Notes on "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (SCITTBW)
KEY A Major
FORM Intro -> Verse -> Bridge ->
Verse -> Verse -> Bridge (w/complete ending)
GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST
Style and Form
- "...Bathroom Window," despite its extremely long title, turns out to be
quite shorter in duration than it seems when you listen to it. Check out
the track length, only 1:57; and that includes those last four measures
of the previous track with the falling scale in the bassline. I believe
this musical illusion is created by the extent to which the two preceding
fragmentary tracks provide a foil for this one's being relatively full
grown in the form department.
- This song also turns out to be pretty much the *only* song in the medley
that comes close to approaching one of the traditional forms. And even
so, it has the peculiar trait of putting a single verse up front, with
two verses between the bridges. Darn clever, those Beatles, hmm?
- The lyrics flip flop between the entertainingly clever and annoyingly
Melody and Harmony
- The tune is bluesy in a
"Get Back" sort of way, with a melodic emphasis
on flat 3 and 7 that turns many of the chords into not necessarily quite
functional dominant 7th chords. Yes, you can rationalize I7 as though
it were V-of-IV, but IV7 allows no such explanation.
- In spite of its using a surprisingly small total number of chords,
the song manages to include an unusual modulation to the key of "flat III,"
thereby providing yet another place in the medley where A and C Major are
used in direct opposition to each other.
- The backing track is essentially identical to that of
PP, no surprise since
the two tracks were recorded in a single long take, though unlike
one has no sections that are completely instrumental. The acoustic guitar
is heard much less prominently here than on
PP, but still maintains at
least the status of what in cooking you'd call a secret ingredient.
- Paul has the lead vocal double tracked throughout. The first and third
verse have scat backing vocals sung in falsetto. The bridges have a
backing vocal that tracks the lead in parallel 3rds.
- The last four measures of the
PP outro, with the downward scale in the
bassline, serve as the nominal intro to this song; at least that's how
the tracks are indexed on the CD of the album.
- The long awaited resolution of the E Major chord to A on the downbeat
of the first verse here is one of the most vividly orgasmic moments in
the entire Beatles songbook, at least this side of the bridge section of
What really grabs me, beyond the big bang of actual arrival
itself, is the sophisticated way in which the backing vocals and drum work
in the 3rd and 4th measures of that verse create a cascading followup wave
- Many years ago I once had the experience of accellerating out from the
tollbooth onto the upward approach to the Bronx Whitestone bridge
coincidentally just as my tape player reached this point of the album. In
cinematic terms, it was "rush" for me equivalent to that moment in "The
Graduate" where the hero pulls out at crusing speed onto the center span
of the Okaland Bay (Golden Gate?) bridge just as S&G hit the first big
chorus of "Mrs. Robinson":-)
- The verse is 16 measures long with four equal phrases that make a
poetic pattern of AAAB:
------------------------------- 3X ------------------------------
|A7 |- |D7 |- |
A: I IV
|D |- |A |- |
- In the first three lines the lyrics are scanned in a manner that avoids
the downbeat of the phrase, and rather shifts the rhythmic emphasis to the
third measure. The pattern is broken for the final phase where the effect
of allowing the lyrics to coincide with the phrase downbeat for the first
time combined with the slow, subtle harmonic syncopation created by the
sustaining of the D Major chord over the phrase boundary makes the entire
verse seem a bit lopsided in retrospect; compare this, for example, with
"Drive My Car."
- By the way, there is some standout lead guitar work found here filling
out those lyrical gaps between the lines.
- The lopsided effect is developed further in the bridge, which I believe
should be parsed as if the final two measures of the verse (on the A Major
chord) actually overlap as the start of this section:
|A |- |d |- |
|D C |B A |
|A |- |d |- |
1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
|C B |- A |
|G |- |C | |
(C:) V I
1 2 3 4
|G |- |C A |
A: flat III I
- This leaves the bridge with an unusual 15 measure length, as though it
were accidentally-on-purpose left one measure short of what "should have
been" the more regular 16 measures.
- The outbound modulation is effected by using the cliche of the minor iv
chord in context of a Major key as a clear pivot. The return modulation
is more abrupt both in terms of it having virtually no harmonic preparation
and the placement of the return A Major chord on the final beat of the
final measure of the section. In the first bridge, this makes the start
of the next verse sound (again) lopsided. In the second bridge which ends
the song, this change of chord on the final beat practically throws you
out of your seat; "Oh yeah!"
- We find two examples of a prominent downward scalewise bassline in this
bridge. The one in the second phrase is completely straightforward. The
one in the third phrase rhythmically plays out the change of notes in the
bass using the 3+3+2 pattern we saw on this album in both
"Here Comes The Sun",
and "... Money".
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
- Yet again we are dealing with an Abbey Road song for which there are Get
Back era takes to be found out there; most notably, one from the first day
of the Apple sessions on Anthology 3.
- That particular outtake follows the more conventional formal recipe
of placing a bridge after each of the three verses. Also, the harmony
of the verse section uses the I -> vi -> IV cliche, an effect dropped
in place of the starker I -> IV we have in the official version.
- Two other points of interest:
- Paul talks aloud at the end of the performance, as he is often overheard
doing in these sessions, about possible ideas for making the song more
- In the bridge it sounds like he is personally already toying with the
3+3+2 bassline idea, but none of the others yet follow his lead. But
that's okay for now, at least.
"Yeah, down the ... er ..." "Well, give a couple of
minutes ..." 010200#188
Copyright (c) 2000 by Alan W. Pollack
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