Monday, August 13, 2018

Magical mystery song: Math solves Beatles songwriting puzzle

Even John Lennon and Paul McCartney couldn't remember who wrote the music for In My Life. Stats to the rescue!

The Beatles' famous songwriting credit, Lennon-McCartney, doesn't distinguish between whether John Lennon or Paul McCartney wrote most, all, or some of a particular tune.

And to many fans, it doesn't matter. But three researchers recently utilized statistics and mathematics to determine whether John or Paul was the composer of 1965's In My Life. 

The researchers analyzed dozens of songs by the duo, and discovered 149 distinct transitions between notes and chords that are present in almost all Beatles songs, and which were unique to either Lennon or McCartney's compositions.

In My Life was released on the Beatles album Rubber Soul. The lyrics, a personal meditation about one's life and loves, are inarguably Lennon's. But Lennon and McCartney disagreed about who came up with the melody.


But the data proved that theory wrong. The stats showed there's only a fractional probability that McCartney wrote any of the music.

"The probability that In My Life was written by McCartney is .018," Glickman said in a press release. "Which basically means it's pretty convincingly a Lennon song."

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to be anonymous until I figure out how to sign back up. I tried one time and ended up changing passwords. A certain Gary was not happy with me. Anyway.
As a Beatle fan I can usually tell who wrote what. Great song, great group.