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just had a gnarly realization
Old 8th October 2020
  #1
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robotchicken's Avatar
 

just had a gnarly realization

do the same intervals in different keys have different feels?

ive been focusing on scale degrees and intervals regardless of key for weeks now thinking that the key didnt matter..

but all of the sudden i switched keys playing the same thing and realized what sounded so dark and grim in 1 key sounded almost like it was a major interval even tho it was still minor! i couldnt beleive it...
Old 8th October 2020
  #2
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GYMusic's Avatar
Try tuning instruments to something other than Concert pitch.
Old 8th October 2020
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robotchicken View Post
but all of the sudden i switched keys playing the same thing and realized what sounded so dark and grim in 1 key sounded almost like it was something major even tho it was still minor! i couldnt beleive it...
The effect might also be due to the lingering effect of the previous key. It's not just that you're in a new key -- you're hearing it in term of the old key. If you shift from C minor to E minor, your ear will temporarily hear the E natural as a major third, even if the C was left behind in the previous measure.
Old 8th October 2020 | Show parent
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Honkermann View Post
The effect might also be due to the lingering effect of the previous key. It's not just that you're in a new key -- you're hearing it in term of the old key. If you shift from C minor to E minor, your ear will temporarily hear the E natural as a major third, even if the C was left behind in the previous measure.
wow! i totally buy that.
Old 8th October 2020
  #5
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is harmony really this insane? im blown.
Old 8th October 2020
  #6
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Yes.
And there are other things like that

Relative major and minor are the same notes starting in a different place
There are the modes see here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mode_(music)

The circle of 5th's is a good one.

The second post implies the reality that there is no such thing as a perfect piano tuning unless it's for a specific key signature.

Changing tempo just a tad can really change the feel of a song.

So many factors before you even get into what the tone of any instrument sounds like and how it sounds when a specific person plays it.

Then the engineering starts...pick a room, mic & recording chain.
Old 9th October 2020
  #7
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Before equal temperament, definitely. This is based on a theorist from 1713: https://ledgernote.com/blog/interest...tics-emotions/

After equal temperament, its up for debate. Some swear they feel the difference, others swear those people are experiencing a placebo effect or something, and others swear you should tune to 432hz to be in tune with the universe and that 440hz tuning is part of a conspiracy. It gets pretty murky lol.
Old 9th October 2020 | Show parent
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Before equal temperament, definitely. This is based on a theorist from 1713: https://ledgernote.com/blog/interest...tics-emotions/

After equal temperament, its up for debate. Some swear they feel the difference, others swear those people are experiencing a placebo effect or something.
wild! what do you mean equal temperment?
Old 9th October 2020 | Show parent
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robotchicken View Post
wild! what do you mean equal temperment?
Equal temperament means the frequency difference between each note is mathematically equal. So intervals in one key have the same difference between the notes as intervals in another.

They used to just tune by what sounded to good whoever set the standard (someone here will know the history of tunings, I just know the gist.) So an interval in one key would actually be mathematically different than the same internal in another. And definitely sound and feel different.
Old 10th October 2020
  #10
As others note, in equally tempered systems, the relationships between intervals remain the same, the same piece of music is generally quite recognizable when transposed note for note into a new key.

BUT... pitch context is not nothing... Take a given composition and transpose it up or down a whole octave -- and it's easy to hear at least some aspects of the change in 'vibe'...

That said, I don't think there's anything particularly 'cosmic' about that or about any specific key (or reference pitch, for that matter). The thinking of those who believe the difference between A440 and A432 systems (for example) is something more than an 8 Hz difference in pitch (which is NOT nothing, for sure) pretty much goes right past me.
Old 10th October 2020 | Show parent
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
BUT... pitch context is not nothing... Take a given composition and transpose it up or down a whole octave -- and it's easy to hear at least some aspects of the change in 'vibe'...
Do you think that this is something relative or firm?
Old 11th October 2020 | Show parent
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Do you think that this is something relative or firm?
Relative, for sure -- to a whole lot of things, both intrinsic to the music as well as to the subjective response of a given listener.
Old 11th October 2020 | Show parent
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Relative, for sure -- to a whole lot of things, both intrinsic to the music as well as to the subjective response of a given listener.
The system where every scale is different was probably very cool. You'd have objectively more dissonant keys and objectively more harmonic keys to work with than today.

I get anyone can tune however. But the systems in play are such a huge determinant of outcomes, especially in considering how much familiarity plays into acceptance of art.
Old 11th October 2020
  #14
There are many different kinds of pitch/note systems at use around the world but the two big ones, 12 Tone Equal Temperament (12TET) and Just Intonation, both feature scales that are derived by mathematical formula and, so, feature consistent scalar relationships inside a given key. In other words, a perfect fifth pair has the same mathematical ratio no matter what key it's in within either system -- but the ratio of such pairs IS different when comparing the temperament systems to one another.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_intonation

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_temperament

Here's a chart that compares the ratios in each system for each step of a scale:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_...ust_intonation
Old 12th October 2020 | Show parent
  #15
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badmark's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
The system where every scale is different was probably very cool. You'd have objectively more dissonant keys and objectively more harmonic keys to work with than today.

I get anyone can tune however. But the systems in play are such a huge determinant of outcomes, especially in considering how much familiarity plays into acceptance of art.
12-ET is like the McDonald's burger of tunings. It delivers. But there is a possibility we have become over-familiar with it.

In terms of the 'circle of fifths' mentioned above, 19 & 31 notes to the octave keep the modulation possibilities you get with conventional 12-ET., thanks to the magic of mathematics. I have read that 19 favours minor 3rds, 31 major ones. 19 maps easily to a conventional keyboard.
Old 16th October 2020
  #16
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I need to scratch come very old brain cells to get to this, so please correct me if your recollections are sharper than mine.

Early instruments could not produce equal or just intonation. The scale degrees were based on the harmonic overtone series, not because some mathematician figured it out, but because that was what was naturally available in the real world. If I recall correctly, for every doubling of frequency, you'd get the next note in the series. So you'd have the fundamental, then octave, then 5th, then octave then major 3, 5th, flat 7, octave, 2, 3, and sharp 4, 5, 6 and I don't remember what comes next. If you compress that down into a single octave, you get a Lydian flat 7 scale. However, the 5ths are slightly sharper than what we use today, and other intervals are also skewed up or down compared to equal temperament. You can test this with harmonics on a string or open notes on a brass instrument.

The natural scale that exists in nature posed problems for certain composers. The ability to modulate was a big reason for moving to new systems. This is why harpsichords have often have multiple manuals. Imagine having to retune the thing for every song or having to play everything in the same key.

There were spirited fights about how to temper the scale. I remember reading a book years ago; I wish I could recall the title, but it may have even mentioned one tuning argument ending in murder! Kind of a foreshadowing of the internet... [Edit: possibly this book: https://www.amazon.com/Tuning-Temper...2406877&psc=1]

Certain composers had their favorite tunings and would notate them on the scores. Even today, if you were to see a performance of older works, the players will adjust to the tuning of the time, or the tuning specified by the composer.

If you went to music school and remember certain strange rules about tritones being the "devil's interval" or the "wolf tone," it wasn't some weird voodoo or that people just weren't hip back before even tempered tuning. It's that today the tritone inverts perfectly. Back then the distance from say 7 to 4 was not the same as the distance from 4 to 7 like it is today. The interval really did sound like ass. In some of the systems before even tempered tuning, dominant sevenths became possible, but you'd still have to stack the 7 on top of the 4 (or maybe the other way around? ... music school was long time ago...) and 7 had to resolve to 8 and 4 had to resolve to 3. No fancy escapes could work.

I believe it was J.S. Bach who finally popularized even tempered tuning. It had been around for a long time before him, and had many detractors because of the inherent imperfections; 5ths and 3rds were flatter, and therefore major chords, for instance, did not ring as true. Even tempered tuning was really a compromise, but the plusses seem to have outweighed the minuses for hundreds of years now.

As for different parallel keys having a different sound, there seems to be evidence of that phenomenon. People with synesthesia all agree that certain keys have colors and they all agree on the colors. Others just note that certain keys have a different emotional feeling. I know people say C Major is bland. These are people with superhuman ears. I can't claim to hear it myself.

Last edited by Poopypants; 16th October 2020 at 01:05 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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There is a difference, and if you are unsure, then some people having a perfect pitch would be enough for me to accept song's key matters even if I couldn't hear it myself.

On that note, I do not have a perfect pitch, but am able to tell the note by the timbre of the instrument if I know it well enough. Strangely, it's easier to confuse the note by a perfect 4th/5th, but never by a halftone or semitone. Also, doesn't work on transposed sounds or synths.

As for a practical things one can do to experince the difference, take a piano and play just a basic major chord and start shifting it down by half steps. At some point it will sound too clustered and muddy. Depending on the piano, the difference between "still ok" and "definetely muddy" can be very small.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
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Niclas.G's Avatar
 

Dont think what you hear is that hard to explain.

A melody containing the 5 first notes in C major is always going to be lower in pitch than the same melody played in F major. Its a huge difference in timbre for many different reasons.

Also the lower the pitch the longer between notes in the actual air. A at 220 is a waaay longer sound wave than a 440. The distance between 440 and 880 on the other hand is not at all that drastic. Etc etc. This makes an impact on how it feels, especially when singing. A jump between the 5th and the 1 in one key can feel totally different than in another.

We all use equal temperament tuning now. No point in further complicate things. Its complicated enough.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
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Upper registers sound brighter which the human brain is wired to hear differently from lower registers. Depending on the instrument there can also be a huge difference in the amount of harmonic content depending on the note frequency. Some of the reason for "mud" when playing multiple lower notes is due to extra harmonics available taking up dynamic range.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
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Regarding low interval limits, this person describes it better than can:


https://www.robin-hoffmann.com/dfsb/...terval-limits/
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
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Assuming 12TET, first I'll sum up some previous suggestions: it could be because your brain is still calibrated to the scale you were hearing/playing previously. Your mind juxtaposes this against the new scale, therefore coloring your impression of it.

It also could be because you have perfect pitch, and have different memories associated with different scales/ pitch ranges.

It also could be because an instrument's timbre usually changes with frequency. So, a high CDEFG will have fundamental frequencies that are exact multiples of a low CDEFG, but they'll each emphasize a different mix of harmonics, which influences your qualitative impressions.

Here's another thing I think it could be: the drone tone you're hearing is what provides the base that your mind calibrates to, and it creates a different harmony with each note of each different major (or whatever) scale you play above that drone. I know you're not actually playing a drone note/chord while you play the scale - I'm talking about the tonal quality of your heating system, the cars going by, the TV someone's watching in the next room, or if you're lucky, the mountain breeze meeting the ocean waves... but mostly, the general din of modern life. The air is full of tones which blend with yours, unless you're wearing headphones.

And, if you're not using headphones, there's even one more factor: room nodes. Your room itself can emphasize and minimize particular frequencies, and this can color your perception of major (or any) scales played in different ranges or in different keys.

The obvious initial conclusion based on your observation could be that absolute pitches carry objective meaning. Then, you could reason, maybe the meaning (associated feelings) is coming from the listener's side, but possibly it's the same for everyone who hears the same pitch - IOW, still some standardized meaning for each absolute pitch. This is kind of a popular newage idea, and it comes from way back in history. It usually doesn't eliminate or even discuss the less fantastic variables mentioned above (or others, or any really), so in my mind, that doctrine isn't very rigorous. It needs actual study by non-believers, to verify or debunk.
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