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Music theory basics - half vs full step

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Re: Music theory basics - half vs full step

Postby BJG145 » Thu May 25, 2017 8:54 am

CS70 wrote:By the way, here's a pic of a harpsichord keyboard in just temperament

Oh, what...? Does that come with MIDI...?
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Re: Music theory basics - half vs full step

Postby CS70 » Thu May 25, 2017 11:08 am

BJG145 wrote:
CS70 wrote:By the way, here's a pic of a harpsichord keyboard in just temperament

Oh, what...? Does that come with MIDI...?

MIDI 1600! :D

Not totally sure as no MIDI guru, but MIDI could not even represent these notes! It has only 12 to the octave. Maybe with some bending...
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Re: Music theory basics - half vs full step

Postby BJG145 » Thu May 25, 2017 1:00 pm

I do like that keyboard design. It looks like some people have tried to replicate it by rearranging their keys...

Image

...and there's what looks like a soft synth with the same layout by hpi...

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...but I can't find any sensible looking MIDI version. :frown:
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Re: Music theory basics - half vs full step

Postby petev3.1 » Thu May 25, 2017 4:02 pm

BJG145 wrote:I haven't read up on this, but I'd have thought it was more likely that the scale started with the maths, and it only "sounds good" because we're used to it. Would someone who'd never heard music before find something inherently attractive about those frequencies...? Dunno.
Yes, they would. We use these scales because they produce mathematical relationships which please our ears. Give a hymn tune to large congregation and some folks will sing it a fifth higher or lower. Why? Because of the mathematical relationship.

Mind you. it does have to be learned to some extent. The major third was considered a dissonance and was pretty much off-limits until the Brits popularised it. It still is a dissonance but now seems a nice one. Nowadays we have got used to sevenths, ninths, eleventh,s thirteenths and just about anything. But look at these numbers, it's all maths and physics connected to the harmonic series.

I would suggest studying the way a string with fixed ends vibrates. All of diatonic music is in those vibrations and their relationships.

CS70 wrote:Say you look at the frequencies which sound good starting from 440Hz and name them A, B, C, D, E, F, G. Then you look at the numbers and you discover that these sound have an interesting arithmetic property - the ratios between the corresponding frequencies are made by small integer numbers: 1/1, 2/1, 3/2, 4/3, 5/4, 6/5.

As long as we stick to the scale frequencies...

As a general point I'd agree that music theory is often taught very badly. But teaching young players about the background physics and the psycho-acoustics is not usually practical, and later it may be forgotten.

A classic case was a pupil of mine who arrived having carefully learned all the notes on the stave, but nobody had mentioned to her (aged about nine) that they proceed alphabetically and she hadn't noticed. She was amazed when I pointed it out. Another beef is that often pupils are not taught what the treble clef actually is, to wit a G written on the first line. If the basics are missed then the rest of the the system may make little sense.

My view is that the best and possible only completely effective method for understanding notation and why things are done as they are is to write music. Then you start to see the logic because you're in problem solving mode. Then you see why the solutions are as they are.

To confuse matter in Germany there is a half-step between B and H, and between H and C. But a half-step is a certain number of 'cents' and nothing to do with what we call the notes.

A guitarist has the wonderful advantage of understanding how strings vibrate and if we understand this we understand a lot of music theory and quite a lot of mathematics. For instance, number theory (the study of the primes) is almost all about vibrating strings and the number line can be modeled as one.

Maybe check out Pythagoras. Also try googling 'grand staff'. Maybe also have a look at early plainchant notation. Then you'll be glad of the 'alphabet-on-the-stave' system.

I'd second the idea of finding a cheap keyboard to doodle on. Much easier to learn the theory on a keyboard, which may be why keyboard players are usually better at it than guitarists, who are often accused of a lack of general skills compared to other instrumentalists.
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Re: Music theory basics - half vs full step

Postby Guest » Sun May 28, 2017 6:09 pm

A 3rd/III is very much a consonant, I-V-I or 1 3 5, is the highest harmonic structure there is, second comes I-III-V-I & so on.

I-V is a harmonic structure, but it’s incomplete.

Leap back und forth rhythmically between the 1 3 & 5 they are stable and have no movement, now step to some dissonants in-between, they provide movement.

It is indeed very much easier to grasp/understand harmony intervals & the like, by navigating a keyboard, I am at this very moment in time benefitting greatly from this simple knowledge gained by far too many years of writing only with keys as I forge some wicked little geetar choons.

Your tune, my tune, even Beethoven’s choon lives und breathes within the I-V-I, just add any other intervals to it, by stepping and leaping correctly/harmonically in-between, ‘ow ‘ard’s that?

This is the physics of Pythagoras’s probable discovery/idea, this is wot it all boils down to, literally, don’t over-think/complicate it, USE YOUR EARS, there’s only seven individual notes/intervals, some of ‘em are STRUCTURAL, for Building A Piece Of Music Around, ‘ow ‘ard’s that?

You don’t need an understanding of harmony to write a great song, because you already possess it, as it resides (albeit dormant in some it would seem,) in your subconscious providing you’ve listened to music all yer life that is.

Er, I suppose, maybe, probably even.
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Re: Music theory basics - half vs full step

Postby Guest » Sun May 28, 2017 9:19 pm

LdashD wrote:A 3rd/III is very much a consonant, I-V-I or 1 3 5, is the highest harmonic structure there is, second comes I-III-V-I & so on...

CORRECTION: A 3rd/III is very much a consonant, I-V-I or 1 5 1, is the highest harmonic structure there is, second comes I-III-V-I & so on.

All rules of harmony etc are the same for, individual notes/intervals, written like this, 1 5 1 as they are for chords written like this I-V-I, anything you can do with one you can do with the other...

I just noticed earlier, you can physically can seethat a I-V is incomplete, it looks unfinished does it not.
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