Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Pick three notes in a chord -
1 - 2 - 3
each note stands alone -
together they become a harmony
usually pleasant to the ear

there is a kind of formula for that -
notes that are a specific distance apart
fit together
create a wholeness
notes that don't fit in the formulae
can make cacaphony -
people put their hands to their ears to block the sound

when your instrument is in tune
the formulae work
the notes you play
have the intended spacing
and they sound good together

since we've been recording
on records and disks
we have frequent examples
of how sounds are affected
by speed
i can't explain it all

but when we were kids
we could take records designed to be played at 36 revolutions per minute
and play them at 45 revolutions per minute
or perhaps faster

anyone remember the cartoon Chipmunks?
their high pitched voices singing
'want a plane that loops the loop -
me I want a hula hoop'
I'm pretty sure their voices were achieved
by playing regular voices at higher speeds

Chipmunks -
that's what we heard
when we played records at speeds
faster than they were intended
sounds become higher pitched
(like when you tighten the strings
of a guitar)

sometimes these days
compact discs (CDs)
are recorded or copied
and they can turn out
slightly off from the sounds
the original performers made,
or slightly different
from each other
but still can stand on their own

some people mix and match
- edit -
to make new recordings
and they may not work
my point is
three notes from a chord
taken from 3 different discs
might not fit the formula
for a chord

then we get to the term
off key

(by the way
why did the term 'key'
come to be applied
to a concept in music?)

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