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Desc:Autistic? Too much acid in the 60s? Both?
Category:Science & Technology, Arts
Tags:autism, hippies, Bill Wesley, microtonality, what I learned in college
Submitted:Old_Zircon
Date:11/23/10
Views:751
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Comment count is 12
Snakeweapon
Is this man's killer weed really worth sitting through hours of bullshit for?
fedex
this guy looks like an extra from a zombie movie
kingofthenothing
What is it about expression of art that makes people totally bonkers?
Samisyosam
In music, microtonality isn't about creating grand new textures. I mean, if you're a hippie douchebag then sure, blame your shitty intonation on being a deeply spiritual "artiste." Most of the time a musician's microtonal concerns involve shifting notes around to try and avoid wolf intervals and things that just sound ugly. There's a lattice of notes you have to hedge a little sharper or flatter depending on the note you're referencing it from.

Old tuning systems used the pythagorean tuning methods which are based off of those ratios he was babbling on about. The pythagorean ratios make it easy to tune notes together based off of overtones, but by doing that you will doom the scale to only sound good based off of that one starting note. The octaves get progressively sharper and flatter as it spreads out. Stringed instruments have this inherent problem and the players have to be aware of it as they will commonly tune their instruments based off of those overtones.

Equal temperament solved this problem by going "ok let's make sure all the octaves are in tune and just split the scale into 12 EQUAL intervals," which solved all problems by making a simple, mathematical compromise that makes all the notes on a piano sound the same up and down the keyboard. Most instruments allow for some bending of the note, but pianos can't. It's important that all the notes share enough in common with each other that they can be used in all octaves simultaneously. The overtones don't match, but who the hell has ever cared about the overtones when listening to a piano? You press the button. It makes a note. Everybody's happy.

Phusis
The number of people who actually create interesting and engaging music with the various kinds of microtonal systems is extremely small. Much, much smaller than even the already small number of people who actually bother to give it conscious thought. But they do exist. This guy, in contrast, sounds like a moron trying to explain something technical in silly fashion, and his music doesn't impress me (but Ives', say, does).

Now, when it comes to pure tuning in particular (the ratios crap) - well, sorry to say it, but we DO actually listen to the overtones on the piano. Every single time there's a chord, in fact. Start to change the relationships between the notes played by pressin' the buttons, and you begin to get chords with radically different characters (and, not to get into the maths of it too much, but there's a hell of a lot more to it than the old medieval pythagorean system). So all of this, if it's to be any more than mathy masturbation, really should be about creating "grand new textures," and the best stuff in the style manages to do it. E.g., www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMHQV9_-TCI and www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fn2CJmFrUmU are both fine examples of the breed.

Enjoy
This is why orchestras hate playing with pianos. The piano is out of tune. An F# is not the same note as a Gb. The orchestra is able compensate and play the F# flatter but that jerk pianist plays them both the same.

memedumpster
I enjoyed this conversation so much that I actually forgot what I was going to type, thank you guys for posting this stuff.

Samisyosam
Unless you're playing an indian raag, using quarter tones as individual notes that exist on their own is a really bad idea. It's hard enough to think far enough ahead to hit these notes in context with the chords being played. There's a lot of microtonal music out there everywhere you go. It's called listening to amateurs. Especially in the case of violinists, those who don't think far ahead sound downright awful. When I play a G6 chord (GBE) I have to make sure to match that G and B with the open E on the top. That means making it sharp enough that if I were to play that G with the open string below it would sound disgusting.

Without the piano, the musical world is basically a sea of compromises. Microtonality is all over the place, it's just a matter of honing in on what the context is, to use the correct pitches with the key or mode. I mean, if you're playing weird ass serial music then you're changing the context. You can get away with a lot by calling things "experimental."

Old_Zircon
Whatever, just intonation rules, equal temperment is for pussies who can't tune. Ever seen a proper medieval ensemble that tunes itself to the fundamental resonant frequency of the room their playing in?

Not that this guy isn't a hilarious, burned out, poor man's Harry Partch.

Samisyosam
Well, there's always a line to be drawn between simple functionality and "I use a hot iron to straighten all the hair on my body so I can comb it to the left to achieve a perfect unison" levels of ocd.

baleen

His face and voice make my small breakfast rumble upwards.
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