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Friday, 31 October, 2008

Mystery Chord

Music news: Mathematician Cracks Mystery Beatles Chord.

It's the most famous chord in rock 'n' roll, an instantly recognizable twang rolling through the open strings on George Harrison's 12-string Rickenbacker. It evokes a Pavlovian response from music fans as they sing along to the refrain that follows:

It's been a hard day's night
And I've been working like a dog

The opening chord to A Hard Day's Night is also famous because for 40 years, no one quite knew exactly what chord Harrison was playing. Musicians, scholars and amateur guitar players alike had all come up with their own theories, but it took a Dalhousie mathematician to figure out the exact formula.

Then it gets into Fourier transforms and such. The conclusion:

Dr. Brown deduces that another George-George Martin, the Beatles producer-also played on the chord, adding a piano chord that included an F note impossible to play with the other notes on the guitar.

Here's an extensive Web page devoted to that chord: CHAAAAAAAAG.

However, George Harrison has suggested an alternative based on the original Fadd9, but with the bottom E fretted with the thumb at the 3rd fret:

E ----3----
B ----1----
G ----2----
D ----3----
A ----0----
E ----3----

But as Pedler says, "we can't have our cake and eat it". Only the full band, with piano, can fully recreate that instantly recognisable sound.

I'm waiting for 12-stringer to read this and provide the definitive answer.

(via Metafilter)


Posted in Music | Comments (15) | View recent posts