Cutting through to the source

Thoughts and responses regarding the research at
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Cutting through to the source

Post by SunFishSeven » Fri Dec 31, 2010 7:38 pm

I have recently been learning about just intonation (

and it occurs to me that really everything is relative in music.

the only necessity for using fixed pitches is that one has to somehow map and infinitude of musically harmonious tones onto a finite instrument.

and pretty much the whole of musical theory seems to revolve around this constraint

so musical thoughts as far as I can see don't have anything to do with musical theory

my friend who is musically fluent ( able to improvise freely in the style of any composer, able to modulate at will, sing or recognise notes, detect if they are off centre, pick out all the notes from a chord -- etc, as far as I can make out he has a very well kitted out musical toolkit ) once said to me that he had learned all the theory at music school but it didn't help.

so let's contend that the language of music revolves around prime numbers and ratios. this cannot be expressed using finite pitch instruments or notated by the conventional system.

So our musical instruments and our musical system are an attempt to approximate this inner world of harmony.

if we work from within the system, I don't see how we can reach to the beyond.

but if we work from the beyond, constructing harmonies from pure ratios, and shine this through the filter of a modern instrument like a piano, we can get the approximation.

if we have a sense of absolute pitch, we can approximate which note is closest, with some practice we could also learn which approximations work and which ones suck...

I'm guessing that child prodigies such as the Korean girl I linked to earlier are able to do something like this.

and anyone who is trying to learn music from the theory is like someone who is trying to learn dancing by watching a dancer's shadow. sure, there will be a complex logic to it. Because the framework is not complete, (ie it is just a shadow) the logic will seem arbitrary and meaningless

it is like trying to understand a mandelbrot from looking at the spirals. There is so much pattern, so many different logics that can be seen, but none of them will lead to the source.

Chopin says ' if you wish to learn to play you must first learn to sing '.

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