The power of Repetitiveness

Talk about what you've discovered by using ETC-- and post your high ranks!
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Postby TS » Thu Apr 22, 2010 9:03 am

gavriel wrote:In the case of combining
the frequency of F3+F5
the main picks appear at the multiple of 174.61 Hz - hence at the frequency of an F.
BUT the secondary picks appear at 440 Hz !
generating a "phantom 'A'-ness"

I still don't think I understand. What are picks? Do you mean overtones? Or do you mean peaks? Or do you mean the points at which the wave crosses zero level? Like in this picture that Chris showed before:


If you mean the zero points, then I think I understand your F3+F5 example. If you distort a signal, like overdriving a guitar amplifier, the distortion creates new overtones that are sums and differences of the original signals, and the sum of the frequencies F3 + F5 = 880Hz, or A5.

There is potentially a problem here, because E6 on its own has the same zero crossings as A 440, and so does C#7. And if you take A 110Hz as your starting point, then E4 has the same crossings, as does C#5 and B5. And you really need pure tuning here to get the crossings really correct.

But if I'm understanding you correctly, then you are suggesting that we should be essentially listening to overtones generated by distorting sinewaves of the same chroma, because these overtones have some other chroma. And the sinewaves don't really need to be deliberately distorted, because there is always some distortion in the ear anyway.

Did I get your point?

gavriel wrote:another example originates in the art of counterpoint of the 15th century.
paralel fifth and octaves were not allowed.
One fo the reasons is that in a church with a huge reverb, when a two voices sing an octave that is sliding upwards in paralel. The signal is phasing with the echo of the octave, generating a different hidden pitch, that was perceived as a disturbing dissonance.

I've heard that consecutive fifths and octaves were forbidden because if two voices sing an octave or a fifth apart, they sound like one voice, and for a four part harmony to sound good you can't have two voices sounding like one, because then it sounds like a three part harmony.

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Postby gavriel » Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:44 pm

Yes, sorry I was referring to 'peaks'.

I think you got my point now.

the wave form is just a representation of alternating air pressure spreading through space.

Yes, I mean the distorting (secondary) peaks of compound tones that have a chroma of their own.

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creating pitches

Postby Axeman » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:07 pm

You may want to try out Bryce Alexanders program. I don't know if it will do the things you want to do with the pitches but you could try ask him I suppose.
I haven't tried his program but you can see how it works on the site. It enables you to adjust the overtones that a recorded note contains.

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Re: creating pitches

Postby koenig » Sat May 01, 2010 10:57 am

Thanks for that link Axeman! I'm not sure that his method has anything to teach about perfect pitch (not saying it doesn't, I'm just a skeptic) but I'm starting to hear harmonics that I've never realized were there in my entire damn life. Unbelievable...

I deleted the rest of the post, because I think it is too early to get excited.

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Postby BigRed » Mon May 17, 2010 10:24 pm


I agree. In fact, this reminds me of something that I recently experienced --- something profound, simply by playing around on my keyboard...

I discovered what piano tuners call "beats"!

It was never noticeable to me before; these mystery sounds had always eluded me, until I made a CONCIOUS effort at hearing them. That's when something remarkable happened. Suddenly it was as if a veil had been lifted from my ear, and now I hear them all the time. Now I can consciously control whether or not I hear the beats. I can either focus in on them, or ignore them.

At first it was difficult, and they would sometimes "disappear" on me, which was discouraging and frustrating. But then I tried playing in the bass range (a minor 2nd interval, which is the most obvious extreme dissonance). The wooow-wooow-wooow-wooow was so explicit as to be impossible to ignore. It was like I was playing my piano through a tremolo FX pedal or something. Ever since then, it has been increasingly easy to notice them.

So I therefore believe that the concept of "making something obvious, so you can notice it when it's not" has a lot of merit. I would say this is especially true of auditory stimulti, which we have a tendency to filter out from our conscious perception (like tinnitus!)

The only initial reservation I have, is whether or not whatever skill/proficiency at AP one derives from training with Bryce Alexander's software will be usable within a MUSICAL context, especially thick chords. Afterall, you won't always be hearing sinewaves or piano tones. Music can contain ANY of thousands of possible types of instruments (especially orchestral works), or ANY combination thereof. Are you really going to practice listening to the overtones of EVERY ONE of those, just to "cover all your bases"? That would take more than a lifetime.

Just my 2 cents.
Last edited by BigRed on Tue May 18, 2010 6:14 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby koenig » Mon May 17, 2010 10:51 pm :)

I'm not convinced that listening for overtones is going to teach me anything in particular, but it sure is fascinating. I wouldn't spend too much time on it, but I do plan on exploring it a bit.

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Postby BigRed » Tue May 25, 2010 8:48 pm

So, koenig, just to follow up, because I'm curious: Have you been using Bryce Alex's software (APS) regularly since your last post? I know it's too early to get excited, but you mentioned hearing harmonics you haven't heard before in your life. Has this had any impact on your eartraining or pitch skills?

Also, I should probably correct my previous post. I wasn't meaning to imply that timbre is "just a crutch" or anything along those lines, although my statements may have come across that way. In fact, I tend to think of timbre as a valuable method of recall, and recently had an idea.

Part of distinguishing different tones absolutely is in the timbre. Studies comparing the accuracy of AP with regards to piano vs. sinewaves have shown this to be the case (at least for those learning later in life. Not sure about those who are "born APers" or learn young.) Practicing this involves listening to the subtle timbral differences between all the tones producable by a given instrument, using the most standard timbre-defining playing techniques. Which of course, already adds up to many combinations.

Perhaps to compensate for this, you could cover "all your bases" so to speak (at least somewhat), not by listening to every instrument, but by listeing to 1 of the most common members of every major classification of instruments. Either the 4 families of Woodwinds, Brass, Strings, Percussion, or 4 methods of sound production (Idiophone, Membranophone, Chordophone, Aerophone), or something else along those lines.

This could prevent things from becoming overwhelming. :shock:

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Height vs. Chroma in AP

Postby lorelei » Sun Jun 06, 2010 11:10 am

I do think that AP-ers focus more on chroma than height, but they don't necessarily ignore it altogether. For example, if you played me a C, I could say if its C1, C2, C3, C4 or C5. I think it varies to some extent: some have more difficulty than others.
Gavriel wrote

In the 1st one I heard an E2.
2nd I heard a E2 and E3.
3rd I heard just an E3.
Does this say anything?

Gavriel said:
So what actually happens is that I hear the engine of the train and instead of taking in its sound as constant-height/sliding chroma, I force my mind to hear sliding height/sliding chroma. An absolute listener would feel how the chroma gradually modulates from C#-F# to D-G while the height of the sound is staying the same or changes independently of the chroma. i on the other hand create an illusion that the height and chroma are interdependent.

What do you mean by the illusion that height and chroma are interdependent?

p.s. How do u quote? I didn't really succeed...

EDIT: I had BBCode disabled! That was the problem.
Last edited by lorelei on Mon Jun 07, 2010 3:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Height vs. Chroma in AP

Postby BigRed » Sun Jun 06, 2010 6:28 pm

p.s. How do u quote? I didn't really succeed...

I think I see what happened.

Your [/i] and [/quote] commands are within the hyperlink above.

Perhaps you put them BEFORE the [/url] tag by mistake!

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Postby lorelei » Mon Jun 07, 2010 1:20 pm

thnx for the help. I corrected the entry.

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Postby BigRed » Mon Jun 07, 2010 4:27 pm

np. 8)

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The First Post - the Meditation Method

Postby SacumSuckum » Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:07 pm

This is for gavriel, if he happens to still be coasting this forum. I understand that the method you outlined in the first post doesn't give AP or perfected relative pitch, but does it work generally? Does it actually improve listening skills?

This question may sound redundant, but since the post was written so long ago and so much else had been written in the intervening time period, I figured that something valuable might have been said about the value of the method generally.

If the method is practical and useful, how exactly do you recommend listening to the particular piece? Is it useful to play the piece in the background, letting your unconscious mind absorb the frequencies and relationships between the notes? Or is that anathema, does it violate the essential point of the method, which is meditation? Also, in meditating on this piece, are we ideally listening for things, for frequencies, relationships, pitches or are we just trying to enjoy the piece?

Hopefully you get this gavriel.

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Postby SacumSuckum » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:03 pm

And I'd be happy for a reply from Chris too, if he's still looks at the forum for new posts every so often. And even though you might not know what Gavriel thought on the matter aruffo (or what others said on the matter, etc.), I'd be happy to know what you think about it.

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Postby aruffo » Tue Apr 05, 2011 6:35 pm

He does... I don't have too much to say about it, though.. I (still) maintain that the next step is figuring out how to learn categorical perception along the frequency dimension, but I don't yet know how to approach that.

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Postby SacumSuckum » Wed Apr 06, 2011 9:18 am

I'm sure you're sick of explaining this, but when you say categorical perception along the frequency dimension, do you mean, moving beyond mere recognition of a particular note (that sounds familiar...) to recognition that that note is A, B, G, etc.

Or do you mean recognition of the difference between A, B, G, D, etc?

And by the way, when was the last time Gavriel posted on any of the forums anyway?

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