Sea Of Holes

“Sea Of Holes” is another George Martin production for the “Yellow Submarine” album.

In Detail


Released: 17th January, 1969 (UK), 13th January, 1969 (US)
Recorded: 22nd – 23rd October, 1968
Studio: Abbey Road Studios, London
Genre: Classical, orchestral
Track Duration: 2:17
Record Label: Apple
Producer: George Martin
Co-producers: John Burgess and Ron Richards
Engineer: Geoff Emerick


George Martin: conducting a 41-piece orchestra

Sea Of Holes is an instrumental piece by George Martin from the Yellow Submarine album

Yellow Submarine Album (1969)

Obviously, none of the Beatles took part in the recording of this instrumental track. However, the track is important to the Yellow Submarine project.

Track Source

Yellow Submarine

Sea Of Holes

In essence, the entire score from the Yellow Submarine animated film (1969) came from George Martin. The “Sea Of Holes” was a part of that score, of course. Indeed, Martin made good use of the 41 piece orchestra he brought into the Abbey Road Studios on the 22nd and 23rd October, 1968.

Through his wizardry, Martin experimented by playing a harp backwards, a technique also used with other instruments on the “Sea of Monsters“. In this case, George Martin’s “incidental music” also had to fit the tempo of film correctly:

“You plan whatever tempo your rhythm is going to be, and then you lay down what is called a ‘click track’. That is, a separate track which simply contains a click sound which appears every so many frames of film. You know that 35mm film runs at 24 frames per second, so knowing what tempo you want, you simply ask the film editor to put on a click at whatever interval you want.

Then while conducting the orchestra, you wear headphones through which you can hear the clicks, and by keeping to that particular beat you ‘lock in’ the orchestra to the film. In that way you can write your score knowing that, even if something happens a third of the way or halfway through a bar, you can safely put in whatever musical effect you want, with absolute certainty that it will match the picture… that is how I did it with Yellow Submarine. I wrote very precisely even with avant-garde and weird sounds like Sea Of Holes, keeping to their bar-lines, knowing that the click track would ensure it fitted.”

George Martin
All You Need Is Ears

Recording Studio

The Yellow Submarine album from early 1969 has some decent Beatles’ songs on side 1, of course. But, the whole of side 2 includes the instrumentals from the film of the same name. Over two days in October, Martin arranged and composed a 41 piece orchestra to which he added an array of other sounds.

Obviously, the instrumental music created by George Martin had to correspond with what was happening on the screen. The music score provided by Martin done just that with great effect.

As we pointed out on the “Sea Of Time” instrumental, both tracks list separately on the original UK album. However, in America, they would list both tracks as being one.

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About Bobby

I have been a Beatles fan since the early 1960s so I speak from my heart and soul. It was a pleasure to accept the role of Editor on The Beatles Forum when we left our old site. If you feel that something needs correcting with the information I provide, please contact me.

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