## Putting Some Numbers on Tonal Gravity

I believe the sensation of tonal gravity is the most important driver of tension and resolution in tonal music, music that has a central key note. The tonic is like a sun, creating a gravitational field around it. The lattice is a beautiful map of this gravitational field, in harmonic space. Tonal gravity acts like…

## 100 Girlfriends, Part 2

My new song video, Real Girl, contains many examples of consonance and dissonance, tension and resolution. In my last post, I extracted a phrase from the song and slowed it way down to illustrate how the bass and melody dance, creating and resolving tension in several different ways. Here is the last half of that…

## One More Mirror Pair

I’m almost done with the next full-song video. In the meantime, here’s one more pair of mirror twins for consideration. The 2- is a common melody note in my songs, and in the blues. It goes well with the blue note 7b3 — there is an extremely common melody that goes 7b3, 2-, 1. It’s a…

In the last few posts, I’ve been exploring mirror twins — notes at the same harmonic distance from the center, but of opposite polarity. The notes explored so far are 3/1, 5/1, 7/1, 9/1, and their reciprocals, 1/3, 1/5, 1/7 and 1/9. The 9/1 and 1/9 are made up of two legs on the lattice, x3…

## More Mirror Twins

Mirror twins are pairs of intervals, exactly opposite each other on the lattice. The two intervals are reciprocals of each other, which means their ratios are flipped — if one is 5/3, the other is 3/5. Harmonic distance is the same for each interval — the only difference is polarity. Listening to mirror twin pairs gives…

## Mirror Twins

For every note on the lattice (except the 1), there is another note, the same distance away from the center and exactly opposite it. The harmonic moves for the two notes are the same, but the directions are opposite. Mirror twins are reciprocals of each other. Flipping a note’s ratio upside down will produce its…

## Polarity Experiment

In the last post I did a consonance experiment, listening to intervals with wider and wider spacing. In that experiment, I kept the axis (3) and direction (multiplication, overtonal) the same, and increased the distance. This time I’ll keep the axis and the distance the same, and switch direction. Each illustration will compare a note with…

## Consonance Experiment

In my last post I raised the idea that the consonance of an interval is not just one thing, but has two distinct parts: The sensation created by the sound of the two notes played together — smooth or rough, pleasant or unpleasant The sense of stability of the note — does it feel restful,…

## Consonance and Dissonance

I just passed the 10,000 photo mark on the stop motion animations, good thing I’m not hand-drawing them like Winsor McCay! The one I’m working on, Real Girl, has a lot of dissonant notes in it. The melody ranges far from the roots and makes some slightly dizzying harmonic jumps. I want to use it…

## Rosetta Stone

Almost all Western music, including my own, lives in the world of tonal harmony. This means: There can be, and usually are, multiple notes playing at the same time. There is a key center, or tonic, around which the notes are arranged. The tonic doesn’t always sound — it’s an intangible presence, the home from which you leave on your…