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Music vs. sound? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 11th April 2010
  #571
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
It's way too easy to sound bad. Give a piano to a 5 year old who never saw one and let him "play it". I don't think you will find one serious person who will tell you that is "good piece". On a contrast to that, to sound good, takes a lot of knowledge, mathematics first and a set of "rules". You seem to look at rules as something "heaven given" that no one should dare to change. That's a wrong approach buddy.

These "rules" are nothing but fundamental mathematical equations that people figured out by try & error over time and set them as "rules". You don't need to agree with "rules", but you wont change the fact that in 2 + x = 9; x always turns out 7 and that human brain prefers much more two notes with 7 semitones apart, vs 2 semitones apart. You are free not to accept the fact x is not 7 but 2, however your "music" will sound quite bad to most people.
...first of all, a piano is a very limited instrument - i'll get back on that later - yet if you give a 5 year old enough time (as in years time - i have never said that it doesn't take time and dedication to make good music) he will eventually come up with something nice, even though it may not be "correct" according to some musical theories.

The next thing is where you are completely wrong, i.e. in the assuming that the human brain has some sort of coding for certain notes/intervals that necessitates that we stick to those intervals.

Other cultures interpret pitch differently and have different intervals they use and so on and so forth.
The most extreme example i know of is still gamelan music, where different orchestras may play different intervals in the same piece, simply because their particular set of instruments is tuned differently (within the octave) from other orchestras.

Also harmony as we know it is very often not a part of other cultures musical legacy either.

Some also say that western tempered music simply sounds out of tune to a classical indian player because they are trained to play pure intervals.
(And that btw is where the piano shows its limitation - in the actual fine tuning of these intervals that are not correct according to the mathematics... and of course that the piano has no provision for altering the pitch through playing, i.e. bending notes)

As for "namecalling" i don't mind it at all, and i am glad that you found the JP demo interesting - even though i didn't in the end think that the JP8 was all that special.
But hey, it is those differences that make us the individuals we are
Old 12th April 2010
  #572
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beermaster View Post
- you can play happy hippies with the notion that any note and sound at anytime... there are no wrong notes guys..... or you can be a little bit more subjective about what you're writing and the style you're aiming for and say 'hey the reason that BV sounds **** is because it's clashing with chords on the guitar ... why is that. ?... what would be an alternative?'
But there are no "wrong notes".

If some composer wants to play all 12 notes as one chord there is no rule that says he can't do so.

And even if a composer wants to divide an octave into 37 tones - there still is no rule that says he can't do so...

Just like the first time a blues guy thought "Damn, these three chords are too limiting, i'll add a few more, change them around, and see where we go from there..."
Did he break any musical rules?
No.

All he did was to break free of a (self-imposed) set of rules that define "the blues" and make music that was not "the blues" anymore.

(Of course that is what you are talking about - the self-imposed rules that make up a genre, but again those are only important if you strive to create music that should be recognized as being part of a genre - if you don't, the rules really don't matter...)
Old 12th April 2010
  #573
Jose Ramón Alvarado Villa
 
Don Solaris's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
The next thing is where you are completely wrong, i.e. in the assuming that the human brain has some sort of coding for certain notes/intervals that necessitates that we stick to those intervals.
I would not agree, sir! heh

Partials 1,2,3,4,5,6 will produce a "harmonic" tone to every human brain. Partials 1,3,5 will produce "inharmonic" ones. So i'd bet that our brain does indeed has some sort of coding for certain notes/intervals. Feel free to prove me wrong.

Old 12th April 2010
  #574
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
Partials 1,3,5 will produce "inharmonic" ones.
A square wave is comprised of odd partials. Does it sound "inharmonic" to you?

I am sure you had something else in mind.
Old 12th April 2010
  #575
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
I would not agree, sir! heh

Partials 1,2,3,4,5,6 will produce a "harmonic" tone to every human brain. Partials 1,3,5 will produce "inharmonic" ones. So i'd bet that our brain does indeed has some sort of coding for certain notes/intervals. Feel free to prove me wrong.

You misquoted me heh
Not a nice trick

This is the COMPLETE sentence:
(Note that i even emphasized the word necessitates to indicate that the last part of the sentence is very important for understanding what i am trying to convey.)

...
The next thing is where you are completely wrong, i.e. in the assuming that the human brain has some sort of coding for certain notes/intervals that necessitates that we stick to those intervals.

...


While i certainly know that some intervals do indeed have physical relationships that make them sound more harmonic to the human ear than others i also know that we in western music hardly ever use those intervals in their pure form - due to the use of various tempered tunings.

We actually play "what sounds good" rather than follow the mathematic/scientific logic.
And the number of alternate/tempered tunings shows that it is a quite arbitrary process what an individual thinks is a good tuning compromise.

Also note that other cultures may actually not use other physically related intervals than the octave - and subdivide that octave in ways that have absolutely nothing to do with the mathematical relations of the intervals within that octave.

So again, music does not even necessarily follow "natural laws" which is what i was trying to say in the sentence that you misquoted.
Old 12th April 2010
  #576
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Quote:
Partials 1,2,3,4,5,6 will produce a "harmonic" tone to every human brain. Partials 1,3,5 will produce "inharmonic" ones.
Some century ago, only perfect interval was considered harmonic.

Who knows for the future ?

What about now!
Old 12th April 2010
  #577
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kilon's Avatar
 

I dont think music is a language , its too subjective to be one.
Old 12th April 2010
  #578
Jose Ramón Alvarado Villa
 
Don Solaris's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
certain notes/intervals that necessitates that we stick to those intervals.
Sorry my mistake!!!



Yes, i agree with you there.

This is exactly what i am doing for months now, using "handmade" additive synthesis by building stuff that has nothing to do with notes, but with pure mathematical relations - combining different modulated sine waves and them overdubbing them. And without any rules - just exploring relations and observing results.
Old 12th April 2010
  #579
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
We actually play "what sounds good" rather than follow the mathematic/scientific logic.
And the number of alternate/tempered tunings shows that it is a quite arbitrary process what an individual thinks is a good tuning compromise.
Self-quote for a different point...
This tuning thing also illustrates my point of not needing to know theory to make good sounding music - or in this case just to create a tempered tuning for your own instrument.

Bear with me here:
If you are a guitar player you will at some point notice that most* guitars are built "incorrectly" in regards to tuning.
Due to physics (altering string tenson when pushing down on a string) an otherwise correctly tuned guitar will sound "off" on certain open chords while it will sound in tune on others.

Even guitar players without any knowledge of the theory behind tunings (or natural sciences) have instinctively compensated for that by tuning their b and e strings slightly flat relative to the rest of the strings to achieve a more pleasing result for playing in all positions.

So in effect, without knowing what they did they did create their own tempered tunings - theory or not.





*Some guitar builders have tried to compensate for that inbuilt tuning weakness, the Buzz Feiten system being the best known.




EDIT: Before anyone starts nitpicking - of course what they have created is not really a "tempered tuning" but rather a compensatory tuning because this alternate tuning only deals with a few notes out of the entire range instead of repositioning all notes in relation to each other...
Old 12th April 2010
  #580
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
...
The next thing is where you are completely wrong, i.e. in the assuming that the human brain has some sort of coding for certain notes/intervals that necessitates that we stick to those intervals.

...
This is interesting.
The brain does indeed have a sort of coding for intervals/harmonic series.
It is used mainly to group incomming frequencies into one source.
It's a tool to differentiate spectra from the spectral cacophony that we usually hear.
But what makes music interesting is a deviation from these intervals.
Also, it's not about absolute frequency or something.
As long as the relations exist (as in intervals) we somehow 'get it' and group it and experience different instruments in a mix.
That's why we can vary the pitch of A to something else than 440Hz without the overall structure changing.
Old 12th April 2010
  #581
Jose Ramón Alvarado Villa
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OurDarkness View Post
A square wave is comprised of odd partials. Does it sound "inharmonic" to you?

I am sure you had something else in mind.
+1. Inharmonic is not correct term.

I've spoke about that in another thread. We often use this term in context to describe metallic, non natural sounds, that in reality are actually fully harmonic(!). They just happen to have odd harmonics only. On the other hand i didn't came with solution on how to title these type of sounds.

An example of true inharmonic generator would be a ring modulator because it outputs frequencies that are not harmonically related to each other. (i.e. 100Hz x 1000Hz = 900Hz & 1100Hz. With 1100 not related in any harmonic way to 900.)


Here are some audios to describe what i meant with harmonics. As explained in previous post, "handmade" additive synthesis by building stuff that has nothing to do with notes, but with pure mathematical relations - combining different modulated sine waves and them overdubbing them.

Old 12th April 2010
  #582
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post
The brain does indeed have a sort of coding for intervals/harmonic series.
It is used mainly to group incomming frequencies into one source.
It's not the brain -- it's a characteristic of sound that does not depend on a listener.

If you combine two repeating signals, the combination of those signals will repeat with a period that is the least common factor (LCF) of the periods of the original signals. Putting it another way, the combination will repeat with a frequency that is the greatest common divisor (GCD) of the frequencies of the original signals.

For example, if you combine a signal at 1,000 Hz with a signal at 2,000 Hz, the result will be a 1,000 Hz tone, because 1,000 is the GCD of 1,000 and 2,000. If, on the other hand, you combine a 1,000 Hz signal with a 2,001 Hz signal, they will repeat with a frequency of 1 Hz.

In the latter case, we will usually hear the combination as a 1,000 Hz signal modulated with a 1 Hz signal, and that's where perception comes into it. But the fact that tones that have simple harmonic relations with each other combine in ways that other tones do not is an abstact property that does not depend on having a listener.
Old 12th April 2010
  #583
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
I would not agree, sir! heh

Partials 1,2,3,4,5,6 will produce a "harmonic" tone to every human brain. Partials 1,3,5 will produce "inharmonic" ones. So i'd bet that our brain does indeed has some sort of coding for certain notes/intervals. Feel free to prove me wrong.

I would say that the burden of proof is on you. Not that the brain can distinguish these, but that the brain actually differentiates them into harmonic and inharmonic.
Old 12th April 2010
  #584
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
... "handmade" additive synthesis by building stuff that has nothing to do with notes, ...
How are notes NOT related to harmonics? heh
Old 12th April 2010
  #585
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ark View Post
It's not the brain -- it's a characteristic of sound that does not depend on a listener.
Of course, harmonics are a natural phenomenon and happen all the time everywhere, from the rotation of planets to the interactions of atoms.

But i was talking about wether the brain has special areas that specificly deal with harmonic series. There are, and as i've explained they are used mostly to separate out harmonics that belong to a particular series, thereby identifying a single source in the soundfield.
So our brain uses the fact that in nature harmonics are attached to most sounds and use this information to actually seperate out the sound from the rest.
People who have a brain disfunction in that region are unable to separate sounds sources and hear this mash up of different frequency spectra comming at them.

And this perception of harmonic relations is the basis for scales and most of music.
Old 12th April 2010
  #586
Jose Ramón Alvarado Villa
 
Don Solaris's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post
How are notes NOT related to harmonics? heh
Maybe i wasn't clear enough what kind of experiments i did. Notes are precisely defined frequency points in acoustic spectra. In stuff i did i didn't use any of those, unless i sit on something like 55, 110, 220Hz which is related to root A note, but the rest of what i do is away from any defined note positions or any scales at all. I just wanted to see which frequencies sit well next to each other. Which implies: one's brain is the key factor of the whole thing. I believe aborigine on the other side of the globe would feel exactly the same thing, no matter what scale he uses. It's simply universal thing. Therefore if someone made some "rules" i will be happy to learn them - as it will save me a lot of time. He spent 60 years finding these position or progressions, i 6 weeks to learn them. (not to say these are only possible note positions and progressions!)

What i've learned, transposing these waves down to nearest note would usually reveal some known chord - as in above case Cmaj7 which made me start to believe - one should actually spend some time learning theory as it will save him a lot of time. To tune 4 sine waves to some "pleasant position", takes 10-20 minutes. To press a chord you learned, takes 2 secs.

My vote: music education first.
Old 12th April 2010
  #587
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post
But what makes music interesting is a deviation from these intervals.
This is where we would get into speculation heh

Personally i have no idea what it is that makes some music interesting to me and makes me turn off other music...

But i am sure that it isn't just one single reason - and furthermore i am almost certain that it has nothing to do at all with the frequency relations within the music itself.

An equally interesting question is actually why we recognize music as music and not just classify it as rythmic noise. Maybe neuroscience has partial answers to that?
Should probably be a new thread though heh
Old 12th April 2010
  #588
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Solaris View Post
Maybe i wasn't clear enough what kind of experiments i did. Notes are precisely defined frequency points in acoustic spectra.
Aah, but this is not true! heh
Notes have precisely defined RELATIONS.
But you can change the basis frequency (in western music A is used at 440Hz as a standard, but this has been different in the past) and with it change all frequencies of all the other notes.
Notes work only because they have some harmonic relation between them, frequency is in fact a secondary factor.
The decision for accepting 440Hz is just to make sure all the instruments will play with the same set of frequencies. This is realy good when playing in a band ... heh ... but not so important when you play alone and have no need to be in tune with other instruments.

Quote:
In stuff i did i didn't use any of those, unless i sit on something like 55, 110, 220Hz which is related to root A note, but the rest of what i do is away from any defined note positions or any scales at all.
Ok, i get it.
The point i was trying to make was that all the notes in a scale are in fact harmonics (most of them folded back from higher up into the octave).
So in a way, you were playing with exactly the same 'stuff' that makes notes and scales work.
heh

Quote:
I just wanted to see which frequencies sit well next to each other. Which implies: one's brain is the key factor of the whole thing. I believe aborigine on the other side of the globe would feel exactly the same thing, no matter what scale he uses. It's simply universal thing. Therefore if someone made some "rules" i will be happy to learn them - as it will save me a lot of time. He spent 60 years finding these position or progressions, i 6 weeks to learn them. (not to say these are only possible note positions and progressions!)
Interesting experiment for sure!
What tools did you use?

There are some rules to this stuff tho.
You hear a pleasant combination of frequencies if they fall on the (sub)harmonic series of the base frequency.
The more you make the frequencies sit besides the harmonic series the more dischordant or inharmonic the resulting sound will be.
But that's just the basis and there is a certain ammount of aquired taste involved to some dischordant combinations so they can be perceived as nice.
The blues note is one very familiar example.
It doesn't fall on the harmonic series of the scale, but is sounds so good.heh

Quote:
What i've learned, transposing these waves down to nearest note would usually reveal some known chord - as in above case Cmaj7 which made me start to believe - one should actually spend some time learning theory as it will save him a lot of time. To tune 4 sine waves to some "pleasant position", takes 10-20 minutes. To press a chord you learned, takes 2 secs.
Any major chord is actually a harmonic series.
So, for any base frequency (lets take A at 55Hz as an example, but any base frequency can be used) you get the harmoic series: A (55Hz), A again (110Hz), E (165Hz), A again (220Hz), C# (275Hz), G (385Hz, note that on an Equal temperament tuning the G is slightly sharp from the A scale's point of view. It's a bit complicated to explain but these little discrepancies allow us to use a lot of scales with the limited ammount of keys available. In fact, to do it right you'd need a different tuning for every scale).

So there you go, all the notes of Amaj7 heh
Fold these back into an octave and you have your major chord!

---

If you know a little more about harmonics then finding a pleasant position for 4 sines should take less than a minute (hint,starting low going up leads to faster results as it's easier for us to hear the relations that way. What you have actually been constructing were sub-harmonics, it seems. Those relations are more difficult for us to perceive/understand but may have fascinating results).

Quote:
My vote: music education first.
Well, alongside making music of course!!
Old 12th April 2010
  #589
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grumphh View Post
This is where we would get into speculation heh

Personally i have no idea what it is that makes some music interesting to me and makes me turn off other music...

But i am sure that it isn't just one single reason - and furthermore i am almost certain that it has nothing to do at all with the frequency relations within the music itself.
Oh, but i agree with you completely.
It's just that this is one of the foundations of anything that has to do with harmony. And it has been an invaluable tool over the centuries.
Doesnt mean it's the only tool (not even the only formalized tool).

Quote:
An equally interesting question is actually why we recognize music as music and not just classify it as rythmic noise. Maybe neuroscience has partial answers to that?
Should probably be a new thread though heh
Hehe.
I personaly think it has to do with perception of relations.
How do they progress over time, what choices were made in these relations by the composer/performer etc.
Not only frequency relations, but time relations (for instance the beginnings and endings of any sonic component).
So at some level there should be some perceptible coherence to the experience so that we can call it music.

Of course you get the counter movement (you always get the counter movement heh) which will state that they hear music in randomness and noise.
But usually even the most abrasive noise music will have some structure to it.
The complete utter opposite of structure and the purest form of total randomness would be just white noise.
But would you listen to 20 minutes of pure white noise and call it music? (interesting experience i can tell you)
So maybe structure and how we experience that structure and on what level is what defines sound as music.

Music is structured sound. (?)
Old 12th April 2010
  #590
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post
But would you listen to 20 minutes of pure white noise and call it music? (interesting experience i can tell you)
So maybe structure and how we experience that structure and on what level is what defines sound as music.

Music is structured sound. (?)
I did attend a sound art performance once - where two idiots sat with two radios blaring through dimed home stereos (distortion) and they "played" the static noise from inbetween the stations...
Utter and complete waste of time.

...in fact, so bad, i'd rather listen to an hour of Vangelis' worst ...



As for wether music can be defined as structured sound only, we had quite a lenghty debate on that on HCKSS about half a year ago - and i am not going into that again!

...unless forced to by a provocative thread of course ... heh
Old 13th April 2010
  #591
Jose Ramón Alvarado Villa
 
Don Solaris's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post
Interesting experiment for sure!
What tools did you use?
Custom synth i built in reactor. Really nothing special. My 13 old nephew could probably build one. Top row: sine wave bank; mid row: level; bottom row: AM depth. Result (audio) is in the post above. Each bank channel contains a random LFO for AM.

When i find a good combination i can listen to that stuff for hours (LOL!), because it never repeats itself.


Quote:
So there you go, all the notes of Amaj7 heh
Damn! And i've wasted hours and hours.

But the good side of the story is - the sounds you hear during these explorations range from sick to extreme bizarre and back.
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