0

enter image description here

Don't let me down is a classic, but at minute 1:53 you can hear a tritone in the keyboard part which is an Emajor chord that is a poly-chord accidentally combining different notes to make a disgusting chord? Take a listen, and why is nobody talking about this???

It's the single version as well so how did they let this slide.

1 Answer 1

3

A. It's not a mistake: The idea that the tritone is the devil's note, and must be avoided at all costs is a relic of Medieval European music theory. Modern music uses the tritone all the time, particularly in music based on the Black American musical tradition of the Blues, which the Beatles music definitely was. The keyboard player on this song was Black American artist Billy Preston, who would have been immersed in this idiom--where occasional dissonances are a regular and expected part of bringing more emotionality to the performance.

B. But even if it was a mistake: The Beatles might still have deliberately left it in. They had a playful relationship to recording, and often capitalized on "happy accidents" like Paul mixing up Desmond and Molly in the marketplace.

C. But even if they wanted to remove it: They might not have been able to do so. They were working with physical magnetic tapes, there was no way to edit out a single note without a cut-and-paste job that would have definitely sounded much worse. Typically you had to get the whole song in one take, and although the Beatles were pioneers of mixing different takes together, it wasn't something you would do lightly, or for a single missed note.

D. Why is no one talking about this?: It's almost impossible to hear, even listening for it with an exact timestamp.

In summary--the Beatles' music was never about perfection, and the studio techniques of the time didn't allow for the artificial perfecting process of modern pop hits. It's not a match for the aesthetic. If this stray tritone bothers someone, they're missing the point of the music.

3
  • It doesn't bother me, in fact I love The Beatles. What makes you think it bothers me? I like the song and I like the Beatles. I'm not missing the point of the music for asking a simple question but thank you for answering it regardless. I did find the ending paragraph insulting to an infuriating degree because it sounded kind of pompous but thank you for your answer. I think the mistake is funny and cool, not terrible. Me calling the chord disgusting was hyperbolic.
    – Username
    Jan 25 at 2:05
  • @Username Why would I think it bothers you? Because you called it a "mistake", a "disgusting chord," asked "why is nobody talking about this?" and "how did they let this slide?" With all that said, the "you" in my answer isn't meant to be personally you, it's the generic "you." I'll edit to make that more clear. Jan 25 at 2:22
  • 1
    Sorry for the misunderstand. Also thank you for clarifying.
    – Username
    Jan 25 at 4:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.