3 deleted 16 characters in body
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tl;dr: Yes, there are probably relatively simple underlying principles, but we're still working on what they are.

You make a really common and really valid criticism of music theory. Nothing seems to be founded on clear and simple principles, or core truths about human perception of sounds. It's all "this is just how it's done," or at best we're told that this or that musical device sounds sad or happy or stable or unstable, but not why. Most of the work going on in music theorists seem content to piletheory just piles more and more abstractions on the existing framework without really dealing with the fact that in a sense it's all castles built on air.

But here's the good news: for hundreds of years there has been ragtag group of people around the edges trying to develop theories that re-construct common practice theory and harmony from simple rules based on the core facts of human cognition. It ranges from music theorists with an interest in perceptual foundations, to neuroscientists studying music, to experienced musicians just trying to better understand what they do.

Here are the best examples I know of:

  • Helmholtz was a 19th century music theorist thatdoctor and physicist who built up a theory of many of the basic ideas of harmony from simple principles of physics and psychoacoustics. His book On the Sensations of Tone is celebrated and studied by mainstream music scholars. I haven't read it, but I have the sense that he gives a convincing explanation for triads and the major scale, but not the nitty gritty of Piston-type harmony and voice leading.
  • To deal with the Piston type-type stuff, a lot of people in music theory have tried to explain harmonic progressions in terms of movement through geometric spaces. A music theorist named Dmtri Tymoczko has gotten a lot of attention lately, even in the mainstream press. He's the first music theorist ever to be published in Science, and he claims his theory encompasses all of the other geometric approaches so far and can explain almost all of Western harmony. He has a book about it called The Geometry of Music. This book is probably your best place to start because it's relatively simple, written for a general audience, and it's probably the best comprehensive theory we've got so far. You can also read his papers in Science if you want to cut straight to the hairy math stuff.
  • W.A. Mathieu's Harmonic Experience. Mathieu is a respected expert in both jazz and Hindustani classical music and he has a grand unified theory of harmony based on the overtone series and the sensations we feel hearing different intervals. He doesn't try and reduce things to a small set of core principles, but he is good at making sure everything is grounded in how different sounds makes us feel, and even asks the reader to sing intervals and pay close attention to how they affect your feelings and state of mind.

There are a lot of common threads through all these explanations and I wouldn't be surprised if things start to congeal into a consensus theory in the next 10 or 20 years. But for now, there's just a lot of good ideas swimming around. Tymoczko is probably the closest thing we've got right now.

tl;dr: Yes, there are probably relatively simple underlying principles, but we're still working on what they are.

You make a really common and really valid criticism of music theory. Nothing seems to be founded on clear and simple principles, or core truths about human perception of sounds. It's all "this is just how it's done," or at best we're told that this or that musical device sounds sad or happy or stable or unstable, but not why. Most music theorists seem content to pile more and more abstractions on the existing framework without really dealing with the fact that in a sense it's all castles built on air.

But here's the good news: for hundreds of years there has been ragtag group of people around the edges trying to develop theories that re-construct common practice theory and harmony from simple rules based on the core facts of human cognition. It ranges from music theorists with an interest in perceptual foundations, to neuroscientists studying music, to experienced musicians just trying to better understand what they do.

Here are the best examples I know of:

  • Helmholtz was a 19th century music theorist that built up a theory of many of the basic ideas of harmony from simple principles of physics and psychoacoustics. His book On the Sensations of Tone is celebrated and studied by mainstream music scholars. I haven't read it, but I have the sense that he gives a convincing explanation for triads and the major scale, but not the nitty gritty of Piston-type harmony and voice leading.
  • To deal with the Piston type stuff, lot of people in music theory have tried to explain harmonic progressions in terms of movement through geometric spaces. A music theorist named Dmtri Tymoczko has gotten a lot of attention lately, even in the mainstream press. He's the first music theorist ever to be published in Science, and he claims his theory encompasses all of the other geometric approaches so far and can explain almost all of Western harmony. He has a book about it called The Geometry of Music. This book is probably your best place to start because it's relatively simple, written for a general audience, and it's probably the best comprehensive theory we've got so far.
  • W.A. Mathieu's Harmonic Experience. Mathieu is a respected expert in both jazz and Hindustani classical music and he has a grand unified theory of harmony based on the overtone series and the sensations we feel hearing different intervals. He doesn't try and reduce things to a small set of core principles, but he is good at making sure everything is grounded in how different sounds makes us feel, and even asks the reader to sing intervals and pay close attention to how they affect your feelings and state of mind.

There are a lot of common threads through all these explanations and I wouldn't be surprised if things start to congeal into a consensus theory in the next 10 or 20 years. But for now, there's just a lot of good ideas swimming around. Tymoczko is probably the closest thing we've got right now.

tl;dr: Yes, there are probably relatively simple underlying principles, but we're still working on what they are.

You make a really common and really valid criticism of music theory. Nothing seems to be founded on clear and simple principles, or core truths about human perception of sounds. It's all "this is just how it's done," or at best we're told that this or that musical device sounds sad or happy or stable or unstable, but not why. Most of the work going on in music theory just piles more and more abstractions on the existing framework without really dealing with the fact that in a sense it's all castles built on air.

But here's the good news: for hundreds of years there has been ragtag group of people around the edges trying to develop theories that re-construct common practice theory and harmony from simple rules based on the core facts of human cognition. It ranges from music theorists with an interest in perceptual foundations, to neuroscientists studying music, to experienced musicians just trying to better understand what they do.

Here are the best examples I know of:

  • Helmholtz was a 19th century doctor and physicist who built up a theory of many of the basic ideas of harmony from simple principles of physics and psychoacoustics. His book On the Sensations of Tone is celebrated and studied by mainstream music scholars. I haven't read it, but I have the sense that he gives a convincing explanation for triads and the major scale, but not the nitty gritty of Piston-type harmony and voice leading.
  • To deal with the Piston-type stuff, a lot of people in music theory have tried to explain harmonic progressions in terms of movement through geometric spaces. A music theorist named Dmtri Tymoczko has gotten a lot of attention lately, even in the mainstream press. He's the first music theorist ever to be published in Science, and he claims his theory encompasses all of the other geometric approaches so far and can explain almost all of Western harmony. He has a book about it called The Geometry of Music. This book is probably your best place to start because it's relatively simple, written for a general audience, and it's probably the best comprehensive theory we've got so far. You can also read his papers in Science if you want to cut straight to the hairy math stuff.
  • W.A. Mathieu's Harmonic Experience. Mathieu is a respected expert in both jazz and Hindustani classical music and he has a grand unified theory of harmony based on the overtone series and the sensations we feel hearing different intervals. He doesn't try and reduce things to a small set of core principles, but he is good at making sure everything is grounded in how different sounds makes us feel, and even asks the reader to sing intervals and pay close attention to how they affect your feelings and state of mind.

There are a lot of common threads through all these explanations and I wouldn't be surprised if things start to congeal into a consensus theory in the next 10 or 20 years. But for now, there's just a lot of good ideas swimming around. Tymoczko is probably the closest thing we've got right now.

2 deleted 16 characters in body
source | link

tl;dr: Yes, there are probably relatively simple underlying principles, but we're still working on what they are.

You make a really common and really valid criticism of music theory. Nothing seems to be founded on clear and simple principles, or core truths about human perception of sounds. It's all "this is just how it's done," or at best we're told that this or that musical device sounds sad or happy or stable or unstable, but they won't tell younot why. Most music theorists seem content to pile more and more abstractions on the existing framework without really dealing with the fact that in a sense it's all castles built on air.

But here's the good news: for hundreds of years there has been ragtag group of people around the edges trying to develop theories that re-construct common practice theory and harmony from simple rules based on the core facts of human cognition. It ranges from music theorists with an interest in perceptual foundations, to neuroscientists studying music, to experienced musicians just trying to better understand what they do.

Here are the best examples I know of:

  • Helmholtz was a 19th century music theorist that built up a theory of many of the basic ideas of harmony from simple principles of physics and psychoacoustics. His book On the Sensations of Tone is celebrated and studied by mainstream music scholars. I haven't read it, but I have the sense that he gives a convincing explanation for triads and the major scale, but not the nitty gritty of Piston-type harmony and voice leading.
  • To deal with the Piston type stuff, lot of people in music theory have tried to explain harmonyharmonic progressions in terms of movement in higher dimensionalthrough geometric spaces. A music theorist named Dmtri Tymoczko has gotten a lot of attention lately, even in the mainstream press. He's the first music theorist ever to be published in Science, and he claims his theory encompasses all of the other geometric approaches so far and can explain almost all of Western harmony. He has a book about it called The Geometry of Music. This book is probably your best place to start because it's relatively simple, written for a general audience, and it's probably the best comprehensive theory we've got so far.
  • W.A. Mathieu's Harmonic Experience. Mathieu is a respected expert in both jazz and Hindustani classical music and he has a grand unified theory of harmony based on the overtone series and the sensations we feel hearing different intervals. He doesn't try and reduce things to a small set of core principles, but he is good at making sure everything is grounded in how different sounds makes us feel, and even asks the reader to sing intervals and pay close attention to how they affect your feelings and state of mind.

There are a lot of common threads through all these explanations and I wouldn't be surprised if things start to congeal into a consensus theory in the next 10 or 20 years. But for now, there's just a lot of good ideas swimming around. Tymoczko is probably the closest thing we've got right now.

tl;dr: Yes, there are probably relatively simple underlying principles, but we're still working on what they are.

You make a really common and really valid criticism of music theory. Nothing seems to be founded on clear and simple principles, or core truths about human perception of sounds. It's all "this is just how it's done," or at best we're told that this or that musical device sounds sad or happy or stable or unstable, but they won't tell you why. Most music theorists seem content to pile more and more abstractions on the existing framework without really dealing with the fact that in a sense it's all castles built on air.

But here's the good news: for hundreds of years there has been ragtag group of people around the edges trying to develop theories that re-construct common practice theory and harmony from simple rules based on the core facts of human cognition. It ranges from music theorists with an interest in perceptual foundations, to neuroscientists studying music, to experienced musicians just trying to better understand what they do.

Here are the best examples I know of:

  • Helmholtz was a 19th century music theorist that built up a theory of many of the basic ideas of harmony from simple principles of physics and psychoacoustics. His book On the Sensations of Tone is celebrated and studied by mainstream music scholars. I haven't read it, but I have the sense that he gives a convincing explanation for triads and the major scale, but not the nitty gritty of Piston-type harmony and voice leading.
  • To deal with the Piston type stuff, lot of people in music theory have tried to explain harmony in terms of movement in higher dimensional spaces. A music theorist named Dmtri Tymoczko has gotten a lot of attention lately, even in the mainstream press. He's the first music theorist ever to be published in Science, and he claims his theory encompasses all of the other geometric approaches so far and can explain almost all of Western harmony. He has a book about it called The Geometry of Music. This book is probably your best place to start because it's relatively simple, written for a general audience, and it's probably the best comprehensive theory we've got so far.
  • W.A. Mathieu's Harmonic Experience. Mathieu is a respected expert in both jazz and Hindustani classical music and he has a grand unified theory of harmony based on the overtone series and the sensations we feel hearing different intervals. He doesn't try and reduce things to a small set of core principles, but he is good at making sure everything is grounded in how different sounds makes us feel, and even asks the reader to sing intervals and pay close attention to how they affect your feelings and state of mind.

There are a lot of common threads through all these explanations and I wouldn't be surprised if things start to congeal into a consensus theory in the next 10 or 20 years. But for now, there's just a lot of good ideas swimming around. Tymoczko is probably the closest thing we've got right now.

tl;dr: Yes, there are probably relatively simple underlying principles, but we're still working on what they are.

You make a really common and really valid criticism of music theory. Nothing seems to be founded on clear and simple principles, or core truths about human perception of sounds. It's all "this is just how it's done," or at best we're told that this or that musical device sounds sad or happy or stable or unstable, but not why. Most music theorists seem content to pile more and more abstractions on the existing framework without really dealing with the fact that in a sense it's all castles built on air.

But here's the good news: for hundreds of years there has been ragtag group of people around the edges trying to develop theories that re-construct common practice theory and harmony from simple rules based on the core facts of human cognition. It ranges from music theorists with an interest in perceptual foundations, to neuroscientists studying music, to experienced musicians just trying to better understand what they do.

Here are the best examples I know of:

  • Helmholtz was a 19th century music theorist that built up a theory of many of the basic ideas of harmony from simple principles of physics and psychoacoustics. His book On the Sensations of Tone is celebrated and studied by mainstream music scholars. I haven't read it, but I have the sense that he gives a convincing explanation for triads and the major scale, but not the nitty gritty of Piston-type harmony and voice leading.
  • To deal with the Piston type stuff, lot of people in music theory have tried to explain harmonic progressions in terms of movement through geometric spaces. A music theorist named Dmtri Tymoczko has gotten a lot of attention lately, even in the mainstream press. He's the first music theorist ever to be published in Science, and he claims his theory encompasses all of the other geometric approaches so far and can explain almost all of Western harmony. He has a book about it called The Geometry of Music. This book is probably your best place to start because it's relatively simple, written for a general audience, and it's probably the best comprehensive theory we've got so far.
  • W.A. Mathieu's Harmonic Experience. Mathieu is a respected expert in both jazz and Hindustani classical music and he has a grand unified theory of harmony based on the overtone series and the sensations we feel hearing different intervals. He doesn't try and reduce things to a small set of core principles, but he is good at making sure everything is grounded in how different sounds makes us feel, and even asks the reader to sing intervals and pay close attention to how they affect your feelings and state of mind.

There are a lot of common threads through all these explanations and I wouldn't be surprised if things start to congeal into a consensus theory in the next 10 or 20 years. But for now, there's just a lot of good ideas swimming around. Tymoczko is probably the closest thing we've got right now.

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source | link

tl;dr: Yes, there are probably relatively simple underlying principles, but we're still working on what they are.

You make a really common and really valid criticism of music theory. Nothing seems to be founded on clear and simple principles, or core truths about human perception of sounds. It's all "this is just how it's done," or at best we're told that this or that musical device sounds sad or happy or stable or unstable, but they won't tell you why. Most music theorists seem content to pile more and more abstractions on the existing framework without really dealing with the fact that in a sense it's all castles built on air.

But here's the good news: for hundreds of years there has been ragtag group of people around the edges trying to develop theories that re-construct common practice theory and harmony from simple rules based on the core facts of human cognition. It ranges from music theorists with an interest in perceptual foundations, to neuroscientists studying music, to experienced musicians just trying to better understand what they do.

Here are the best examples I know of:

  • Helmholtz was a 19th century music theorist that built up a theory of many of the basic ideas of harmony from simple principles of physics and psychoacoustics. His book On the Sensations of Tone is celebrated and studied by mainstream music scholars. I haven't read it, but I have the sense that he gives a convincing explanation for triads and the major scale, but not the nitty gritty of Piston-type harmony and voice leading.
  • To deal with the Piston type stuff, lot of people in music theory have tried to explain harmony in terms of movement in higher dimensional spaces. A music theorist named Dmtri Tymoczko has gotten a lot of attention lately, even in the mainstream press. He's the first music theorist ever to be published in Science, and he claims his theory encompasses all of the other geometric approaches so far and can explain almost all of Western harmony. He has a book about it called The Geometry of Music. This book is probably your best place to start because it's relatively simple, written for a general audience, and it's probably the best comprehensive theory we've got so far.
  • W.A. Mathieu's Harmonic Experience. Mathieu is a respected expert in both jazz and Hindustani classical music and he has a grand unified theory of harmony based on the overtone series and the sensations we feel hearing different intervals. He doesn't try and reduce things to a small set of core principles, but he is good at making sure everything is grounded in how different sounds makes us feel, and even asks the reader to sing intervals and pay close attention to how they affect your feelings and state of mind.

There are a lot of common threads through all these explanations and I wouldn't be surprised if things start to congeal into a consensus theory in the next 10 or 20 years. But for now, there's just a lot of good ideas swimming around. Tymoczko is probably the closest thing we've got right now.