Elaborating on Kimocks words like partial, blu, limit, in baby talk

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by Clifford-D, Dec 14, 2015.

  1. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    I have been guilty of not having a working knowledge of these common Kimock utterings, partials, the real meaning of blu, limit in simple terms means?

    Here are the definitions straight out of HE.

    Partial - either a generating or one of its harmonics (q,v,) the generating tone is the first partial; the doubling of its frequency is the second partial (although it is the second harmonic), and so on. Because of the multiplicand of the generating tone and the number of the partial are identical, the term is useful in mathematical discussions.

    Blu - the syllable used to identify the minor seventh derived from the seventh partial.

    Limit only has definitions for five limit system. A system limited to tones derived by multiplying or dividing the frequency of a generating tone by the primes two, three, or five (namely Percy octaves, perfect fifths, major thirds, and their compounds and reciprocals).


    Seems the definitions need defining, broken down to elementary bits. I recently saw someone misuse a term or two. I've misused terms or actually just keep my mouth shut.

    There are people here that find this terminology essential to their understanding of music. Now if I'm not mistaken most of us here operate from the five limit system of twelve tones. I have no confidence saying that though.
    It seems the definition of these terms sometimes hinges on the clear understanding of the other term leaving me in a state much like a cat chasing her tail.

    So, for once can we bring these terms down to earth and rip them apart and be like elementary about it. If its as simple as some people say, then it must be able to be simplified???

    Now let's all kiss a begin. (keep it simply simple)
     
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  2. Swain

    Swain Member

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    Okay, I'll give it a try.

    *I realize that we will need to more clearly define things in my post. However, I am trying to make things as clear as I can without getting too lost in other Terminology at this point.

    Frequency

    So, when we say A =440, we mean that the vibration of a string completes one cycle up and down 440 times per second. So, 440 is the Frequency (Number of completed cycles per second) of the A Note.

    If we double this Frequency, we have an Octave Higher A Note (880).
    If we cut the frequency in half, we have an Octave Lower A Note (220).

    All of these are A Notes. Higher Frequencies sound a Higher Pitch. Lower Frequencies sound a Lower Pitch.
    Like the first two Notes of the vocal melody of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" are an Eb going UP an Octave to another Eb.

    We need to accept the idea of Octave Equivalency now.
    That means, that regardless of the Octave, an A Note is an A Note. An Eb Note is an Eb Note, etc.

    If we take this A Note as our Generating Tone, then we can use 440, 880, 220, 110, or any Octave of the A Note as our Tonic.

    I'm going to use A = 110 as it is an easy number to grasp.

    Limit

    So, if I use Low Prime Numbers to Multiply this Note, I can Generate other Pitches that will sound Harmonious to most ears.

    A110 multiplied by 1 equals A110.
    A110 multiplied by 2 equals A220.

    That's just a Doubling of the Frequency. That's an Octave Higher A Note.
    So, basically we still have the same Note.
    If we stopped here, then this would be 2 Limit, as we have only Multiplied our Generating Tone (A110) by 2.

    So, we are still pretty much in the same house. Wandering around inside an A Note or two.


    Let's try the next Prime Number.
    3

    A110 multiplied by 3 equals a Frequency of 330.


    I'm sure others here will be able to correct anything I've mistaken.
    THIS is NOT an Octave of A.
    THIS is a NEW Pitch. Our neighborhood is starting to form around our A Note.
    The closest Note we have to 330 Cycles Per Second is the E Note.

    If we stop here, then this would be 3 Limit.
    Because we have gone NO HIGHER than Multiplying our Generating Tone by 3.
     
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  3. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    Thanks for that Swain, haven't seen you around much, so good to hear from you.

    Of the three requests for definitions I put out there, I understand what you described, but the way you presented it is just what Im asking for. Nice and basic.

    I understand five limit, but 7 limit is still a bit confusing. Hitting tones that naturally don't seat right on the fret. This all seems to require clear understanding of the partials, and that blu tone. It all seems to tie in to the definition.

    So what do you have to say about partials and how that ties into limit systems. I hope system is not a misuse.
     
  4. vivaoaxaca

    vivaoaxaca Member

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    Not quite accurate. What we call sound is a longitudinal wave which is an oscillation of pressure. Any given pitch corresponds to a particular frequency. Frequencies are measured in cycles per second, which we call Hertz and abbreviate as Hz.

    A440 does indeed indicate that the note we call 'A' has a frequency of 440Hz but that frequency is not describing the activity of a plucked string. It is actually describing the activity of a physical sound wave. Any sound wave, no matter how it is generated, which has a frequency of 440Hz is an 'A'. Here's one with no string involved:
     
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  5. Phletch

    Phletch Member

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    I'm sure there's a 440 in here somewhere, with added harmonic overtones :D. (skip to 1:00 to get to the "song")
     
  6. vivaoaxaca

    vivaoaxaca Member

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    That is wonderful. Thank you.
     
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  7. Phletch

    Phletch Member

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    Anything to reinforce a valid point. Way back when I still lived in the States I had a Chevy pickup with a quite healthy V8 I built. It had an exhaust that wasn't loud loud, but loud enough to hear while driving, and certain RPMs produced notable resonance inside the cab. When driving on the highway I used to often try matching the frequency of the engine resonance to the key or tonal center of a song that might be playing on my CD player. I once got a speeding ticket while doing so; I didn't feel like downshifting, and I had to hit about 90mph to match the song. Needless to say, the cop was not sympathetic to my explanation for why I was speeding.
     
  8. Bryan T

    Bryan T aspiring cartographer and social media influencer Silver Supporting Member

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    I mostly live in the equal tempered world based on the 12th root of two, with occasional tweaks.
     
  9. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    The tune Black Dog, in A, the sixth note of the riff is the C note on the third string.
    That note must be bent up, and my guess is up roughly 86 cents, 14 cents shy of the et major 3rd. It's called the 5th partial. It has a name, that's cool.

    I've been making that type of bend on that b3rd forever. I used to think the bend was springing away from the b3 to somewhere in my ear. Now I believe that the somewhere is our destination, the 86 cents, the 5/4 ratio, the fifth partial.

    Now this is just one of the pitch choices between 300 cents et minor 3rd and 400 cents the et major 3rd. But only one I really hear a lot in Steve's words as well as DSimon who also knows this stuff.

    So anyway, I'm just seeking definitions that will help me continue in the HE book.

    Like blu, what is blu? It's not blues, the term is blu, b3, b5 b7? No, at 267 cents is the blu of ma, blues minor 3rd. Right below that at 231 cents blu below, that's it name, blu below. Unfortunately for guitar players they have to bend up from the second step up to the blu tone. This is something that most guitarists would bend into by ear. But for people playing out of the famous blues box #1, achieving this blu tone is hard to do without shifting out of the position, I have bent the neck on my G&L ASAT Special to get that flatted 3rd.
    Put a delay on that technique and you get Bill Frisell's chorus effect, so sweet, best chorus I've ever heard, so natural.
     
  10. Bryan T

    Bryan T aspiring cartographer and social media influencer Silver Supporting Member

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    Just push the string flat. That's Kimock 101.
     
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  11. aiq

    aiq Supporting Member

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    Put the blu into the mu.
     
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  12. aiq

    aiq Supporting Member

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    It does work.
     
  13. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    I do on wrapped strings, not lots of luck on the plain strings, it's only 14 cents and I can yank it down there sort of with a cello vibrato but lots of work and not achieving the tone, so I just bend the neck. I don't do that on my acoustic or my fixed neck electric. But my G&L is great for it. And no, I don't feel I'm risking anything, not with that spring of a guitar. I never go more than 25 cents.
     
  14. Phletch

    Phletch Member

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    Yep. It's worth a few cents ;).
     
  15. kimock

    kimock Member

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    The first rule of fight club. .

    You can look up the definition for partial, as distinct from overtone and harmonic, and draw an average.
    Same deal for "limit" as it applies to tuning/temperament.
    Those are legit science terms, nothing to do with me. That's what they call that stuff. .

    "Blu" is a Matthieu term, it's nice, same intent as using Ga or Dha to refer to a third or sixth; the words are pitch specific, basically replacing ratios with syllables. Friendlier. .
    Which is unfortunately no help at all if you don't the ratio and the sound of it, but it's the thought that counts I guess.

    I'd use "blu" to describe any scale step's nearest septimal approximation, so more as modifier like "sharp or flat" in conjunction with whatever terms I was using for the scale steps.

    "Blu third" for subminor third, as distinct from "Blue Thirds" in JonR speak for example.
    That's also a distinctly different trip from "Blue Notes" in 12ET.

    See? Now we're in trouble again without the ratios. .
    Those words all sound the same.

    Anyway, it's 100% completely trivial if you're not applying it and it's 100% practical if you are.
    I wouldn't trip out about it here, it's just too outside for the chat room routine.
    Unless you're seriously, systematically, learning to execute intervals smaller than a half step, there's nothing to tie the definitions to any real meaning.

    It's just a bunch of ******** absent application, it conveys nothing.
    Don't get hung up on it being right or wrong, it's just all you've got to work with to "get your bearings" in an objective sense of locating specific pitch or resonance.

    "Ear" obviously helps, but we all grew up in the same 12 tone alphabet soup; all the stuff between the cracks is "nada", we just pass thru it on our way to someplace more familiar.
    Speaking of limits, there's one now!
    We're fresh out of "theory" in a conventional sense to describe anything smaller than a semitone, which is where I think a lot of the action is on guitar, so a whole bunch of the coolest stuff is just left in a gray area.

    If we were talking "put your 1st finger on this string, this fret, note G, b7 of A" etc. you could say that and I could do it. We'd have the same vocabulary for the same physical grid.
    But there's no pitch specificity in it.

    If you needed to actually "hit the note" you'd have to find a whole new batch of terminology.
    Conversely, no need for new terminology if you don't need to "hit the note".
    So. .

    Try to hit the note and then try to figure out how to unambiguously describe that to yourself.
    The object of the exercise being to maybe hit that note again someday. .
    See what you come up with.
     
  16. Richard Guy

    Richard Guy Member

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    Oh my, what you guys just unleashed ! Get'em Steve!
     
  17. JonR

    JonR Member

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    If this is so, then "partial" has the same meaning as "harmonic", at least in this context.
    As I understand it, a "generating tone" produces (or can produce) a "harmonic series".
    The fundamental is the "1st harmonic" (of the series), and also - it seems - the "1st partial". (AFAIK, the fundamental is not the generating tone, just the main part of it. In an artificial wave with no harmonics, then they would be the same, I guess.)
    Meanwhile, the 2nd harmonic (octave) is the "1st overtone".

    I can see the word "partial" being useful however, because "harmonic" has so many other meanings.
     
  18. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Yes, that's probably why "JonR speak" writes it as "blue".:)
    Naturally, your specific definition of "blu" makes good sense - I just use "blue" rather lazily to refer to various slight flattenings of 3rd, 5th or 7th. :rolleyes:
     
  19. JonR

    JonR Member

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    Well, it could be.
    But this discussion reminds me of a thread I think we both partook in many years ago in which someone - not one of us, and not steve - claimed to be able to produce such pure ratios through his bends. Turned out on analysis he wasn't getting the frequencies he thought he was...
    Of course he was using his ears to get notes he thought sounded good (and they did) - he was just misidentifying them, which is really neither here nor there. What matters is you getting the note you think sounds right, at that point.
    If you were really curious, you could record yourself doing it and analyse the audio later. (not hard, with Audacity ;)) But whatever the result, it's not going to affect how you play - or shouldn't!

    Personally, when I find "that" note (and I'll call it "blue" and not "blu" because it doesn't relate to any septimal partial I'm aware of ;)), I'm pretty sure it's below 5:4 - while still being sharp of 6:5 (itself 16 cents up from the ET m3).
    That is, I'm sure 6:5 and 5:4 both sound good - but so does something in between, to my ears anyhow. And that's probably down to the tension (between "that note" and either the root, the nearest chord tone, the nearest pure ratio, or all of them).
     
  20. Clifford-D

    Clifford-D Member

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    Well Steve, thanks for showing up to my party.

    I don't pass through unknown territory on my way to the next fretted 1/2 step.

    Way back when, before trains, I heard singers, at first Ray Charles and James Brown, right there on tv. Later it was The Beatles (Twist & Shout) and The Stones. They all teased the notes/tones vocally, singing it flat or sharp to the note I heard everywhere else. When I first started guitar in '64 at 10 I first learned Louie Louie lol, but with my first attempts at soloing I immediately tried to capture that sound I heard from Ray and James and others, that sound was creeping more and more in the pop music. I was checking out the tones between the frets, just the ones I felt as much as heard. My whole guitar world had no terms for these in between tones other "grease" or blue 3rd, which I adopted as a name for these in between tones. I learned that a certain expression, a special expression was missing on the guitar without a slight manipulation of the string. I noticed it on the piano. And I really noticed the value of these slight bends when all I had to play was a classical guitar, the perfect guitar to discover these microtones, nearby neighbors of the fret tone, because classical guitars barely bend, just a microtone with a modest bend.

    Then Steve, I met you online, rapping and introducing me to a new language, a languages that I believed would explain these microtones. But it was a new, strange language that most people here at tgp did not know about, and I remember the go arounds and jaw wagging that went on back then over these HE topics. "I'm just fine with ET" was a common response. I didn't like that sort of response, it was just too dismissive, that was around 10 years ago and many of those folks have now loosened their beliefs and I don't hear the dismissive stuff too much, I believe tone1st gave you some of that, but the people that know you, respect you as an authority on the subject, everyone in the room shuts up to hear what you have to say. Me being one.

    I want to have names for these tones that are in between, I not seeking a new way to play, I do believe I play these tones, or at least some of the more popular sounds like the micro Black Dog tone which I believe is the same tone used in Spoonful, as well as Jagger's vocals in King Bee. I hear that sound and I replicate it on my guitar. I can tell when I'm slightly off.

    So I have this strong belief I've been playing tones you have described. And I'm seeking a connection to your language. Yes, call it scientific, or call it Mathieu, it was still delivered to me and I suspect thousands of others by you. And gracious you have been. I thank you. Because of you I bought HE.

    I know I'm just scratching the paint with HE and the modern applications you share here, and I don't know how much further this will influence me beyond what I learned from Ray and James, that I take as the ultimate life lesson.

    Anyway Steve, this not just some bs I pass through on my way to the et note.
    And I feel I deserve this knowledge. I'm I'm just lagging in the definition/clarity issue. I have always avoided math until it was a prerequisite in college, math is still the thing that is keeping me from a degree. I'm getting a grasp on the basic math needed for all this but I don't understand why its more used than cents. Cents I quickly relate too. Calling it 8:7 blu below is more confusing than saying it's found at 231 cents. I know cents are approximate so the ratio is spot on.

    It ain't no thang, I could live without this exclusive language, but that would go against my grain, I'm a digger as is my dad, and his dad before him,,,
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015

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