Re: Pitch learning (Edward Large )

Subject: Re: Pitch learning
From:    Edward Large  <large@xxxxxxxx>
Date:    Thu, 1 Mar 2007 19:38:08 -0500

Hi Susan and Linda, I agree that there is a large degree of variability in performance intonation. (By saying variability, I don't mean random variation ... for masters it is of course expressive). But huge variations are also present for Western music played on non-fixed tuning instruments, such as violin, or in vocal performance. Every study of which I am aware confirms this basic point. This, as it sounds like you would agree, makes the very measurement of mean frequency suspect. However, it doesn't mean there is no tuning system. Is there more variability in Indian or Chinese music? I don't know. I have never seen a comparative study. And, by the way, these are empirical issues, not political ones. Ed On Mar 1, 2007, at 5:00 PM, Susan Allen wrote: > Thank you, Linda, for this clarification. > > Susan Allen > > On Mar 1, 2007, at 5:53 AM, Linda Seltzer wrote: > >> The descriptions of non-Western tuning systems given below are >> incorrect. >> Concerning Indian music: I studied North Indian classical singing >> with >> Ustad Vilayat Khan. He sometimes demonstrated different versions >> of each >> note to me. It is really a slur and maligning of the vast >> creativity of >> improvisation in Asian musical culture to say that Asian music has >> systems >> and fixed intervals. It is part of the fa;se stereotype of Asians as >> memorizing and not being creative. Each raga is different. Each >> performance of a raga is different. The performances of the same >> raga in >> different gharanas are different. A master can elaborate different >> subtle intonations of the pitch and color of a note among >> different ragas, >> within a raga, or within a performance. That is part of the >> subtlety of a >> master. When real master is performing you never know what >> brilliant >> musical idea he or she is going to follow. The intervals of a >> fifth and a >> fourth exist, but I have even heard Vilayat Khan demonstrate >> singing Sa >> (the base note) slightly off pitch as an expressive device. >> Improvisation >> in Indian music is not a mindless outpouring of whatever junk >> comes into >> the mind. It is an instantaneous, well-thought-out, imaginative >> development of a musical idea. >> >> As for Chinese music, how can be there "a system" when there are 400 >> different kinds of Chinese opera alone? The tuning of the strings >> of the >> ch'in and the zheng by master performers can be analyzed, but then >> they >> will go all over the place in expressive intonations and pitch >> curves in a >> performance. But if you want to know about Chinese music, Bell >> Yung at >> Pittsburgh is the expert, not me. I had an introduction to >> Chinese music >> in the Chinese literature classes of Prof. Yu-Kung Kao at >> Princeton and I >> took some lessons on the zheng. I couldn't take the regimented >> Shanghai >> conservatory method of teaching the zheng that I was being >> subjected to. >> >> The best assumption in really professional Asian music is that any >> pitch >> or intonation is available as an expressive device by a master >> performer. >> You can study the relationships among pitches in one performance >> but that >> is about all. >> >>> >>> The three largest non-Western tuning systems are Indian, Chinese and >>> Arab-Persian. >>> Each of these has inclusive 12-tone scales whose frequency >>> relationships are >>> similar to the Western chromatic scales. Two of these systems, the >>> Indian and the >>> Arab-Persian, use more than 12 intervals per octave (Burns, 1999). >>> The musical >>> systems of India are theoretically based on 22 intervals per octave. >>> However, the >>> basic scale consists of 12 tones tuned according to a form of just >>> intonation. >>> The remaining 10 tones are slight variations of certain intervals, >>> the exact frequencies >>> of which depend upon the individual melodic framework (raga) being >>> played. The >>> Arab-Persian system theoretically employs intervals that bisect the >>> distance between >>> Western chromatic intervals. However, there is some controversy >>> as to >>> the exact number >>> of possible intervals and the actual intervals produced in >>> performance. Most sources >>> list the small integer ratio tuning relationships. >>> >>> Ed >>> >>> On Feb 28, 2007, at 1:41 AM, Susan Allen wrote: >>> >>>> It is astonishing to me that all of you are talking about western >>>> scales and octaves! This is not the music of the world! This is >>>> colonial music, discovered in the West.... >>>> The WORLD of music does not follow Pythagorean intervals! There >>>> are many more notes! >>>> >>>> FORGET perfect pitch - it only has to do with relative pitch on the >>>> piano keyboard - within the Western (colonial) paradigm! >>>> >>>> >>>> Susan Allen PhD >>>> >>>> >>>> >>>> >>>> >>>> On Feb 27, 2007, at 10:03 PM, Annabel Cohen wrote: >>>> >>>>> Dear Martin and Stewart and others: >>>>> >>>>> I am willing to concede that sensitivity to overlapping >>>>> harmonics may >>>>> not be the basis of the musical and octave sensitivity of monkeys; >>>>> what remains unclear to me is whether there is an "octave circular >>>>> pitch processor" or rather than a "small-integer / periodicity- >>>>> sensitive processor". >>>>> >>>>> If there is only an "octave circular pitch processing" to >>>>> account for >>>>> octave generalization, one would predict performance in monkeys on >>>>> transpositions to the perfect fifth (ratio 3/2 = 7 semitones >>>>> up) to >>>>> be as poor as performance on transposition to the tritone (half >>>>> octave = 6 semitones). A study including the perfect fifth >>>>> transposition has not been carried out to the best of my >>>>> knowledge. >>>>> If performance were superior for the perfect fifth, the "octave >>>>> processor" theory would be incomplete. >>>>> >>>>> How also does one explain the monkey's superior performance on >>>>> tonal >>>>> as opposed to atonal melodies, when tonal melodies are >>>>> characterized >>>>> by tones related by small integer ratios (though typically not >>>>> octaves) as compared to tone relations in atonal melodies. >>>>> >>>>> Annabel >>>>> >>>>> On 24 Feb 2007 at 0:43, Martin Braun wrote: >>>>> >>>>>> Dear Annabel, Stew, and others, >>>>>> >>>>>> Annabel Cohen wrote: >>>>>> >>>>>> "The evidence in this paper [ >>>>>> ] for octave >>>>>> generalization for tonal melodies by rhesus monkeys is >>>>>> impressive, >>>>>> however, whether this reflects something special about >>>>>> sensitivity >>>>>> to the octave (chroma) rather than sensitivity to the overtone >>>>>> series or periodicity is still not clear from this study." >>>>>> >>>>>> Sorry, it IS clear from this study. The authors reported that >>>>>> generalization over the distance of two octaves is even stronger >>>>>> than that over the distance of one octave. This finding >>>>>> definitely >>>>>> rules out the possibility that the monkeys generalized >>>>>> according to >>>>>> similarities in the sound spectrum (harmonics). The only >>>>>> remaining >>>>>> possibility is that the monkeys, the same as humans, have an >>>>>> octave >>>>>> circular pitch processing, which provides the basis for a chroma >>>>>> percept. >>>>>> >>>>>> Martin >>>>>> >>>>>> ----------------------------------------------------------------- >>>>>> --- >>>>>> - Martin Braun Neuroscience of Music S-671 95 Klässbol Sweden web >>>>>> site: >>>>> >>>>> >>>>> ------- End of forwarded message -------Annabel J. Cohen, Ph. D. >>>>> Department of Psychology >>>>> University of Prince Edward Island >>>>> Charlottetown, P.E.I. C1A 4P3 CANADA >>>>> e:mail acohen@xxxxxxxx >>>>> phone: (902) 628-4325 office; (902) 628-4331 lab >>>>> fax: (902) 628-4359 >>>>> >>>>> >>> >>> >> > > > > Susan Allen, Ph.D. > Associate Dean for Academic Affairs > Instructor of Harp & Improvisation > School of Music > California Institute of the Arts > Valencia, CA 91355 USA > 661-222-2780 > >

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