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As you know, "Amateur Hour" is a big analogy: learning love is like learning the piano. Now the beginning of the song always sounded to me as if someone was learning bar: CDEF, CDE F!, CD E!F!...(BTW, does anyone know the notes? Can't write or read notes...) I never ever saw a piano etude in my life, let alone tried to play it - so can someone familiar with classic etudes (or the Sparks) confirm or deny my hunch that the Maels "stole" from one? It would fit their sense of humor...

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    Actually, it's a damning indictment of young girls being paraded at debutant balls, to be stared at by equally naive adolescent males, like some kind of cattle market for middle class future husbands. It is viewed from the perspective of one of the naive males. No idea were you got the piano lesson idea from. Ron & Russell hid their punches well, but they never pulled them.
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 20 '21 at 17:38
  • BTW, it starts in B♭ & modulates to C later, so the opening riff is F, G, A, B♭
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 20 '21 at 17:46
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The opening riff (which is also the melodic basis for the sung portion) is just a fragment of a standard major key scale. Scales are one of the basic building blocks of all music all around the world, and the major key is the most characteristic foundation of all "western" (Western European derived) music. So in that that sense only, there's a relationship between this and classical music.

But nothing else in this suggests or evokes any classic Etude. Rhythmically it wouldn't be a match, it's too deliberately irregular.

If anything, the repeating fragment might be intended to make you think of a beginning student rehearsing scales. That would fit with your understanding of the larger concept.

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    I do like how they hammer the 9th against the F bass though. Much smarter band than they were often given credit for.
    – Tetsujin
    Dec 20 '21 at 17:42

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