[Squeakland] music and math

Blake blake at kingdomrpg.com
Sat Dec 1 12:13:34 PST 2007

On Fri, 30 Nov 2007 22:23:26 -0800, <mmille10 at comcast.net> wrote:

> The second course got more into "keyboard" harmony, as you put it. We  
> learned about keys (ie. C major, etc.), identifying notes and chords by  
> sound and making associations, learning "keyboarding" on a piano (doing  
> scales and chords). The most interesting part to me was learning about  
> the choral scheme. For the first time we discussed "music with  
> constraints".

I'm admittedly a bit of a geek here (my degree is in music), but it's a
fascinating trek through western music if you link up history and
composition. Gregorian chants were highly constrained by certain rules
(that would ultimately become the foundation of the "well-tempered" music
we listen to today) but even as you look them over, you can see where the
rules got broken, and how transgression became tradition over time.

Adding that second note to create harmony, melisma (extending a syllable
over many notes)--it's sort of a wonder to realize that the music we
listen to didn't just "happen".

For me, the pinnacle of the pre-harmonic/tempered era is de Lassus's
Prophetiae Sibyllarum: The melodic lines all "make sense", and together
the tones create what we would consider today to be relatively simple
chords (i.e., major and minor), but there's little respect paid to what we
would would call "key".

As a result, if you listen to it =vertically= (as we are trained to do
  from birth), it can seem very confusing. But if you listen to it
=horizontally=, it makes perfect sense.


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