Podcast #128: We chat with Kent C Dodds about why he loves React and discuss what life was like in the dark days before Git. Listen now.

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42

As someone with absolute pitch and trained in A440 12-tone equal temperament (i.e. the usual) with plenty of vocal music as a backup, I perceive notes that are several cents out of tune as "off" because I am not used to them. I have difficulty listening to music containing those out-of-tune notes unless the music is atonal. (Granted, I don't like listening ...


32

Middle C, the C written below the treble clef and above the bass clef, has MIDI note 60. Conventionally, this note is referred to as C4. However, Yamaha refers to MIDI note 60 (middle C) as C3. Another major music equipment company, Roland, refers to this note as C4, as is conventional. Therefore, the first note in your first diagram is B4 in “Roland pitch”...


32

The tuning fork does produce overtones. The amount of overtone depends on how the tuning fork is attacked. The modes of attack also depend on the pitch of the fork. I once had a very long tuning fork for a physics demo that was 80-100Hz. You could squeeze the ends together and slide your fingers off creating a smooth fundamental tone. If you struck it ...


20

Briefly, yes, a harder picked note gives a higher pitch. The reason for this is that picking harder stretches the string further, and a stretched string has higher tension, and therefore higher pitch. This higher pitch rapidly settles down, but is one of those things to be aware of when tuning a guitar. Light picking gives you a much more accurate tuning ...


20

Technically vibrato is going in and out of "tune." But that is controlled, and I think that is the key to approaching the question. If it's deliberate, creating some intended effect, it seems like a valid musical choice. All kinds of slides, half-sung notes, etc. are used by singers and add life to a performance. By comparison when I hear a very "clean" ...


19

This is all a bit stream of consciousness... hope I didn't drift too far from the plot ;-) People who sing out of tune rarely sing consistently out of tune. People who really cannot sing tend also to not be able to identify correct pitches at all - to greater or lesser degree. They're not fighting an inner tuning, they just don't have one. The ability to ...


19

Most people can't do it. Absolute pitch reference [perfect pitch] is quite rare - just as rare as people who 'couldn't carry a tune in a bucket'. Pitch reference, the same as most skills, is on a bell-curve. Most people are in the middle - they can kick a ball in the general direction of a goal, or sing a song if it's not too hard... just don't ask them to ...


18

I don't think I agree with what you have been told. Perfect pitch is the ability to memorize, and recall, pitches. Now just because you can do it doesn't mean that you always actually do it. If someone with perfect pitch hears a note and it is slightly below A440 what does that mean? Is the note an out-of-tune A, an in-tune A for a baroque orchestra or a ...


16

You might be listening to the timbre of the different notes. I remember watching this video , where the person describes learning perfect pitch from the timbre of the instrument. His process is to become familiar with the timbre of different notes and then mentally playing the instrument in his head in order to find the correct pitch when he hears it from a ...


15

You can try this for yourself. Sing a note, to any vowel sound (try them all) and whilst doing so, close your lips. Now you're humming that same note. Feel any difference? Probably not, because the note itself is made further back. Somewhat like putting a mute on a trumpet bell, or covering a loudspeaker with something. All you're doing is muting the sound ...


15

When is out of tune ok? Most of the time. You could write a whole book on all the situations in which 'out of tune' is the norm - from the individual harmonics of stringed instruments, to temperaments of scales, to chorus pedals, to blue notes, to 'unpitched' percussion instruments and spoken passages of indeterminate pitch.... as well as not hitting an ...


15

Not many people can actually sing acapella in the key required.(Without being given a start note/chord). They may well sing the tune, in a different key (maybe +/- a m3) but to actually sing in the original key - unlikely. I suppose those with absolute pitch (who can remember or know what the 'proper' key is), will be able to do it. Even those musically ...


14

I don't understand what you mean by 'pitched at'. Most instruments will use A=440Hz as a reference point, and that's how each and every orchestral instrument gets to be in tune with the rest. A flute is a concert pitch instrument, thus will play a C or whatever and it'll sound like a concert C. You may be confused by transposing instruments, like trumpet, ...


14

I think that your attempt at "understanding how the pitch affects the note" needs an answer with a deeper root than has been given. This is slightly mathematical, but rather necessary. First, let's establish common simplified terminology: A frequency is a physical characteristic of the sound and it is absolute (does not depend on the instrument, tuning ...


13

Even studies on the Levitin Effect, a phenomenon that posits that people can tend to accurately recall the key of a familiar melody, discover that at least a significant minority of people cannot produce this effect (see here for an example), and this effect has been found to be hard to reproduce. So, I'd say that it's actually not that common for people to ...


12

Absolutely there are pitches in between. Technically, there are an infinite number of pitches in between each two successive semitones. In practice, quarter tones have been used more than most other intermediate pitches. These are pitches that are "halfway" between two successive semi-tones, or 50 cents away their lower and upper neighbors. The use of ...


12

Perfect (or absolute) pitch is the ability to instantly recognize a note or to instantly produce the sound of a requested pitch. Someone with absolute pitch can immediately sing for you a D♭, or they can immediately tell that the Star Wars Theme is in B♭ without looking to the score. Pitch memorization is exactly what it sounds like: a memorization of a ...


12

As Tim suggested, here is some additional information. His answer, by the way, is (sorry in advance) pitch-perfect. While the fundamental pitch depends only on the vocal cords, the overtones and whatnot depend on the complete shape of the acoustic cavity, the vocal cord waveform (which tends to be amplitude-dependent), and so on. To clarify a little- the ...


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 ...


11

The 440Hz reference point is a convention, but it's very consistently used. This means that if you can sense it, you will likely form your entire understanding of harmony and music with this included (e.g. people with perfect pitch often report different keys having a distinct "feel") - and why wouldn't you? Humans learn by finding patterns, and so if you ...


10

The frequency of a vibrating string is primarily based on three factors: The sounding length (longer is lower, shorter is higher) The tension on the string (more tension is higher, less is lower) The mass of the string, normally based on a uniform density per unit length (higher mass is lower, lower mass is higher) To make a shorter string (such as in an ...


10

I have personally done this once. I had a recording that had obviously been copied from a source that had been recorded or played back at uneven speed. By listening to parts where the high and low points in the modulation were clear, and looking at the audio in spectrogram mode in an audio editor, I was able to identify the speed of the modulation, and then ...


10

You are asking for the well known and understood difference between "Absolute pitch" and "Relative pitch" ("słuch absolutny" and "słuch względny" in Polish). Some people's heads are wired to understand each note in a melody as a separate entity (absolute pitch), but most people's brains understand melody as a series of differences between pitches. Contrary ...


9

When I started playing trumpet, I soon realised that everything I played was a tone lower than written, which was fine if the other parts were written accordingly. however, stuff I wanted to play that was in a certain key wouldn't work, as I was a tone lower. so, I learned to play in two ways: one from the dots as writ, and two as from transposing it all a ...


9

I grew up in a house with two parents that could not carry a tune at all. Therefor I never had a good reference for what singing in tune sounded like. I wound up playing the drums and not a pitched instrument due to this. It wasn't until I was in high school and considering going to music school that I started to work on singing in pitch. This is something ...


9

The bass clarinet is a transposing instrument: the Bb bass clarinet sounds a full major 9th below what is written for its sheet music. For example, that written G in the OP sounds like the F in the octave below. The bass clarinet is nowhere close to being the only transposing instrument, though: for example, the regular Bb clarinet sounds a major 2nd below ...


9

Follow the note name. Add the accidentals later. Begin by acknowledging that this pitch is some type of C4. Then add the accidentals to show that it's C♭♭4. This is a little strange, because (as you say) C♭♭4 is lower than B3. But that's really no more odd than saying any C♭♭ is lower than its nearest B. And the same is of course true going the other way: ...


8

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 ...


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