More on Harmonic Experience

Discussion in 'Playing and Technique' started by flavaham, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. fenderlead

    fenderlead Member

    Messages:
    4,222
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Very good IMO.

    The Dolphin thing was about Dolphins selecting the frequencies that they use and so do humans.

    How Dolphins select their frequencies might depend on their DNA makeup and evolution etc but they do select certain frequencies as does a Bat or whatever.

    Humans are no different in selecting frequencies that appeal to their genetic makeup and when we start playing around with them they can end up with something we call music.

    The mathematical ratios of this or that probably do come into it because the mathematical patterns do exist in the natural world and all species have their genetics adapting to things in the natural world over time and human hearing is one of them.

    What I don't really agree with is that it can all be explained simply with a few ratios and a bit of pythagoras or whatever by some people who write their own books where they can proceed with their own views and have no "hold on for a moment let's go over that" feedback.

    There are mathematics in musical theory and the the so called JI and ET are just different ways of dealing with frequencies bound by octave repeating (octave repeating is part of nature btw).

    I've already given an example of a Saxophones overtones and what they are and what they do as the lowest note of the overtone series is disturbed (or removed) one by one up the overtone series.

    They realign into their own overtone series starting on each rung of the overtones series.

    Without these overtones, a Saxophone would be limited to one octave.

    No one has control of a Saxophones overtone series as it's a consequence of cones and if someone makes a noise using a cone then they will get the cone overtone series and if they do it with a cylinder then they will get the Clarinet's overtone series which are different to a Saxophone's cone overtone series.

    Someone is stuck with cone or cylinder overtones if they play some wind instruments.

    All of John Coltrane's output was with a ET Saxophone with the toneholes positioned for ET.

    He was attracted to World Music later on (non ET) and tried to include some of it in his playing but he was using ET while doing so.

    He could of course hit pitches between the ET pitches and he did, and so have Blues players for decades.

    Just using JI is not by itself going to lead to wonderfully pure music that is magical.

    ET is a practical system and it works but it's not perfect and neither is JI.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014
  2. fenderlead

    fenderlead Member

    Messages:
    4,222
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    There is no trolling going on that I can see.

    There is just a bit of assumption analysis.

    Assuming what an author says without some analysis is not a great starting point IMO.
     
  3. fenderlead

    fenderlead Member

    Messages:
    4,222
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Good, I will take your advice and stop posting.

    It's not very interesting anyway and playing around with ratios for the sake of it are not my musical thing but I do play around with them in mathematics btw.
     
  4. abergdahl

    abergdahl Member

    Messages:
    3,416
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2002
    Location:
    Stockholm; Sweden
    Great post as usual Steve..
    the "problem" is that we are often approaching these theoretical aspects of music from a very narrow perspective and then find a "truth"
    .. we must remember that the 12 tone system is just a context.

    Somewhere at sometime it became a convention to divide a doubling of frequency into twelve steps and invent 8 tone scales so that we call it an "octave".
    These conventions then lead us to restrict composition as concerning 12 notes and diatonic harmony...
    ... an eight tone scale based on the idea of 12 tones became the way to describe music on paper.
    An imperfect picture of a musical performance in order to describe it so that it can be performed again and recognized as that piece of music.

    As time went on we learned students that there are only 12 steps in a octave and standardized it as "equal", "just" or "well tempered"
    .. chose your preference ..
    One fact is that the description of music in 12 tone system is just a extreme simplification that is never giving a truly useful picture.
    Timbre is excluded, velocity, the loudness..
    ..almost all aspects of the musical sounds are excluded when we discuss the narrow topic of harmony.

    An other interesting fact is that almost all jazz, blues, rock pieces deviate from strict 12 tone plying, we are bending, sliding and unconsciously mixing just intervals and tempered intervals, slides that have no fixed pitch..
    ..vibrato so wide that it modulates over several "pitches" all to make music that we enjoy to play and listen to..ยจ

    The EXPERIENCE aspect, for me, is that just intervals give me more ways to color the harmonic/frequency aspect of the music.
    More ways to experience and express musical content. To better experience nuances of frequencies in particular context so i can, deliberately, apply those colors to the overall musical mix.. of SOUNDS (where pitch is just one small component, that is sometimes not even that important)
     
  5. ngativ

    ngativ Member

    Messages:
    1,024
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    Yeah. What is supposed to be perfect anyways?

    JI is not a "rule" for music , not even the model to follow for pleasant intervals. JI is just a resolution for a preschool shapes box of music.

    Is the perfect fifth 3/2 a perfect interval? perfect for what? Is the octave the most consonant interval possible ? Then the unison with its octave should be the most beautiful interval to make music. But, at least to me, that is extremely boring .

    In fact, most of the time i find JI chords very boring, uninteresting, simplistic , poor and without character . The same goes with percussion beats, i need some variations and weird tempos once on a while . Those quartets and choirs sound pretty , but to me they are rather goofy and 'easy' to hear unless they start to add some interesting and "no that simple and small ratios" intervals and micro tonalities .

    And i doubt that the notions of harmony and consonance is the same for everybody and every culture throughout the history of music. I have yet to see any "rule" that predicts that all the music in the world most follow simple ratios, and i want to see its confirmation . (There isn't BTW!, on the contrary)

    However, what most people do, even those musically untrained , is to learn what is supposed to sound good according to the social and cultural establishment , simple cultural conditioning . In this context , musicians learn the basic patterns that are supposed to be acceptable in order to perform and create acceptable music according to the social, cultural and historical context. If you want (or have ) to learn blues then you most learn blues patterns :), is that simple . Hence , some people most learn JI, centers and hierarchies ! Up, down, left and right.

    If this book tells you that music is all about small ratios, then that is what music is all about according to that book, and that's the experience you'll get . " People prefer to hear small ratio intervals because the ear prefer small ratios" And that's the thesis, a circular reasoning argument .


    But, the "evil, atonal,inharmonic, grey, mis-tuned and detuned" Equal Temperament took over the musical world (at least the western side). Perhaps , the "small ratio" dogma is not that important after all .Maybe it is just an overly overrated premise for consonance , harmony and melody... not a rule or something objectively good. Maybe ET and JI are just different
     
  6. kimock

    kimock Member

    Messages:
    12,528
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Location:
    Where the Palm Tree meets the Pine
    Perfect is an ideal, a goal impossibly far off, unattainable.
    So, it makes a perfect target for continued improvement.
    Aim high, or settle for second place.

    We've got enough data points to know you don't understand what you're talking about, or what we're talking about, but thanks for the nice smooth curve anyway.

    "Perfect" as in perfect 5th means "perfect consonace", requiring no further resolution, as opposed to imperfect, requiring resolution.

    No, not the most consonant interval possible, the least dissonant interval possible.

    See above.

    Bored/interested etc are qualities of the observer, not the observed.

    See above.

    You've yet to address my earlier challenge to refute octave equivalence, so your point's moot. Burying your head in the sand isn't gonna prove anything.

    You left out the part where we inherited a system complete with existing instruments.
    Try starting from scratch to divide the octave without referring to the existence of overtones. Then build and tune some playable instruments.

    It says the opposite actually, but there goes the rest of your point.

    See above.


    Good grief, as if we needed more proof that you don't understand any of this.

    Equal temperament didn't "take over the world", it's a f*cking piano tuning.
    Nobody uses it for anything else.
    Evidence of human use of sustained pitch goes back at least 60,000 years, the beat rates neccessary for 12TET to be tuned correctly were first published in 1917.
    Do the math. .

    Yeah, any temperament is different than a tuning, but we've been through that about ten times already too.
     
  7. ngativ

    ngativ Member

    Messages:
    1,024
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    Oh well, very opinionated person exist for sure.

    BTW, i am not sure what you mean with "octave equivalence", but that's not a rule nor a law. It is just yet another pattern . You don't need the octave to enjoy or make music . You don't have to make use of the octave at all, you could use pseudo octaves if you want ,something like stretch tuning, or you could equally divide a non-octave interval if you wish.


    The small ratio thing is not the "ideal" nor the rule, for harmony, melody , consonance or music in general . It is NOT an universal , immutable and objective property of music, not at all! Saying the contrary would be a ridiculous statement to make

    Right , you are going to tell others what to think and feel . Maybe you could share your discoveries about some of the objective properties of music . So you tell me, how should i describe objectively my subjective appreciation for JI and ET tuning systems .

    Now i am curious, to which tuning system are guitarists supposed to intonate and tune nowadays?
     
  8. kimock

    kimock Member

    Messages:
    12,528
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Location:
    Where the Palm Tree meets the Pine
    You're just being argumentative. Check the forum rules of conduct.
    If you have a question, or need help with this subject, please feel free to PM or email me.
    In the meantime, stop trolling on this thread.
     
  9. ngativ

    ngativ Member

    Messages:
    1,024
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    ^
    :dunno

    Anyhow. To the OP:

    You really should get some instrument with micro tuning capabilities like a keyboard. Get the software i posted before , here it is again:

    http://www.huygens-fokker.org/scala/
    or maybe something like MAX, audacity or csounds where you can create and adjust scales and tunings

    , a calculator , pencil and paper to do some math. DO the math of the tunings , otherwise you will not understand where are those things are coming from .

    I really think this is important if you really want to experience the JI and other alternative and historical tunings , even more if you want to understand the Author's perspective.

    It seems there is a renewed interest on JI thanks to that kind of tools that make it possible to do some research on adaptive tuning algorithms and even some implementations.

    And there is not only a renewed interest on JI , but also other alternative Equal Temperaments .

    You are going nowhere if you keep using the guitar for that purpose and if you don' t do the math.
     
  10. flavaham

    flavaham Member

    Messages:
    1,864
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Aurora, Co.
    I'm at work so I'll keep this brief:

    I'm not looking at this as a means to tune my instrument. It is not a tuning system as I understand it. I'm going through the book and doing the exercises that are listed. So far they've been set up for guitar. If that's wrong I'll figure it out but I'm going to take the word of the author and the people who recommended this work and understand it.

    I will look into some software like audacity as I know that there are many applications for it.

    But, dude...Kimock knows this ****. You will find yourself much better off listening to what he has to say rather than trying to stir the pot. If you are not down with it, then I'd say leave it to the people who have gone through and/or are working through this book. I'm only interested in that for now. I'll seek other resources once I have this one down.
     
  11. kimock

    kimock Member

    Messages:
    12,528
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Location:
    Where the Palm Tree meets the Pine
    No disagreement, but would point out that micro-intonation is considered a timbral attribute.
     
  12. flavaham

    flavaham Member

    Messages:
    1,864
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Aurora, Co.
    Ok, I just finished chapter 6 and I've got some questions for how to go about what he's telling me to do.

    I'm supposed to now find the M7 and #4. Easy enough. M7 = up a 5th, up a 3rd. #4 = up a 5th, up a 5th, up a 3rd. Ok. Now he tells me how to tune my guitar to hear these things. Ok. Then he says improvise playing these. This is where I got stuck last time I tried getting into this. Am I supposed to be just using the harmonics from tuning these three strings to allow the harmonics to be in tune?? Or am I supposed sing this stuff?

    Also, I have Audacity on my computer. I don't know how to figure out the intervals that I'm playing using it. If someone is familiar with how to do this, could you PM me with some instructions on how to do that?

    I'm at a point where I think I should know what these current basic intervals sound like but I'm not really confident there yet. Honestly, I think I am conditioned to hear the ET M3 and that's getting in my way a bit. The good news is that it's actually making sense this time around! I guess that's progress!
     
  13. huw

    huw Member

    Messages:
    1,183
    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Singing.

    Of course, you can practice any way you want to, in order to get the sounds into your ear, but (at least as I read it) he's always talking about singing.
     
  14. flavaham

    flavaham Member

    Messages:
    1,864
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Aurora, Co.
    Yeah, that's kind of what I thought too, but my voice isn't nearly as good as my guitar. It's shaky. I just don't command it. So I went a different way.

    I tuned both E strings dead on E. Then tuned the A string to B using the 7th fret harmonic. From there I used the 4th string harmonic to get the M7 on the D string (now D#). I used the 4th fret harmonic on the E string to get the M3 on the G string (now G#) and finally, tuned the B to be dead on with the 7th harmonic of the E string. Within all of this I was able to get all of the notes mentioned up until now in the book.

    Turned out to be a pretty interesting tuning. All 7 diatonic 7th chords are right there if you need them! Not sure I'll actually use it, but who knows? Some neat sounds came of it.

    I'll say this: Someone earlier in this thread (just a few posts back I think) mentioned chords in JI sounding boring? I got this Emaj7 chord to ring with no beating and it sounded pretty great to me. How could a chord that is tuned well sound boring or bad? I don't get it...

    Anyhow...I feel like I'm making progress. It's really something to hear this stuff. I'm still trying to wrap my head around hearing the 3rds and 5ths in intervals like the M7, M2 and #4, but perhaps that'll click sooner or later? Who knows?

    Ok, off to bed. It's 5:30 in the morning!! :eek:
     
  15. JonR

    JonR Member

    Messages:
    13,962
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Location:
    London
    Wasn't me that said that - I'm a mere observer here - but I suspect it's something to do with the chorusing effect that beating intervals produce. A chord with no beats obviously sounds smooth and will steadily decay. A chord with beats will kind of pulse slowly as it decays.
    And you know what pulse is a sign of: .... life! ;).
     
  16. Swain

    Swain Member

    Messages:
    2,408
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2005
    Location:
    N. Little Rock, AR.
    Just a general comment on HE.
    From what I get, Mathieu isn't debating anything at all close to "ET vs. JI".
    He's trying to describe how the two have become intertwined in actual, everyday practice. And a path to understanding just how they differentiate.
    I think having some kind of understanding of both will yield a much more refined understanding of the common practices of today. Just as the "addition" of these non 12 tet pitches yields a more refined sense of expression.

    Not a "Mine is better" type of thing at all.
    Much more consonant than that.
     
  17. flavaham

    flavaham Member

    Messages:
    1,864
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Aurora, Co.
    I need to explore these drones more thoroughly. I think I will record a few drones of my own for this purpose. Hearing and feeling these resonances has been quite a trip.

    I just got through the chapter on Ma. Very interesting and definitely a different feeling than Pa. It seems more powerful to sing with Sa having a Pa quality but hearing it still as Sa. It stands quite well on its own but what happens to Sa as you move from Ma to Pa or Ma to Ga and back to Ma is pretty interesting. It's almost like two magnets stuck together. When it moves, it's like flipping them so that they can't connect, and then back again, as if Sa is moving from one side to the other. Very interesting.

    Also, JonR, you weren't the one I was talking about with the "boring" chords! I'm used to chords that beat, or pulse. Just trying to see this side of it for a while and see where that leads. Honestly though, the tuning that I used for that exercise turned out quite nice. I may find myself using it for something down the road.

    Ok, off to work. Thanks again for the input guys! This has been fun so far!! I think I'm about to get in way over my head!! :hide2
     
  18. kimock

    kimock Member

    Messages:
    12,528
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Location:
    Where the Palm Tree meets the Pine
    Flav, do you have an acoustic guitar?
    Recorded drones are nice, but you might feel more rewarded using the low strings of your guitar live, because you'll get obvious sympathetic vibrations from the overtones of the open strings when you "hit the note".

    Right? It's interactive?

    The recorded drone, iphone, shruti box, etc. all good, and I use that stuff too, but the sympathetic resonance of getting it all lined up on one guitar is more instructional.
    You really know when you're in the right spot.
    The whole guitar lights up.

    You can play on the top two strings, let the rest of the guitar ring open, reach in and grab any harmonic from a low open string as either a target pitch or "test tone".

    I mostly do that routine acoustic lap style, with a light glass bullet bar.

    Bottom three strings almost always E B E
    Top two almost always B E.

    Then juggle the third string as G# for any mode with a major third, including the b2 stuff.

    Or third string as F# for Lydian, major or neutral pentatonic, maybe some minor stuff depending on whether you need Ma in there to get your bearings.
    Anyway the E B (e) F# thing as a stack of fifths has some utility, so try it.

    Or third string A, so E B E A B E (DADGAD up a whole step), which is just a fun tuning anyway, for pretty much anything else that doesn't require a raised 4th. Mixo, blues 7th partial stuff, all reciprocal thirds etc.

    An additional benefit of using your open strings rather than a recorded drone is being able to shift the emphasis of the drone, more or less Ma for example, at will.

    Anyway, drone is good, playing with sympathetic resonance maybe even better. More useful feedback from the instrument when you do finally get things lined up in the overtone series.

    .2c, mileage, blah blah blah.
     
  19. kimock

    kimock Member

    Messages:
    12,528
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Location:
    Where the Palm Tree meets the Pine
    Exactly. Mathieu describes ET as a "radiantly beautiful gift" right before he launches into Flaws and Limits of the Theory, his own theories, in the books final pages.
    There's no "vs." in it.

    More like "here's an acoustical fact", followed by "how do you feel about that?".
    The right answer being however you feel about it in that moment.

    I'm ok with that.
     
  20. flavaham

    flavaham Member

    Messages:
    1,864
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Aurora, Co.
    Yeah man! This is what I've been doing!! And I'm diggin' it!

    Last night I was trying to hear M7 (Ni) and M3 (Ga) on my electric (still kinda have the ET M3 stuck in my ear...trying to fix that).

    I started with low E. Then, 7th fret harmonic for the 3rd partial P5 (Pa) and tuned the A string to that using the 12th fret harmonic. From there, 4th fret harmonic for Ga of Pa, M7 tuned on D string to 5th fret harmonic, to D#. So I'm E B D# X B E...Decided Ga was the obvious choice for now for the G string, (although Re could've been cool here too, but wanted to keep it as simple as possible). So, tuned the G string to G# from the 4th fret harmonic on the low E.

    So my tuning here was E B D# G# B E. Not anything I've seen before to be honest, but seemed pretty useful in this context. I was constantly hitting different harmonics to check where I was and to guide the top two strings. Consciously thinking of which notes I was trying to find. I used a mix of fretted and slide. Obviously, I hit a few lemons, but overall I got some pretty amazing results. In general, I was doing exactly what you described above. Drone with the low strings, play with the top two. Very cool indeed!!

    I'll try some of the other tunings you listed as well. I've never really got much out of DADGAD but I think it's time I looked at it from a new perspective!

    As for the recorded drones - I'm just looking for something to listen to, maybe in the car or something that will put these intervals further into my ears. I dig the drones that Dsimon665 posted. If I can get some things like that on my iPod, that'd work too. Any suggestions??

    I was screwing around with my (crappy) acoustic today trying to hear Ma and the result was outstanding, so I get where you're coming from with that. Singing Ma below Sa as I played it was really an awesome experience. At first I was hearing it as singing Sa and playing Pa...but I got it switched up right and it sounded quite different after that. Hearing the "generating tone" happen as a result of what I was singing was just cool! That resonance has been the most powerful that I've sung so far.

    And now, I press on! Again, I can't thank you guys enough for hanging with me on this!
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice