"Following that [when I'm 64] came 'Penny Lane', which started life
as a fairly simple song. But Paul decided he wanted a special sound on it,
and one day, after he had been at a concert of Bach's Brandenburg
Concerti, he said, 'There's a guy in them playing this fantastic high
'Yes,' I said, 'the piccolo trumpet, the Bach trumpet. Why?'
It's a great sound. Why can't we use it?'
'Sure we can,' I said, and at that he asked me to organise it for him. Now, the normal trumpet is in Bb. But there is also the D trumpet, which is what Bach mostly used, and the F trumpet. In this case, I decided to use a Bb piccolo trumpet, an octave above the normal. To play it I engaged David Mason, who was with the London Symphony Orchestra. It was a difficult session, for two reasons. First, that little trumpet is a devil to play in tune, because it isn't really in tune with itself, so that in order to achieve pure notes the player has to 'lip' each one.
Secondly, we had no music prepared. We just knew that we wanted little piping interjections. We had had experience of professional musicians saying: 'If the Beatles were real musicians, they'd know what they wanted us to play before we came into the studio.' Happily, David Mason wasn't like that at all. By then the Beatles were very big news anyway, and I think he was intrigued to be playing on one of their records, quite apart from being well paid for his trouble. As we came to each little section where we wanted the sound, Paul would think up the notes he wanted, and I would write them down for David. The result was unique, something which had never been done in rock music before, and it gave 'Penny Lane' a very distinct character."
"To hark back to an example - the use of the piccolo trumpet on 'Penny Lane': it is true that I arranged it, but equally true that Paul was thinking up the notes. If I had been left to myself. I honestly do not think I would have written such good notes for David Mason to play."
These quotations are from "All you need is ears" by George Martin, St Martin's Press, New York, 1979. ISBN 0-312-11482-6
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