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In between notes


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As a fretless player I don't have to just play the notes. Recently, bored during a 12 bar at a gig I experimented with playing between the notes.  So fingering a B- and a bit rather than a C.  Now I know this an excuse for playing badly, but actually in places it sounded OK and more interesting than when I played the proper note.  I 'spose it's no different to bending notes. Any input from music theorists?  

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Charlie Mingus built a whole career and reputation with exactly that technique, so you're in Good Company. For my money, though, not many of those 'in-between' notes of his sound good, even in places. A few, but not many. xD

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Just now, Dad3353 said:

Charlie Mingus built a whole career and reputation with exactly that technique, so you're in Good Company. For my money, though, not many of those 'in-between' notes of his sound good, even in places. A few, but not many. xD

Yeah, it's a passing note thing, like blue notes or a bend

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28 minutes ago, Dad3353 said:

Charlie Mingus built a whole career and reputation with exactly that technique, so you're in Good Company. For my money, though, not many of those 'in-between' notes of his sound good, even in places. A few, but not many. xD

 

So did Ravi Shankar...😁

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OP You've probably put some of the notes into 'just' intonation i.e. not equal temperament. That would give you better major thirds and purer fourths and fifths, e.g. a sharper C# or a flatter Db would be more in tune in some contexts than an ET enharmonic Db/C#   

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zbd got there first!

Modern equal temperament is a compromise so that all keys can be played in one fixed tuning. For perfect tuning, each key has it's own set of intervals which work perfectly, and which sound proper wonky in other keys.

The original frets were moveable, being string wrapped around the neck, but it was keyboard instruments which really brought about a fixed, equidistant set of 12 notes which is nearly correct in all keys.

The joy of fretless instruments is that every note can be played perfectly in tune (or deperately out, naturally!).

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In modern Western music, equal temperament seems to have passed into the Public Ear, as it doesn't sound 'wonky' to any but a very few; in fact 'just' temperament now sounds strange, even when played on older instrument in older styles. There is no really 'correct' method for any of it, as it's, ultimately, the ear that judges, not the mathematics of it. The 'just' temperament ship has sailed, I'd suggest.

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Only a fretless player can possibly know what this is as fretted players like moi only know the dead on note as in precision. I bow to your expertise in said field that you can muck about to cure boredom. Obviously my ear could tell if a note wasn't quite on the mark but if I tried to play fretless I would be like Les Dawson on acid.

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18 minutes ago, ubit said:

Only a fretless player can possibly know what this is as fretted players like moi only know the dead on note as in precision. I bow to your expertise in said field that you can muck about to cure boredom. Obviously my ear could tell if a note wasn't quite on the mark but if I tried to play fretless I would be like Les Dawson on acid.

Possibly. I grew up playing violin and not many kids seemed to have the inclination to intonate. The early years were hard going.

 

It's a lot harder to play a violin in tune if you ask me. If I picked up a violin today it would not be pretty!

 

Anyways, give it a lash, you might jump right into it, or not.

 

Good thing I proof read the autocorrect.

 

Also, every bass I ever bought used needed intonating. Some just to get 7th fret acceptable. Yet I don't hear basses on stage that need the screwdriver, stat! Could be only bedroom players selling basses on Trademe but unlikely. The takeaway is there is a bit of leeway between close enough for jazz to close enough to spot on to spot on.

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4 hours ago, zbd1960 said:

OP You've probably put some of the notes into 'just' intonation i.e. not equal temperament. That would give you better major thirds and purer fourths and fifths, e.g. a sharper C# or a flatter Db would be more in tune in some contexts than an ET enharmonic Db/C#   

I was going to write the same thing.

 

Instruments without predetermined pitches, so everything excluding keyboards and fretted instruments will be pulling and pushing tuning of notes, especially thirds, the whole time.

 

As I was so conditioned by the world of fretted instruments I couldn't really understand how the root A of A major isn't the same tuning of A as the A in D minor for example, but then as a double bassist, then a woodwind player I found you adjust notes to be "out of tune" but actually in to tune without really thinking about it.

 

I think it's worth playing around with

 

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A relatively common example of just intonation still in sue is barbershop quartet singing - that's why the chords really 'ping' since for example the fifths are a 3:2 ratio.

 

I play the viola da gamba (viol) and the frets are tied on - doubled piece of fret gut is used. You have to tune the frets. Good consort players (same is true of string quartet players etc) will adjust so that the thirds for example are more in tune.

 

Probably because I listen to (and have played)  a lot of early music, I do hear the ET major third as very out-of-tune. If all you've ever heard is ET, then it probably won't seem odd.

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1 hour ago, Woodwind said:

Bit of a tangent, do you use your viola da gamba in any contemporary music making?

Any links of so?

 

I haven't, but I know there are people that do. I did take my tenor viol to a community orchestra I used to play in and pretended I was a viola - right clef for the music and also the correct size for the pitch being played (viola's Achilles' Heel)

Edited by zbd1960
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As a fretless player myself, when I practice I'm bloody perfectly pitched, but when I play with others I have to adjust my pitch to be in tune with them. That's the magic of fretless : you can play a solo  with each and every note perfectly in tune and then play the rhythmic accompanying part slightly out of tune to be in tune...

 

Here is the question (that sums it all for fretless instruments) I asked to Alain Caron during a masterclass I attended : Doesn't it bother you to play out of tune to be in tune ?

 

He clearly understood what this meant and explained it to the assistance that was staring at me as if I was completely nuts.

 

It took me decades to be able to listen to the piano without becoming dizzy because of this fixed temperament tuning, especially when chords or even triads were played.

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25 minutes ago, Hellzero said:

 

...

It took me decades to be able to listen to the piano without becoming dizzy because of this fixed temperament tuning, especially when chords or even triads were played.

I love music that seems to really exploit these sounds. 

A lot of the early 20th composers were not just experimenting with atonality, but these fixed tone dissonances within tonal writing - Debussy, Satie, Messiaen all seem to explore this within their beautiful, slightly alien sounds

 

Also Arvo Pärt with his tintinnabuli style. I bet the bell like effect wouldn't work as well with a keyboard tuned in a different temperament

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