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The Scientist tuning???


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Chris Martin (from Rolling Stone July 14, 2005): "On the second album I was thinking there was something missing. I was in this really dark room in Liverpool, and there was a piano so old and out of tune. I really wanted to try and work out the George Harrison song 'Isn't It A Pity,' but I couldn't. Then this song came out at once. I said, 'Can you turn on the recorder?' The first time I sung it is what's out there."


I have to pitch my keyboard sharp. Does anyone know the exact "numbers" to make it sound like the album version? Standard tuning won't cut it.

Thank you!

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It seems like it's a tiny bit less than a half of a half-step up.

My board has 32 semitones between half-steps. If I tune up 16 semitones (say from F) it is too sharp for the song. I set it at about 10 semitones up from F and it seems pretty true to the CD.


I always wonder why (or how) a song gets recorded at such an odd tuning? Surely it is done after the song is recorded - otherwise the guitar and bass would have to somehow match that weird tuning.



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Thanks for the information. I read somewhere that Van Halen 1 was recorded at 1/4 cent downtuned. I guess everyone else tuned to Eddie's guitar. Even David Lee Roth sang to Eddie's tuning. I also thought that 'The Scientist" was recorded at a really slow speed and they upped the tempo afterward. I guess it was just a really out of tune piano afterall. They kept the original take and expanded from there.

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Yeah, maybe they did keep the original take on the outta tune piano, heh.

These days with digital recording you can speedup or slow down the tempo without changing the key at all.

All Stevie Ray Vaughn tunes are played with his guitar tuned down a whole step, but I guess that's to make vocals easier.



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  • 9 years later...

Wow, just about 10 years later and I have some news if anyone see this. Most if not all of the songs from Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head are tuned a little bit sharp. If you use a reference an A note is usually equal to 440Hz. On the albums however, A will equal 446Hz which i believe is translates to 24 or 25 cents sharp. I found out this information here: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/good-news-channel/654533-all-coldplay-fans-piano-tuning-found.html



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  • 3 weeks later...

I threw some songs into Melodyne to see what kinds of reference pitches Coldplay has used and if there were any apparent patterns (you might expect that other songs using piano on AROBTTH would have been roughly the same as the Scientist if he liked using that particular piano which happened to be 24 cents sharp).


So yeah..


Yellow was recorded with an A4=447 Hz, 27 cents sharp.


The Scientist was indeed 446 Hz, or 26 cents sharp.


Warning Sign is 433Hz or -28 cents


A Rush of Blood to the Head is 444 Hz or 15 cents sharp


Amsterdam is 445 or 18 cents sharp


Their more recent stuff tends to be 440 more often. But I know Magic, for example is like 15 cents sharp, I think. Not much, but enough to be annoyed if you try to play along with a digital piano or something.





Not too long ago, before all the processing we have now to boost upper frequencies with EQ and add harmonic distortion with tube or valve amplification, orchestras were constantly experiencing "pitch inflation" because when a stringed instrument is tuned sharper, it produces a "brighter" sound for some complex and and also some obvious reasons. Maybe with some of the strings tuned down on yellow and other songs on parachutes, the thought it'd sound better to regain the string tension by tuning a little higher. Could also have been done for vocal reasons to make flipping in and out of falsetto as natural as possible. who knows.

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