Yet Another Solution to the Most Mysterious Chord in Music™

No single chord has been subjected to more study than what we hear heralding the beginning of the Beatles’ “Hard Days Night.”  Attempts to deconstruct and replicate this chord is rock’s equivalent to cracking the mystery of cold fusion or building a perpetual motion machine.  Everyone seems to have a solution/opinion.  Go ahead.  Google it.

The latest theory comes from Dr. Kevin Houston, a British mathematician.  He believes (guitarist take note) that George Harrison played a simple F add9 on his 12-string electric Rickenbacker while pressing the bottom E string at the first fret using his thumb curled around the neck.  He says this technique is common to self-taught guitarists.

He also says that John Lennon played the same chord on an acoustic guitar at the same time.  If you listen to the stereo version of “Hard Days Night,” you can hear Harrison in one speaker and Lennon in the other.

This is quite a bit different from the theory put forward by Dr. Jason Brown of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.  He says that there are missing notes on the guitar chord and that they’re actually filled in by George Martin playing on the piano.  (Listening carefully:  a piano is in there somewhere.)

Me?  I like Randy Bachman’s elequent explanation from his CBC show that was first posted here back in December.  To review:

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

3 thoughts on “Yet Another Solution to the Most Mysterious Chord in Music™

  • September 10, 2012 at 12:28 am

    I'm with you on this one Alan, Bachman's explanation is as close as I'd get in about 316 years.

  • September 10, 2012 at 12:34 am

    Occams Razor. Simplest explanation I've seen to this debate so far…

  • September 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Sounds to me like Randy has it nailed!


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