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location Cologne, Germany
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visits member for 2 years, 9 months
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Functional programming enthusiast, audio engineer & musician. Whilst not busy with any of that, I study physics at Universität zu Köln / Bonn-Cologne Graduate School.


Apr
16
comment How does a metronome help me play music better?
OTOH, if a group of musicians has trained really a lot "syncing" their respective clocks, everyone will be in time with everyone else but not to any fixed tempo, which sounds amazingly better than anything you can achieve with practising to metronome (let alone, recording songs to a click track!) And good musicians will also find their way to others' tempo quite easily in a jam session. — That notwithstanding, many not-so-great musicians have timing that would indeed benefit a lot from metronome practise...
Apr
4
comment Why are guitars strung low-to-high?
At least for double bass and cello, there are also bowing reasons for the string order: on the low strings, you need most power and rigid arm control close to the frog, while the high strings actually benefit if the bow hand is held higher, more "open" and lightly movable. Moreover, thumb positions are much easier to play this way. For violin and viola I don't know much about what the consequences would be of inverting the string order.
Apr
3
comment What is the difference between the classical and contemporary method of teaching instruments?
I don't think you should say "it makes each performance of a particular piece very similar". It's rather that the classical approach gives freedom in other, more subtle aspects of music than the contemporary approach, e.g. you'll generally consider a much wider spectrum of dynamic and tempo changes, vibrato varieties, and there are even multiple ways to intonate individual notes. Of course, in both schools there are teachers who'll tell their students there's only one "correct" way (basically like a MIDI computer program would play it), but that is just wrong IMO.
Apr
1
comment Evidence of Just Intonation in Recordings with Non-fixed-frequency Instruments
I just came across this paper, which does an analysis of deviations from 12-edo in violin performance – but only in a solo melody context, so it's hardly just intonation.
Mar
31
comment C#m in Am chord progression
The 4-semitone explanation seems rather strange to me, and particularly unlikely seeing as this comes from someone with as profound classical backing as Yngwie Malmsteen. But anyway, it's sure an interpretation you can choose for yourself. Only... what the heck does this have to do with Blues-style I IV and I V changes?
Mar
29
comment Controlling high frequency of heavily distorted guitar tone (metal)
Good mixing tips indeed, but how does any of this adress the problem in the question? "With distorted guitars: First get the sound right..." correct. Well, why don't you give advice on that point? That's what's needed here.
Mar
24
comment Should the dominant-seventh chord in just intonation use 9:5 for its seventh, or rather 16:9?
It's rather that I'm wondering which sort of correction it is that players will normally seek to use when playing the V7's minor seventh. I suppose most won't think much about it. The thing is, unlike with the third (where Pythagorean 81:64 is really not nice, but 5:4 is extremely smooth – so it's obvious what to do) the options 9:5 and 16:9 sound really similar on their own so it's hard to analyse what's going on, but the full chord comes out really different.
Mar
23
comment Should the dominant-seventh chord in just intonation use 9:5 for its seventh, or rather 16:9?
@PatMuchmore: Sure I am talking about an adaptive situation that tunes differently depending on harmony. It's not something unusual; at least singers, string instrument players, probably double-reed players and trombonists do this all the time, don't they? It's inherent to just-intonation practise.
Mar
19
comment Best strings for heavy metal (I love distortion)?
More like, you don't need such cables ever, at all, unless perhaps to impress the administrator...
Mar
19
comment What is the difference between a “Riff” and a “Melody”?
That really can't be the distinction. Both riffs and melodies can well be played on multiple instruments, though in both cases there will generally be an intention for it to be played on a specific instrument in a specific way. Sure, most "moving through instruments" probably happens for theme melodies in classical compositions, but in e.g. prog rock it's common for e.g. a guitar riff to reappear on keyboards, there still being a riff. Ever heard Whole Lotta Love on cello? Totally a riff. OTOH, most vocal melodies keep very of their character if you just play them on some instrument.
Mar
11
comment Harmonic Transpose
@CarlWitthoft: apart from the problems involved with that (windowing, boundary phase issues, formant shifts...) which mean no-timestretch audio transpose is actually not that trivial, this kind of technique doesn't keep the music in the same key.
Mar
11
comment X or Y guitarist doesn't know music theory - how true is this statement?
@Chochos: nobody really knows why there's tension and release. You can always dig a bit deeper, but ultimately all music theory is just empirical analogies.
Mar
8
comment Why do we use so complicated notation?
"in the context of western tonal music..." one of the most amazing things about staff notation is actually that it readily generalises even quite a way beyond the western music it was invented for. You can easily apply it to alternative tuning systems where MIDI would fail horribly, incorporate a lot of microtonality without much hassle or danger of confusing the performer. There's even a system for writing Bohlen-Pierce–scale music in staffs, which one could think would be totally uncompatible.
Mar
8
comment Why do we use so complicated notation?
IMO, one should think about MIDI as a intermediate form between performance instructions (such as sheet music) and audible result, not as an alternative form of the latter. Composer -Sheet-Music-> Performer -MIDI-> Instrument -Audio-> Listener. The backwards way is possible: you can transcribe a musical piece from hearing it, and you can (more easily) transcribe a MIDI file, but neither is trivial or desirable as a default.
Mar
7
comment Why do we use so complicated notation?
MIDI editors are sure able to generate sheet music for trivial e.g. chord sequences or melodies within a single key, but as soon as you have any modulations in there, want to express ornamentation or other expressive marks, or simply don't have a suitable raster (as soon as there's changes of tempo and / or time signature, that's rather infeasible), then you're in for a horrible jumble of awkward quantisation artifacts and mischosen accidentals. Also, MIDI editors give you way less of a useful overview about motif recurrence etc., fine intervals, and articulation (at least without zooming in).
Feb
12
comment What is this common chord pattern, if that's the right term?
@Dom guitarist would call that a powerchord, but not if arpeggiated.
Feb
10
comment Do competent violinists avoid open strings?
+1 for Doppler effect!
Feb
10
comment Why aren't intervals zero-indexed?
It definitely would be better, but what can we do? Heck, even mathematicians still use 1-based indexing (albeit not for something that's nothing but a difference), we're not going to convince a majority of the far more traditionalist musician occupation that zero-based is sufficiently advantageous to switch...
Feb
9
comment How to avoid excessive bow-hair damage when playing “scratch percussion” on string instruments?
Thanks! I've already stopped using my regular bow for this to spare it, only do it with my carbon-fibre one now. So I'll definitely try having that rehaired in this different fashion. — As for rosin, I've already been experimenting (even with that gluey double-bass stuff), unfortunately it rather seemed to increase the failure rate. Probably just too much force indeed; practising amplified is an interesting suggestion!
Feb
1
comment Define custom chord voicings in lilypond
While I doubt it's yet going to kick off, I'd like to advertise the Lilypond proposal on Area51.StackExchange here.