|Research & Development|
A colleague sent a link today to a story of how a mathematician solved the mystery of the opening chord in The Beatles song Hard Days Night.
Link to online article.
Link to academic paper.
This is really neat.
Can you guess in advance of clicking on the link how the chord might have come into being?
All the best,
This doesn't explain how they did it live, & I suspect there were some tunings used as well with the 12 string which the researchers wouldn't have guessed at. Live you can see John on his Rick 12 string (or is that his 6 string) too which adds more complexity. YouTube has several examples.
[edited to add parenthetical remark about 6 string]This message has been edited. Last edited by: Tom Munch,
In this version John clearly has his thumb wrapped around the guitar neck & playing an F in the bass - most guys I know play a G in the bass. The paper cited only has versions with G in the bass. The paper does state that there couldn't have been a G in the bass later on after the chords are shown, but this F that John is playing is not discussed.
[added statement about paper (& then clarified)]
Anyway, the paper is really cool, but I still think there's more going on here than what they found in their tests.
Just my two cents on it. I've seen some weird tunings & heard some weird things that I couldn't explain many many times in my travels.
I LIKE it!
I've played THAT chord so many ways - I look forward to going home and trying these!
Don't want to keep rehashing this, but here are some fuzzy blowups from YouTube.
Paul chord before last
This looks like an F on the third string to me.
[edited to add chord]This message has been edited. Last edited by: Tom Munch,
Paul last chord
He's playing a G on the third string I think.
[edited to change to G]
These are all much easier to see as they go by on the video.
The Beatles also used a lot of related chords that added to their magical sound as well. John would play a Barred F while George would play a Barred Dm. Try this with someone and you'll hear the Beatle sound.
John often called himself (and I think he thought of the other three) as musical primitives. This wasn't a bad thing, just a truism as they came at music with a lack of a lot of the preconceptions some of us have from being shown the 'right' way to do things.
Paul talks about a day-long excursion he, John and George took on a bus across town to go to the house of a guy who could show them the mysterious B seventh chord. Once they had that, they were on their way.
Cool thing about Beatles is that ALL songs included Bb. Even songs that had no reason to.
Things We Said Today in Am: Bb
I Will in D: Bb (I KNOW I KNOW, it's in F, but I like it in D, sue me)
I wouldn't even KNOW Bb if not for the Beatles.
OK, I wouldn't know ANYTHING if not for the Beatles - I'd probably be a computer programmer. Oh, I AM. Anyway. I digress..
This is just one more example of you bringing to light something I would have never been curious enough to find on my own, and yet found it very interesting.
This has to be right down your alley. Math, music, computers, psycho-acoustics, puzzling problem solved.
A good meal and an after dinner drink and your day is done.
Just a passing thought,
There are many things that changed the way we live our lives. It is difficult to measure or compare the impact of the many marvels of modern technology, but for me two major forces of change were the Beatles and plastic garbage bags. Those who wern't alive and aware before these two things will never truly appreciate the impact of their appearance.
|Research & Development|
re:Hard Days Night opening chord--
Dont forget the "D" note in the bass
Being a mere whippersnapper when that song came out, I was unaware that there even was a chord controversy til now.
So, after a google, here's another 2 cents in the pot:
So, all in all, what do we have?
George Harrison: Fadd9 in 1st position on 12-string electric guitar
John Lennon: Fadd9 in 1st position on a 6-string acoustic guitar
Paul McCartney: high D played on the D-string, 12th fret on electric bass
George Martin: D2-G2-D3 played on a Steinway Grand Piano
Ringo Starr: Subtle snare drum and ride cymbal
This gives the notes:
G-B-D-F-A-C (the B is a harmonic).
From the videos I've seen I thing Paul is playing a G in the bass (fifth fret on the third string) just as he does on the last chord.
I fully suspect that John is playing an F9 chord (top picture) while George is playing a barred G7 or G7sus & Paul is playing a G (third string) in the bass. The piano is also part of the chord I think on the studio recording.
This is NOT what the study Ken noted found, but what study of the video shows.
JD's post came in after mine, so that article changes things a bit. I still see Paul playing a G in the video though on the last chord of the song which sounds the same as the first chord (before they resolve it of course).
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