[geocentrism] Re: For Martin

  • From: "Martin G. Selbrede" <mselbrede@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: geocentrism@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2007 15:28:56 -0500

Dear Steven,

Well, I can say that my piano has drifted off of Western equal temperament, so compositions for it that I wrote using Western tonality have jumped the track into the world of microtonality. I do plan, however, to remedy this with a nice tuning. The biggest barrier to moving toward, say, the 17-degree scale is I'm not sufficiently motivated to learn Sanskrit.

However (in the interest of full disclosure), my Opus 16 (which was, in fact, performed publicly) did include a brief section that would have made Penderecki proud. I was aware of his works, particularly Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, and so in my composition the string orchestra indulges in such non-Western dissonance for nearly a full minute (this occurring in a piece that lasts about 38 minutes in concert performance). And that's about it, folks.

I could have sworn that I had mentioned to you the research conducted by Ernest Ansermet about the geometry of the cochlear spiral in the inner ear -- that its curvature is based on the log of 12. Ansermet's conclusion was that the human ear naturally divides an octave into twelve parts. Since the cochlear spirals of other mammals are curved differently, such creatures may discern such music as alien gibberish. If one were to truly test animals for musical aptitude, the scale should be subdivided based on a specific animal's cochlear spiral geometry and music then created within that customized tonal architecture. If the animal responds to that, and not to music based on other scale divisions, we'd have some empirical support for Ansermet's theory that would be nearly unassailable.


On Sep 19, 2007, at 3:08 PM, Steven Jones wrote:

Dear Martin,

just wondering if you're interested in other tonalities besides western and whether you've ever explored any of them in your own compositions?

Using Opera's revolutionary e-mail client: http://www.opera.com/mail/

Martin G. Selbrede
Chief Scientist
Uni-Pixel Displays, Inc.
8708 Technology Forest Place, Suite 100
The Woodlands, TX 77381
281-825-4500 main line (281) 825-4507 direct line (281) 825-4599 fax (512) 422-4919 cell
mselbrede@xxxxxxxxxxxxx / martin.selbrede@xxxxxxxxxxxx

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