[geocentrism] Re: For Martin

  • From: "Jack Lewis" <jack.lewis@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <geocentrism@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2007 09:17:17 +0100

Dear Martin,
Thank you for that, but my remarks were partially tong-in-cheek! I am pretty 
familiar with the way music is written. I used be part of an old fashioned 
harmonica group called 'Four in Accord'. I played a 2 foot long double-rowed 
chord instrument, and the others played a bass harmonica and two chromatic 
harmonicas. depending on your age you may recall a group called 'Borrah 
Minevitch and His Harmonica Rascals' and perhaps 'The Harmonicats'.
My greatest regret is that I never studied music. I am fascinated by harmonies 
and chord structures.

Having said all this your last paragraph made a lot of sense.

Jack 
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Martin G. Selbrede 
  To: geocentrism@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2007 12:31 AM
  Subject: [geocentrism] Re: For Martin


  Jack,


  I think you mean a 6-line staff, versus the traditional 5-line staff.  
Multiple staves are traditional on orchestral scores (one per instrument) and 
aren't unusual.


  The white keys on the piano represent the unmodified pitches that would 
appear on a staff. There are seven per octave, coming full around to the 
original pitch (at double the frequency) on the eighth note (hence "octave"). 
When you add in the five black keys, seven plus five provides twelve different 
pitches, repeating at the 13th. The black notes are notated with special 
symbols in front of a regular unmodified pitch. The unmodified pitches are 
called "naturals" while adjustments up are prefixed with a sharp symbol and 
adjustments down with a flat symbol. In any event, a full octave can be written 
using a staff with only four lines (e.g., treble clef, the D above middle c to 
the D one octave higher -- the lower note sits in the space below the first 
staff line, the final note -- the 13th -- is the D sitting directly on the 
fourth line).


  The so-called "grand staff" upon which most piano music is written is the 
combination of two staffs, the bottom one using bass clef, the top one using 
the treble clef. There is a virtual line between the two (upon which middle C 
in both staffs is shared), so technically the grand staff is an 11-line staff, 
with the middle line being hidden and only revealed by use of individual leger 
lines (to reveal the presence of the virtual line between bass and treble). 
Leger lines are used to extend the staff up or down as needed. Excessive use of 
leger lines is obviated by use of shorthand markings, such as 8va or 15ma, 
which, depending on position, indicates the notes are to be played one or two 
octaves either higher or lower than notated.


  Notation has evolved over time. Four clefs are in common use. The clefs 
specify the identity of a specific note on the staff it rests on. The treble 
clef is the G clef, showing that G falls on the second line from the bottom. 
The bass clef is the F clef, specifying that F falls on the fourth line of the 
staff.  The alto clef is one of the so-called C clefs that positions C on a 
specific line -- in this case, on the middle line of the staff. Violas use this 
clef almost exclusively.  The tenor clef is also a C clef, but it positions C 
on the fourth line. Cellos, trombones, and bassoons occasionally use this clef 
for passages that lie high on the instrument. The appeal of switching to 
another clef is in avoiding the need to write lots of leger lines (which can be 
hard to read -- music notation is an intensely practical concern: the easier to 
read, the easier to play). 


  Practical considerations show that the human eye can instantly identify a 
pitch on a 5-line staff.  When you increase the number of lines, the eye gets 
lost in the graphical context and can misjudge the pitch. So the need was to 
(1) make it readable as is, (2) providing a suitably large range of notes while 
(3) minimizing leger lines where possible (which can also be hard to read in 
excess).


  Martin






  On Sep 19, 2007, at 6:02 PM, Jack Lewis wrote:


    Dear Steven and Martin,
    I have always been puzzled why music wasn't written on 6 staves since there 
are 12 notes. Could it be that music has evolved from the simple tones to the 
more complex? If 6 staves were used would it not make playing different keys 
easier?

    Jack 
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Martin G. Selbrede
      To: geocentrism@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
      Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2007 9:28 PM
      Subject: [geocentrism] Re: For Martin


      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.


      Martin






      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










  --------
  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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