How Math Unraveled the "Hard Day's Night" Mystery

November 3, 2008

The intro chord to the Beatles classic “Hard Day’s Night” has always been a pretty complex sound. There were allegedly no overdubs, but definitely more notes than John, Paul, and George could've played.

Professor Brown of Dalhousie University cracked the chord recently, and it only took him six months and some insane mathematical skills. So what was the answer? George Martin played five notes on the piano. What a trickster.

Via Wired:

Guitarists have puzzled over how this chord is played for decades because it contains a note that would be impossible for the Beatles' two guitarists and bassist to play in one take, and experts have concluded that no multitracking was involved in this part of the song. The secret sauce, as it turns out, includes five piano notes apparently played by producer George Martin. Brown made the discovery by disassembling the sampled amplitudes into the original frequencies using Fourier transforms.

Pretty tight.