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chord shapes?

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(@paul-donnelly)
Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 1066
 

I believe gamelan music uses a five note scale and a seven note scale -- simultaneously. They also tune pairs of instruments slightly differently to make the tones beat.


   
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(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

Hi Paul,

That's pretty much what I've read about their instruments too. But I'm sure that I read somewhere that they used over thirty notes (in their overall "octaves" rather than in scales or particular instruments). I thought it was in Indonesia, but I might be wrong - I often am :D - or may the original writer was a bit out? No real reason why you can't divide your octave into as many divisions as you please, but I was interested to find out what the biggest number was in common usage in a particular region or country.

This is as close as I can come for now (from an article by Danlee Mitchell and Jack Logan, Ph.D. )

"Some musical cultures divide the octave into many different notes and then select a lesser amount of notes from the total for scale patterns. The West divides the octave into twelve equally spaced pitches (tuned by equal temperament), and, from these twelve pitches, a scale of twelve equally-spaced pitches form a chromatic scale. Further, a pattern of seven pitches of different intervals are generated that comprise the traditional Western major and minor scales. In India the octave is divided into twenty-four pitches. From these twenty-four pitches, Indians derive scales from five to nine notes with the possibility of adding more notes at the discretion of individual artists."

So it's 24 in India, but I thought that I'd read elsewhere that Indonesian music used as many as 30 plus divisions or notes. Of course the scales used in playing are far smaller, and it sounds as if the individual instruments are perhaps designed to each only play a particular range or scale.

I've also read that Arab music can use "quarter tones" and can also be said to use 24 divisions.

Anybody know if 30 plus divisions are commonly used somewhere, or was it just somebody perhaps being a little over-enthusiastic in their counting?? :lol:

Whoops! Sorry if I'm hijacking the thread... :oops:


   
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(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5840
 

Sorry, mate, last time I was in Indonesia and at a traditional dance session (last notable one was in Ubud in Bali), I was watching the beautiful women, not counting the number of notes :shock: 8) :oops:

P.S I was with my wife and children, so it was just looking.

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
Did you know that the word "gullible" is not in any dictionary?
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(@paul-donnelly)
Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 1066
 

We'll hijack it together I guess. :wink:

I don't know where the 30+ notes came from. I'm not very knowledgeable about Indonesian music. I think Indian music uses 22 notes, though, and not 24.

I don't know if there are any traditions which use more than that, but microtonalists sometimes use more. The well known Harry Partch used 41 tones, I think, and 31 and 34 equal are popular as well. 19 isn't so many but it is also pretty common. 128 tones is the most I've ever heard of. 72 is a good way to approximate just intonation intervals. Those last two are a few too many notes for most people. 5 equal divisions is strangely popular.


   
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(@chris-c)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 3454
 

Sounds like it's something of a movable feast. :)

Maybe the guy who reckoned it was over 30 in Indonesia was distracted by the women, like Greybeard, and just miscounted.... :?

In my short and cacophanous career as a beginner I seem to have inadvertly used many of the tones that Paul mentioned. :oops:

In fact, it's quite rare for me to stick to the 12 that I'm supposed to be using... :roll: However, every week, my tuning and my playing gets a little bit more accurate. :)


   
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(@pops22br)
Active Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 8
 

Here is the link to a lesson I wrote for GN:
https://www.guitarnoise.com/lessons/basic-music-theory/

With regard to shapes, I often think of actual shapes when I play the guitar but I call them by their open position chord names. The "E" chord shape looks like an "L" or almost like the pattern that a knight moves on the chessboard. The "D" shape looks like a triangle when you
connect the points. The "A" shape is just a line. The "D7" shape is the reverse of "D" (I don't take into acount the open strings). If you have trouble visualizing the shapes, just look at the chord diagrams for each chord and it becomes a little easier.

The easiest way I began to grasp music theory and the guitar was to write out all of the major scales for the notes A to G. This will give you an indication of the how the "Circle of Fifths" is put togther. The lesson I posted above describes what I did when I was looking at this exercise. Take note that the lesson is a little dry.

Once you have written out the scales you should be able to see the connection of how the shapes are applied over the fretboard and major scales - take note of what chord you are playing and how many frets you go up the fretboard. Then you can start to connect the dots (no pun intended) between that bit of theory and other scales, etc.

Also, if you are playing slide guitar, you may have been introduced to open tunings. IMHO, it is easier to get more pleasant sounding harmonies from such a situation because you do not have to mute the other strings as much to get a "nice" sound from your guitar. Grapsing
the concept of how a guitar is tuned to an open tuning can really help to connect more dots between different parts of music theory and how they are applied to the fretboard. How? You begin to understand how chords are constructed, the intervals between individual notes of
scales, etc.

The best concise description I have seen, of how musicians can play in compatible keys is at a didgeridoo website.

http://didgeridootribe.org/didgeridoo/index.php

Go to the above website and in the "Search" textbox type "Playing in Harmony Together". Hit the "Enter" key, click on the original and read the post. There are only a few replies so it should not be hard to access. You should not even have to register.

If you do a little research and studying then the post on that website might make more sense. The combination of this and all the other posts here will draw it all togther so your knowledge converges.


   
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(@ricochet)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 7833
 

When you play slide, you'll soon discover that there are some real notes in between the ones on the Western scale. The one used most is a third that's just about midway between the major and minor thirds. It's often called the "Blues Third." You can also get this by bending a minor third up a little bit, of course. Putting the frequency ratios to the root to a common denominator, the minor third is 48/40, the major third is 50/40, and the "Blues Third" is 49/40. All beat-free intervals. There are a couple of other nice, numerically simpler integer frequency ratios that make useful "notes" that aren't on the scale, but at the moment my brain won't pull 'em up. If I had my lent-out copy of Benade's "Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics," I'd look 'em right up in the table.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."


   
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