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Thread: Why are there only seven letter-names for notes?

  1. #31
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luchesi View Post
    Yeah, six times the fundamental is difficult for the human ear to discern (from five times the fundamental, so we get the ambiguous minor third). Seven times the fundamental is probably impossible.
    It has nothing to do with hearing harmonics. It's just a simple process of addition. C-G-D-A-E, rearranged to an in-octave scale, is C-D-E-G-A, the major pentatonic scale. If we go further, adding B, we get our first minor second. If we go one further, adding F, we get our first tritone.

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  3. #32
    Senior Member Luchesi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    It has nothing to do with hearing harmonics. It's just a simple process of addition. C-G-D-A-E, rearranged to an in-octave scale, is C-D-E-G-A, the major pentatonic scale. If we go further, adding B, we get our first minor second. If we go one further, adding F, we get our first tritone.
    I assumed that the 10th to the 11th was the first minor second.
    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

  4. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luchesi View Post
    I assumed that the 10th to the 11th was the first minor second.
    You better count again. This time, start on zero, not one.

  5. #34
    Senior Member Luchesi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    You better count again. This time, start on zero, not one.
    Okay, we're talking about two different things. You're talking about E to F in the C scale, which is a human construct.
    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

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    I agree aritficial doesn't imply "arbitrary".

    This is a philosophical question really. I tend to the view that music, like mathematics, is a social construct. It doesn't "exist" in nature. But clearly there is a relation with the natural world. With maths, we can see that there are things (e.g. atoms) that correspond well to our social construct of numbers and that is why maths is such a powerful tool. With music, in a less precise manner, there is correspondence with our physical body systems e.g. heartbeat, appreciation of the passage of time and the sound world we live in. I would argue as well that it somehow, in ways we don't really understand, mirrors our consciousness.

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  8. #36
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Owen David View Post
    I agree aritficial doesn't imply "arbitrary".

    This is a philosophical question really. I tend to the view that music, like mathematics, is a social construct. It doesn't "exist" in nature. But clearly there is a relation with the natural world. With maths, we can see that there are things (e.g. atoms) that correspond well to our social construct of numbers and that is why maths is such a powerful tool. With music, in a less precise manner, there is correspondence with our physical body systems e.g. heartbeat, appreciation of the passage of time and the sound world we live in. I would argue as well that it somehow, in ways we don't really understand, mirrors our consciousness.
    Well, I'd say that mathematics is a thought-construct. Plato's "ideals" are extrapolated from previous experience.

    Music is much more connected to physics.

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    I always guessed it was because (1/2) to the power of 4 is roughly the same as (2/3) to the power of 7. Hence, 7.

  10. #38
    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luchesi View Post
    Connick Jr.? I opened the URL different ways, a few times, and I never get Harry. Maybe it's in your cache?

    Yes, his jazz is easy to play. I like that.

    added:
    is anyone else getting Harry Connick Jr.?
    Harry Connick Jr. is to jazz what Herod was to child-minding! Oy vay! He is a popular music singer, nothing more. If he was working in the forties he would be a “crooner”. Heaven forfend.
    "...it is said that first your heart sings, then you play. I think if it is not like that, then it is only just combination of notes, isn't it? " - Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Master of the Sitar.

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  12. #39
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    Harry Connick Jr. is to jazz what Herod was to child-minding! Oy vay! He is a popular music singer, nothing more. If he was working in the forties he would be a “crooner”. Heaven forfend.
    https://youtu.be/J5DKkG8mflA


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  14. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    It has nothing to do with hearing harmonics. It's just a simple process of addition. C-G-D-A-E, rearranged to an in-octave scale, is C-D-E-G-A, the major pentatonic scale. If we go further, adding B, we get our first minor second. If we go one further, adding F, we get our first tritone.
    CGDAE is basically the syntonic comma, so we can have alternative pentatonic notation, because 5 equal is the smallest meantone tuning. (There exist such note naming in China and Africa, I think.)
    3x3x3x3 = 81 (chain of third harmonic)
    2x2x2x2 x 5= 80 (chain of octaves and 5th harmonic),
    so in Western music 80/16 (which is equivalent to 5/4 = 2786.313714 cents major 17th) and 81/16 (2807.820003 cents, Pythagorean major third +2 octaves) are considered the same (or 81=80, very funny, but chord progressions don't quite work as smoothly without this tempering).

    And I guess 7 note diatonic scale is just two linked pentatonics (built on F and G, giving another pentatonic on C as incidence structure), increasing the amount of major and minor triads by considerable amount.

  15. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by BabyGiraffe View Post
    CGDAE is basically the syntonic comma, so we can have alternative pentatonic notation, because 5 equal is the smallest meantone tuning. (There exist such note naming in China and Africa, I think.)
    3x3x3x3 = 81 (chain of third harmonic)
    2x2x2x2 x 5= 80 (chain of octaves and 5th harmonic),
    so in Western music 80/16 (which is equivalent to 5/4 = 2786.313714 cents major 17th) and 81/16 (2807.820003 cents, Pythagorean major third +2 octaves) are considered the same (or 81=80, very funny, but chord progressions don't quite work as smoothly without this tempering).

    And I guess 7 note diatonic scale is just two linked pentatonics (built on F and G, giving another pentatonic on C as incidence structure), increasing the amount of major and minor triads by considerable amount.
    I hope you're right.

  16. #42
    Senior Member Luchesi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Thanks. I was going to agree wholeheartedly with Barbebieu. We know that what Connick does is not progress in the great jazz tradition. But thanks, now I'm less critical of what he has done. Like I said, it's easy to play, and fun. He's filling a niche, and new listeners can investigate and then go on. For a classical player like me it's an accessible 'style'.

    "John "Lofty" Wiseman is a British author and survival consultant, and a former member of the Special Air Service (SAS). After leaving the SAS in 1985, his first book was The SAS Survival Handbook . Lofty has since become a survival consultant, writing a number of other books on the subject,. When he provided survival training to the cast of the 1990 film Memphis Belle, his ability to make food out of unlikely materials inspired cast member Harry Connick Jr. to write Lofty's Roach Souffle."
    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

  17. #43
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    Back when the diatonic scale was invented, early proto-hominids only had seven fingers.

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