19 Tone Equal Temperament

Some of you may remember a post that I did a little while ago on temperaments, titled an illustration of the non-existence of God. If you haven’t read it then read it now, because this post might not make much sense without it. Since then, I have heard much more of the problems of temperaments, especially from David Howard of the University of York at the Institute of Acoustics Musical Acoustics Group (bit of a mouthful that) one day meeting in June. I then heard more from Graham Hair, Nick Bailey, Alex South and Bill Evans at the Galpin Society conference in July, specifically on 19 tone equal temperament. Continue reading

An illustration of the non-existence of God

Somehow this blog has got sidelined for a while, which is sad. Being unemployed is getting me down and I am tending to not do any of the things that I should.

However, that changes today, with this post. I was slightly hesitant about writing about this topic, because this knowledge caused a bit of a musical crisis for me earlier this year and I wouldn’t want to wish that on anyone. However, under the assumption that what you don’t know hurts you more than what you do know, the time has come to talk about temperaments. Continue reading

Training your Ears

Apologies for leaving this blog to rot for a few weeks, I’ve had other things on my mind. However, I woke up amazingly early this morning (0600!), so thought that I would post something. For those interested, I have a solo gig tonight at Redbourn Folk Club, supporting Brian Peters. Please do come along if you’re free.

The post this week is on ears. Now ears we all know, they are fleshy protuberances which enable us to hear with absolute clarity the pneumatic drill being used on the road outside. Your ears are amazing devices, which are sensitive to a huge range of frequencies and loudness (the response to none of which is entirely linear, making everything extremely complicated). They are, in my wholly biased opinion, one of the most amazing parts of the body. One has to wonder why it is that we simultaneously have exquisitely designed pieces of apparatus like the ear and hastily put together travesties like the ankle and elbow. But I digress.

Continue reading

Box Acoustics Primer Part 3 – How do different reeds differ?

And it’s back to the Acoustics stuff once again. Don’t worry, there will be some less science-y more melodeon-y posts soon!

This, the third part of this series is on how different reeds differ. The first part was an overview of Box Acoustics and the second part (updated recently on the advice of Olav Bergflodt, so give it another read) was on how the reed generated sound. Continue reading

Melodeon Reed Transients – An Indicative Study

Over the last year, I have been looking at the acoustics of the Charango, a small stringed instrument from the Andean region of South America, using a Polytec Laser Vibrometer. Now that this is all done (got a distinction in it by the way) I got permission to use the equipment for around 5 hours in one day to try and take some measurements of melodeon reeds. Unfortunately I did have only 5 hours and didn’t have much equipment other than the vibrometer, so I was limited in what I could do. In addition, I don’t have MATLAB on this computer, so I am limited in the analysis as well. I hope however that the following is of interest to those intrigued by how the box works. I haven’t concluded anything game-changing, however I hope that this study shows that within 24 hours, interesting experiments can be carried out. If there is anyone out there attached to a research centre who is interested in studying these instruments then please get in touch with me – I would love to hear from you. This is not a formal report, this is not a formal study and nothing should be taken to be conclusive. I think however that it can be considered to be indicative. Continue reading