Science!: Raptorex, The Beatles and WTF

Lauren Admire | 21 Sep 2009 21:00

It's Been a Hard Day's Chord

I'm sure you're tired of hearing about The Beatles, so much so that if you hear another mention of the insectoid band name, you'll start stabbing people. Well, grab a knife.

The opening chord from "It's Been a Hard Day's Night" has puzzled musicians since they first heard its recognizable twang. Many have tried to mimic it, but none had been able to decipher the chords quite correctly. It's puzzled fans for forty years; in the end, it didn't take a musician to find the right tuning, but a mathematician.

Jason Brown set out to master the magical mystery using a Fourier transform, a mathematical calculation which breaks a sound into its distinct frequencies. Brown parsed a single second from the opening chord and ran it through the calculations. The Fourier transform broke the sound into its corresponding frequencies - 29,375 of them, to be specific. After narrowing that number down to a robust 48, Jason found that some of the frequencies didn't match up to any of the instruments being played in the song. Harrison played the 12 string, Lennon played the 6 string and Paul was on the bass. Using just those instruments, all of the frequencies are accounted for, save for a single F note. So, what was making the F note?

What was missing was a piano. A piano played by one George Martin, the Beatles' producer, in fact. Martin played five notes to help create one of the most distinctive opening chords of our time.

Source: Noise Addicts

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