55 votes

Does tuning music to A = 432 Hz versus A = 440 Hz have a measurable effect on listeners?

Yes. When you tune music up or down people hear it differently. Everyone agrees on that. Pitch it down and it will sound warmer, pitch it up and it will sound brighter. This happens all the time when ...
Graham Wright's user avatar
22 votes

Should low frequency players anticipate in orchestra?

I don't have an answer for you with measurements in milliseconds, etc., but as a tuba player I can give you my experiences. I'm not consciously thinking of anticipating anything in order to get my ...
Richard is stepping down's user avatar
20 votes
Accepted

How did the audience guess the pentatonic scale in Bobby McFerrin's presentation?

Humans are pattern-seeking primates. And within Western culture, we have all internalized, consciously or not, the patterns of the major scale and pentatonic scale, because they're commonly used in ...
Richard is stepping down's user avatar
14 votes

Should low frequency players anticipate in orchestra?

It's not as much as a "perfectly synchronized start". Low instruments have a slow attack both physically as well as taking longer to register in hearing. At the same time, they are providing the ...
user33805's user avatar
  • 149
14 votes

Is there any objective evidence that different keys "feel different" or have different moods?

There are other questions here that have dealt with this topic. Basically, there are good reasons why historically certain keys sounded different from others, due to the fact that unequal ...
Athanasius's user avatar
  • 12.4k
11 votes

What makes some instruments louder than others?

Musical instruments are transducers, which means they change one kind of energy into another. All transducers have an efficiency, which means during the change of energy, some portion of the input ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
  • 55.7k
11 votes

Amplitude of a crest and trough in a sound wave?

is the crest of a sound wave equaled to high amplitude/ high volume and if so, does that mean the trough is low amplitude/ low volume? Not exactly. A sound wave is something that is perceived when ...
Нет войне's user avatar
11 votes

Does tuning music to A = 432 Hz versus A = 440 Hz have a measurable effect on listeners?

A definite NO. The other answers miss the point and answer a different question altogether. When you tune music up or down people hear it differently. Everyone agrees on that. Pitch it down and it ...
fdreger's user avatar
  • 1,430
9 votes

How did the audience guess the pentatonic scale in Bobby McFerrin's presentation?

The crowd catch on quickly. But he cues them pretty strongly by singing the notes while setting up the pentatonic scale, and at 1'06" he definitely teaches the crowd what he wants. There's a ...
Laurence's user avatar
  • 89.7k
8 votes

Is there any objective evidence that different keys "feel different" or have different moods?

Elfman is both right and wrong. With respect to traditional music, he is very wrong. Suppose an instrument is tuned to a specific key, not with equal temperaments. A tune played in the instrument's ...
Ray Butterworth's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

How to synthesize non-pitched sounds? How pitched is a sound in general?

Non pitched sounds are sounds which are not only composed of a fundamental frequency and a distribution of its harmonics. That's quite a strict definition of 'non-pitched'. Most sounds that are ...
Нет войне's user avatar
7 votes

Should low frequency players anticipate in orchestra?

Slightly off at a tangent, but this still can be thought of even in a rock band scenario. As an occasional drummer & long-time bassist... Have you ever worked with a bassist who thinks his note ...
Tetsujin's user avatar
  • 27.1k
7 votes
Accepted

Why do low chords sound muddier than high chords?

The point of consonant intervals (of which chords are mostly comprised) is that the various frequencies are in a ratio of small numbers. Now if the intervals are perfect intervals, the result is a ...
user23996's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Is the sense of resolution of a harmonic cadence psychologically "intrinsic", or is it created through conditioning?

To test out whether certain musical features are commonly understood across musical cultures that haven't been exposed to each other, you need to take music containing that feature to a group of ...
Нет войне's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Lower interval limits

Why does the muddiness depend on absolute frequencies and not the ratio between them? It does depend on the ratio between them, as Dekkadeci commented. That's the whole reason why different intervals ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
7 votes

What is the main note you hear when hearing a chord?

As a generalisation, the note heard best is often the highest being played. So, it will depend greatly on which inversion is being listened to. I suspect so far, as intimated from the question, that ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 188k
6 votes

Why do lower instruments speak "slower"?

Phase-locking-driven instruments, including strings and winds (but not percussion or plucked strings) can be described as a primary†, linear oscillator (the string, or air column) which is coupled to ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
6 votes

A seriously difficult question about mistakes and intepretation of music

Perhaps the main thing to consider here is expectations. If you lived in a world where all musical lines had note starts (or other 'events') that only fell on the strong beats, then a vocal line that ...
Нет войне's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Why aren't slight imperfections in consonant intervals extremely dissonant?

If we look at a dissonance curve like this one, from William Sethares' site: We can see that the statement an interval's acoustic consonance is a function of how "simple" it is as a ratio only ...
Нет войне's user avatar
6 votes

Is there any objective evidence that different keys "feel different" or have different moods?

There's no evidence that I'm aware of that in an equal temperament world different keys have intrinsically distinct characters, in the sense that Bb major would relate to a different range of emotions ...
Нет войне's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Volume adjustment based on frequency of played note

Is my understanding correct? Yes. Our sensitivity to sound is a function of many different things, including frequency. Robinson-Dadson and Fletcher–Munson curves are examples of studies that dive ...
NPN328's user avatar
  • 16.1k
6 votes

Harmonic Series Interference

This is called "12-tone equal temperament", and it involves dividing the span from our fundamental note to its first harmonic – i.e. from a fundamental frequency to double that frequency – ...
Judy N.'s user avatar
  • 803
6 votes
Accepted

What is a listener's typical audible angular resolution?

The human brain has several different ways to localize sound depending on the pitch and the direction of the sound. These include not only volume difference between ears, but also timing difference ...
ojs's user avatar
  • 2,772
5 votes

Should low frequency players anticipate in orchestra?

I play cello in two different ways: either acoustically like everybody else (orchestra etc.), or, with the band on louder stages, through a piëzo pickup and in-ear monitoring. I play a fivestring ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
5 votes

Is the sense of resolution of a harmonic cadence psychologically "intrinsic", or is it created through conditioning?

There's a video online by Sideways ( ) in which he breaks down what makes Miyazaki films sound pretty. At one point in the video, he starts to break down why the ...
user45266's user avatar
  • 12.5k
5 votes

What is the difference between tone deafness and amusia?

Neither are particularly precise terms. 'Tone deaf' describes people who have trouble with recognising pitch. 'Amusia' would also include problems with other elements of music like rhythm or timbre. ...
Laurence's user avatar
  • 89.7k
5 votes

Is there any objective evidence that different keys "feel different" or have different moods?

If you play a folk song in D flat major instead of D major on a fiddle, it sounds like crap since all the resonances are off and lots of drones don't work. Even if you discount the tremendous added ...
user88120's user avatar

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