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Sensuality and Proportion
A primer in sound for architects.

III. Pythagoras 3 Number Applied

Without hindsight it must have been far from obvious that humans would be highly sensitive to the minutest inexactness in the proportion between one note and another. But it is so. When two notes are sounded together and they are of the same size [1] they sound wonderful, when they are slightly off they sound awful (at best interesting). You can test this by singing a note and getting a friend to sing the same note with you and then drift off. And the thing is they sound more unstable the nearer the notes come together, until, suddenly, basta everything is in glorious technicolour. One can understand from a musical perspective, the social implications of this, if one sings in a choir one will know the loss of self and collective unity that comes from singing together.

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The harmonic theories of Rameau acoustic experiments of Sauveur, and the musical aesthetics of Helmholtz and his followers are directly descended from the contemplation of the inner harmonics of a stretched string.

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Notes:
[1] See the paper on wavelength

©Marcus Beale 2002

philophony.com

Sensuality and Proportion
A primer in sound for architects.