Listen to this terrific analysis of the cowbell in the Yes classic, "Owner of a Lonely Heart"

After listening to Jon Mattox's breakdown and analysis of the use of the cowbell in the 1983 hit "Owner of a Lonely Heart" by Yes, I'll never look at (or listen to!) cowbells the same. They are no joke—they can add seriously cool sounds and melodies to music. I have a whole newfound respect for them!

In this video, Mattox breaks down the use of the instrument throughout the entire song, explaining that while it starts out like an ordinary cowbell, it quickly becomes melodic. He states that when the verse starts, the cowbell goes from playing one repeated pitch to three different pitches in the key of the song, in a melodic pattern. In the video, he isolates the cowbell with the vocals so you can really hear how it's being used to create, in Mattox's words, a "melodic, percussive, texture."

You know what whole thing leaves me wanting? You guessed it! MORE!

Jon Mattox is a Los Angeles-based composer and musician who posts really cool educational videos on his social media, with the purpose of, he explains, "helping you create better music and sounds." Find him on TikTok and Instagram.


A Study In Cowbell: Owner Of A Lonely Heart – YES Producer: Trevor Horn Written by Trevor Rabin Jon Anderson Chris Squire Trevor Horn Jon Anderson – lead and backing vocals Trevor Rabin – co-lead and backing vocals, electric guitars, Synclavier and Fairlight CMI synthesizers Chris Squire – bass guitar, backing vocals Alan White – drums, Fairlight CMI programming Tony Kaye – piano #yes #cowbell

♬ Owner of a Lonely Heart – Yes

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