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Old Apr 29, 2010, 04:40 AM   #21
earwax
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Originally Posted by dmpc View Post
And how does one know what "in tune" is? That is, how does one know these recordings ARE out of tune, since you weren't there that day?
A is 440 cycles per second. This has been the accepted standard since the mid 1950's.

The rest is based on the ASSUMPTION that they were tuned to standard pitch.

EDIT: It's probably safe to assume John was carrying a harmonica with him. Thus providing a handy reference for "standard pitch".

Last edited by earwax : Apr 29, 2010 at 04:54 AM.
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Old Apr 30, 2010, 02:27 AM   #22
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A is 440 cycles per second. This has been the accepted standard since the mid 1950's.
But for the last years there has been a tendency to tune to a higher pitch, most comonly A 442 (at least in classical music and in Europe), in accordance with the general tendency throughout history.

Anyway, I think the Beatles may have tuned to any old A available. A piano in the studio, Paul's bass or whatever.

John must have owned the only tuned harmonica in the world. Even brand new harmonicas are not usually well tuned, and after they have been used for some time, they are not, for sure. Another thing I read (I cannot say where, and I wouldn't put my head on the block for it) is that harmonicas are not tuned to A 440, but to A 442. In any case, I've never heard anyone using a harmonica as tuning reference (unless the other instruments are completely out of tune and there's no other way to know where is A, more or less).

To me, wondering whether the Beatles were tuned to A 440 or A 443 is irrelevant as far as the "pitch correction" process is concerned. What is important is whether they played at the normal concert pitch or not. And, to me, "normal concert pitch" means playing something that is nearer A than nearer Ab or A#. There's a lot of space between one note and the following, an slight variations of pitch around the note itself don't mean anything in this context. Considering everyone adjusted the speed of their record player manually, who cares about one or two Hertzs?
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Old May 01, 2010, 01:00 PM   #23
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I avoid Lewisohn's garbage like I avoid the plague.

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Because he said so. Watch "Hail, Hail, Rock and Roll".

Varying the tape speed was/is not an uncommon practice. The Beatles used it often for different effects ("Rain" was played fast then slowed down). Read "The Complete Recording Sessions".

I have not heard enough different versions of the Decca tapes to comment on those but it wouldn't be the first time a bootlegger got it wrong.
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Old May 01, 2010, 01:05 PM   #24
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If the Beatles DO know what went on, then how does one explain Paul not remembering who played bass on You Never Give Me Your Money?
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Old May 03, 2010, 01:15 AM   #25
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Who said the Beatles knew and remembered everything? Not remembering something may mean it did or did not happen, but something that didn't happen cannot be remembered, in principle. It's easy to see how Paul cannot remember who finally played what in a certain song if everyone in the sudio (and, for literal minds, I'd like to clarify that by "everyone" I mean Paul, John and George) had a go at it, as I'm sure must have often happened. But a change in the tuning of the instruments because they were so nervous about the audition, being something completely uncommon and premeditated, is much more likely to be remembered.
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Old May 03, 2010, 05:00 AM   #26
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I would consider it highly unlikely for a band to do tape speed manipulation on a live demo tape. I would also think that tuning to a non-standard pitch would be unlikely as that can really mess with a vocalist's performance.

While they might not have been tuned precisely, you can bet they were in the ballpark. I would be more apt to suspect slight differences in the speeds of the machine it was recorded on vs the machne it was played back on. (Especially if it ever saw a transfer to cassette in it's lineage.)
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Old May 09, 2010, 01:25 PM   #27
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I would consider it highly unlikely for a band to do tape speed manipulation on a live demo tape. I would also think that tuning to a non-standard pitch would be unlikely as that can really mess with a vocalist's performance.

While they might not have been tuned precisely, you can bet they were in the ballpark. I would be more apt to suspect slight differences in the speeds of the machine it was recorded on vs the machne it was played back on. (Especially if it ever saw a transfer to cassette in it's lineage.)
Which would imply a "speed correction" then and not 30 some odd years later...

I would suspect someone would have corrected it a LONG time ago (in like 1962?), as Brian was using that demo to market the Beatles. Otherwise, he was just being DUMB, and no wonder why only Parlophone wanted them.
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Old May 09, 2010, 09:28 PM   #28
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I'm sure the original tapes at that time were fine. Also I don't think the Beatles decided on performing the songs differently. It's somewhere down the line with the transfers of these tapes, and thus going down furture away from the original source, things can go wrong where a pitch corrections later on are needed.

In short it depends on which bootleg is the nearest to the source tape that gets you the best version, did they use the bootleg singles of the material for example or did they work with tape and if so how many generations removed from the original source tape.

There are many bootlegs and the debate as what's the best version will go on for a long time.
I recently got the latest Dr. Ebbet's version, and to me that's where I am going to leave it at.

Last edited by Legs : May 09, 2010 at 09:33 PM.
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Old May 10, 2010, 04:39 AM   #29
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Which would imply a "speed correction" then and not 30 some odd years later...

I would suspect someone would have corrected it a LONG time ago (in like 1962?), as Brian was using that demo to market the Beatles. Otherwise, he was just being DUMB, and no wonder why only Parlophone wanted them.
No, that doesn't really imply anything.

BTW - I've never checked to see if the Deccagone singles I got through Joe Pope's Strawberry Fields in the late 70's are in "tune" or not.
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