Music Across Cultures-
  Pitch and Tuning
             Nads Hassan
What is music?
A form of art, who’s medium is sound.
What makes a sound music and not
 noise?

• Pitch

• Rhythm
What is music?
A form of art, who’s medium is sound.
What makes a sound music and not
 noise?

• Pitch (melody, harmony)

...
Watch these people sing
• What do they have in common?
Pentatonic Scale
• All the songs were based on the same
  five notes.
• These form the pentatonic scale
• Easily played – b...
Pentatonic Scale
• These notes form the basis of melody
  around the world.
• Human instinct – Bobby McFerrin at
  the Wor...
Scales
• Selection of notes used to form
  melodies

• Notes you choose
• How high or low they are
• The pattern they make...
Scales
• What’s the distance between them?
• Placed too close together, it’s difficult
  to distinguish between notes
• Th...
Scales
• Western scales has 12 rungs -each is
  called a semitone
• Arabic Maqqam (‫ﻣﻘﺎﻡ‬‎) has 12- each is
  called a qua...
Pitch
•   Tells you how high or low each note is
•   Every 12th rung is an octave
•   The sequence continues
•   C4, C5, C...
How do we get these notes?
• Sine Waves
• Height the wave (amplitude) is
  loudness
• Frequency (oscillations) is pitch
How do we get these notes?
• Decided that A=440Hz
• Whole octave (12 rungs) doubles to
  880Hz
• Split evenly between each...
Other systems
• Other cultures follow the same octave
  rule but split notes differently.
• Microtonal music – notes small...
Thank You
www.nadshassan.com
@nadshassan
Music Across Cultures: Pitch and Tuning
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Music Across Cultures: Pitch and Tuning

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A presentation delivered by Nads Hassan (http://nadshassan.com) at Interesting Monday #3.

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  • Music Across Cultures: Pitch and Tuning

    1. 1. Music Across Cultures- Pitch and Tuning Nads Hassan
    2. 2. What is music? A form of art, who’s medium is sound. What makes a sound music and not noise? • Pitch • Rhythm
    3. 3. What is music? A form of art, who’s medium is sound. What makes a sound music and not noise? • Pitch (melody, harmony) • Rhythm (tempo, meter, articulation) • Dynamics, timbre
    4. 4. Watch these people sing • What do they have in common?
    5. 5. Pentatonic Scale • All the songs were based on the same five notes. • These form the pentatonic scale • Easily played – black keys on keyboard.
    6. 6. Pentatonic Scale • These notes form the basis of melody around the world. • Human instinct – Bobby McFerrin at the World Science Festival ‘09 • Used to introduce children to music – toy xylophones etc • Uses in film music, religious music and ‘anthemic’ music
    7. 7. Scales • Selection of notes used to form melodies • Notes you choose • How high or low they are • The pattern they make when they are played together
    8. 8. Scales • What’s the distance between them? • Placed too close together, it’s difficult to distinguish between notes • Think of rungs on a ladder
    9. 9. Scales • Western scales has 12 rungs -each is called a semitone • Arabic Maqqam (‫ﻣﻘﺎﻡ‬‎) has 12- each is called a quarternote • Chinese and Indian music have potentially much more
    10. 10. Pitch • Tells you how high or low each note is • Every 12th rung is an octave • The sequence continues • C4, C5, C6 etc
    11. 11. How do we get these notes? • Sine Waves • Height the wave (amplitude) is loudness • Frequency (oscillations) is pitch
    12. 12. How do we get these notes? • Decided that A=440Hz • Whole octave (12 rungs) doubles to 880Hz • Split evenly between each octave
    13. 13. Other systems • Other cultures follow the same octave rule but split notes differently. • Microtonal music – notes smaller than the ‘rungs’ of western scales, not playable on a keyboard • Sound strange and out of tune to an ear not used to it
    14. 14. Thank You www.nadshassan.com @nadshassan
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