Blackbird - The Beatles


Welcome to the Music Quiz aiMOOC on "Blackbird" by The Beatles! In this module, we'll explore various aspects of this iconic song, including its history, lyrics, and the band itself. This course is designed to be interactive and engaging for all learners, especially those interested in music history and The Beatles.

Background of "Blackbird"

"Blackbird," released in 1968 on The Beatles' self-titled album, often referred to as the White Album, is a significant song in the band's discography. Composed by Paul McCartney, the song was inspired by the Civil Rights Movement in the United States and McCartney's desire to write a song that would offer hope and encouragement.

  1. Learn about the Civil Rights Movement and its impact on music.
  2. Explore the White Album and its place in music history.
  3. Understand the songwriting techniques used by McCartney in "Blackbird."

Musical Composition and Style

"Blackbird" is known for its distinctive guitar pattern, melody, and minimalistic style. McCartney's solo performance with an acoustic guitar uses a fingerpicking technique inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach's Bourrée in E minor.

  1. Study the Fingerpicking technique and its use in "Blackbird."
  2. Analyze the melodic structure of the song.
  3. Explore the influence of classical music, specifically Johann Sebastian Bach, on The Beatles.

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

What inspired Paul McCartney to write "Blackbird"? (Civil Rights Movement in the United States) (!His interest in bird watching) (!A childhood memory) (!The space race of the 1960s)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

Which album features the song "Blackbird"? (The Beatles' White Album) (!Abbey Road) (!Help!) (!Rubber Soul)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

What is the primary theme conveyed in the lyrics of "Blackbird"? (Hope and encouragement) (!Love and peace) (!Travel and adventure) (!Nature and wildlife)


Create a memory game with matching pairs for this topic.

Paul McCartney Wrote "Blackbird"
1968 Year of release
Civil Rights Movement Inspiration for the song
White Album Album featuring "Blackbird"
Fingerpicking Technique Guitar style used in "Blackbird"

Open Tasks


  1. Listening Exercise: Listen to "Blackbird" and describe your emotional response to the song.
  2. Music Appreciation: Compare "Blackbird" to another Beatles song and note the differences.


  1. Musical Analysis: Analyze the guitar technique used in "Blackbird."
  2. Historical Research: Investigate the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on music in the 1960s.


  1. Performance Challenge: Learn to play "Blackbird" on the guitar and record your performance.
  2. Songwriting Exercise: Write a song inspired by a social movement, as McCartney did with "Blackbird."

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Oral Exam

  1. Discuss how "Blackbird" reflects the socio-political context of the late 1960s.
  2. Explain the impact of classical music on The Beatles' songwriting and composition.
  3. Analyze how the simplicity of "Blackbird" contrasts with other Beatles songs from the same period.
  4. Discuss the importance of music as a tool for social commentary and change.
  5. Explore how "Blackbird" would be perceived if released in today's socio-political climate.

OERs on the Topic


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