The Big Note by Charles Ulrich

The Big Note: A Guide to the Recordings of Frank Zappa

  • Non-Fiction
  • 800 pages, 7×10 inches
  • Price: $45 CAD · $39 USD
  • ISBN: 9781554201464
  • Date published: 2018-05-08
  • Availability: in print & available


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About The Big Note

Based on careful listening to authorized and unauthorized recordings, and drawing on hundreds of interviews with Frank Zappa and numerous musicians who worked with him, The Big Note is the complete guide to the music of Frank Zappa.

The product of more than fifteen years of research by Charles Ulrich,
The Big Note provides detailed commentary on 1,663 tracks spanning 100 albums recorded over 35 years, backed up by 1,773 citations. Ulrich's book provides the liner notes that every album in the protean and prolific composer's oeuvre cries out for; it is the indispensible resource for any FZ fan or scholar.

Who's playing what on each track? When was this recorded? How did FZ put this together? Just what is the Apostolic Blurch Injector? What the heck are we listening to, anyway, and why does it sound so familiar?

"An astonishing 15-year work of research, Ulrich has created the ultimate encyclopedia of all Zappa & Mothers recordings. The details of the sessions and of the musicians who participated are as fascinating as one of Frank's best compositions."
— Art Tripp, Mothers of Invention percussionist, '68-'69

"Charles Ulrich's
The Big Note is your Amazingly Breathtakingly Complete, Definitively Encyclopedic, Frankly Gargantuan, Highly Interesting And Informative, Jaw-Droppingly Knowledgeable, Lovingly Monumentally Notoriously Obsessive, Precisely Quote-filled, Quintessentially Researched, Stupendously Terrifically Useful, Voluminously Weighty, Xenochronically Yeomanly Zappa–centric Guide to Conceptual Continuity.Destined to be the essential Zappa listening companion for the 21st century."
— David Ocker, Zappa copyist, Synclavier assistant, and clarinetist, '77-'84

"Charles's book will be the next best thing to being in the room with Frank."
— Scott Thunes, Zappa bassist, '81-'88

About Charles Ulrich

Charles Ulrich (BA, Pomona College; PhD, UCLA) taught linguistics at ten universities in the United States and Canada. Since 1994 he has been active in the on-line Zappa fan community — on,, and his own website, The Planet Of My Dreams. He lives in Vancouver, BC.

Visit Charles Ulrich's page