Just Intonation Resources

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
those videos are too long for me to sit through but what i want to know is, what are the cosmic implications?
 

Matthew

FKA Woebot
those videos are too long for me to sit through but what i want to know is, what are the cosmic implications?
davis you're turning into steve jobs - you need to watch that - you have to watch at least one of the videos and you will IMMEDIATELY see the cosmic implications - but to help you here is (an extremely cool) quote from kyle gann:

"I've had interesting experiences playing just-intonation music for non-music-major students. Sometimes they will identify an equal-tempered chord as "happy, upbeat," and the same chord in just intonation as "sad, gloomy." Of course, this is the first time they've ever heard anything but equal temperament, and they're far more familiar with the first sound than the second. But I think they correctly hit on the point that equal temperament chords do have a kind of active buzz to them, a level of harmonic excitement and intensity. By contrast, just-intonation chords are much calmer, more passive; you literally have to slow down to listen to them. (As Terry Riley says, Western music is fast because it's not in tune.) It makes sense that American teenagers would identify tranquil, purely consonant harmony as moody and depressing. Listening from the other side, I've learned to hear equal temperament music as a kind of aural caffeine, overly busy and nervous-making. If you're used to getting that kind of buzz from music, you feel the lack of it as a deprivation when it's not there. But do we need it? Most cultures use music for meditation, and ours may be the only culture that doesn't. With our tuning, we can't.

My teacher, Ben Johnston, was convinced that our tuning is responsible for much of our cultural psychology, the fact that we are so geared toward progress and action and violence and so little attuned to introspection, contentment, and acquiesence. Equal temperament could be described as the musical equivalent to eating a lot of red meat and processed sugars and watching violent action films. The music doesn't turn your attention inward, it makes you want to go out and work off your nervous energy on something.

On a more subtle level, after I've been immersed in just intonation for a couple of weeks, equal temperament music begins to sound insipid, bland, colorless. There are only eleven types of intervals available instead of the potential several dozen that exist in even the simplest just system, and you don't get gradations of different sizes of major third or major sixths the way you do in just tuning. On a piano in just intonation, moving from one tonic to another changes the whole interval makeup of the key, and you get a really specific, visceral feel for where you are on the pitch map. That feeling disappears in bland, all-keys-the-same equal temperament. As a composer, I enjoy having the option, if I'm going to use a minor third interval, of being able to choose among the 7/6, 6/5, 19/16, and 11/9 varieties, each with its own individual feeling.

Far beyond the mere theoretical purity, playing in just intonation for long periods sensitizes me to a myriad colors, and coming back to the equal tempered world is like seeing everything click back into black and white. It's a disappointing readjustment. Come to think of it, maybe you shouldn't try just intonation - you'll become unfit to live in the West, and have to move to India or Bali."

 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
i havent bought a black turtle neck yet thats the point of no return
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
but is it saying any indian classical music is in just intonation too? what about the folk stuff? what about 'muslim bangers'? pakistan, morocco, egypt, the sufisphere....
 

Matthew

FKA Woebot
but is it saying any indian classical music is in just intonation too? what about the folk stuff? what about 'muslim bangers'? pakistan, morocco, egypt, the sufisphere....
pandit pran nath always sung PERFECTLY in tune. that's one of the benefits of vocal music over instrumental music in which it's harder to achieve. that's one of the key reasons why the indian classical music tradition favours pure vocal music over everything else.

in indian music there are a bunch of different tunings. not specifically just. any raga is set into a tuning - yamaan, bhairav, malkauns etc etc they are like perfectly tuned scales. and you only sing notes within that scale.

i'm still figuring it all out. i've picked up this little FM synth for a few bob - a preen - and loaded some of these just intonation scales into it. just mucking about really.

i was thinking though that some bright spark should make just intonation rave music. like a brilliant collision of different divine/ecstatic musics. there's absolutely no reason why that isn't a legitimate idea. indeed something like hennix's "electric harpsichord" has ravey qualities to it think

 

woops

is not like other people
i should really watch the ideo 'cos i've never been able to get my head round these "other" tuning systems, surely an octave is an octave is an octave. are we to hear new harmonies and retrain the music mind?
 
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