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location Illinois
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seen Jul 17 at 20:40

Jun
15
answered How to recreate a sound on a synth
May
30
comment Same note in two staves
@dumbledad: Another possibility is different durations, but starting at the same time (rather than overlapping). In that situation, the shorter note should often be performed as a rest (i.e. whichever hand has the longer note should be the one to play it), whereas in the linked scenario the hand with the longer note should play it; the later-arriving shorter note might be played with either hand as convenient.
May
23
answered Why is the highest frequency on a piano 4186 Hertz?
May
22
comment Why is a grand piano better than an upright piano?
@Tim: I think what he's saying is that when a fast-moving hammer strikes the strings that will produce a note, it doesn't stop and then fall down, but will "bounce" downward off the string. If a key mechanism were to simply push the hammer to within e.g. 1/8" of the string and let it fly the rest of the way, but didn't get out of the way for the rebound, the hammer could bounce off the string, then off the key mechanism, then off the string again, then the key mechanism, etc.
May
19
comment Why are there twelve notes in an octave?
I've read discussions of 19-TET (19-tone equal temperament) in which a diatonic scale would have five "large" intervals of 3/19 octave and two "small" intervals of 2/19 octave. Such a scale would be amenable to normal music notation if one regards e.g. C# and Db as being 1/3 step apart. The biggest oddity would be that key signatures with up to nine sharps or flats would be distinct (rather than having C#/Db, F#/Gb, and B/Cb as pairs of sound-alike key signatures).
May
19
comment Why are there twelve notes in an octave?
I think more fundamentally, (3/2)^12 (129.75) is close to a power of two (128). Thus, the fifths on a 12-note equal-tempered scale have a ratio of 1.498:1 (ideal would be 1.5:1), which is closer to perfect than for any other reasonable number of notes.
May
19
comment Why does a piano have only one or two strings per note in the bass register, but three for other registers?
Incidentally, the biggest problem with low string tension is that with most materials the tension increases substantially when the string's length is pulled longer. Some materials like phosphor-bronze have a smaller change in tension for a given change in length. While phosphor-bronze is not very dense, it is useful as a core material for strings because one can pull it considerably without changing tension too much.
May
19
comment Why does a piano have only one or two strings per note in the bass register, but three for other registers?
Constructing the strings from a heavier alloy would be helpful. Unfortunately, for a string to work well it must have certain mechanical properties including flexibility (the calculations above assume the primary impediment to flexing is the tension of the string, rather than its stiffness). Gold alloys might work well, but would be too expensive to be practical. Lead isn't nearly as dense, but would be cheaper. Don't think I've heard of lead-alloy-wound strings, though, for whatever reason.
May
17
answered Why does a piano have only one or two strings per note in the bass register, but three for other registers?
May
6
answered How to play together online?
Apr
30
comment Glossary of Guitar Effects
As it is, it seems most distortion effects have a fairly small "sweet spot" of levels where they work well, and cause dynamics in one's playing to translate primarily into changes in timbre rather than volume.
Apr
30
comment Glossary of Guitar Effects
One type of "effect" I've thought would be useful to have in a multi-pedal, though I've not seen it, would be to have a configurable automatic gain control (level compression) which would be applied before a distortion effect, followed by a gain adjustment after the distortion which would undo some or all of the effect of the previous AGC. For example, things might be set up so that playing at a level of -20dBm would boost the signal by 21dB (clipping slightly) and then reduce volume by 20dB, while playing at -10dBm would boost by 12dB (clipping a bit more) and then reduce by 12dB.
Apr
16
comment Can all notes be produced using only the trumpet's valves?
@Tim: When an instrument is played at fundamental frequency, there will be one pressure wave at a time travelling in the tube. If one plays e.g. the third harmonic, there will be three. The bell of the instrument serves, among other things, to spread out the reflection of the pressure wave such that if there are three not-quite-equally spaced pressure waves in the tube, the ones that are further from their predecessor will be bigger and pull the lips open faster. This will tend to balance out the spacing of the waves.
Apr
16
comment Can all notes be produced using only the trumpet's valves?
@Tim: When playing into an instrument, what should happen is that the pressure difference between the mouthpiece and the mouth should be such that the lips are about ready to open when a low pressure wave arrives at the mouthpiece. In this way, the exact timing of when the lips open should be determined by the arrival of the pressure wave. That will send a high-pressure wave down the instrument which will echo back as a low-pressure wave, repeating the cycle.
Apr
16
comment Can all notes be produced using only the trumpet's valves?
@Tim: The pressure wave that echos into the mouthpiece after traveling down the instrument, hitting the far end, and travelling back, will try to alternately push the lips closed and pull them open. When blowing a raspberry in open air, the pressure inside the mouth builds until it is sufficient to push the lips open; the lips then let through enough air that the pressure will drop until it is insufficient to keep the lips open. The frequency is determined by how quickly the air pressure builds up and drops.
Apr
15
comment Managing batteries for live performances
While I understand that running batteries until they fail is not an option, replacing after each performance a battery that could last many dozens seems wasteful. I would think that if doing daily performances one determines that the shortest-lived battery can be expected to last a month, replacing all the batteries on a fixed weekly schedule should be as good as replacing them daily. Not that batteries are hugely expensive, but why waste them needlessly?
Apr
15
comment Performing Copyrighted Music
A couple of notes regarding the compulsory mechanical license: such licenses are only available for music which has already been released commercially as a "stand-alone" audio recording, and such recordings are restricted to using lyrics which have already appeared in licensed recordings. Subject to those constraints, anyone who pays certain price per copy per song (I think it's about 8 cents nowadays for songs up to 5 minutes) may produce and duplicate stand-alone audio recordings at will, regardless of how much the original copyright holder likes or loathes their rendition.
Apr
15
comment Can all notes be produced using only the trumpet's valves?
...an increase in the pressure at the mouthpiece will push the lips closed, while a decrease in pressure will draw them open. While a change in pressure would produce a certain change of airflow even if the lip opening remained uniform, such change in airflow would translate into a smaller change in pressure than the original one. By contrast, when the opening and closing of the lips is added to the equation, there's enough change in airflow to cause a change in pressure larger than the one which caused it.
Apr
15
comment Can all notes be produced using only the trumpet's valves?
@Gauthier: Resonant-air-column instruments (pipe organs, flutes, reed instruments, and "brass" instruments) all work on the principle that sound can travel smoothly down a uniform tube, but changes in the tube will cause some of the sound to be reflected. When this reflection reaches the base of the tube, that will change the air pressure there. To produce a tone, there must be something at the base of the tube which will cause such a change in pressure to produce a change in airflow. In the case of a brass instrument...
Apr
12
comment What are the practical reasons for still having transposing instruments?
@NReilingh: If there were some convention that every other ledger line should be longer (e.g. when going up from treble, the C, G, D, and A) I could imagine that playing ledger lines might not seem so bad. I'm curious, though--how can someone without really good vision be expected to tell at a glance whether the first note on a staff has five or six ledger lines?