Jump to content
Downunderwonder

Intonation optional?

Recommended Posts

Seems to be a growing trend. My own intonation is not that great but damn it sounds horrible when it's so deliberately off it sounds like cats on a fence.

What has set me off is the latest pop tune getting airplay with a ''tribal wood chimes?" synth part featured chorus. Bugger me days, no self respecting tribal musician sets up a full set of percussion with A400.

I am not talking about vocalists bending notes to pitch or using autotune as an effect.

Nobody under 25 seems able to hit a note at karaoke these days.

What gives?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had some isolated bass tracks by John Deacon, one of which was Liar.  If you're familiar with the track, you'll know there's a solo bass thing going on in the last quarter; while the bass sits nicely in the mix, isolated it's quite shocking how (for a fretted instrument) far off the notes are.

So it brings us to a similar route many of my posts seem to come around to recently, in that does <the subject matter> really matter.

With the odd tweak, all my kit is set up to work per my requirements; action, intonation, relief etc. but this is probably me just needing to know that when I play a note it's going to be the note that I expect, not the sharp or flat of it.  

Given the isolated recording I mentioned earlier, I'd never noticed that the bass was so off and I'd listened to Liar dozens, perhaps hundreds of times over the years.  Perhaps our brains are just wired not to notice nuances like this, or more to the point, 100% spot on intonation probably doesn't matter.

Just moving along, my band (Lizard Sweets, look 'em up) will be moving into uncharted waters for the next batch of songs.  Guitarist/producer is experimenting with quarter tone stuff (which sounds distinctly middle-eastern); god knows how that's going to work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, NancyJohnson said:

100% spot on intonation probably doesn't matter.

If it did I wouldn't have a job!

What I am aghast at is deliberately detuning wood chimes as if it's something nice to hear when the natural sounding ones would actually have done quite nicely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, NancyJohnson said:

 

Given the isolated recording I mentioned earlier, I'd never noticed that the bass was so off and I'd listened to Liar dozens, perhaps hundreds of times over the years.  Perhaps our brains are just wired not to notice nuances like this, or more to the point, 100% spot on intonation probably doesn't matter.

.

Maybe it’s like looking at a delightful scene and taking a photo of it, only to find powelines all over the sky and telegraph poles growing out of people’s heads. The brain seems to just filter this stuff out. 

Having my basses correctly intonated gives me a sense of satisfaction and I think I unconsciously enjoy doing it, even though I might harumph and act like it’s a nuisance. However, given that I’m not a soloist and the dusty end is just that, do I really need to bother with being precise? I don’t know, but I’ll keep on doing it anyway.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, NancyJohnson said:

Just moving along, my band (Lizard Sweets, look 'em up) will be moving into uncharted waters for the next batch of songs.  Guitarist/producer is experimenting with quarter tone stuff (which sounds distinctly middle-eastern); god knows how that's going to work.

Interesting. Here's another 'Lizard' band who went down that route on their splendidly named album Flying Microtonal Banana.

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, NancyJohnson said:

I had some isolated bass tracks by John Deacon, one of which was Liar. 

...now THAT, I would love to hear. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, upside downer said:

Interesting. Here's another 'Lizard' band who went down that route on their splendidly named album Flying Microtonal Banana.

 

 

We only switched to Lizard Sweets for this project as we caught some johnny-foreigner passing himself off as us online.  There wasn't a Lizard Sweets anwhere (apart from the gummy variety).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, rushbo said:

...now THAT, I would love to hear. 

Hey Ian, I'll try and find them.

Hope all is well.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's microtonality done properly - it's Planet Microjam at Berklee

Guitarist is Dave Fiuczynski (used to be with Hiromi Uehara ) and I guess his playing style is pure Marmite.

Have a listen........... bassist Arti Sadtler is doing a good job holding it all together.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From what I've read about intonation and pitch, it's about as subjective as our taste in music in general. Our common idea of intonation is based on equal temperament, whereby the piano is tuned so that it sounds in tune in any key. However, when it first started to appear in the late 19th century many people thought it sounded horrible and out of tune, which in a sense it is, but no one notices it now because it's what the vast majority of the Western world grows up listening to. Prior to that, pianos were tuned for a specific key, or group of keys, depending on the piece. What we now think of as enharmonic sharps and flats (i.e. G# and Ab) were also considered distinct pitches.

The story of tuning systems is described in great detail in "How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony" by Ross W. Duffin, if you want to know more.

My point is, what sounds horribly out of tune to you may sound sonorous to someone else who is used to hearing it.

That said, you'd think the bass player from one of the biggest bands ever would know how to tune his f$%&ing instrument!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, musicbassman said:

Guitarist is Dave Fiuczynski (used to be with Hiromi Uehara ) 

And M'eshell Ndegocello. What a CV!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, musicbassman said:

Here's microtonality done properly - *snip*

 

 

Jesus. I hope I never hear it done not properly.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even if it wasn't microtonal, I've a sneaking suspicion that'd still sound like tedious muso noodling 😏

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tuning to bag pipes is very interesting, they are about a 1/4 step of standard tuning and change as they go from cool to warm - great fun to play with tho

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 23/02/2021 at 10:10, musicbassman said:

Here's microtonality done properly - it's Planet Microjam at Berklee

Guitarist is Dave Fiuczynski (used to be with Hiromi Uehara ) and I guess his playing style is pure Marmite.

Have a listen........... bassist Arti Sadtler is doing a good job holding it all together.

 

 

 

On 23/02/2021 at 10:10, musicbassman said:

Here's microtonality done properly - it's Planet Microjam at Berklee

Guitarist is Dave Fiuczynski (used to be with Hiromi Uehara ) and I guess his playing style is pure Marmite.

Have a listen........... bassist Arti Sadtler is doing a good job holding it all together.

 

 

I personaly dig Dave F. Local guy with "Screaming Headless Torsos". The reason I had frets removed from my Ironwood Chapman Stick. I'm sending him the bill when I have the frets put back in next month.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...