#1
Hello everyone, I have created a thread to share this phenomena I have noticed with all of you.
I'll start with how I discovered it.

I have been listening to Lou Reed's "Venus in Furs" song which a friend of mine has sent to me, and I have been fascinated by the specific sound of the song. I have done a little research and discovered the Lou Reed uses his so-called Ostrich Guitar Tuning, which consists of all strings tuned to same note, only different octaves. So, I tuned my guitar in his way and decided to give it a little fuckaround.

The focus is on the two highest strings, I tuned them both to D note. This is where it gets interesting.
When I played around a little bit with that tuning, I have discovered that...
|-2-
|-3-

...chord (technically, it's not a chord, but I don't know how to call it else) sounds quite pleasing, while...
|-3-
|-2-

...one sounds unpleasant. And they are exactly the same intervals!

Then it hit me - the second chord position is exactly how I used to play the "tritone" on standard tuning. [For those who don't know - tritoke aka devil's tone is the the most dissonant-sounding interval in music] So somehow, I have concluded, the exact fingering of the tritone has been carved into my conscience as unpleasant, so whatever I play that way will sound bad to me.

It wasn't the strings, they were perfectly tuned. I recorded the sound of both positions, and on the recordings they sounded exactly the same, even when I play it with hands switched they sound the same. But when I play them regularly, the tritone-y one always sounds unpleasant.

Does anyone out there have any experience with such stuff?
I see this as quite a problem though...
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Last edited by TheNameOfNoone at Apr 14, 2013,
#2
I think it's more that you feel uncomfortable playing with the tritone shape, than how you are hearing it. Obviously it sounds the exact same, so I think it's probably you don't like the feel of the tritone shape, bear in mind you are playing an incredibly dissonant interval, the minor 2nd, so that doesn't help.
#3
I think the term doublestop probably best describes those two notes. You're right - it's not a chord and I probably wouldn't even refer to it as a chord fragment, but doublestop seems to define it the best.
#4
i bet if you recorded it and listened to it randomly later you wouldn't feel the same way
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#5
I've always been of the opinion that dissonance sounds different depending on what you're using as the root. It's why there are some chord voicings that we only use a few ways, keeping the root as the unmodified r/3/5 and letting the altered tone be higher in pitch.

So yeah, there's still a difference between each of those things you're playing, it's a matter of how it's being stacked. Cool idea, yo'.
#6
That's weird imo. I get what you're saying to an extent, when I forget I've tuned my guitar differently and pick it up, I do expect to hear certain pitches from certain shapes and it might take my brain a second to adjust. But that said, when I'm drop D, that tritone shape becomes a slash chord (like C/E) and it doesn't sound dissonant to me, it resolves perfectly a half step up or down.

However, there are some chords that I think sound better in different voicings, with certain degrees in higher or lower octaves. They sound less mushy and less clustered. Allan Holdsworth plays a lot of conventional chords in completely unconventional ways, because to him a lot of common chord voicings sound dissonant as hell, especially regular barre chord versions of major/minor 7ths.
Last edited by Iommianity at Apr 14, 2013,
#8
Try experimenting with up/down strokes. Sometimes I'll play something doublestopish like that and have to make sure to get specific strokes to correctly accent the top/bottom note.

It could be that you think it sounds good with one note more heavily accented than the other.
#9
Quote by unicornicopia
Try experimenting with up/down strokes. Sometimes I'll play something doublestopish like that and have to make sure to get specific strokes to correctly accent the top/bottom note.

It could be that you think it sounds good with one note more heavily accented than the other.
This. I think it has less to do with the fingering and more to do with which note is accented.
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#10
I always thought this was written by john cale, I know he was in velvet underground but I'd only ever heard him play it, just heard another version of it, sounds just as good
#11
This reminds me of the "Hendrix chord conundrum". Play an E7#9 chord the usual way. Sounds cool, right? Then invert the thirds. (Put the major 3rd on top, and the minor 3rd below.) It sounds horrible. Why should this be?

I don't have an answer to this, only a theory that it has something to do with the upper interval being a tritone rather than a 4th, but I suspect it has as much to do with the way in which our ears become accustomed to hearing certain interval groupings through repeated exposure while others remain foreign to us.
Last edited by Craig Hardie at Apr 16, 2013,
#12
Quote by Craig Hardie
This reminds me of the "Hendrix chord conundrum". Play an E7#9 chord the usual way. Sounds cool, right? Then invert the thirds. (Put the major 3rd on top, and the minor 3rd below.) It sounds horrible. Why should this be?

I don't have an answer to this, only a theory that it has something to do with the upper interval being a tritone rather than a 4th, but I suspect it has as much to do with the way in which our ears become accustomed to hearing certain interval groupings through repeated exposure while others remain foreign to us.

I think it's because the highest note is the "melody note". So you are kind of playing a minor third over a major chord. But when the highest note is a major third, you are playing a major third over a minor chord which sounds pretty dissonant.

Try playing a G# over Em7 chord. Sounds pretty horrible, doesn't it? But then try playing a G over E7 chord and it sounds pretty bluesy.
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#13
[QUOTEThis reminds me of the "Hendrix chord conundrum". Play an E7#9 chord the usual way. Sounds cool, right? Then invert the thirds. (Put the major 3rd on top, and the minor 3rd below.) It sounds horrible. Why should this be?

I don't have an answer to this, only a theory that it has something to do with the upper interval being a tritone rather than a 4th, but I suspect it has as much to do with the way in which our ears become accustomed to hearing certain interval groupings through repeated exposure while others remain foreign to us.

because the #9 isnt a minor third, its a raised ninth, and usually found an octave above the root. changing the position of the notes makes you want to hear the #9 as a b3 and the natural third (now an octave up) sounds like an unresolved passing tone.
also, your used to hearing it in the 'hendrix chord' spelling.

the other interesting thing is that the chord in that voicing is spelled R-3-b7-#9, having the tritone as the innermost interval (a third between R and 3 a tritone between 3 and b7 and a perfect fourth between b7 and #9) really softens the dissonance, wheras exposing it in the top voice (going R-#9-b7-3) draws the listeners ear to it. moreover, the minor ninth formed between the #9 and the 3 (with the 3 on top of the chord) is a much more dissonant interval (IMO) then the major seventh formed in between the 3 and the #9, if the #9 is voiced on top.
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Last edited by tehREALcaptain at Apr 16, 2013,
#14
Quote by MaggaraMarine
I think it's because the highest note is the "melody note". So you are kind of playing a minor third over a major chord. But when the highest note is a major third, you are playing a major third over a minor chord which sounds pretty dissonant.

Try playing a G# over Em7 chord. Sounds pretty horrible, doesn't it? But then try playing a G over E7 chord and it sounds pretty bluesy.

Exactly.. That's a great way of putting it. So, it's largely to do with what our ears have been conditioned to hear.