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 hotthread  Author  Topic: creating wav's ?  (Read 1069 times)
pnlawrence
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xx Re: creating wav's ?
« Reply #15 on: Dec 27th, 2016, 02:18am »

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There are seven (not eight) 'notes' in an octave: A, B C, D, E, F and G. If anybody claims there are eight, ask them how many notes there are in two octaves! Or three octaves. That tends to make them think. cheesy


Here is what I found by searching for awhile.

http://www.ars-nova.com/Theory%20Q&A/Q104.html

Quote:
In that complex sound that makes up a single musical tone there will actually be found a number of pitches combined. There will be a tone that corresponds to the main shape, one that is twice as fast, which is an octave higher, one that is three times as fast, which is a "fifth" above that, and so on.


Quote:
There's a more technical discussion of this in the appendix of Exploring Theory, but basically it means that the ear will hear a noticeable agreement between tones that are an octave apart, or a fifth apart, and to a lesser degree to notes that are a fourth or a major third apart, etc. Those are natural stopping places when finding new notes above a starting note, whether you're using a vibrating string or air in a pipe.


Quote:
The tradition from which western music derives began with filling in the most obvious stopping places in one octave. And if you go by that process it's easy to end up with seven, but no more. The next pitch is called the octave because it's the eighth note (just as an octopus has eight legs). More than a thousand years ago the letters of the Roman alphabet were adopted to refer to these, and since there were only seven the letters ran A, B, C, D, E, F, G. That gets to the octave, where we hear what sounds like the same thing again, so it makes sense to repeat (though some early writers did use more letters instead of repeating).


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That's why the piano has white keys that form a scale: the first keyboards had only those white keys. More keys (the black keys) were later added to fill in half steps where possible, so that the same melody could be played starting on different notes.


So, the answer seems to be that the term "octave" doesn't refer to the keys or "notes" at all. It refers to the (what I call) harmonics. The "notes" were filled in by musical scholars over the ensuing years.
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Paul " Tex " Lawrence LXV — Truth lies dormant in our future history.
Richard Russell
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xx Re: creating wav's ?
« Reply #16 on: Dec 27th, 2016, 09:29am »

on Dec 27th, 2016, 02:18am, pnlawrence wrote:
So, the answer seems to be that the term "octave" doesn't refer to the keys or "notes" at all. It refers to the (what I call) harmonics.

I think there's a danger of over-analysing this. There's surely no confusion or misunderstanding about what an 'octave' is: it's a halving or doubling of frequency (or pitch). Using the term "harmonic" (which can mean any integer multiple) risks, I would say, obfuscating rather than clarifying.

Indeed, the problem with quoting 'musical' references is that they are not written by mathematicians or scientists - so they use imprecise or traditional terminology - and it's mathematics that we are discussing here every bit as much as music!

This thread has not been about what an octave is but rather why it's called an "octave" (a word which derives from the number eight) and how many 'notes' it constitutes. What is entirely clear is that there aren't eight of anything in an octave! There are 12 semitones, and there are 7 'notes' (CDEFGAB or, if you prefer the Tonic Sol-Fa notation, Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti).

Another fun question to ask of an 'octavist' is: 'How many years are there in a decade'? If the same weird logic that leads to the belief there are 8 notes in an octave is applied, one has to accept that there are 11 years in a decade! Both can be represented on a 'number line':

Code:
C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D E F G A B C D...
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2... 

Just do the arithmetic. The first line uses seven different symbols and has a periodicity of 7; the second line uses ten different symbols and has a periodicity of 10.

This is not (or should not be) controversial. I am not a musician, but I do understand the mathematics of music and - unlike people who believe there are 8 notes in an octave - I can count!

Richard.
« Last Edit: Dec 27th, 2016, 10:02am by Richard Russell » User IP Logged

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xx Re: creating wav's ?
« Reply #17 on: Dec 27th, 2016, 10:09am »

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... so why is it called an octave? ...


You asked this question, and the answer has little to do with mathematics as I found over and over.

There's no doubt that musicians can count, too. I've seen them tap their feet. cheesy

Quote:
... it's mathematics that we are discussing here every bit as much as music! ...


Music wasn't created by mathematicians ... those came later trying to explain music, and they generally make terrible music.
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xx Re: creating wav's ?
« Reply #18 on: Dec 27th, 2016, 11:43am »

on Dec 27th, 2016, 10:09am, pnlawrence wrote:
Music wasn't created by mathematicians.

True. But now music and mathematics cannot be separated: after all this thread is about sampling theory, the Nyquist criterion and synthesising music from sine waves!

Asking why it's called an octave was perhaps tongue-in-cheek, but it led the OP astray into thinking (quite understandably, if he has no musical background) that there are eight notes rather than seven in an octave. He was similarly misled by the ambiguous term "semitone" into thinking there were 16 of those in an octave!

So whilst we can, I hope, agree on the historical perspective, claiming that there are eight notes in an octave - which many musicians persist in doing even today - is plain wrong and unhelpful.

Richard.
« Last Edit: Dec 27th, 2016, 11:46am by Richard Russell » User IP Logged

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xx Re: creating wav's ?
« Reply #19 on: Dec 27th, 2016, 2:45pm »

Dang! I almost got Richard to say that I found the answer to his question ... almost! cheesy cheesy cheesy
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xx Re: creating wav's ?
« Reply #20 on: Dec 27th, 2016, 4:18pm »

on Dec 27th, 2016, 2:45pm, pnlawrence wrote:
Dang! I almost got Richard to say that I found the answer to his question ... almost!

Kudos for being almost as pedantic as I am.

Richard.
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xx Re: creating wav's ?
« Reply #21 on: Dec 27th, 2016, 6:25pm »

This conversation reminds me of a quote by Leonard Bernstein. He was giving a talk on 'The future of classical music in the 21st century'. In conclusion he said, "I can't remember what the question was, but the answer is 'yes' and it will be chromatic."
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