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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 19 November, 2019
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For those about to rock: how to play some songs on the Google Doodle

The Les Paul Doodle proved such a hit that Google left it there for another day. Here’s some basic tunes to practice.

GOOGLE’S TIME-SINKING Les Paul-themed Doodle – put on the site’s homepage yesterday to mark the 96th birthday of the legendary jazz guitarist and inventor – has been left live on the page for a second day as a result of its overwhelming popularity.

The Doodle – visible on the Google homepage, and which makes music if you hover your house over its six (well, ten) strings – also works through a user’s keyboard, and now even allows you to share your tunes with others through a simple recording facility.

[Edit: Some Irish readers are telling us they can't see the Doodle on their homepages any more - it's still available if you visit google.com, rather than google.ie. There's a link on the Irish homepage to send you there.]

As it’s Friday – and how everyone always feels like letting their hair down at the end of a week after a Bank Holiday – we thought we’d give you a quick tutorial on how to play actual songs on the tune.

The Basics

Although more experienced guitarists will notice that the Google Doodle isn’t theoretically sound (on stringed instruments, longer strings produce lower notes, but the Doodle ignores this theory), working the Doodle through the keyboard is a little like playing an actual keyboard.

The ten notes on the Doodle – which range from the B-just-below-middle-C to the G an octave beneath it – are all directly linked to the row of 10 numerical keys at the top of your computer keyboard. (They’re synced with other keys too, but the numbers are the easiest to deal with.)

To activate the keyboard mode, click the little ‘record’ icon twice (this will turn it on and off again). You can then play the notes by pressing the buttons 1 through 0. These correspond to the notes in ascending order.

The notation we’re using here is of the sort | 7 6 5 6 | 7 7 7 _ | 6 6 6 _ | 7 9 9 _ | . This corresponds (roughly) to musical bars, where the blank underscore space means a ‘rest’.

Mary Had A Little Lamb

Let’s start with an easy one, involving only five keys. It’s simple enough – it’s actually what we used just above.

| 7 6 5 6 | 7 7 7 _ | 6 6 6 _ | 7 9 9 _ |

| 7 6 5 6 | 7 7 7 7 | 6 6 7 6 | 5 _ _ _ |

If you want to play the full ‘and everywhere that Mary went’ version, replace the last _ with a 2 and repeat. Simples! Here’s our example.

Three Blind Mice

Again, a relatively simple one, though a little bit longer.

| 3 _ _ 2 _ _  | 1 _ _  _ _ _  | 3 _ _ 2 _ _ | 1 _ _  _ _ _ |

| 5 _  _  4 _ 4 | 3 _ _  _ _ _ | 5 _  _  4 _ 4 | 3 _ _  _ _ 5 |

| 8 _ 8 7 6 7 | 8 _ 5 5 _ 5 | 8 8 8 7 6 7 | 8 _ 5 5 5 5 |

| 8 _ 8 7 6 7 | 8 5 5 5 _ 4 | 3 _ _ 2 _ _ | 1 _ _  _ _ _ |

Trickier, but still cool to do. Here’s an example.

Imperial March (Star Wars)

We’ll have to warn you: this version is far from orchestral. It’s also incomplete: the Doodle doesn’t handle stuff in minor keys very well, so it’s only the first few bars.

| 3 _ _ 3 _ _ | 3 _ _ 1 _ 5 | 3 _ _ 1 _ 5 | 3 _ _  _ _ _ |

| 7 _ _ 7 _ _ | 7 _ _ 8 _ 7 | 3 _ _ 1 _ 5 | 3 _ _  _ _ _ |

It’s a bit rubbish, but cool to scare people. Here’s our attempt.

Pachelbel’s Canon in D (actually in G)

One you’ll definitely know. There’s one addition we’ll need to make here: when you see two or more numbers written directly alongside each other, like | 15 _ _ 15 _ _ | , this means you should play both at the same time.

| 1580 _ 579 _ | 68 _ 357 _ | 46 _ 135 _ | 46 _ 579 _ |

Our take.

Bolero

Keeping the classical theme – the best-known work of Maurice Ravel, or of Torvill and Dean.

| 8 _ _ _ | _ _ 7 8 | 9 8 7 6 | 8 _ 8 6 | 8 _ _ _ | _ _ 7 8 |

| 6 5 3 4 | 5 _ _ _ | _ _ _ _ | _ 4 3 2 | 3 4 5 6 | 5 _ _ _ |

| _ _ _ _ | _ 6 7 6 | 5 4 3 2 | 3 2 1 _ | _ _ _ _ | _ _ _ _ |

Here’s our terrible, terrible attempt.

James Bond Theme – a duet

Here’s one you can play with a friend. One of you will be playing the bass line, and the other the melody.

The bass line is a little bit off, because the Doodle doesn’t handle chromatics, so you’ll need to make do with a slight adjustment. It’s also short, because of the limit on the notes the Doodle can play.

Here’s the bass line (which sounds like this):

| 3 _ _ _ 6 _ _ _ | 4 _ _ _ 6 _ _ _ | 5 _ _ _ 6 _ _ _ | 4 _ _ _ 6 _ _ _ |

| 3 _ _ _ 6 _ _ _ | 4 _ _ _ 6 _ _ _ | 5 _ _ _ 6 _ _ _ | 4 _ _ _ 6 _ _ _ |

This is then repeated, while the second person plays something that sounds like this:

| 6 _  7 7 7 _ 7 _ | _ _ 6 _ 6 _ 6 _ | 6 _ 8 8 8 _ 8 _ | _ _ 7 _ 7 _ 7 _ |

Amhrán na bhFiann

We’re going old school and finishing, as all nightclubs used to, with the National Anthem. This has no backing chords (though you could try if you’re adventurous), so here goes:

| 8 _ _ 9  | 0 _ 8 _  | 5 _ _ _  | _ _ 5 _  |

| 6 _ _ 6 | 4 _ 6 _  | 5 _ _ 6 | 5 _ _ _  |

| 8 _ _ _  | 7 _ _ _  | 6 _ _ _  | _ _ 7 8 |

| 9 _ _ 0 | 9 _ 6 _  | 7 _ _ _  | _ _ _ _  |

| 8 _ _ 9 | 0 _ 8 _  | 5 _ _ _  | _ _ 5 _  |

| 6 _ _ 6 | 4 _ 6 _  | 5 _ _ 6 | 5 _ _ 6 |

| 7 _ _ _  | 7 _ _ 7 | 7 _ 7 _  | 6 _ _ 5 |

| 5 _ _ _ | _ _ 5 _  |

| 4 _ _ 3 | 4 2 3 4 | 5 _ _ 6 | 5 _ 8 _  |

| 7 _ 6 _  | 7 _ 6 _  | 5 _ 4 _  | 2 _ 5 _  |

| 3 _ 1 3 | 5 _ _ 5 | 6 7 8 9  | 0 _ _ _  | _ _ 8 6  |

| 5 8 _ 0 | 9 _ _ 8 | 8 _ _ _ |

Stand to attention, please, as we play our version, split by Google into two parts: Part 1, Part 2.

Figured out how to play any other songs? Let us know in the comments.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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