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The Sweetest Girl | Scritti Politti

Article from One Two Testing, April 1986

The Sweetest Girl, the Coverage version

The Simplest Song in all the world? Green Gart-side's cherry-sweet allegorical style really began with this song, and was arguably never bettered in terms of musical economy and misleading naivety. Using simply a little vibraphone, piano, small drum machine, bass guitar, synthesizer and some questionable oral noises, the instrumentation mimics the simplicity of the song itself.

I've never been convinced about Green's apparently psychopolitical lyrical approach, but you might find the study of 'a little Freud, a little Marx and a little sociology' will enable you to articulate the underlying currents that are supposedly present among the pure pop. Also you could study Michael Jackson's singing style and learn to sing from the head — like Green did.

As for the other vocal noises. It's been claimed that the minimal drum sound was beefed up with assorted ticks, tocks, clicks, clocks and chiff sounds made by a rather high tech device known as The Mouth, and subsequently fed through reverb and chorus effects. Yes I know you would do it nowadays on a Synclairlight, but if you've got that kind of money what are you doing copying Green Gartside licks? It's madness, I tell you.

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Song begins with Drum Machine (Dr Rhythm, Soundmaster, etc will suffice) This is the pattern written out for Step Time Programming.

Each number (1 -16) can be expressed in musical notation by a Sixteenth Note; or a Sixteenth Rest;

The notes of the bass line can nearly all be played on open strings since the song is in E;

This is the bass line complete with rhythmic notation:

Vibe chords enter:

The verse is introduced by the synth and piano. The synths play variations round these two chords:

While the piano plays very bare, simple chords:

When the verse begins (Sweetest Girl in all the world etc) the piano chords go lower, playing synth chords above in the octave below middle C.


For the chorus (Take a walk in the park etc) the bass follows the root of the piano chords (C A D G) playing similar reggae type rhythms as in the verse. These are the piano chords;

At the end of the chorus it gets a bit fiddly. There is no chord really. The bass and piano play a similar phrase, these are their respective notes:

Here it all is in rhythm (Remember, if you're confused refer back to the drum pattern to work out the rhythm patterns)

And that's about it really, except for the Hey Jude bit in the middle. Bass and Piano play the same notes, but in different octaves. Here are the notes on the piano:

Just count 1 2 3 4, that is the rhythm they are in:

F#A C#
D F# A# C# E# B D# F# A E G# B D

Then it's back to the verse for a few more repetitions, dubs, clucks, clacks and cherry pie political adages...

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Publisher: One Two Testing - IPC Magazines Ltd, Northern & Shell Ltd.

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One Two Testing - Apr 1986

Feature by Selma Henson

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