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Groaning glissando in Hey Jude
14 April 2014
2.10pm
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Joe
Pepperland
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I was listening to Hey Jude in mono earlier today, and I spotted something I'd never heard before. And now I can't unhear it.

It's after the first lot of nanananas in the coda, just as McCartney sings "Hey Jude ", at about 3.18. There's this amazing deep buzzing groaning glissando that doesn't seem to appear anywhere else in the song. What is it?

One of the reasons why I love The Beatles so much is I can listen to them every day for over 20 years and still hear new things.

This will hopefully link directly to the bit of the song I'm talking about.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?.....tg#t=3m15s

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14 April 2014
2.14pm
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WETSRoosa
Mountains of East Tennessee
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Joe said
I was listening to Hey Jude in mono earlier today, and I spotted something I'd never heard before. And now I can't unhear it.

It's after the first lot of nanananas in the coda, just as McCartney sings "Hey Jude ", at about 3.18. There's this amazing deep buzzing groaning glissando that doesn't seem to appear anywhere else in the song. What is it?

One of the reasons why I love The Beatles so much is I can listen to them every day for over 20 years and still hear new things.

This will hopefully link directly to the bit of the song I'm talking about.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?.....tg#t=3m15s

 

Yeah I caught it. Fascinating.

"There's no such thing as bad student... only bad teacher."

14 April 2014
2.24pm
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Joe
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I assume it's a double bass. I tend to think there's just brass on Hey Jude , but they had a whole mini-orchestra: 10 violins, 3 violas, 3 cellos, 2 double basses, 2 flutes, 2 clarinets, 1 bass clarinet, 1 bassoon, 1 contrabassoon, 4 trumpets, 2 horns, 4 trombones, 1 percussion

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14 April 2014
5.33pm
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ScrambledEggs
Behind the moon
Paris Olympia
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Joe said

I assume it's a double bass. I tend to think there's just brass on Hey Jude , but they had a whole mini-orchestra: 10 violins, 3 violas, 3 cellos, 2 double basses, 2 flutes, 2 clarinets, 1 bass clarinet, 1 bassoon, 1 contrabassoon, 4 trumpets, 2 horns, 4 trombones, 1 percussion

Yes, I'd say it's a double bass as well. As for the reason why that sound is only audible in that one part, I'd say it's just that whoever played the instrument happened to hit that note a little bit louder at that point.  

14 April 2014
6.13pm
Bungalow Bob
Seattle, Washington
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Thanks for pointing this out. I listened to it, and sure enough, there it is, very prominent. I will never not hear it again. In fact, I cannot wait for the opportunity to casually drop that into a conversation with my many Beatle-loving musician friends. I'll say something like "I really like that terrific groaning glissando after the first set of Hey Jude 's na-nas." And I just know my friends will then listen, and have the same reaction: fascinated, they will never not hear it again. :)

Also, thanks for pointing out that the groaning glissando is probably played by a double bass. I would not have known that, as I am not very familiar with many orchestra instruments.

15 April 2014
10.55am
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Joe
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You're welcome! Make sure you play them the mono version though.

It's not quite as prominent, but there's a similar thing in Penny Lane too, during the line "We see the banker sitting waiting for a trim". Again it's easier to hear in the mono mix:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?.....DM#t=2m02s

I wish there was a way to hear the raw scores that George Martin wrote for the songs. I bet there are loads of hidden things buried in the mixes.

Talking of which... 

ScrambledEggs said

Yes, I'd say it's a double bass as well. As for the reason why that sound is only audible in that one part, I'd say it's just that whoever played the instrument happened to hit that note a little bit louder at that point.  

I'm not sure. I think it's probably a mixing error. The studio engineers would have set up the microphones very carefully for each instrument, and I assume the musicians would have had directions on the score for the dynamics (loudness). My money's on the balance engineer getting it wrong during the recording, and they either left it in or forgot to mix it down when making the mono.

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22 April 2014
1.13am
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Funny Paper
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It sounds like the deepest note on a bassoon, being played very "fortissimo".  That would be the coolest explanation.  Second possibility, a tuba's deepest note (but somehow it doesn't sound quite "tuba-y" to me).  Or it could be some electronic manipulation of sound (which would be kind of cheating). 

I never heard it before, but I'm glad I heard it now!

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22 April 2014
1.16am
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Funny Paper
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Also, I'm not sure I would call it a "glissando" -- that description kind of threw me when I first tried to locate what Joe was talking about on the sample.  Isn't a glissando a sliding over many notes?  This sound sounds markedly uniform, on one note.

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22 April 2014
10.53am
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Joe
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It is a slide, from one note to another.

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