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Topic: Gadhafi’s Betrayal in Harmonic Series Tuning

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  1. #1

    Smile Gadhafi’s Betrayal in Harmonic Series Tuning



    This is a piece written for a small ensemble of Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Flute, French Horn and Percussion in harmonic series tuning using a section from harmonic 12 to 30 reduced to an octave tuning of 15 steps.

    This piece is written in response to Gadhafi sending fighter jets to bomb Lybia’s own citizens.

    The score was realized in Sonar X1 and Garritan Personal Orchestra 4

    Gadhafi’s Betrayal in Harmonic Series Tuning Download

    http://micro.soonlabel.com/harmonic_...s-Betrayal.mp3

    online play and PDF score http://chrisvaisvil.com/?p=533

    The tuning is:

    ! E:\Cakewalk\scales\12to30harm12.scl
    !
    12 to 30 in octave harm
    15
    !
    25/24
    13/12
    9/8
    7/6
    29/24
    5/4
    4/3
    17/12
    3/2
    19/12
    5/3
    7/4
    11/6
    23/12
    2/1

  2. #2

    Re: Gadhafi’s Betrayal in Harmonic Series Tuning


  3. #3

    Re: Gadhafi’s Betrayal in Harmonic Series Tuning

    Apart from the political side of this piece, and I'm sure we're all hanging on tight to our seats hoping for a good and peaceful outcome for the good people of Libya, the harmonic series tuning is quite fascinating.

    We're all so conditioned to 'well temperedness' that by default a lot of this sounds, well, out of tune. We know why of course, but this is the natural physical breakdown of tuning related to natural harmonics so you do wonder why we aren't happy with it.

    Those of us that have played keyboard instruments tuned to different temperaments know that it can work, and well if you only want to play in certain keys.

    What this piece throws up is the question of what a live ensemble would do with this - and whether that would be possible at all. Could you, should you, train a bunch of players to use this tuning? Surely no players (other than natural brass players) could deliberately play unisons out of tune whilst pursuing their own personal harmonic series - surely the instincts to syncronise would be too much - well I guess they would with me. How would you notate this?

    I'm not sure if you intend this to be publicly performed, in which case these ruminations are purely academic, but thanks for posting, it really got me thinking about the whole business of temperament and harmonic series again.

    best

    Barrie

  4. #4

    Re: Gadhafi’s Betrayal in Harmonic Series Tuning

    The string parts most certainly could be performed. For flute I do know that fingerings of woodwinds for quarter tone (24 et) music exists in abundance. So probably something very close can be obtained without too much trouble. As for brass as you noted the harmonic series comes naturally. However, since this is a section of the harmonic series reduced to an octave the result the tuning is really just intonation based on the harmonic series. In this forum I am not sure how to relate such information.

    The following information about the tuning I used may be useful to see:

    12 to 30 in octave harm
    |
    0: 1/1 0.000 unison, perfect prime
    1: 25/24 70.672 classic chromatic semitone, minor chroma
    2: 13/12 138.573 tridecimal 2/3-tone
    3: 9/8 203.910 major whole tone
    4: 7/6 266.871 septimal minor third
    5: 29/24 327.622
    6: 5/4 386.314 major third
    7: 4/3 498.045 perfect fourth
    8: 17/12 603.000 2nd septendecimal tritone
    9: 3/2 701.955 perfect fifth
    10: 19/12 795.558 undevicesimal minor sixth
    11: 5/3 884.359 major sixth, BP sixth
    12: 7/4 968.826 harmonic seventh
    13: 11/6 1049.363 21/4-tone, undecimal neutral seventh
    14: 23/12 1126.319 vicesimotertial major seventh
    15: 2/1 1200.000 octave

  5. #5

    Re: Gadhafi’s Betrayal in Harmonic Series Tuning

    just wanted to pick a trifle - 12 equal temperament is *not* a well temperament. They are two different types of tunings. In 12 equal every interval is an even hundred cents, that is 100, 200, 300, etc.

    Andreas Werckmeister's temperament IV
    |
    0: 1/1 0.000 unison, perfect prime
    1: 82.405 cents 82.405
    2: 196.090 cents 196.090
    3: 32/27 294.135 Pythagorean minor third
    4: 392.180 cents 392.180
    5: 4/3 498.045 perfect fourth
    6: 1024/729 588.270 Pythagorean diminished fifth
    7: 694.135 cents 694.135
    8: 784.360 cents 784.360
    9: 890.225 cents 890.225
    10: 1003.910 cents 1003.910
    11: 4096/2187 1086.315 Pythagorean diminished octave
    12: 2/1 1200.000 octave

  6. #6

    Re: Gadhafi’s Betrayal in Harmonic Series Tuning

    All very interesting indeed, I mean that sincerely.

    But I suppose I'm asking why? What do you think it adds to the experience of the piece to the listener?

    I can see the appeal of this purely academically - but I'm not sure I understand what it would do for an audience.

    Why is this a better approach than the same piece in what we regard as 'normal' in western tuning? What does it add?

    regards


    Barrie

  7. #7

    Re: Gadhafi’s Betrayal in Harmonic Series Tuning

    I have to echo Barrie's question.
    The fundamental musical material doesn't really seem to be enhanced in any way by the re-tuning.
    While I actually enjoyed the lengthy solo at the beginning despite it being rather "tonal" in design and sounding simply a bit out of tune, the rest just didn't seem to speak to me. I was expecting more jarring dissonance caused by the retuning instead of simply instrumentalists that sounded like they were playing out of tune.

    Despite my own music being VERY traditional, I actually do enjoy hearing very "contemporary" musical concepts applied.

    Perhaps this piece requires multiple hearings to truly appreciate?

  8. #8

    Re: Gadhafi’s Betrayal in Harmonic Series Tuning

    Ok,

    "Why" - because you can play notes / melodies / harmonies that you can't play in 12 equal. That is the *only* reason.

    As to the effect on an audience - well that is up to the composer no matter what the tuning, isn't it? Indians and Arabs do fantastic compositions in something other than 12 equal.

    As to microtonal being "jarring" - that is a misconception. I think a lot of damage was done by composers attempting 24 tet (quarter tones) without much success. Microtonal - really, call them "alternate tunings" can be more consonant - for instance if one works in pure Just Intonation one can get thirds as pure as 5ths are in 12 equal. The thirds in 12 equal are *really* quite off - by 14 cents to be exact. Pure minor 7ths are rather nice too.

    I stopped posting at the GPO listening room the tunings my pieces were in for a spell.

    Here are some posts with the tunings

    Klingon Opera Overture in 17 notes per octave
    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...Opera-Overture

    Orwellian Cameras (revised) composed in 13 note subset of 31 notes per octave called “Orwell”
    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...-%28revised%29

    Atonement to a Centaur - in a form of Just Intonation - so many of the harmonies are more pure.
    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...t-to-a-Centaur



    We are taught that 12 equal is found in the natural harmonic series. That is only partially true. Look at this graphic



    The numbers above are the deviations from 12 equal in cents. The colored notes have particularly high deviations - and I'd like to point out that those notes happen to be the "blue" notes from the blues.


    You can look up harmonic series, and just intonation on wikipedia for more information.

    A question for the both of you:

    Why did you think there was the ability to use alternate tunings in Aria?

  9. #9

    Re: Gadhafi’s Betrayal in Harmonic Series Tuning

    There is no need to be offensive or defensive.

    I think that our questions and comments are certainly as valid and justified as yours.
    You post your music, you should be ready to receive criticism or commentary about it, regardless of whether it is the criticism or commentary you WANT to hear.

    My comments are meant from a purely "musical" point of view. I listen to it and ask myself "is the composer achieving an effect that enhances the musical message or not". I care very little for details of intellectual theory. If it does not enhance the listening experience for me, then it serves little purpose.

    Well-crafted music is the only thing I am interested in.

    I am certain that the concepts you are trying to explore are very interesting, intellectually. I am only waiting for them to have a musical impact for me. I'm sorry, that isn't an attack or a criticism, but it is the way I respond to the music I heard.

    It is very much the same way that people respond to my own music by accusing me of being too tonal, or too cold, or too anything. It is their own subjective response to the music, much as this is mine.

    There are a few arguably "objective" criteria for listening to music, the rest is pure subjectivity.

  10. #10

    Re: Gadhafi’s Betrayal in Harmonic Series Tuning

    Quote Originally Posted by vaisvil View Post
    Ok,

    "Why" - because you can play notes / melodies / harmonies that you can't play in 12 equal. That is the *only* reason.

    As to the effect on an audience - well that is up to the composer no matter what the tuning, isn't it? Indians and Arabs do fantastic compositions in something other than 12 equal.

    You can look up harmonic series, and just intonation on wikipedia for more information.

    A question for the both of you:

    Why did you think there was the ability to use alternate tunings in Aria?
    Hey, the only reason I picked up on this is because the subject fascinated me, and I'm interested in the concepts involved. I'm really not being negative about it.

    I still want to know how you notate this for, say, string players - after all 695.135 cents above or below a note is a precise enough direction, but how does a viola player action that?

    regards


    Barrie

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