A important issue...Help.....

Discussion in 'Beginner's Q&A Forum' started by Guitar_maverick, Dec 26, 2004.

  1. Guitar_maverick

    Guitar_maverick New Member

    Hi..am new to this forum...and find this forun jsr superb for all guitar enthus ...

    well i start of with this very techincal question...cudn't actually figure it out...

    cab any one here gimme the answer to this ques...

    this waz infact asked to one of my frends in his MBA inteview....

    Anyone with a working knowledge of musical scales please tell me why the B and E notes alone don't have sharps Did try googling but didn't come up with a convincing answer. I do have my own hypothesis but I'd like someone with a concrete answer to come forward first.

    can any one help.....

    thnx in advance.....
  2. jayswami

    jayswami Blue J

    well.. the question is incorrect B# is C and E# is F , and also Cb is B for all scales in equal temperament tuning (see note ).. But I can undertand why that question can be asked..

    In the diatonic scale, it is usually the norm to use all the alphabets and not repeat any alphabet.

    for eg D major would be
    D E F# G A B C# D' and not D E Gb G A B Db D'

    If u follow this norm, then U usually dont see E sharp or Bsharp

    lets take an example..

    You could say A# major scale is

    A# B# C## D# E# F## G## A#' :)p:) - and confuse the hell out of everyone.. even though u would be theoritically correct

    In such situations u do the simpler and logical thing.. and use the major scale for Bb

    Bb C D Eb F G A Bb' -- much easier to read.

    now you will find violin players use a different position for A# and Bb while playing different scales.. thats a totally different topic.. where we would have to discuss the microtonal difference between natural tuning and the not so correct equal temperament scale we use these days.
  3. d_ist_urb_ed

    d_ist_urb_ed Genuflect b*tches!

    Thread should be in Beginner's Q&A forum. Thread will be moved.
  4. Guitar_maverick

    Guitar_maverick New Member

    I knw..this thread has been moved...

    Bt jst thot to drop me wordz of thnx to Jaysawami for tht nice theoritical explanation..guess...i'll have to craft my head again over it...

    Thnx dude....
  5. jayswami

    jayswami Blue J

    google any term u do not understand, and i should add that u usually have each alphabet (CDEFGABC) in the scale, and u never repeat alphabets in a scale.. because of staff notation.. every alphabet has only one line (or space between 2 lines) reserved :) in the staff notation, so u cant overload it.. see http://hector.ucdavis.edu/Music10/Syllabus/Lectures/StaffNote.htm

    and using double sharps or double flats is not optimal... i suspect that is the idea behind the MBA question.. u need an optimal solution.
  6. mani_rawalpindi

    mani_rawalpindi GUNS AND GUITARS

    excellent posts JAYSWAMI
  7. d_ist_urb_ed

    d_ist_urb_ed Genuflect b*tches!

    Cool explanations jayswami:) Double sharps:)
  8. Guitar_maverick

    Guitar_maverick New Member

    hmmm, Jayswami....not sure we're on the same wavelength here...

    I do know that B# is C and E# is F but the question is why B and E were chosen over the other 5 notes for this special treatment, ie. why couldn't G# be A and not G# and so on..guess my doubt relates to how musical scales were written in the first place..what were the basic concepts they used to build their theory on?.....

    ps. some extra info - the frequency of the middle A note is 440 Hz, the frequency of the A note an octave higher is 2 times this value, ie. 880 Hz. Dividing this interval between 440 and 880 Hz into 12 equal parts would give us the frequencies of all the 12 notes inbetween the 2 As.
  9. jayswami

    jayswami Blue J

    u just described the equal temperament tuning.. google for other tunings and microtunings too.. the more accurate ones like natural tunings. equal temperament tuning is inaccurate and is a necessary evil today.. because of the piano..

    anyways dude why do u say we are not on the same wave length?

    As I mentioned, the question was technically wrong. E# and B# do exist in theory. its only while transcribing music in staff notation, we choose not to use them.

    I gave u an explanation how using E# and B# would cause staff notation to become very unoptimal.. u gotta use all the from C to B, and u cannot repeat an alphabet within a scale. Given these constraints, it is impossible to have a scale with E# and B# in it without having a double sharp or a double flat.. I have u the example of the A# vs Bb scale to illustrate this.

    The reason why u need all alphabets without repeatation in a scale is cause thats the only way u can then transcribe music unambigously using staff notation.

    check out http://cnx.rice.edu/content/m11639/latest/
    and http://cnx.rice.edu/content/m10862/latest/
  10. maverick8218

    maverick8218 New Member

    Ok, jayswami... let me rephrase his question...all natural notes, except B and E, are a tone apart from the subsequent natural note. but, only B and E are the only natural notes which are a semi-tone apart from the next natural note. why are only B and E closer to the next natural notes as compared to others ? Is this what you are asking guitar_maverick ?
  11. jayswami

    jayswami Blue J

    i think he asked why there is no E# and B# in musical notaion..
    your question is different...
    u are asking me why the diatonic scale is the way it is.. and why the human ear finds that musical?? i dont know a good answer for that..
    I guess its got to do with how the bones inside our ears vibrate and perceive frequencies and how the human brain interprets them..
    some say music is an acquaired taste.. some regional scales have tunings very different from the western scale.. for example arabic scale has the 7th minor quarter step lower.. some might find it dissonant and unmusical, and some may associate it with arabian nights... and snake charmers... at first.. then actually begin to appreciate it... in short i dont know...

    I will ask u a better question then.. why do we have to call the white keys natural?
  12. maverick8218

    maverick8218 New Member

    Hmmm... I get your point Jayswami, a few notes strike to the human ear as musical, but i don't have any answer to why these notes are called naturals while the other 5 notes are called as sharps or flats of these natural notes. the white keys are tuned to these natural notes that's why these keys are natural.
  13. jayswami

    jayswami Blue J

    I do not think the human ear is rooted at C .

    Anyways here is some interesting reading.

  14. jayswami

    jayswami Blue J

    i am copy pasting form that link..
    this was my point..

    The History of Tuning
    Christine Denton
    Classic and Romantic Music
    Prof. M. Fillion

    During J.S. Bach's life, (1685-1750) musicians began to feel the need for standardizing pitch. The new standard pitch that was proposed was much lower than most of the previous standards of pitch. Ellis stated that the pitch of A varied between 374 A, in 1700 (Church Pitch) and a high of A=567 (North Germany, no year given ) The concept was quickly accepted, but slowly adapted. Most organ owners (mostly churches) were not likely to change organs until the old one was no longer functional. The pitch during the 18th century is generally thought to be between A 415 to A 430. Handel's tuning fork gives the pitch of a 422.5, and Mozart's piano was tuned to 421.6.

    Violins made in Italy during the later half of the 18th century were also tuned much lower, which leads to an interesting problem for their current owners. In the 18th century, the strain on the strings would be approximately 63 lb. Now, in the 20th century, the strain is usually about 90 lb. This difference has been the demise of many a valuable instrument.

    In the 19th century, another change occurred. The London Philharmonic Society set A to be 452.5. This was an enormous leap- their previous A was set at 423.7. They soon realized that this was too high, and changed it down to 433.2, however, many other organizations had already copied them, and 452.5 became one of the accepted standards. They too, then realized that 452.5 was too high, but it wasn't until the end of the 19th century that anyone managed to change it. The French Government proclaimed 435 to be the correct pitch for A, and Britain attempted to follow suit. They were unable to, however, because of the weather, and had to settle for A 439. (At 68 degrees Fahrenheit) This was called the New Philharmonic Pitch. Unfortunately, the military bands remained at the Philharmonic Pitch (452.5 A) making it impossible for any of their players to play in orchestras unless they possessed two instruments. Also unfortunately, the organs in England had all been changed to 452.5. Because of the possible expense of changing them to the New Philharmonic Pitch, they were not changed. This meant that only military bands could accompany organs. In 1939, pitch was set to 440 A at an International Conference.


    Its all arbit dude...

Share This Page