equal temperament... just intonation... the well tempered clavier.... why can't we all just use drums? only drums? stop talking about musical scales?

Submitted by twovests in just_post

rhythmically beats hands on my drum

three slaps on my right hand, going slap, slap, slap

two slaps on my left hand, for every three on my right

a friend joins in with me, slapping six beats

some asshole interrupts, "hey those frequencies are justly intonated!! they're not equally tempered!"

bach steps in, "i'd like to refer you to WTC I and WTC II"


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twovests wrote (edited )

Context: There is some Maths that goes into deriving a musical scale. Some people don't agree on all the maths, and there are two large camps, Equal Temperament and Just Intonation, which yield slightly different scale tunings.

The math that goes into making a drum beat sound nice is similar to the principle behind a Just Intonation scale. Basically, it's nice when drumbeats line up (like in a rhythm!) Applying "Equal temperament" would make a beat sound bad and quickly off-sync, only to sync up in, like, years.

Nobody would ever apply "equal temperament" in the frequency space of "beat frequency". (Like, how often you hit your drum.) The "some asshole" here is entirely imaginary. It barely makes sense, and it only makes sense in an extremely abstract way. Rather than slapping three slaps for every two, you'd slap 2.996614 (... repeating of course) beats for every two. (In fact, the only reason 'equal temperament' works and doesn't sound awful is that instruments have timbre, i.e. stuff in the frequency space other than their pure tone. Or at least, that's why I assume it is.)

Anyways, Bach released two books, "The Well Tempered Clavier". Bach was known for having all these fucked up (see: cool) ideas about musical scales. He was really a kind of hipster, and probably discovered microtonal scales before realizing they're garbage. (jk i love my microtonal scales) Anyways, the Well Tempered Clavier came in two books, WTC 1 and WTC 2, which is kind of funny, but it also came with its own tuning, the "Well Tempered" tuning.

This is extremely funny because that was in opposition to the "meantone temperament". Like, "well tempered" versus "meantoned" sounds like someone describing a child or dog.

This is all made even more bonkers hilarious because I don't believe anyone, in the world, can tell the difference unless they're either (1) Bach or (2) listening through an oscilloscope. (Edit, or (3) the instrument is a flute or pure sine wave, but who tunes a flute? That's impossible.)


neku wrote

william basinski: oh yeah i know about WTC 1 and 2


Dogmantra wrote

i'm creeping!


Dogmantra wrote

Context: there is a creature called Creeper in Morrowind, he is a Scamp, who are usually enemies but he is nice and you can talk to him. He has a little drum. One of his greetings is "Don't want to work, just want to bang my drum". Another of his greetings is "I'm creeping!". Since you wrote about just using drums, my morrowind-poisoned brain thought of creeper and banging on his drum. Thanks for reading.


musou wrote (edited )

i tune my drums too ¯\_(ツ)_/¯