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43

Music has nearly infinite potential for subtlety, and yes, drums might seem more simple on the surface, but after a few years in music school you'll be tuning drum heads every time you sit down at a snare drum, have a mallet collection that weighs 30 pounds, and enjoy discussing the relative merits of different origin rosewood on your marimba. Most people ...


35

Your teacher is referring to the Doctrine of Ethos which was for the Greeks, a belief that listening to a certain type of music influenced your mood or character as a person. Throughout the centuries, this belief has taken various forms - from the key of Eb used in marches for nobility, D major being joyous, C minor being introspective, D minor being "the ...


21

There's a little bit of key noise and the rate of damper drop and any resulting damper noises are affected by release. At the highest levels of performance and tone, these noises are important even if they are very quiet. Besides that fairly minor audible impact, my understanding of release is that it is a combination of ergonomic and visual. Piano ...


20

I highly recommend reading What Every Pianist Needs to Know About the Body by Thomas Mark. The answer to this question has a lot to do with the action of the piano itself, but it has more to do with the way you move your muscles to play. The answer to your question is explained in detail in Chapter 7, entitled "Mapping The Piano". To paraphrase the first ...


17

This is a terrific, and very important, question! Have you ever heard a recording of yourself speaking? Did it come across as odd to you? Did you ever think "that's not how I sound!"? The same is often true when we play an instrument. In fact, playing an instrument is even more complex. In a kind of auditory McGurk Effect, our brain has to distinguish ...


16

Capo quality matters, but not for tone. A better capo may give you more even tension on the strings, it may be more convenient to use, or maybe it's made of more durable materials or components that can be services or replaced as they wear. The guitar's tone will only become affected if the capo throws the strings out of tune differently across the neck, ...


14

I would roughly order the contributors to electric guitar tone as: Amp and effects Body type (solid, hollow, semi-hollow) Tone knobs in the instrument Pickups and their position Picking method, and player's touch (fingers/picks/plectrum; plectrum type) String gauge and type Bridge type (floating vs fixed) Neck construction (through-neck or bolt-on) Body ...


14

The sounds in the songs you've listed are actually pretty different to my ears, but I'll try to generalize and go through some examples. Here is the raw line for reference. This is a modified strat with an EMG-SA in the neck position. This is important because EMG is an active pickup so the signal level is higher. This means it will distort sooner. So keep ...


12

Those terms mostly describe the frequency characteristics of a given sound and how the person feels about those characteristics. For instance, an emphasis on lower frequencies can be characterised positively as "warm" or "mellow", or negatively as "muddy". Likewise, an emphasis on higher frequencies can be characterised positively as "bright" or "crisp", or ...


12

Most musicians constantly fuss over how they sound. It is understandable, given the way we communicate using sound; we want our sound to be the best sound we can create. So, you are not alone here. It is important for you to learn to separate the sound from your self-worth as a human being. You ask your friends to be specific, but you need to be specific: ...


12

Thicker picks (tend to) remain in contact with the string longer. The impulse provided to the string is of longer duration. A longer duration pulse imparts more lower frequency and less higher frequency content. Imagine the thick pick, at an angle, coming in to hit the string. It strikes the string, which starts to move along with the pick, but the pick ...


12

It seems to me that the definition of timbre that uses "overtones" to describe qualitative differences between sounds of the same frequency and amplitude does not take into account the shape of the waveform. The shape of the waveform is different because of the differences in the levels of the overtones. Or, to put it another way - the shape of the ...


11

A key's color, quality and difficulty are largely instrument dependent. For example, Bb minor rarely involves open strings on the stringed instruments and has fewer natural harmonic possibilities than, say, A minor. This leads to a "darker" sound on strings.


11

There are many different styles and types of capo, all with the same end product in mind. However, they do differ a lot. Some are dead straight, to work with flat fingerboards. Others have a radius which approximately matches the fingerboard radius on cambered fingerboards. The way they attach to the neck varies too, and some are very easy to move up and ...


10

There is a large difference between tone deafness and an undeveloped voice. Unless your parents are musicians, comments like that can be hurtful and can stifle musical exploration and creativity. Tone deafness is actually quite serious and is as it suggests - an inability to distinguish between certain sounds. This is akin to color-blindness, where a ...


10

Unlikely, because unless your child has a genetic reason for being unable to distinguish pitches (which you apparently may, if what you say is true), he or she will soon learn to identify the inaccuracies in your singing. For example, there has been some noise about bilingual families and a fear that the non-native parent will "infect" the child with bad ...


10

Always remember one thing: the sound that you hear depends on the device you are getting the output through. As you say, you like the sound through your amp but not from the software, this is because you probably use the same settings on your pedalboard when you plug it into the interface as you do when you plug it into the amp. You need to check the output ...


10

No difference. The strings vibrate from where they're fretted, or the nut when open, to the saddles on the bridge. If they had a centimetre or a metre hanging off - no difference, apart from getting in the way, or vibrating against something else causing annoyance.


9

EXCELLENT question! The answer actually rather like "Why does stopped french horn sound up a half step when closing the bell lowers my tuning?" Horn players routinely adjust their hand position to close or open the bell of the instrument, thereby changing the tuning. When they need to adjust themselves down, they close the bell, and when they need to ...


9

The dirt and grime that comes from distortion is a result of notes with frequency relationships beyond those that are very simple ratios (e.g. 2:1=an octave, and 3:2=a fifth) going through the distortion process together. This results in sum and difference frequencies being produced that seem only distantly related to the notes being played, resulting in an ...


8

I have read much about the Telecaster, but I still don't know what Leo Fender was thinking. I know that Seth Lover was thinking the same thing, as PAF humbuckers had covers too. It was only into the 70s when you started seeing pickups with their covers removed. Even Strat pickups are covered, albeit with plastic. In part, the nickel cover was to make the ...


8

First, of course, is to play single notes. The Sax is a single-voice instrument, and double stops will not sound sax-y. Next, you'll have to change the attack-decay-sustain-release characteristics of the guitar to match the saxophone. The sax has sustain as long as the player has breath, and there are techniques like circular breathing that expand that. You ...


8

"Tone deaf" is a bit of a misnomer -- if someone truly wasn't able to understand relative pitch, it would show up in their speech patterns. So, usually the term is applied to people for whom discerning differences in pitch is difficult, at least with the precision that is required for music. The fact that you must multitask this process with the act of ...


8

Sounds to me like exactly the same principle. The first rhythm gets faster and faster until it becomes a blur of noise and is removed from the sound, but over the top of that is superimposed the same rhythm at half speed. While you're listening to the first rhythm get faster, the second does the same, and eventually becomes the main focus of attention. By ...


8

Bb is the natural scale starter for brass combos, so Bb minor is a natural for funeral marches. Brass instruments are decidedly not equally tempered, so different minors have different characters. If you are playing a natural trumpet (valveless), and that's sort of the instrument type that was quite a bit around when the key associations were established, ...


8

The zero-skills option is to just freehand-draw the waveform in a dumb GUI editor, even Audacity will do then copy&paste it a couple of times and play that in a loop. This isn't really practical though: waveform drawing is fiddly and even if the waveform is supposed to be smooth, you'll inevitably leave some rough edges which will actually be very ...


8

You are correct that the side-key trill is not a very good sound. There is really no way to produce a better trill for that one combo of notes. We all live with it.


7

Fourier analysis allows you to take a waveform, and translate it into a graph of frequency against amplitude. The graph for a sine wave is at zero everywhere apart from one frequency. The graph for white noise shows the same amplitude for all frequencies. The graph for a single note played on, say, an acoustic guitar shows a big peak for the frequency of ...


7

You should pay attention to your singing. Tone-deafness is a result of a disconnection between what are you hear and what you produce. It is generally fixable through conscious attention. I work developing musical training computer games for children. My mother sang to me as a child, and she is tone-deaf. I also learned to sing in a tone deaf manner. We ...


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