Within You, Without You

  • Created by: Andrew
  • Created on: 22-11-18 18:44

Basic information

  • The song was written and performed by George Harrison only, no other Beatles were involved
  • 8th track in album, or the 1st on the B side of the record
  • It is a fusion of pop and Indian classical music
  • It has a popular song structure with an Indian introduction and extended instrumental
  • Uses the Indian Khamaj scale
  • The introduction is called the alap
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Harmony, melody and structure


  • Repetitive
  • Small intervals between notes
  • Crotchet/ minim rhythms
  • 6 bar phrases


  • Mostly static
  • Doesn't change keys
  • Flattened 7th at key points
  • Modal, similar to our mixolydian mode


  • 5 sections
  • 1st is the alap, it is 7 bars long and often improvised in Indian music
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Within You, Without You uses a combination of Western and Indian instruments

  • Sitar: One of the most common Indian instruments
  • Tambura/ tampura: Used for the drone, has 4 strings that can be plucked or strummed, essential for tonal foundation as Indian pieces don't really have a key
  • Tabla: A pair of Indian drums, they play the tala (rhythm), in this piece the tala is the teental, played by George Harrison
  • Swarmandal: Like a small harp, can be used for a drone, melody or solo, they are tuned to specific ragas
  • Dilruba: Cross between a sitar and sarangi, played with a bow, it has 18 strings
  • Violin
  • Cello
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Key points

  • Tempo is rubato (robbed or free) in alap, then in tempo for the rest
  • Alap uses all the notes of the raga, glissando near the end to sound Indian
  • Tabla starts and creates a consistent rhythmic accompaniment (bar 8)
  • Word painting - "Space between us" by using minims to space it out (bar 16-17)
  • "Chorus" starts (bar 45)
  • Tempo changes to 5/4 for an extended instrumental section, the new time signature is more suited for Indian music (bar 54)
  • Verse starts again (bar 89)
  • Goes to Coda for 22 bars (bar 24)
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