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.

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

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Music Across Cultures: Pitch and Tuning Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Music Across Cultures- Pitch and Tuning Nads Hassan
  • 2. What is music? A form of art, who’s medium is sound. What makes a sound music and not noise? • Pitch • Rhythm
  • 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. Watch these people sing • What do they have in common?
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Pitch • Tells you how high or low each note is • Every 12th rung is an octave • The sequence continues • C4, C5, C6 etc
  • 11. How do we get these notes? • Sine Waves • Height the wave (amplitude) is loudness • Frequency (oscillations) is pitch
  • 12. How do we get these notes? • Decided that A=440Hz • Whole octave (12 rungs) doubles to 880Hz • Split evenly between each octave
  • 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. Thank You www.nadshassan.com @nadshassan