This is part of my series on Understanding How Music Works. If you haven’t yet, you may wish to start at the beginning. Here, I discuss some concepts that you may have been taught that I think we need to forget about for a little while so we can take a fresh look at humans’ perception and understanding of music.
Did you know that the note that you think of as “A” was not always tuned to 440 vibrations per second? It used to be quite a bit lower. At some point, our culture decided to standardize the note that we label “A.” People made it up. It’s just a convention. Chuck it out (for now).
Did you know that “the same” intervals on a piano used to sound quite different? The open fifth between C and G used to be a little different than the open fifth between A and E, so that the major third between C and E could be tuned a particular way. (more…)