beatles, whose arrival has proved one of the healthiest events in music since 1950, a fact which no sensitive can fail to perceive to some degree. By healthy I mean alive and inspired—two adjectives long out of use. By music I include not only the general areas of jazz, but those expressions subsumed into the categories of chamber, opera, symphonic: in short all music." –
Ned Rorem, The New York Review of Books, 1968

Follow this Link for and Overview of Music History

Nancarrow, Study for Player Piano No. 22
Bernstein, Westside Story, "Somewhere"

Beethoven, String Quartet No 12 in E-flat major
Schubert, Piano Trio in E-flat major, "Notturno"

Couperin, The Mysterious Barricades
Chopin, Prelude No. 4 in E minor
Satie, Gymnopédies No. 1
Schubert, "Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel"
Brahms, "Sapphic Ode"
Mahler, "I Walked Across the Fields This Morning"

Schubert, Winterreise (Winter's Journey)
Schumann, Frauen-Lieben un Leben (A Woman's Love and Life)
Mahler, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer)
Brahms, Vier ernste Gësange (Four Serious Songs)

Songs by the Beatles played during Week Two
"Rain" • "Within You Without You" • "When I'm Sixty-Four" • "I'll Follow the Sun • "For No One" • "Eleanor Rigby"

Albums by the Beatles referenced during Week Two
Rubber Soul RevolverSgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band The Beatles (White Album)Abbey Road

Week Three – TBA
"Strict musicology falls far short of explaining how well the Beatles communicated with their audience and why their records are as important as any artistic legacy of our age." – Tim Riley, Tell Me Why

Week Four – TBQ
"The thing we like best is going into the recording studio to make new records…. What we like to hear most is one of our songs taking shape in the recording studio … and then listening to the tapes afterwards to see how it worked out." – Paul McCartney

Week Five – TBA
"The closest Western Civilization has come to unity since the Congress of Vienna in 1815 was the week the Sgt. Pepper album was released." – Langdon Winner, music critic, 1968

Week Six – TBA
"The Beatles saved the world from boredom." – George Harrison