Update 3/12/2006: I
have completely redone one of my oldest scores, bringing
it up to current standards. As you'll see, this song uses
triplets throughout and sometimes the notation can seem
pretty cluttered with all the ties and triplet markings.
Six years ago I thought I would be real clever and eliminate
all of those markings. In retrospect, that wasn't such
a hot idea. I can't help but feel embarassed about a score
that is so difficult to read. So an update was due. Also,
my ears are a lot better than they were six years ago,
so I've made little adjustments to the music. Click on
the link above to download the updated score.
EJ produced a virtual torrent of quality music within a
two or three year period. By this album, there was so much
Elton music on the market that the monster hits overshadowed
most of the other songs. Of course that leaves us with plenty
of great choices for the menu at Elton John's Café!
Teacher is another tribute to the 1950’s similar to
but very distinct from Crocodile Rock. Primarily this manifests
itself through the bubblegum schoolboy lyrics, the melody
and the singing. Both songs have a very basic rock harmonic
structure at their center. The music however in Crocodile
is played in much more of a throwback style (and in my mind
ends up being a little bit gimmicky). Not Teacher. Teacher
is very much a modern arrangement. Frankly, this song just
flat out rocks.
The instrumentation is primarily bass, drums, guitar and
piano. The bass and drums provide a solid footing for the
song. I find it interesting that they chose to use acoustic
rather than electric guitar in the song. It never would have
occurred to me. (Although this may have had something to
do with Davey Johnston who I understand was primarily known
as an acoustic guitarist prior to joining the band officially.)
Nevertheless, the full-bodied rhythm acoustic work fills
out the side part of this mix very nicely.
Elton’s piano playing is centerstage and dominant
on this tune. He employs a solid 6-note rocking style guaranteed
to make you want to dance. The intro riff, repeated throughout
the song, uses a pedal
tone under a series of chords, slash
chords if you prefer, that move through a type of harmonic
suspension to resolution. This isn't too different from the
harmony in the Who's Pinball Wizard and Elton's playing is
very similar to the technique he would later use when he
re-made Pinball. With F as the pedal tone, the right hand
of this 4-bar riff moves from F to Eb to Bb back to F. It
provides a dramatic anticipation builder and links the verses
together very nicely.
The verses consist of two 8-bar phrases. For students, this
is pop harmony 101 and 102 in a nutshell. The first 8 are
a I-IV-I-V pattern played in a roots rock fashion (see the
the 1st 4 bars below).
The second 8 bars slide slide down to the iii - vi and then
use a descending diationic bassline.
| Am | Dm | Bb Am7 | Gm7 | F | Bb F/A | Gm7 | C Bb/C |
The chorus also employs a simple harmonic pattern.
| Dm C | Bb | Dm | C | Am | Dm | Bb | C |
| Dm C | Bb | Dm | C | Am | Dm |
| Bb | Bb | Bb | Bb | F | Bb | F | Bb ||
This is a really fun tune to play and I hope you enjoy it
as much as I do.