Hard to believe day’s night but …

Jason Brown (Dalhousie University) is in the news for his work analyzing the opening chord of the Beatles’ song “A Hard Day’s Night.” The exact nature of the chord, played by George Harrison, was a mystery for 40 years, but Brown used a Fourier transform to analyze the frequencies and solve the mystery. He found an F note in the opening sound that could not be played on Harrison’s 12-string guitar and deduced that the note was part of a piano chord played along with the guitar. Brown is also researching other aspects of the Beatles’ music, including Harrison’s guitar solo in the same song–which he concluded was recorded at half-speed and then sped up in the studio–and whether it was John Lennon or Paul McCartney who wrote “In My Life”–which both artists claimed to have written. On math and music, Brown says, “Music and math are not really that far apart. … The best music is analytical and pattern-filled and mathematics has a lot of aesthetics to it. They complement each other well.” The Halifax Chronicle Herald has more about Brown and his research. More on math-related articles appearing in newspapers, magazines, radio, and television is in Math in the Media.

I always thought that chord was just the open strings at the 2nd fret. It’s obvious , however, that the solo is speeded up. Harrison was a good player, a melodic player but never seemed interested in being a fast player.

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