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11

A trivial answer : yes. When I was quite young I wrote a computer program to spit out a succession of 'beeps' at random frequencies not related to any musical scale; I suspect many people who have a computer and a bit of an interest in music have done the same. In practice how close you could get to infinity (!) would be limited by the resolution at which ...


7

First, you both will need patience. Learning to distinguish sounds from one another is not a simple process. Imagine if you were color blind and had to reproduce the color blue after only seeing it flash in front of you for a moment. Of course, the obvious difference here is that there is little to be done for color-blind people, and hearing notes / music is ...


7

A pithy way of saying it is that intonation is the process by which a temperament is achieved. Intonation is what is done in order that the sound is produced at the desired/intended pitch. This can be done as part of instrument setup, e.g. "setting the guitar intonation", or as an integral part of performing the music, e.g. as in expressive intonation. ...


6

The difference is that the nylon strings on the classical are all close to the same diameter, whereas on the steel string the diameter of the smallest string might be about 20% of the size of the diameter of the largest. This matters because the physics you have learned is simplified. Only string that have no thickness and no stiffness exactly fit the model,...


6

"Harmonies" by Gyorgy Ligeti is an interesting example of microtonal music. It's written for organ, but it's intended to be played with reduced air and manipulation of the stops, so the pipes don't play at their designed frequency. With (mainly) slow chord changes and wide voicings the overall effect is a slowly evolving harmony and dissonance through the ...


5

I would just add the (possibly obvious) answer that a capella choirs can also drift off because of singing out of tune. Typically, they tend to get flatter if the music has lots of jumps to high notes, which they don't quite get up to, and they sometimes get sharper if they are nervous about getting flat. I've experienced both in concerts.


5

Well, how about the starting clarinet solo in Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue"? It's been almost a century ago. Granted, doing the glissando continuously on its last part was not written into the score originally but was rather an impromptu trick by the clarinetist that the composer then insisted on incorporating into the premiere, but it has been very much ...


4

I would like to add the point that the comma pump may happen in either direction, resulting ascending or descending drift. However, tonal music is such that the intervals between the roots (the fundamentals of the chords) usually appear in one direction and not in the other: descending fifths or ascending fourths and ascending seconds, mainly. As a result, ...


4

Note: For the sake of discussion, I'm limiting myself here to equal temperaments, which is the most common way of tuning keyboards. Other systems exist, of course, but would probably only confuse the matter. Why do B and C and E and F not have a sharp note between them? Simply because, acoustically speaking, there is no room in our current system for ...


4

There is a notation form I have come across called Sagittal notation. It seems pretty comprehensive for microtonic notation. The Sagittal notation system is a comprehensive system for notating musical pitch in all possible scales and tunings - a universal set of microtonal accidentals, equally suited to extended just intonation, equal divisions of the ...


4

I assume you're talking about adjusting a guitar's intonation. You need to compare the pitch of the fretted note on the 12th fret with the harmonic on the 12th fret. If the fretted note is higher than the harmonic, this means that the distance between the saddle and the 12th fret of that string is too short, i.e. you need to move the saddle back such that ...


4

Sounds like your 12th fret is too low, since you need to move up the fretboard to the 13th fret to get the note you should be getting on the 12th, so you need to move the bridge saddle towards the pickups, which is the opposite of what you're doing. You want to shorten the length of your string, and by tightening the screw you're lengthening it. Could also ...


3

Just intonation does produce harmonic sounds; perhaps the most harmonic sounds possible. You are correct that for a Justly tuned system to work, then each of the tones that you use will need to be adjusted relative to the current tonic. Because of this, you are correct to think that there will need to be many different 'flavors' of each note, depending on ...


2

If you are talking about microtonality - of which I know little, there will have to be a lot more than just changes to E/F and B/C. It's possible to have notes between any adjacent semitones. There could be as many extra notes between G and G# as between E and F. It just happens that it's accepted (and has been for centuries) that the note called F is ...


2

Why do you require abbreviation? If there's a perfectly good term for this that doesn't use an abbreviation, will it be acceptable? "Notes per octave" or "pitches per octave" seem pretty widely used, universally understood, and tuning-agnostic. As an extension of this, scales themselves can be described as n-tonic, where n is a Greek number (as in, "...


2

In your photo, it appears that the saddles have a wedge-shaped top that is angled on one side only, while the other side is straight/flat. Three appear to be angled in one direction (reflecting the light) and three appear to be wedged in the opposite direction (not reflecting the light). If you reverse a saddle like this, you should be able to get some ...


2

Usually you wouldn't want to remove the stickers until he is beginning to become more accurate on his own. Removing them only helps if they are inhibiting his ability to learn the correct placements — so if he is all over the map, then he needs more experience learning the exact positions and not less! His ear is also more likely to develop properly ...


2

Just to expand on jonrsharpe's comment a little, you need to tune your guitar up and fret the note at the 12th fret so it's perfectly in tune. Then play the harmonic at the 12th fret and whether it's sharp or flat will tell you if you need to change the intonation. However, since you've probably adjusted the intonation already, what you should do is; ...


2

Have him find his first note before starting to play his piece. Finding the first note is best done with pizzicato. You pluck the open string, then place the finger and pluck again. It is fine for a student at this level for you to politely and gently indicate whether he is too high or too low if he isn't sure. Do lots of singing. Play duets together. ...


2

Since his teacher recommended taking the stickers off, I'm going to assume your son is in the ballpark of the right note, and that if he takes the time, he can tell whether he is sharp or flat. Once a player can get reasonably close by ear, marking tapes won't help get the exact note, and can distract from learning to listen, and on the violin, you get the ...


2

As you stated, on a fixed pitch instrument this is not an issue, since the instrument is fully responsible for the intonation. This being said using a tuner will resolve most intonation problems for wind instruments. There are certain pitches that will have sharp/flat tendencies, and it is fully the instrumentalist's responsibility to be aware of these on ...


2

Chamber groups like brass choirs have the capability to create more acoustically natural harmonies because of the ability to lip pitches down/up, and the same can be said for strings and woodwinds, as you correctly stated. When I was in college, I worked long and hard to figure out how that would work with a piano playing along, and I came up with one three-...


2

In our "modern" system of equal tempered tunings, we encounter many compromises and trade-offs...but perhaps also some advantages. In performing an equal temperament, the fifth intervals are made smaller by about 1 beat in 5 seconds, and the fourth intervals are made larger by a similar amount. Not enough to overtly disturb the purity of those intervals, ...


2

Most fret buzzing is a result of the vibrating string contacting another fret as it vibrates in an oscillating arc. There are several things that commonly cause this to happen. Neck does not have enough relief or has a back bow. The vibrating/oscillating string must clear all the frets between where it is fretted and the bridge. If the neck is ...


2

For a given tension and thickness of string, making the string longer lowers the pitch. If your open string was in tune, but your 12th fret was flat, you would want to shorten the string or lengthen if the 12th fret was sharp.


2

The truss rod is there to counter the bowing (just like a bow and arrow) of the neck. Generally, there should be just a tiny bit of bowing, barely perceptible. If you were to lay a straight flat object along the frets, you could just about slide a piece of paper under the middle of it. The easiest way to get intonation correct that I know of (and not ...


2

John Luther Adams created a sonification for weather, astronomical and geological data in real time, called The Place Where You Go to Listen The sound parameters (mostly pitch, by I think others too) change "continuosly" (between comas, as of course we are talking about discrete digital events incrementally changing in time) according to the actual external ...


1

This is a wide topic, but one of the often given advice is to do scales. While scales are useful for sound stability, they are not the faster nor the better way to develop intonation. In contradiction with the answers here, the right way to develop intonation is by playing two sounds at a time (somewhat covered in Karen's answer, the drone tone section). ...


1

Here is what I have tried with my child. Keep left hand fingers close to the fingerboard My son tends to open up the fingers on his left hand when he plays the open E or A string. When I place my fingers near his left hand to remind him to keep his fingers close to the fingerboard, he is more consistent in where he places his left hand fingers down. ...



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