Brisbane: A British mathematician has claimed to have got closer than anyone else to solving the decades old mystery of the clanging, opening chord at the start of the 1964 Beatles hit ‘A Hard Day’s Night.’
Dr Kevin Houston, from the University of Leeds, used sophisticated software to split up the sound on the record into its component frequencies, the Brisbane Times reported.
Presented on a computer screen, a pattern was revealed showing which notes were most prominent.
The results suggest a much simpler solution than one proposed four years ago by another scientist from Canada, according to the paper.
Professor Jason Brown, from Dalhousie University, maintained that missing guitar notes were replaced by Beatles producer George Martin playing a piano.
Buried in the background behind the guitars, the piano is hard to hear.
Yet, according to Prof Brown, it provides the vital musical spark that makes the chord so distinctive.
According to the paper, Dr Houston does not dispute that the piano is there, but challenges its importance.
He believes George Harrison was playing a straightforward F add9 on his 12-string electric Rickenbacker guitar, rather than the unusual fingering indicated by Prof Brown.
At the same time, Harrison appears to have had his thumb curled round the neck of the guitar, pressing down the bottom E string at the first fret.
“The opening chord to A Hard Day’s Night is a mystery,” Dr Houston, said while speaking at the British Science Festival.
“It turns out that nobody really knows what it is. People who do know are a bit cagey about it. George Martin probably knows quite well but I think he’s quite happy not to tell people.
“I wouldn’t like to say that we’ve definitely got it right, but I think we’ve put the record straighter. It makes mathematical and musical sense,” he added.