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Deconstructing the first chord of The Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night”

Dec 14, 2011 By Abraham

Randy Bachman shows us what John, Paul, and George each played on their instruments to make the dissonant and awesome first chord of “A Hard Day’s Night”…

(If you want to hear the chord first to remind yourself, here you go.)

Wikipedia has a more involved and technical analysis.

(via Reddit)


  1. absinthe1890 says:

    For a much better analysis of this chord and to hear the isolations yourself, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wbNaEXmyrw

    Strangely, Bachman doesn’t even mention George Martin’s absolutely crucial piano contribution to the chord, which is why the chord the band plays in the video sounds so thin. The chord George plays, incidentally, isn’t exactly news, either, as George himself revealed the chord he played as far back November 28, 1984, at a press conference. He also mentioned the chord’s construction during a Yahoo! online chat on Feb. 15, 2001.

    If anyone’s interested in further discussion see Dominic Pedler’s excellent “The Songwriting Secrets of The Beatles” from 2003, which includes a 36-page chapter devoted to the famous chord.

  2. Marco Raaphorst says:

    “the dissonant and awesome first chord”

    dissonant? not at all! dissonants is a wrong diatonic chord of note, so this one is definitely not dissonant. it’s beautiful.

  3. Nathan says:

    Dissonance is not playing a wrong note, but rather any interval that is a second, seventh, or any augmented or diminished interval. Here are the notes:



    D F# G A

    So the F, F#, and G would all be dissonant with each other, as well as the C and D, and the G and A. Sorry to get all theoretical on you, but it really is interesting. :)

    So, the overall chord structure (bottom note on list is the bass note, repeated tones omitted for cleaner analysis):


    We’ve got a Dm7 split third (M/m), sus 4.

  4. Ron says:

    While not quite as full as the composite, I’ve been playing essentially what George played on my Rick 12 cranked a bit through my Dual Showman and it sounds quite nice. It is kind of old news as was mentioned in another post. Thanks for sharing though. I am surprised that there is a piano claimed as – if it’s truly there – it’s mixed quite well under the guitars. You can hear the piano in the solo section clearly though. Thanks again!

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