Special: Beatles-Studies

a book, a bibliography + a mailing list , an album and a research projekt 

Ger Tillekens recently published in Dutch a book "The Sound of the Beatles" (ISBN 90-5589-112-6 Amsterdam: Het Spinhuis, 1998). Have a look on the English summary:

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Beatles Studies Online:
Beabliography + Beatlestud

A bibliographical database of mostly academic work about the Beatles and their music has been set up by Markus Heuger. It's called "Beabliography" and can be found at


There is also a new interdisciplinary mailinglist for Beatles-related research called "Beatlestud". For further information go


The Liverpool Beatles Album

The Liverpool Beatles Album is a research database for students, scholars and fans fascinated by one of the most influential 'boygroups' of the sixties. It is provided by the Institute of Popular Music at Liverpool University and produced by the sreen writer and Beatles enthusiast Dave Haber.

The Beatles 2000 Research Project
University of Jyväskylä/Finland, Department of Music

The BEATLES 2000 research project started in 1997 and lasts, according to the present research plan, at least to the year 2000. As those studying popular music well know, the year 2000 is an anniversary for the Beatles in many respects. By the time it will be 60 years of the birth of John Lennon and Ringo Starr, 40 years of taking the name 'The Beatles' and becoming professional musicians, 30 years of the disbanding of the group, and 20 years of the tragic death of John Lennon. With this in mind, the timing of the project is quite well-founded.

The history of musicology has shown that concentrating comprehensively on a single case - for example, on a certain composer - may prove fruitful as to the subsequent studies on different representatives of the same musical genre. The influence of Beethoven studies - especially the study of his sketching process - is a good and well-known example of this. The members of the BEATLES 2000 project assume (or, at least, hope) that concentrating on Beatles research from different points of view will contribute the study of popular music in a similar manner.

The members of the project and their main topics of the are as follows:

The main purpose of the project is to describe and explain

  1. the songwriting, arranging, and recording process as well as

  2. the stylistical development of the Beatles.

Changes in the songwriting and recording process are assumed to influence the musical style and vice versa. The general theoretical framework of the project is based mainly on the psychology of music (cognitive psychology, psycho-analysis, and social psychology). Individual members of the project use various theoretical approaches according to their topics.

The orientation of the project is empirical. The main research materials consist of

  1. the records the Beatles released officially during 1962-70 on EMI/Parlophone and Apple labels;

  2. transcriptions of the songs released on these records;

  3. sketches, demo versions, and early or alternative takes of the songs;

  4. descriptions of the recording sessions; and

  5. interviews as well as other biographical materials. Individual members of the project use various methods according to their topics. One common methodological starting-point in most studies is the use of statistical methods. Music analysis is another common method. Methods of manuscript and sketch studies are applied to the study of the songwriting, arranging, and recording process.

As can be seen, the BEATLES 2000 project differs from the mainstream popular music research mainly

(1) in its use of psychology as the basic framework (instead of, say, cultural studies, sociology, ethnomusicology, or semiotics) and (2) in its use of source critical methods (especially manuscript and sketch studies) developed in the field of historical musicology.

The members of the BEATLES 2000 research group assume that the change of the research paradigm together with a concentrated group-work will result in a deeper - and, perhaps, a more scholarly-based - understanding of the music of the Beatles and the Beatles as a group.


Internet (BEATLES 2000): http://www.jyu.fi/musica/b2000

Yrjö Heinonen
Department of Musicology
University of Jyväskylä
P.O. BOX 35

e-mail: yheinone@cc.jyu.fi

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This page was updated on 25-February-1999
by Heinz-Peter Katlewski

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