## A Harmonic Journey: ET and JI Compared

The Harmonic Lattice can be viewed as a map of harmonic space. Music moves in harmonic space, just as it moves in melodic space (the world of scales and keyboards). The two spaces are very different from each other. In melodic space, such as a piano keyboard, when two notes are close together, it means…

## Chords on the Lattice

A chord is a collection of three or more notes sounded at the same time. Arpeggios, in which the notes are sounded one after the other, are considered chords too. Two notes sounded at once are generally called an interval rather than a chord. Chords make patterns on the lattice. A given kind of chord…

## Polarity

The following video compares the perfect fifth with the perfect fourth. These notes are the next-door neighbors of the tonic. They are equally close to the center. They are both harmonious. Yet there is a great difference in their character. The difference between these two intervals is polarity. I learned this term from W.A. Mathieu,…

## 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…

## Mixolydian Mode

I’ve been quiet lately because I’ve been working on an animation of my song Real Girl. It’s a complicated one, a dance of harmonic tension and resolution. The bass and melody chase each other around the lattice like courting butterflies. Meanwhile, there’s more to be extracted from the Be Love video. A mode is a…

## The Compass Points

There are two basic directions on the lattice: multiplication and division. If I start with a note, and then multiply it by 3, or 5, or 7, I will get a harmony note with overtonal energy. Such a note is in the natural overtone series of the original note. Overtonal energy is stable, restful, it…

## Why Equal Temperament?

The picture to the right shows the lattice of fifths and thirds, a map of untempered harmonic space, extending to infinity. The map shows how to venture farther and farther from home, the tonic, and stay perfectly in tune no matter how far you roam. Every single note in this infinite matrix is tuned to a different…

## Extending the lattice

As I’ve analyzed my songs on the lattice, and written new music using it as a tool, I have found that I have a certain palette of notes in my mind, a territory of the lattice that I can hear and think with. The notes in this portion are distinct individuals for me. Each one…

## More Experimenting

Yesterday, I described a simple way to hear, and more importantly, feel, the difference between equal temperament and just intonation, by singing Frère Jacques over an open G chord with ET major thirds, and then over a G chord that has only roots and fifths in it. The second half of the experiment is called singing over…

## The Lattice

In 1739, the great mathematician Leonhard Euler published something he called a Tonnetz, German for “tone network.” It looked like this: Euler’s Tonnetz organizes the notes into a matrix, instead of a scale. Moving down and to the left represents motion by an interval of a fifth (V) in musical space. Down and to the right…