My dad and I noticed something: On Michael Jackson's "Burn this Disco Out",

there's a certain chord that occurs before the track fades out. That one chord sounds slightly out of tune (flat) to my dad and me. It's just that one chord in the entire song. One possible explanation is that it's from someone putting their finger on a turntable, as if the disco was burning out. Anyone notice this or knows something?

Also, on Michael Jackson's "Love never felt so good"

featuring Justin Timberlake (Jackson was dead at the time of release), there's a trumpet hit just before the 2nd chorus that sounds slightly sharp to me (over the words "I can't take it 'cause"). The note should be C. Is this a reference to the earlier phenomena? Just before the 1st chorus, the exact same note is played perfectly in tune to my ears. Also, if it's not intentional, what causes this error? It's not the same recording equipment as was used for Off The Wall, I'm pretty sure. Also, considering that it's a brass note, is that a consequence of (say) live brass players simply not having perfect intonation on that note?

Can anyone at least confirm that there is or is not a slight difference in intonation? Can anyone offer an explanation as to why?

In both cases it's an extremely isolated incident that fixes itself a split second later, so it can't be because of the endings being out of tune. I still need an answer to this question; existing answers are inadequate.


There's nothing that sticks out as out-of-tune to me.

In Burn this Disco Out I can hear a bass note that's perhaps not the most obvious choice with the chord progression, but it's a fast-moving bassline so it doesn't seem like a prominent mistake to me.

It may well be that you just have much keener ears. In this kind of music, playing every note perfectly in tune may not be a priority for the performers - they'll be trying to make their lines seem interesting by adding in little inflections, and sometimes plucking or blowing hard to produce a sharp accent. Those kind of things can cause an instrument to sound a little out-of-tune, but most people aren't too fussed about that in a fast-moving tune.


I can't notice an "out of tune" phrase, however, there may be some sort of modulation at the end of "Burn this Disco out", but that is just what I hear. Everyone hears sound differently, so what you hear, may not be what I hear. Hope this helps maybe a little.

  • 2
    I'm late, but curious. Can you elaborate on "everyone hears sound differently?" Jan 7 '19 at 2:58
  • @GeneralNuisance When I say "Everyone hears sound differently" I mean that people interpret sound differently and our ears are as unique as our fingerprints. Jan 9 '19 at 21:46

Not sure what you are actually asking, but I know the following fact:

The re-masters of albums done in the post-90s era have used techniques to increase the perceived volume of the tracks on the album.

That resulted in the tracks' fade-outs at the end having unnatural curve, and I've noticed that some re-mastered tracks have had the endings re-tracked, i.e. either new takes, or simply some dubious "cut-and-paste" operations applied to them.

In the case of pre-digital music, it might result in the endings not being able to match the tuning of the original track.

Or am I just mad.

  • In the second version of the chorus (Justin Timberlake/MJ), I think there is an audible "string" downward glissando hit (don't know the name for that technique)
    – Hatebit
    Oct 31 '18 at 19:22
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    In the first example, I could hear something I would term sound deterioration which may come from multiple sources: the mastering process, the recording process, the encoding process, the decoding process, the upload process, the reencoding process, a tape oscillation, etc. I believe brass was especially hard to capture on tape, and the advent of CD and mass digital sound did a big favor to the brass instrument.
    – Hatebit
    Oct 31 '18 at 19:30
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    To support my claim for brass on tape, speaking of brass instruments, it has relatively recently (references, anyone?) been discovered through physical modelling that brass instruments, in particular, trombone and perhaps trumpet, are designed in such a way as to produce certain angles of non-linear wave propagation, leading to increased possibilites of shockwave creation.
    – Hatebit
    Nov 21 '18 at 8:29
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I found this thread by googling love never felt so good "out of tune", I've been learning this song and I noticed exactly this.

Yes, the phrase at exactly 2:06 is out of tune, production copy paste is probably to blame.

  • Could you elaborate on how you know it's out of tune, and why you think "production copy paste" (what's that?) is to blame? As written, this seems like a comment.
    – user45266
    May 9 '19 at 23:34

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