I write a regular monthly column on the Science page of Chronicle Herald, Halifax's newpaper. Each article sees current events and issues with a mathematical eye (or two!). Here are some recent articles:
That famous opening chord - is there any other chord in rock 'n' roll that is as instantly recognizable? Yet, how George Harrison got that sound out of his Rickenbacker 12-string was an enduring mystery. It took a bit of mathematics to uncover the rest of the story. The original article Mathematics, Physics and A Hard Day's Night appeared in the October 2004 issue of the CMS (Canadian Mathematical Society) Notes. The article provides the first scientific evidence for the intrumentation, notes and voicing of the famous chord that opened The Beatles' movie of the same name. It wasn't just George Harrison playing on that chord, nor was he the only George contributing!
An abridged version appeared in the January 2005 issue of Guitar Player Magazine.
George Harrison's solo in A HardDay's Night is a feat of mastery, not only in its construction, but also in its technicality. How did George play it so fast and so accurately? The Half-Speed Mystery of "A Hard Day's Night" provides proof that the Georges (!) recorded the solo at half-speed down the octave. A shortened version appears in the November 2006 issue of Guitar Player Magazine).
The Beatles conquered America with I Want To Hold Your Hand, an amazing song. have you ever noticed that the melody is completely in key, with nary a blues note to be found? And yet the song rocks. In a recent article in Guitar Player Magazine (March 2009) I describe the mathematics that John and Paul used, subconsciously, when writing the bridge of the song. The very proof lies in John's left hand!
Everyone loves the blues chord progression. you hear it, you know it, you feel it. By why is the blues chord progression so good, so right? In Deducing the Blues (Notes of the Canadian Mathematical Society, May 2009) I show how the blues chord progression can be derived as the musical model for a thrilling roller coaster ride. Hop on board!
John Lennon wrote his masterpiece in 1966, but despite several takes, he was unhappy with the result. How liked the first part of one take, the second part of another, and sked the Beatles' producer, George Martin, to splice them together. GM was incredulous,as the two takes were at different tempos and in different keys! What to do? Read why it worked, and why the solution could never satisfy Paul's keen sense of rhythm.