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Teacher I Need You
ALBUM
Don't Shoot Me
I'm Only The Piano Player
DATE
1972
83 KB
87 KB
962 KB
ARRANGEMENT
Studio Version
DATE
1972
Key: F Structure: A-A-B-A-A-B-B
 

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.