Gordon's Progress Part 2

Posted: 7/30/2007 8:06:50 PM
GordonC

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Hi. This is a continuation of the thread Gordon's Progress (http://www.thereminworld.com/forum.asp?cmd=p&T=1420&F=808&p=50), which has become long enough to be a bother to the current version of the forum software. So please post to this thread rather than its predecessor.

Posted: 7/30/2007 8:11:06 PM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

goddess bless you Gordon
no error on reply second try
[updated]
yup am testing on the live site
and...
[updated]
no catastrophic error.
ah...
Posted: 8/17/2007 7:58:35 PM
GordonC

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

:-)

[b]moths are made of dust[/b]

youTube (http://youtube.com/watch?v=XnE3SV5y374) or mySpace (http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=16067390)
Posted: 8/17/2007 10:41:28 PM
Brian R

From: Somerville, MA

Joined: 10/7/2005

And lo, verily, the Lord loveth a generous delay.

Seriously, though, I enjoyed listening. I'm a dyed-in-th-wool polyphony glutton, so I always appreciate demonstrations that more isn't necessarily better.
Posted: 8/20/2007 11:28:37 AM
GordonC

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I don't know about the Lord's preferences, but I certainly like a healthy dose of delay. It interests me - the world's first, and only naturally occurring, sound effect. I've been reading Archaeoacoustics, and it seems quite evident that we have been making music since the start of civilisation - 50,000 years ago. And our cave-dwelling forebears certainly knew about echoes - they painted buffalo stampedes at places where if you banged a couple of rocks together it sounded like a buffalo stampede (the original multi-media presentation!) and marked antinodes in tunnels (the original telephone!)

One has to wonder how music would have developed if instead of banging stones together (the original rock music!) they had discovered continuous tone instruments...

Music - conventional music - is based around a set of notes that correspond to simple ratios (or approximations thereof) and hence to rational numbers (vulgar fractions) and the mathematics of rational numbers - number theory, and an interesting acoustic phenomenon - consonance, which informs the choice of notes. We might well call this [i]Rational Music[/i]. The name works for me because Rational Music is very much the product of the rational mind - no surprise that it did well in the Renaissance.

Music based around continuous pitch instruments might, by a similar logic, be dubbed [i]Real Music[/i] because pitches correspond to real numbers (decimal fractions.) (I like the name because the real includes both the rational and the irrational, in mathematics and in life.) The mathematics of real numbers includes calculus, which allows us to consider the rate of change of pitch - something which is meaningful in the context of Real Music, but not in the context of Rational Music. And for an interesting acoustic phenomenon we could very well choose echoes (a real - i.e. naturally occurring - phenomenon) in the forms of Reverberation, Resonance and Repetition - the "Three Rs of Real Music" - which work particularly well with Real Music because delays work well with imprecise pitches - even tiny variations in pitch accumulate to add richness to the timbre rather than destroying consonance as they would in Rational Music, and larger variations add some degree of polyphony to an otherwise monophonic instrument.

Well, Brian, I seem to have wandered off on a tangent, my justification being that I note from your website that you have a knowledge of music theory. Any excuse to give my dilettante musings an airing...

:-)


Posted: 8/21/2007 10:52:15 AM
ElectroMungo

From: Germany

Joined: 12/12/2006

Hello Gordon,
any news on your pitch to cv/midi project ?
i'm just curious...
cheers
arthur
Posted: 8/21/2007 8:07:46 PM
GordonC

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

No rush, Arthur. It'll happen when it happens, and I'll be sure to post about it when it does. Probably not this year.
Posted: 8/21/2007 9:21:35 PM
Brian R

From: Somerville, MA

Joined: 10/7/2005

Gordon, I very much enjoy your label of "Real" music... especially as I'm the black sheep from a family of scientists. (And yet, somehow, I'm the one who wound up teaching at MIT for four-and-a-half years... go figure.)

It's funny that, strictly speaking, music in 12-tone equal temperament is Irrational... but I think much of what I enjoy with the theremin is not only the ready access to some Rational pitches, but also some of the Irrational goodies that aren't available in 12-ET (at least, not without a bottleneck slide).

Which leave open the question of which intervals constitute the Transcendental aspects of Real Music...
Posted: 8/21/2007 9:22:57 PM
Brian R

From: Somerville, MA

Joined: 10/7/2005

P.S. Full disclosure: When I'm writing or improvising, I more typically aim to create Surreal Music... so maybe the mathematics is, for me, ultimately beside the point.
Posted: 8/22/2007 5:11:38 AM
GordonC

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Let's not get into Surreal Numbers (http://www.tondering.dk/claus/surreal.html) - far too strange. My music has been described as complex - but I think that is just a gentle way of telling me that the better parts of it are purely imaginary. With regards to transcendental intervals, the golden ratio has good claim to being the most dissonant interval, as it is the number that takes the most iterations to generate a rational approximation of a given precision from its continued fraction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continued_fraction).

I do agree with you about the role of maths in music, to some extent - it is perfectly possible to shoot a gun and hit the target without knowing the rifleman's rule (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rifleman%27s_rule), but having some grasp of the science behind your chosen subject won't hurt you, and you certainly won't be Heston Blumenthal (http://www.fatduck.co.uk/philosophy.html) without a working knowledge of molecular gastronomy.

For me considering the maths of what I am doing is a part of the pitch to CV project that electromungo mentioned. I need to generate ideas before testing them, and to test them I have in mind purchasing a Nord Modular G2 (http://www.clavia.se/products/nord%20modular%20G2/) when finances permit, which will enable me to create working prototypes for new effects based on my ideas.

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