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#1
Hey UG,

I've had this idea for a while now.

Basically all notes are "the same" when just played bare (no vibrato or anything) and out of context (just one note that's it).

E.G. an F# doesn't sound any more happy or sad etc. than a C (granted one can be lower than the other depending on where they're played).

It's when you go FROM F# to C that it begins to sound weird and creepy.

So basically what I'm getting at here is it's not the notes themselves but the distance between them that create emotion.

Feel free to discuss.
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#4
Quote by Dizzy-D
Hey UG,

I've had this idea for a while now.

Basically all notes are "the same" when just played bare (no vibrato or anything) and out of context (just one note that's it).

E.G. an F# doesn't sound any more happy or sad etc. than a C (granted one can be lower than the other depending on where they're played).

It's when you go FROM F# to C that it begins to sound weird and creepy.

So basically what I'm getting at here is it's not the notes themselves but the distance between them that create emotion.

Feel free to discuss.

Congratulations, you've just invented intervals

And it's not really about "creating" emotion, it's just about creating interest which in turn may illicit an emotional response from the listener.
Actually called Mark!

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#5
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I agree.


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I agree as well.


Well that's no fun at all.

:/
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Kirk Hammett should just build a wah into his goddam shoes.


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#7
Quote by Dizzy-D
Hey UG,

I've had this idea for a while now.

Basically all notes are "the same" when just played bare (no vibrato or anything) and out of context (just one note that's it).

E.G. an F# doesn't sound any more happy or sad etc. than a C (granted one can be lower than the other depending on where they're played).

It's when you go FROM F# to C that it begins to sound weird and creepy.

So basically what I'm getting at here is it's not the notes themselves but the distance between them that create emotion.

Feel free to discuss.


Actually, F# does sound differently from C or any other pitch. You could try it yourself. Try comparing F# and D, or F# and Eb or F# and Ab or whatever. There is a difference in tone color. The difference is very subtle and hard to hear, but it is there.
#8
I have heard that people with perfect pitch feel that the notes do have inherent differences in emotional impact. And my tutor, who doesn't have perfect pitch, seems to think that the key of F# sounds wrong somehow. Personally, I don't get it. But that said, I've tried playing Gently Johnny from the Wicker man in several different keys, and it doesn't sound right in anything but Gm. Weird.
#9
Quote by Aramis
I have heard that people with perfect pitch feel that the notes do have inherent differences in emotional impact. And my tutor, who doesn't have perfect pitch, seems to think that the key of F# sounds wrong somehow. Personally, I don't get it. But that said, I've tried playing Gently Johnny from the Wicker man in several different keys, and it doesn't sound right in anything but Gm. Weird.


That's probably just because you have heard it in G so many times that you know it as that, and it will sound "weird" in another key because you aren't used to that...

Or of course your hearing is so good that you hear that tonal color of the notes in G minor is just a little bit different than in other keys... But I doubt that
#10
TS, you're totally right. Unless you have perfect pitch, the key doesn't matter, it's all about the intervals. Sometimes notes sounds different on certain instruments, like open strings on a guitar, but aside from that, you're right, everything is the same.
i don't know why i feel so dry
#11
Quote by Slayertplsko
Actually, F# does sound differently from C or any other pitch. You could try it yourself. Try comparing F# and D, or F# and Eb or F# and Ab or whatever. There is a difference in tone color. The difference is very subtle and hard to hear, but it is there.


i agree with this.
Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.
#12
I dont know if Id say each note is the "same" with no context. They definitely have different timbre, overtones, etc etc. I also dont agree that notes are necessarily "sterile" on theyre own.

I mean, playing middle C on a piano is going to bring up different responses than middle C on a super distorted guitar which is going to bring up different responses than middle C on a trumpet.

I see what your saying TS, that the pitch itself doesnt mean anything, but I cant think of a real life example where you could play a "sterile" pitch
#13
Quote by Dizzy-D
Hey UG,

I've had this idea for a while now.

Basically all notes are "the same" when just played bare (no vibrato or anything) and out of context (just one note that's it).

E.G. an F# doesn't sound any more happy or sad etc. than a C (granted one can be lower than the other depending on where they're played).

It's when you go FROM F# to C that it begins to sound weird and creepy.

So basically what I'm getting at here is it's not the notes themselves but the distance between them that create emotion.

Feel free to discuss.


It's the work of art (and all it involves) that evokes.... not simply the notes..... and not simply the intervals.


* and to agree with the others above me, there is a difference between the notes. For one they're all at different frequencies.

this is irrelevant though because the true point is...

Without context there is no music.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jul 9, 2010,
#14
Quote by GuitarMunky


* and to agree with the others above me, there is a difference between the notes. For one they're all at different frequencies.

this is irrelevant though because the true point is...

Without context there is no music.


all things being relative i find this to be the correct answer.
#16
^ perception is just that though. even though an F might sound red or an A green without all the other colors in context as art its a bit of a moot point. green is just green, red is just red, but all the colors together can be a piece of art.
#17
Quote by KoenDercksen
That's probably just because you have heard it in G so many times that you know it as that, and it will sound "weird" in another key because you aren't used to that...

Or of course your hearing is so good that you hear that tonal color of the notes in G minor is just a little bit different than in other keys... But I doubt that


I've heard it in Em more than anything else actually, but it still only sounds right in Gm. But it's only that song. Bollocks knows why.
#18
Hence the 'based on life experiences with different colours'.

If I was beaten by a man wearing a pink apron every day for 10 years, that colour, to me, would be fear....or something, maybe arousal, who knows...That note won't mean anything to anyone else, but if I were to play it by itself, with no effects or timbre synonymous with certain mind-sets, it would envoke feelings within me.

The statement was "notes by themselves create no feelings without the other notes giving context", but the one note by itself does. You could then say that I have given the note context though experience....but it's not really the same as what the TS was talking about.


Anyway, I'm just bringing up other points/rambling.
#19
I don't completely agree. Of course notes by themselves generally have no inherent emotion attached to them, but there are differences with different transpositions. That's why a lot of bands will tune their guitars down rather than have them in standard or higher. Every instrument will have tonal differences depending on the register that it's played in, which does contribute to the atmosphere and emotion of the song. That being said, I don't really see a definite emotion for each different key, because it depends on how the song is written, arranged and performed.
#20
Yeah I have to disagree too..... notes do have an emotion/feeling attached to them. Just like colors, the red color will make you feel different than blue, just as D feels different than Gb. Although it is a very subtle thing, intervals and chords are easier to identify (everybody should agree with me that major chords are happy and minor chords sound sad) But that would be like looking at a radiant red rose in a dark blue contrast.... It is a lot easier for the ear to compare character of 2 sounds (relative pitch) than to judge one sound alone (absolute pitch). What's even more interesting is, there's no doubt that an octave (duplicating the frequency) has the same emotional effects and therefore it's considered the same note but, how many different notes (sounds/emotions) are in an octave? interesting thing is, there are more than 12 ......
#21
I've noticed by reading through this thread there are two schools of thought on this:

1) They don't have any feeling attached to them
2) They do, but it's subtle.

I have to go into the first. A note by itself doesn't have any feeling. The timbre and tone and effects and anything else we give it are tampering with that note at it's purest and therefore will alter our perception of what it's "telling" us.

BEFOREDIT: After thinking about it (with my example)... I have moved to the second school of thought (kind of)! Mainly because of my example at the bottom of this post.

Theory time: I think it has a lot to do with how we're conditioned. If we ever got a baby, never let it listen to music or any kind, and then showed it C0 and C5 it won't be able to tell a difference aside from higher note and lower note.

Quote by sebgar
Although it is a very subtle thing, intervals and chords are easier to identify (everybody should agree with me that major chords are happy and minor chords sound sad)


I disagree. It's a fallacy, but a very common one... so I'll let it slide.

But that would be like looking at a radiant red rose in a dark blue contrast.... It is a lot easier for the ear to compare character of 2 sounds (relative pitch) than to judge one sound alone (absolute pitch).


Good so far.

What's even more interesting is, there's no doubt that an octave (duplicating the frequency) has the same emotional effects and therefore it's considered the same note


Now you've lost me. So if I played the lowest C on the piano and the highest C... I'll get the same feeling? Not in the least. There's a reason happier songs are predominantly (more often than not) in upper registers whereas more fast, driving,
"angrier" (for lack of a better word) songs are in the lower registers.
#22
Another thing is that you can never actually just hear a note, everyone (or most people) have preconceptions with timbre of any quality, even a pure sine wave which is basically as beige as you can get has "feelings" attached to it.
#23
I think singular notes do have a certain emotional response; their pitch, for me anyway, definitely does. Just like colours (with a capital U) on their own also have emotional responses. But as said before it's how the artist uses this palette of 'colour' that strengthens the emotional draw or potential of the note in question. Hopefully these painter analogies aren't coming across too pretentious! Music's all about vibrations anyway, that's why everyone loves a subwoofer.
#24
I would agree with the sentiment that the general highness/lowness of notes is relevant to the mood of a song. I'd say that is why certain songs only sound "right" in a certain key, in addition to repeatedly hearing a song in a specific key. Although that's more a statement about the pitches overall than the musical key; If I were to take a song and play it in the same key, but move every note an octave up, I think we'd have a problem. And a basis for about 100,000 too many Youtube videos

As for whether "C" is inherently different from "A" or any other note, that wouldn't make much sense, since there isn't really anything inherently different about the notes - just plain old sine waves. Intervals have unique characteristics because some pairs of frequencies have simpler ratios than others. The frequencies in an octave and a fifth have ratios of 2:1 and 3:2, whereas a minor second is probably closer to 100:92 (complete guess). This is what makes relative pitch much more relevant than absolute pitch in music.
Last edited by guywithguitar at Jul 10, 2010,
#25
Quote by guywithguitar
I would agree with the sentiment that the general highness/lowness of notes is relevant to the mood of a song. I'd say that is why certain songs only sound "right" in a certain key, in addition to repeatedly hearing a song in a specific key. Although that's more a statement about the pitches overall than the musical key; If I were to take a song and play it in the same key, but move every note an octave up, I think we'd have a problem. And a basis for about 100,000 too many Youtube videos

As for whether "C" is inherently different from "A" or any other note, that wouldn't make much sense, since there isn't really anything inherently different about the notes - just plain old sine waves. Intervals have unique characteristics because some pairs of frequencies have simpler ratios than others. The frequencies in an octave and a fifth have ratios of 2:1 and 3:2, whereas a minor second is probably closer to 100:92 (complete guess). This is what makes relative pitch much more relevant than absolute pitch in music.


Really? I would argue that the wave itself is the basis of why each note really IS different. Different period/frequency=different note
#26
Well, that's the reason that notes sound different, yes, but I was more referring to the different "feelings" of the notes. Barring the period, The waveforms of any two pitches are exactly the same shape, but different intervals have more distinct differences, mainly the ratio between the frequencies.

Look at how similar sine waves of different frequencies look:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3227/3152012740_f53e511896_o.jpg

As opposed to the difference betweed say a perfect fifth:
http://www.pragmaware.net/articles/harmony/img/fifthcomparison1.jpg
and a minor second:
http://www.aruffo.com/eartraining/graphics/phase01/sine2.gif

You can tell just by looking that the fifth is simpler than the minor second, and your ear can tell too. It can't really discern between different notes until they're placed in the context of each other.
#27
Quote by guywithguitar
Well, that's the reason that notes sound different, yes, but I was more referring to the different "feelings" of the notes. Barring the period, The waveforms of any two pitches are exactly the same shape, but different intervals have more distinct differences, mainly the ratio between the frequencies.

Look at how similar sine waves of different frequencies look:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3227/3152012740_f53e511896_o.jpg

As opposed to the difference betweed say a perfect fifth:
http://www.pragmaware.net/articles/harmony/img/fifthcomparison1.jpg
and a minor second:
http://www.aruffo.com/eartraining/graphics/phase01/sine2.gif

You can tell just by looking that the fifth is simpler than the minor second, and your ear can tell too. It can't really discern between different notes until they're placed in the context of each other.


Well, its hard to use those graphs to compare the two intervals. One uses a longitudinal wave form (the true shape of a sound wave) and one uses a transverse wave. Also, the only thing that effects pitch is the frequency/period (how many times the wave crosses "0" per second). The amplitude also greatly influences the shape, as does the period

Note that period has two different meanings for waves when your talking about math and physics. In math, it is the part of the equation that represents where the wave crosses zero. In physics, its how many seconds it takes for the wave to complete a cycle
#28
I understand all that, but I think we're getting into details. You might as well take off the labels from those graphs and just say "these are all longitudinal," and it'll still make sense. My point is that there are definite physical reasons as to why we can identify intervals and why they sound unique, and why it is difficult to do the same with pitches.

Also, the definition of period is the same in both math and physics. I think the math version of period you talk about is actually the phase?
Last edited by guywithguitar at Jul 10, 2010,
#29
I completely disagree with TS. Notes DO sound different from one another.

Listen to a piece of music you like, and then see if you can find maybe a live version where they've changed the key - it can make the feel of the song completely different. Prog rock bands tended to do this a lot in the 70's.

If there were no difference we'd just have one key.
#30
Quote by GilbertsPinky


If there were no difference we'd just have one key.


modulations?
#31
Good thing Archeo's not here, I remember a thread a long time ago in which he flipped shit (but denied doing so) when people said that notes have qualities without context.
#32
they definitely do i think, because you can always hear a difference when you play the wrong one.
#33
Quote by The_Sophist
Good thing Archeo's not here, I remember a thread a long time ago in which he flipped shit (but denied doing so) when people said that notes have qualities without context.


Glad I'm not the only one that remembers that
That went on for what? 12 pages? and while he's technically correct, he can't change people's beliefs.

Quote by brandon2784
they definitely do i think, because you can always hear a difference when you play the wrong one.


Quote by GilbertsPinky
I completely disagree with TS. Notes DO sound different from one another.

Listen to a piece of music you like, and then see if you can find maybe a live version where they've changed the key - it can make the feel of the song completely different. Prog rock bands tended to do this a lot in the 70's.

If there were no difference we'd just have one key.



There is no "wrong" if there's no context. There can be "wrong" in context... but not if there is no context.

If you're in a key, you're giving it context.

Play an F# and then put your guitar down and don't listen to anything for about thirty minutes. Now play a Db. That's two intervals with no context. They should sound very similar in that they won't illicit a very strong (if any) emotional response. But play them side by side, and you get a context and a relationship. This is where the emotional response lies.
Last edited by DiminishedFifth at Jul 10, 2010,
#34
Quote by brandon2784
they definitely do i think, because you can always hear a difference when you play the wrong one.


Yes but that's in context. If you say Conservative Party on it's own, it doesn't sound wrong, but if you said "I'm just gonna nip downtown to Conservative Party some milk." it sounds ALL wrong, because of the context.
#35
Quote by DiminishedFifth


Play an F# and then put your guitar down and don't listen to anything for about thirty minutes. Now play a Db. That's two intervals with no context. They should sound very similar in that they won't illicit a very strong (if any) emotional response. But play them side by side, and you get a context and a relationship. This is where the emotional response lies.


See, I agree and disagree with this. I think its true that two notes together have MORE of a response then one note by itself, but consider this. Dont you think that a middle C played on trumpet gets a different response than middle C on a distorted guitar?
#36
Quote by tubatom868686
See, I agree and disagree with this. I think its true that two notes together have MORE of a response then one note by itself, but consider this. Dont you think that a middle C played on trumpet gets a different response than middle C on a distorted guitar?

But then we get into timbre... and is timbre not context in and of itself? We use certain timbres for certain things and we use certain instruments because how their timbre will affect the song. Even if all they do is play one note the whole song.

But this kind of also goes along with the octave theory. That the same note played in a different octave on the same instrument will illicit a different response. Play C0 on a piano and then play C5 and you'll see what I mean.
#37
Quote by DiminishedFifth
But then we get into timbre... and is timbre not context in and of itself? We use certain timbres for certain things and we use certain instruments because how their timbre will affect the song. Even if all they do is play one note the whole song.

But this kind of also goes along with the octave theory. That the same note played in a different octave on the same instrument will illicit a different response. Play C0 on a piano and then play C5 and you'll see what I mean.


Timbre is context, but doesnt every pitch have a unique timbre? And therefore, every pitch would have a context, yes?

I agree that if you had a "sterile" pitch that it would mean nothing. However, I dont think any such pitch exists. Every pitch has a unique timbre, and therefore, a unique response from the human mind.

Thats before we start to count people with perfect pitch
#38
Quote by The_Sophist
Good thing Archeo's not here, I remember a thread a long time ago in which he flipped shit (but denied doing so) when people said that notes have qualities without context.


I agree it's a good thing. and I remember LOTS of those threads.

This place is alot cooler now.
shred is gaudy music
#39
Quote by tubatom868686
Timbre is context, but doesnt every pitch have a unique timbre? And therefore, every pitch would have a context, yes?

I agree that if you had a "sterile" pitch that it would mean nothing. However, I dont think any such pitch exists. Every pitch has a unique timbre, and therefore, a unique response from the human mind.

Thats before we start to count people with perfect pitch

Quote by DiminishedFifth
Play an F# and then put your guitar down and don't listen to anything for about thirty minutes. Now play a Db. That's two intervals with no context. They should sound very similar in that they won't illicit a very strong (if any) emotional response. But play them side by side, and you get a context and a relationship. This is where the emotional response lies.


You seemed to have missed the bolded

Only thing I could think of being a "sterile" pitch would be a MIDI something.

I agree, but I find it foolish to say it's big enough to make a difference. Keys aren't based on the concept of emotion, nor will they ever be (at least widely), but they would be if the ancient composers thought that the F# was much rowdier than the Db (oh, synesthesia).

I concede that there is something there. It's barely there, but it is. But it's not big enough to make a difference. It's like a single piece of rice with a black dot on it in a rice farm. Someone might notice... but will they care? Probably not. Will it effect anything? Nope.
#40
Quote by tubatom868686
Timbre is context, but doesnt every pitch have a unique timbre? And therefore, every pitch would have a context, yes?


on its own....... NO


they sound different, but that doesn't give them context.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jul 10, 2010,
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