Likes Likes:  0
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 18

Thread: chord balance

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    arkansas/missouri
    Posts
    1,411
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default chord balance

    my preference is to have the lower notes stronger than the upper ones, ie, the 'audience ear' can pick up the higher frequencies easier so, to balance the ensemble sound, the inner/lower voices usually have to put out more volume.

    dj

  2. #2
    Member Kuntster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    62
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Acoustically, lower frequencies already have more energy. It's the law of masking.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1,246
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    The above two statements conflict. How does this work?

  4. #4
    Assistant Administrator Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    S Jersey c. Philadelphia
    Posts
    2,888
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rasa View Post
    The above two statements conflict.
    Yes, they do---

    Conventional Physics teaches us that energy is inversely proportional to wavelength.

    Nonetheless, I find the opening post really interesting, because I'm speculating that, generally speaking, orchestral instruments in the upper registers have more penetrative acoustics than lower-pitched relatives (violin vs. viola is the most obvious immediate example).

    Is it possible that these acoustics are a thing in addition to, or even independent of, the frequencies involved in the notes??

  5. #5
    Senior Member World Violist's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    3,335
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    10

    Default

    What I've learned in my quartet playing is that, not only does the cello/lowest voice need to play out, but the violin/high voice MUST play down by quite a lot so that the high voice isn't shrieking over the detail in the lower voices.

    Upper voices are more penetrating, but they also gain more attention by the human mind. I'm starting to think that balancing chords has a lot more to do with psychology than it does with sheer acoustic law.

    But also there comes the context of the balance of the chord as in relation to the overtone series, so that the tonic is the greatest sound and the third the least, for obvious reasons. And the tonic is always in the bass, so naturally the bass has to be louder than anything else, which gets into the practical nature of the matter. The upper voices have to tune to the bass, thus the bass has to be louder because it's the source of the entire ensemble's intonation.

    So really the bass absolutely must be the loudest voice with common practice period music.
    You get a frog in your throat, you sound hoarse.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1,246
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Maybe it has to do with the human sound perception range?

  7. #7
    Andante
    Guest

    Default

    As an X Bass player I was always concerned that my instrument was too quiet, but in this case it was that although personally I could only just hear myself the sound was projected very well, I realise voices may not have this characteristic.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1,246
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Hm, the few times I've conducted and let repetitions, the Bass player was always so concerned with being loud enough that he pulled the string so hard they bounced against his instrument on the rebound.

  9. #9
    Member Kuntster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    62
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by World Violist View Post
    What I've learned in my quartet playing is that, not only does the cello/lowest voice need to play out, but the violin/high voice MUST play down by quite a lot so that the high voice isn't shrieking over the detail in the lower voices.

    Upper voices are more penetrating, but they also gain more attention by the human mind. I'm starting to think that balancing chords has a lot more to do with psychology than it does with sheer acoustic law.

    But also there comes the context of the balance of the chord as in relation to the overtone series, so that the tonic is the greatest sound and the third the least, for obvious reasons. And the tonic is always in the bass, so naturally the bass has to be louder than anything else, which gets into the practical nature of the matter. The upper voices have to tune to the bass, thus the bass has to be louder because it's the source of the entire ensemble's intonation.

    So really the bass absolutely must be the loudest voice with common practice period music.
    This is right. However think about this though. In normal hearing humans we hear best from 1000 Hz to 3000 Hz. Technically only the high range in the musical world.
    Are brains are tuned specifically to this region because communication is so important to human evolution. We can't distinguish between vowels in speech without this accute tuning.

    Also think about sound coming from a chord with let's say the bass extremely loud. Our cochlea's are a non-linear system. A higher input in the bass does not mean that we will hear a 'louder' output. It's all relative.

    I think the response to chord voicing being psychological makes alot of sense.

  10. #10
    Senior Member emiellucifuge's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    London
    Posts
    2,934
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by World Violist View Post
    But also there comes the context of the balance of the chord as in relation to the overtone series, so that the tonic is the greatest sound and the third the least, for obvious reasons. And the tonic is always in the bass, so naturally the bass has to be louder than anything else, which gets into the practical nature of the matter. The upper voices have to tune to the bass, thus the bass has to be louder because it's the source of the entire ensemble's intonation.
    So what do you do when the chord is in an inversion, do you shift the volume focus?

  11. #11
    Andante
    Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rasa View Post
    Hm, the few times I've conducted and let repetitions, the Bass player was always so concerned with being loud enough that he pulled the string so hard they bounced against his instrument on the rebound.
    Pulled the strings, what were you conducting??

  12. #12
    Senior Member Rasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1,246
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Janacek's Idyll for strings

    Maybe pull is not the right word? He just played so incredibly hard it hampered his sound and had a nasty twang to it.

  13. #13
    Andante
    Guest

    Default

    Fair enough, he must have been new to Pizzicato,

  14. #14
    Newbies
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Mornington Peninsula, Australia
    Posts
    3
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Sorry to dig up an old thread but this reminded me of my experience playing in a Wind Symphony.

    I can't remember the piece but the final moment was a long, dense and sustained chord. During rehearsals our conductor (Dr. Barry Bignell) cut off the last chord like this ...

    ... he was draw a large circle with his baton starting at the bottom. As he went around, the lowest notes were to stop first with the higher notes last.

    During the performance the effect was nothing short of amazing. The entire audience gasped at the same moment with a few seconds of pause before collecting themselves and applauding. We felt it too sitting in the orchestra.

    I think what happened here was that the longer wavelengths (lower notes) stopped sounding at the same time as the higher ones. Imagine a wall of sound rushing past you and it all stopping at exactly the same moment (i.e. all the different notes/frequencies stop rushing past you at the same time).

    Hard to explain but it was quite an incredible experience.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    arkansas/missouri
    Posts
    1,411
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    that sounds neat. wish i had been there

    dj

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. An odd chord
    By Jonno in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: Feb-01-2009, 10:06

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •