Saturday, November 24, 2018

Why Music is like a Cathedral

click on jpg to enlarge

Dear Flute & Piccolo lovers,
(who are often blamed for tuning problems, even though the phenomena is really coming from somewhere else in the room, ahem, ahem) :>)

This may already be familiar to some of you, but new to me.
They are using single bass piano strings (instead of higher notes which have multiple piano-strings) in order to get a clearer picture. This also works with sand on a metal plate, but this is how the sound of an individual piano (every one is different) actually LOOKS using a petri dish covered with a light film of water: (film)

Stunning, yes? Knew it all along, didn't we? ha!

Now I see why music makes me feel like I'm standing inside a stunning architectural cathedral!!
(note that the wave shapes are dictated by the shape of the container showing them.)

More about these sound waves here: Cymatics

Contemporary German photographer and philosopher Alexander Lauterwasser has brought cymatics into the 21st century using finely crafted crystal oscillators to resonate steel plates covered with fine sand and to vibrate small samples of water in Petri dishes. His first book, Water Sound Images,[9] translated into English in 2006, features imagery of light reflecting off the surface of water set into motion by sound sources ranging from pure sine waves to music by Beethoven, ...etc.. and overtone singing. The resulting photographs of standing wave patterns are striking. Lauterwasser's book focused on creating detailed visual analogues of natural patterns ranging from the distribution of spots on a leopard to the geometric patterns found in plants and flowers, to the shapes of jellyfish and the intricate patterns found on the shell of a tortoise.


I guess that this musical geometric beauty is why:

1. Playing music jiggles our chromosomes back into place :>)

2. Two flutists creating "combination tones" sound so incredibly mathematically bizarrio that it's difficult to explain why a bass note unrelated to the melody keeps appearing and disappearing as you play.
In home practice, 'The Tuning CD' also produces these tones with one flute, if the playback volume is increased; you can have fun with Tartini Tones!

3. and why in general: Intonation can be so confusing when the flute, which has a different set of harmonic overtone geometrics, plays with other instruments like the piano; or with strings, or with brass.

All super interesting for "little Leonardos*"( * quote from Dylan Thomas). And of course, if you need help with the phenomena of Flute Tuning, here are free articles.

It's a wild wild geometric world out there! :>D

Comments welcome.

Enjoy some more musical circles here in these clips:

Visual Score for Vermont Counterpoint from Matt Gilbert on Vimeo.


The above film of 12 cellists is from October 2017.

Comments (2)
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am reading your blog for the first time. I find it fascinating. I will definitely be coming back soon. I have just purchased an inexpensive flute to rekindle the joy I had in playing the flute in school. I have not played in a very long time, but feel the need to try it again. I found your site when looking for fingering charts. Thanks for the free material.

Sunday, January 06, 2019 9:24:00 PM

Blogger jen said...

Dear Karen,
So glad to help. I'm just about to enter my sixth decade, and have played the flute for 40+ years. I notice that when you learn something, you long to teach it; must be biological. So; so glad to help! Best, Jen

Sunday, January 20, 2019 12:21:00 PM


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