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Apr
8
comment Can I use nylon with steel string guitar?
I know magnetic pickups require some sort of ferromagnetic strings; it would seem conceptually like it might be possible, however, to e.g. have nylon strings coated with material similar to magnetic tape. I don't think any such thing is commercially produced, but I don't know whether there's been any exploration of such concepts.
Apr
8
comment How do I write good tablature?
Violin, cello, and other stringed instruments describe things in terms of position and finger numbers; I find it somewhat interesting that guitar doesn't. I think part of the reason for that is that in conventional guitar tuning it's common to have up to three fingers on one fret, and he relative positions of the fingers aren't fixed. Using some other tunings, that would be less of an issue.
Apr
7
comment Can I use nylon with steel string guitar?
How does the sound compare with nylon? I have my Ovation (steel-string hollow-body electric) strung with ball-end nylon strings using my own tuning (G-D-d-f-g#-b), with an unwound fourth string (a "g" string tuned to "d", which is looser than I'd like but sounds okay) and I very much like the sound of it. It's not very loud when played acoustically, but when it's plugged in that's not a problem. I'd love to find some strings for my solid-body electrics that sounded like the unwound nylon, but I doubt such a thing exists.
Apr
7
comment What guitar tunings allow many chords without fretting between “live” strings
@KristalMcKinstry: Using perfect fifths tuning, it's impossible to avoid playing broken chords; what I found interesting, though, is that flat-finger bar chords can be used to play (broken) triads (e.g. C-G-E or E-C-G or G-E-C) much as they can play "dense" triads in minor-thirds tuning. Calling it "Gentleman's Tuning" isn't nearly as presumptuous as "New Standard Tuning", which is Mr. Fripp's name for C-G-d-a-e'-g'.
Apr
7
comment What guitar tunings allow many chords without fretting between “live” strings
Once you get some rep on any SE site, joining other SE sites will give you a +100 rep starting bonus on the new one, so once you get somewhere on any site you'll have a head start on any of the others (e.g. electronics.stackexchange.com). I thought 20 was the rep requirement for chat (that's what the FAQ says), and you're at 21.
Apr
6
comment What guitar tunings allow many chords without fretting between “live” strings
I upvoted your answer here (something I should have done before) so it looks like you should be up to the required rep threshold.
Apr
6
comment Definition of minor key
@NeilMeyer: "Twinkle twinkle little star" or any of the variants thereof use the first six scale degrees; "The little drummer boy" uses a lowered seventh scale degree, but always follows it with the sixth. Are those not good melodies?
Apr
6
comment What guitar tunings allow many chords without fretting between “live” strings
Stack overflow has a built-in chat facility; visit chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/22598/flat-finger-tuning to chat there. Seems like we have a bit in common, since I could talk your ear off about the PIC as well as the benefits of tuning the top four strings to minor thirds.
Apr
3
comment Why are conductors required at orchestra performances?
Another thing to note: even if the conductor did his job sufficiently well in rehearsal that his orchestra could play just fine without him, having the conductor on stage lets the audience see some of the role he has played during rehearsal, and makes it much easier for him to turn around and take a bow at the end of the performance.
Apr
2
comment Why tune the guitar other than standard?
I wonder how your father would do with my Flat Finger Tuning? G-D-d-f-g#-b [the fifth string is the lowest]. All major and minor triads and seventh chords (7/M7/m7/Mm7) can be played using two or three fingers, placing the index finger across three to six strings, and other fingers covering one to three strings.
Mar
30
comment Time signature change.
If a piece is mostly in 6/8 but one measure is in 3/4, then a conductor would be expected to break is down-up pattern to mark mark three quarter-note beats in that measure; even though the conductor's baton makes no sound, its motions often audibly affect the sounds produced by other performers who are watching it.
Mar
30
comment Does 3/4 time signature differ from 6/8?
"America" is a nice example: if it were all in 3/4, it would be "I like to be in A-mer-i-ca. O-kay by me in A-mer-i-ca." If all in 6/8, "I like to be in A-mer-i-i-ca. O-kay by me in A-mer-i-i-ca." Instead, the piece (at least in the theatrical score) is marked "6/8 3/4", and the time signature alternates every measure.
Mar
30
comment Time signature change.
I would interpret a 6/8 bar subdivided into three quarter notes, or a 3/4 bar subdivided into two dotted quarters, differently from a single 3/4 bar in a 6/8 section or a 6/8 bar in a 3/4 section. The hemiola, to my ear, implies real or implied pulses on the third, fourth, and fifth eighth-note subdivisions, while a hard time change would not. For pieces which change a lot [e.g. "America"], it may be helpful to mark "6/8 3/4" once before a sequence of alternating-time-signature measures, rather than marking the time signature on every measure.
Mar
28
comment What guitar tunings allow many chords without fretting between “live” strings
...with many accompaniment patterns the guitar sounds like two instruments. On electric guitars, I've achieved a somewhat similar effect by sticking metal bars to the top four "strings" on the bridge pickup (so the bridge pickup adds a lot of treble to the bass strings, but not the upper ones). I've gotten myself a domain and started to set up a blog, but got stalled for lack of inspiration. Would you like to work with me on that? Chat me if so.
Mar
28
comment What guitar tunings allow many chords without fretting between “live” strings
Thanks much for writing. I've read various descriptions of regular tunings, but minor-thirds tuning always seemed to get a brush-off. What do you think about my tuning the fifth string tuned an octave down from the fourth, and the sixth string a fourth up from that? Since I asked the original question, I've decided to try stringing an Ovation guitar (hollowbody electric) with ball-end nylon strings, using a G string (the heaviest unwound one) on the fourth-string spot. Non-uniform string tensions are slightly annoying to play with, but I've gotten used to them, and...
Mar
27
comment Small clefs on score
It may be worth noting that the two-treble-clef or two-bass-clef notation is best when left-hand notes remain consistently significantly below right-hand notes. If parts overlap or cross, it's often clearer to have both on the same staff, generally using stem direction--but occasionally using annotations--to distinguish them. In bar 5 beat 4, I think the latter style might have made it clearer that on a single-manual instrument the left hand will need to get off the "g" quickly, though on a two-manual instrument it could (and should) hold it for the full beat.
Mar
12
comment Tonality and Modality together
I would think a piece in mixolydian with its tone center on G would normally be written as G major, with accidentals applied to cancel all the F-sharps. Likewise pieces in lydian centered on F, or dorian centered on D would be written as F major and D minor, respectively, with accidentals cancelling all the B-flats. None of those pieces would have any sharps or flats in their mode, but would all nonetheless typically be written with sharps or flats in the key signature.
Mar
3
comment Why do harmonics played on guitar sound lower as you move to higher frets while fretted notes sound higher?
It may be worth noting that plucking an undamped string causes it to vibrate at all of its harmonics, but only the lowest is generally audible. Grazing a string will nullify all harmonics which would require the string to move at that spot. If one grazes the string at the midpoint and then at the 1/3 point, that will nullify all odd harmonics, and then all that aren't multiples of three, leaving only those which are multiples of six (which may be quite faint).
Mar
3
comment Why do harmonics played on guitar sound lower as you move to higher frets while fretted notes sound higher?
@NReilingh: Plucking with a finger lightly on the 12th fret will produce both the 2x (octave) and 4x (two-octave) harmonics; because lower harmonics are generally louder, the 4x harmonic will not be noticeable, but that won't mean it's not present. Indeed, plucking an open string will produce many harmonics, but they won't be as noticeable as the fundamental; one may demonstrate their presence, however, by lightly brushing the harmonic after the string is plucked. If a harmonic is audible after one touches a fractional subdivision of a string, that means it was present beforehand.
Mar
2
comment When does audio latency matter and not matter?
I suspect another critical factor with the latency tolerance on keyboard and drums is that all of the actions to initiate a note must be completed before anything is audible, whereas singing or playing a saxophone requires that one adjust one's facial/vocal muscles in response to what the voice or instrument is doing.