The famous opening chord to the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night
Ever tried to recreate that chord? I have...and so have a lot of people. Simply copying sheet music or guitar tablatures gets you close, but something always seems to be missing.
Four years ago, inspired by reading news coverage about the song’s 40th anniversary, Jason Brown of Dalhousie’s Department of Mathematics decided to try and see if he could apply a mathematical calculation known as Fourier transform to solve the Beatles’ riddle. The process allowed him to decompose the sound into its original frequencies using computer software and parse out which notes were on the record.
What he found was interesting: the frequencies he found didn’t match theinstruments on the song. George played a 12-string Rickenbacker, John Lennon played his 6 string, Paul had his bass - none of them quite fit what he found. He then realized what was missing - the 5th Beatle. George Martin was also on the record, playing a piano in the opening chord, which accounted for the problematic frequencies.
So, anyway, here it is: George Harrison was playing the following notes on his 12 string guitar: a2, a3, d3, d4, g3, g4, c4, and another c4; Paul McCartney played a d3 on his bass; producer George Martin was playing d3, f3, d5, g5, and e6 on the piano, while Lennon played a loud c5 on his six-string guitar.