“A Summit of Creativity: A Celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
One of the many golden-anniversary commemorations of the Beatles’ iconic album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was a very successful conference organized by Walter Everett and hosted by the University of Michigan on June 1–4, 2017. The conference’s start date marked fifty years to the day since the worldwide release of Sgt. Pepper on June 1, 1967 (the UK release took place several days earlier, on May 26).
Michael Schiano, associate professor of music theory at The Hartt School, showed how some of the Beatles’ melodies feature thematic connections like those in classical melodies. He illustrated hidden repetition within two sections of “A Day in The Life” and between the two songs recorded for Sgt. Pepper but released as singles, “Strawberry Fields Forever” and its flip side, “Penny Lane.” He also demonstrated the technique of developing variation in the melody of “The Fool on The Hill,” comparing it to the opening of Beethoven’s “Archduke” Trio.