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Re: Why the music is music and the noise is noise?

on 27/4/01 14:54, Bob Masta at masta@UMICH.EDU wrote:

> On 26 Apr 01, at 17:31, John Croft wrote:
>> Or maybe just lacking semitones. The notes of the "black note" pentatonic
>> scale can be played simultaneously without a lot of sensory roughness -- I
>> think this is sufficient to explain the apparent "can't miss" nature of the
>> scale. The whole tone scale has something of this quality as well (but may
>> be less comfortable for tonal ears).
> The lack of roughness when these tones are sounded together is no doubt
> related to the "can't miss" phenomenon, but doesn't seem sufficient to
> explain it;  the phenomenon applies when the notes are sounded singly,
> not just together.
> Or is there possibly some higher mechanism that allows a "roughness"
> determination between notes that are separated in time?

I think something like this might be relevant: clearly melodically adjacent
notes aren't perceptually rough in the same sense as simultaneous notes
(unless the instrument has a sustain or the room is reverberant) -- but part
of what makes a series of notes sound musically acceptable in a modal or
tonal context is that they imply an acceptable harmonic rhythm. A C followed
by a non-passing B in a position where a harmonic change would be unlikely
might create a dissonance with our imagined harmonisation. This is less
likely in black-note pentatonic music, since there are no sequences that
would be impossible to harmonise with chord I (with an optional added 6th or