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PostPosted: 23 Nov 2015, 23:55 
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I have an idea I'd like to test, but can't for the time being because it requires a piano/keyboard.

In music theory, there are 7 tones and 4 semi-tones. On the piano, the tones are the white keys and the semi-tones are black keys. The tones alone form the diatonic scale and together (tones+semi-tones) form the chromatic scale.

Here is the Diatonic Scale: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, and 'Do' would complete the octive.

The Hebrew Alphabet has 22 letters. If we apply the Diatonic Scale to the Hebrew Alphabet (repeating consecutively), we get a total of 3 octives. Aleph being Do and Tav being 'Do'.

So what if we read the Palms like sheet music? Background music could be played one note/letter at a time (to establish timing), and syllables could be played as chords. Could this be how they played music in ancient Israel?

Now, to be honest, just about anything you play on the diatonic scale (white keys) can sound like music, but still, what pattern if any would arise?

I hope to test this myself one day, but for now, I'm leaving the idea open for anyone who has the time, desire, and talent to see for themselves.

Use the tone 'A' for Aleph as a starting point, not 'C'. If you start the chromatic scale with 'A', it can be bisected symmetrically. This won't work if you start with 'C'.

******
Edit: After reviewing my theory, I realized that the chromatic scale cannot be applied to the Koine Greek alphabet with the same result as the Hebrew Diatonic method. In order for Alpha and Omega to share 'Do' there would have to be 25 letters, but to my knowledge, the NT used the 24 letter Koine Greek alphabet.

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The word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, of the joints and marrow, and is a critic of the thoughts and intents of the heart.


Last edited by Anonynomenon on 24 Nov 2015, 02:13, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: 24 Nov 2015, 00:19 
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One thing to keep in mind, the Psalms and ancient music would have been using meantone temperament (or pythagorean temperament). Another thing they don't use is A440 (or C = 440 Hz). Today we use EQUAL temperament with 440 Hz: this phenomenon was introduced in the early 1900's and for some bizarre reason, all musicians on the planet forgot that alternative tuning systems exist. Well not all of them, but in common music theory this is largely ignored. And it's highly unfortunate since it causes a HUGE different in character / mood / and dissonance. Sometimes dissonance is deliberately used in old pieces of music-- but is entirely lost when you run it in equal.

Here is a brief example of pitch changes:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_T5bnwDrY8

And here is an example of how temperament affects the mood:
Sweelinck Fantasia Chromatica meantone:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHExcd6PYxQ

Sweelinck Fantasia Chromatica equal:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHjitZIyaRc

As you can hear, the equal temperament removes the uneasiness that is being conveyed.

Medieval period typically uses A415 and renaissance A432. Sometimes there are medieval pitches that go as high as A465--or beyond. So using 415 Hz with an unequal temperament that would have been used in ancient Mesopotamia would be more accurate.

If you want, we could work together on creating a chart to convert each alphabet letter to a corresponding keyboard note for inputting to a MIDI file. Then I could use some of my special string modeling software that could apply the more appropriate tuning systems and pitch reference.


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PostPosted: 24 Nov 2015, 01:38 
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Wow, thanks for that. I always wondered if our 'A' was the same as Bach's 'A'. Now I know the truth. But how do we know for sure that Mesopotamia used A 415Hz?

A-a#-B-C-c#--D--d#-E-F-f#-G

Do you see what I mean by symmetry? If we used A 415Hz, would that disrupt the symmetry?

Anyways, I own a guitar, so I should be able tuneto tune my A string to A 415Hz and then figure the rest out from there. If I do that, would that put the rest of my guitar in meantone temperament? I'm assuming it should, since guitars have existed long before Equal Temperament.

If you want to make the chart, let me know what you need, but given the info you provided I think I'll need to test it myself now on my guitar.

The trouble is, I'll have to convert the notes to Tabulature. I can read and play Tabs as I go, but I can't do that with sheet music. I have to transcribe them.

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The word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, of the joints and marrow, and is a critic of the thoughts and intents of the heart.


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PostPosted: 24 Nov 2015, 02:27 
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Since musical Psalms are limited to the OT it makes sense that Hebrew might be the only musical language.
Here is the diatonic pattern I'd like to test:
(Do=415Hz)

Aleph: Do
Bveth: Re
Gimel: Mi
Dalet: Fa
Heh: So
Wow: La
Zayn: Ti
Hhet: Do
Tet: Re
Yod: Mi
Khaf:Fa
Lamed: So
Mem: La
Nun: Ti
Samekh: Do
Ayin: Re
Pfeh: Mi
Tzadi: Fa
Kuph: So
Resh: La
Shin: Ti
Thau: Do

_________________
HEB 4:12
The word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, of the joints and marrow, and is a critic of the thoughts and intents of the heart.


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PostPosted: 24 Nov 2015, 04:01 
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Hupostasis, correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears that I would have to rearrange the fret board of my guitar to achieve Pythagorean tuning. I mean, I was able to program my tuner to A-415Hz, but the actual layout of modern fret boards are for equal temperament, right.

_________________
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The word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, of the joints and marrow, and is a critic of the thoughts and intents of the heart.


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PostPosted: 24 Nov 2015, 04:26 
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Anonynomenon wrote:
Hupostasis, correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears that I would have to rearrange the fret board of my guitar to achieve Pythagorean tuning. I mean, I was able to program my tuner to A-415Hz, but the actual layout of modern fret boards are for equal temperament, right.


I've never tuned a fretboard before (I'm a keyboard guy, sometimes I repair old analog synthesizers), but I would imagine it should work? Basically the pitch is dropping for each string. Unless the tuning knobs can't compensate for going *that* low.

Anonynomenon wrote:
Wow, thanks for that. I always wondered if our 'A' was the same as Bach's 'A'. Now I know the truth. But how do we know for sure that Mesopotamia used A 415Hz?


Mesopotamia probably didn't use 415 Hz. It's just the oldest (widely used) pitch that I'm familiar with. It would be more appropriate than 440 Hz, at any rate.

Oh, Bach is dried out on A440 Hz. And even worse, most people play Bach on pianos instead of harpsichords or organs. The reason why Bach requires either a harpsichord or organ is due to the fact the music is written for two registers. Pianos only have one register.

What's interesting though, is that Bach developed his own temperament which solves many musical problems and acts as a good compromise between equal and unequal. A fellow named Bradley Lehman reversed engineered the drawing and rebuilt the tuning from scratch; and also explaining WHAT musical problems it solves. The website with all of the information and discovery is located here: http://www.larips.com/

You can watch a brief video on how the tuning can be achieved here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xls6Zzw4GQM

Here's an actual piece with the Bach-Lehman tuning in action:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCaNL0WAuS8

Bach had a special preference for plucked instruments, apparently he designed a "lute harpsichord", which no originals have survived. Here is a sample on a recreation-- however as you'll note the tuning is in equal @ A440 (instead of Bach-Lehman @ A415), so the piece is missing its colour:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4ZRn6Hk8N0

Anonynomenon wrote:
A-a#-B-C-c#--D--d#-E-F-f#-G

Do you see what I mean by symmetry? If we used A 415Hz, would that disrupt the symmetry?

Anyways, I own a guitar, so I should be able to tune my A string to A 415Hz and then figure the rest out from there. If I do that, would that put the rest of my guitar in meantone temperament? I'm assuming it should, since guitars have existed long before Equal Temperament.

If you want to make the chart, let me know what you need, but given the info you provided I think I'll need to test it myself now on my guitar.

The trouble is, I'll have to convert the notes to Tabulature. I can read and play Tabs as I go, but I can't do that with sheet music. I have to transcribe them.


A415 shifts the pitch of the notes down equally, but they all go down. So it can confuse some people. i.e. the 'C' of 415 Hz is the 'D' of 440 Hz, or something like that. A432 does not from what I understand is not as malleable as A415 as it's odd (and many find it assaulting or hard to listen to since it does not conform to A440).

Heh, I don't like tabs or sheet music-- I prefer piano roll data. Like this:
C5, B4, A#4, A4, G#4, G4, F#4, F4, etc
https://entertainyourpc.files.wordpress ... o-roll.png

So that's all we need to figure out. Then David's Psalms can get mechanically popped into a piano roll and analyzed if any "musical" result is produced. Unlikely, but worth a shot. I would get a huge kick out of 'listening' to the Hebrew characters even if they're not musical.

I AM THAT I AM *insert jingle from corresponding hebrew words here*

Tuning your guitar to A415 doesn't put it into meantone temperament. The temperament specifies the tuning *between* the notes, whereas the diapason or master pitch, identifies what 'A' will be. So temperaments actually explore pitches that aren't touched by equal temperament @ 440 Hz. The 'in-betweens'. If you stop and think, there are many pitches we don't take advantage of on an 88-key keyboard. But more can be achieved once you start playing with the tuning.

For example, here's a video with pianoteq that uses A440, but goes through the different temperaments:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWLpPF4f1XA

(listen to how meantone changes the colour of the chords versus equal). See... meantone can sound 'very bad' (dissonant) on certain chords, but sounds 'twice as good' on others. I am not sure how the Bach-Lehman tuning interacts with it since I just have not had time to go in depth with it, but get the general understanding. Ah, but sometimes the dissonance is good.

Pianoteq is the software I use for piano and harpsichord modelling (it can do other 'string' things as well). It is cross compatible with the tuning software 'Scala' (they may have used some parts for the tuning engine, I forget). I should get a PCMCIA MIDI card for a laptop running Linux to experiment with sending meantone MIDI signals (basically it uses the 'detune' signal to approximate an unequal temperament). I never got Scala working under Windows.
http://www.huygens-fokker.org/scala/


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PostPosted: 24 Nov 2015, 04:47 
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Yeah, I was able to bring my guitar down to A-415Hz. That was simple. However, after some research I found that modern guitars are built for equal temperament, not meantone. Its a matter of design.

Anyways, thanks for chiming in. I learned something new today. When I make any progress, I'll post it.

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The word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, of the joints and marrow, and is a critic of the thoughts and intents of the heart.


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PostPosted: 24 Nov 2015, 07:35 
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What was the beginning note in Hebrew culture? In Greek? They didn't have pianos, so you'd have to use some other intrument, like the flute or harp, to establish it.


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PostPosted: 24 Nov 2015, 14:00 
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@Brainout
Well, I heard that they used a 22 string harp in ancient Israel, but knowing what scale is probably difficult or impossible to establish via historical records. Ancient systems used Pythagorean tuning, so that meant they had knowledge of the 7 whole tone (what we call: Do, Re, Mi...), but what Hz frequency is probably impossible to establish.

The game changer would depend on whether or not they purposefully used semi and/or micro tones. Pythagorean tuning incorporates microtone dissonance by nature, but (from my understanding) for the most part, whole tones should be there.

It'll have to be a matter of experimentation.

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The word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, of the joints and marrow, and is a critic of the thoughts and intents of the heart.


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PostPosted: 24 Nov 2015, 17:17 
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Okay, well the thing is that so much of Middle Eastern music as represented today is in what we would call a 'minor' key. So I have a hard time imagining that our modern and Western do-re-mi has any bearing on Middle Eastern and especially Jewish tonal scale.

I'd buy the sevening for reasons you already know, but what's the starting note? Then you can play with variations as you're claiming. But without the start, you're in trouble.

Now, I'm sure you 've heard that Psalm 119 is based on the Hebrew alphabet, each paragraph (or quatrain) 'initialed' by a letter. Since it's a Psalm, bet if you could find the right starting note and than apply it to the Psalm, you'd have a tune.


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PostPosted: 24 Nov 2015, 19:04 
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Well if I understand Pythagorean tuning correctly, then it is founded on the principle that 7 whole tones exist naturally. That would be our modern Do, Re, Mi/ABCDEFG system. If you look at the Chromatic scale, which metrically divided the whole tones and semitones into 11 halfsteps, the A/Do tone would be the the logical starting place since D is naturally in the middle:
A-a#-B-C-c#--D--d#-E-F-f#-G

The question is, how would microtones affect the above symmetry?

The other question is what frequency did they use for A? Today we use 440Hz, the oldest known frequency was 415Hz, but that shouldn't change the melody, only the key. Not a huge factor.

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The word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, of the joints and marrow, and is a critic of the thoughts and intents of the heart.


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PostPosted: 13 Dec 2015, 03:45 
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415 Hz is the oldest I know of-- some others may have documented other frequencies but I haven't gotten (that) deep into the topic.


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PostPosted: 13 Dec 2015, 05:38 
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I'm taking a new approach to this experiment. I decided to create my own pentatonic scale of equally spaced whole tones. Had to take the frets out of my guitar to do it. I basically divided 420 Hz into 5 even intervals, and tuned each string to lower octives of the resulting Hertz intervals.

Next, I'd like to create a heptatonic scale with equally spaced whole tones, maybe using Hertz values based on meter characters like 1050, 350, or 315. I used those numbers as an example, since they are evenly divisible by 7 for my scale (eliminates decimals). So I have abandoned the diatonic scale theory. I will then apply the new scale to the Hebrew Alphabet.

Can your music program play microtones?

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The word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and the spirit, of the joints and marrow, and is a critic of the thoughts and intents of the heart.


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PostPosted: 13 Feb 2016, 04:56 
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Anonynomenon wrote:
I'm taking a new approach to this experiment. I decided to create my own pentatonic scale of equally spaced whole tones. Had to take the frets out of my guitar to do it. I basically divided 420 Hz into 5 even intervals, and tuned each string to lower octives of the resulting Hertz intervals.

Next, I'd like to create a heptatonic scale with equally spaced whole tones, maybe using Hertz values based on meter characters like 1050, 350, or 315. I used those numbers as an example, since they are evenly divisible by 7 for my scale (eliminates decimals). So I have abandoned the diatonic scale theory. I will then apply the new scale to the Hebrew Alphabet.

Can your music program play microtones?


Yes (at least some of the plugins).

Pianoteq can be modified via scala:
http://www.forum-pianoteq.com/viewtopic.php?id=457

And Sytrus / Harmor can do it natively. For plugins that can't you can use scala's MIDI pitch bend feature. Although scala is very difficult to get working in anything but linux from what I found.

An old analog syntheizer, sequential circuts' Prophet 5 can do microtuning. Unfortunately I don't own one, otherwise it'd be fun to try.


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