# Are musical notes really exist?

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Posted (edited)

The system of notes is based on the fact that a certain frequency is taken, and in the next octave the same frequency, a multiple of two, is considered the same note. However, if we took a different multiplication, the notes would be in different frequencies. This means that objectively the notes are just a convention. Why, then, is it claimed that notes can be heard and distinguished from birth?

Edited by altaylar2000
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We don't need the pitches to sound together to sense the harmonic relationship between them.  Also, I don't know about you, but I would find music built entirely out of consonant intervals unstim

Surely the point about octaves is that if you double the frequency you get something that resonates with the fundamental. And if you double it again, the same occurs. So doubling has a real significan

So why do your attempts at explanations deviate so much from the currently accepted models?

It is true that if you multiply by something other than two you won't get the same answer as when you multiply by two, but I should think this is not surprising to anyone who understands math.

But the notes are convention. We choose what note is associated with what frequency. Being able to distinguish between different frequencies doesn't depend on how we label them.

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48 minutes ago, swansont said:

t is true that if you multiply by something other than two you won't get the same answer as when you multiply by two, but I should think this is not surprising to anyone who understands math.

But the notes are convention. We choose what note is associated with what frequency. Being able to distinguish between different frequencies doesn't depend on how we label them.

if there are people who do not recognize the frequencies, then they cannot hear the melody

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Do colours exist? Can you really say somebody is red-faced?

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Just now, joigus said:

Do colours exist? Can you really say somebody is red-faced?

You want to say that everyone who does not know the name of musical notes is color blind?
To distinguish colors, you do not need to know what they are called.
Why then these talks about "ear for music"?

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2 minutes ago, altaylar2000 said:

You want to say that everyone who does not know the name of musical notes is color blind?
To distinguish colors, you do not need to know what they are called.
Why then these talks about "ear for music"?

You either missed my point entirely or are going off in tangents.

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6 minutes ago, joigus said:

Do colours exist? Can you really say somebody is red-faced?

LOL +1

1 minute ago, joigus said:

You either missed my point entirely or are going off in tangents.

You should read his posts, there's a third option...

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, swansont said:

It is true that if you multiply by something other than two you won't get the same answer as when you multiply by two, but I should think this is not surprising to anyone who understands math.

Sort of..

#include <stdio.h>
int main( void ) {
int x = 0;
do {
printf( "x %d\n", x );
x *= 2;
} while( x * 2 != x );
return( 0 );
}

vs.

#include <stdio.h>
int main( void ) {
int x = 1;
do {
printf( "x %d\n", x );
x *= 2;
} while( x * 2 != x );
return( 0 );
}

Edited by Sensei
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6 minutes ago, joigus said:

You either missed my point entirely or are going off in tangents.

You want to say that people hear notes in the same way they perceive different colors, and if, for example, I hear a melody that I like, this does not mean that I hear exactly what the author of this melody hears, who knows how to write it in the language of notes?

and so coincidentally that this perception is a multiple of 2 in mathematical terms?

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5 minutes ago, altaylar2000 said:

You want to say that people hear notes in the same way they perceive different colors, and if, for example, I hear a melody that I like, this does not mean that I hear exactly what the author of this melody hears, who knows how to write it in the language of notes?

Looks like @dimreepr got my point.

Here's a graph of visible light:

Do you think it's a coincidence that green --the frequency for which the human eye is most sensitive to-- is at the centre? The different "colours" have more to do with how cellular receptors get excited when they catch different frequencies. In the case of sound, we have a central value (for tuning instruments it's A major, if I'm not mistaken). This is a good central value, probably because most people can hear it distinctly. And then the other notes are placed where they are because their frequencies are integer multiples or fractions (base two) of that central reference "A".

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Posted (edited)

the color system can also be described like that?

2 minutes ago, joigus said:

Do you think it's a coincidence that green --the frequency for which the human eye is most sensitive to-- is at the centre? The different "colours" have more to do with how cellular receptors get excited when they catch different frequencies. In the case of sound, we have a central value (for tuning instruments it's A major, if I'm not mistaken). This is a good central value, probably because most people can hear it distinctly. And then the other notes are placed where they are because their frequencies are integer multiples or fractions (base two) of that central reference "A".

I do not see such proportions in the visible spectrum as in the music system. it's random

Edited by altaylar2000
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2 minutes ago, altaylar2000 said:

the color system can also be described like that?

No:

2 minutes ago, joigus said:

The different "colours" have more to do with how cellular receptors get excited when they catch different frequencies.

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Just now, joigus said:

But that's not what I was talking about. Yes, colors, shapes and much more are recognized, but there is no strict progression like in the music system

if you follow this logic, nature has created auditory receptors by order of arithmetic

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41 minutes ago, altaylar2000 said:

if there are people who do not recognize the frequencies, then they cannot hear the melody

Depends on what you mean by “recognize the frequencies”

I can’t tell you what frequency a particular sound is, but I can hear the melody.

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By the way, there is a "hypothesis" that nature obeys the fibonacci progression, but I have never seen any real proof of this. The very fact that some things can be described by the Fibonacci series does not prove anything.

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9 minutes ago, altaylar2000 said:

But that's not what I was talking about. Yes, colors, shapes and much more are recognized, but there is no strict progression like in the music system

if you follow this logic, nature has created auditory receptors by order of arithmetic

Once again you have a point but coupled it with 'attitude'.

There is a difference between sound waves and light waves in that in is only possible to combine light waves in very special circustances, but the whole essence of 'music' is due to harmonic combinations.
I don't know how much maths you understand but whole numbers are important in harmonic combinations.

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40 minutes ago, altaylar2000 said:

You want to say that everyone who does not know the name of musical notes is color blind?
To distinguish colors, you do not need to know what they are called.

Same with sound.

13 minutes ago, altaylar2000 said:

But that's not what I was talking about. Yes, colors, shapes and much more are recognized, but there is no strict progression like in the music system

if you follow this logic, nature has created auditory receptors by order of arithmetic

Nature didn’t label the notes, humans did. So what?

21 minutes ago, altaylar2000 said:

the color system can also be described like that?

I do not see such proportions in the visible spectrum as in the music system. it's random

But they exist. 400 nm and 800 nm are a factor of two in wavelength and frequency, and there are methods where you can take two 800 nm photons and make a 400 nm photon. It’s not at all random. It’s just that we came up with musical instruments centuries before we came up with lasers and nonlinear crystals.

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By the way, there is also a paradox in the perception of light. If our receptors perceived light, then we would see the light itself, and we only see its reflection from objects.

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36 minutes ago, altaylar2000 said:

By the way, there is also a paradox in the perception of light.

Is it though?

Thanks, you inspired me to watch Monty python and the holy grail, again:

Are you suggesting coconut's migrate?

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49 minutes ago, altaylar2000 said:

By the way, there is also a paradox in the perception of light. If our receptors perceived light, then we would see the light itself, and we only see its reflection from objects.

You're confusing levels of explanation. Light (photons) makes up what we call "to see." A very complex large-scale phenomenon. You don't "see" a photon (light). Photons excite receptors, and nerve impulses project those excitations in your visual cortex. That is what we call "to see." One single photon most of the time probably is not enough to excite a photo receptor.

Sometimes we even see light where there is none:

Already the Pythagoreans noticed that humans find sequences of notes related by integer multiples specially pleasing. Why is that I'm not sure. I'm not even sure if anybody knows. But I think it's probably related to the fact that sounds are very low-frequency in relation to light. So you don't have a chance to time-resolve different kinds of light.

Let me tell you what I mean. Heisenberg's principle (actually, a general theorem of Fourier analysis of waves) can be illustrated with a piano. It is well known that to make the pitch of a note more definite in you mind, it is necessary to make it last longer the lower the frequency is:

$\triangle\omega\triangle T\sim1$

Here $$\omega$$ is the frequency bandwidth (in cycles per second), and $$T$$ is a characteristic time that represents how long you have to let it last to make it distinct (a sort of "timewidth").

When notes sound one after the other, for a split second you hear them as a chord (before they die out) during the time they overlap in your hearing. Because sounds have much much lower time frequencies, your brain has a lot more of a shot to tell that something is "in tune" there. Not so with light. With light it's energy levels of molecules that have to do that job. You don't have this perception that something is oscillating more slowly or more quickly.

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2 hours ago, joigus said:

Do colours exist? Can you really say somebody is red-faced?

No. In reality the rather blue(ish)

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2 hours ago, altaylar2000 said:

By the way, there is also a paradox in the perception of light. If our receptors perceived light, then we would see the light itself, and we only see its reflection from objects.

Reflected light is...light.

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7 minutes ago, swansont said:

Reflected light is...light.

The fact of the matter is that it's just light. Then why don't we see it before it is reflected

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13 minutes ago, altaylar2000 said:

The fact of the matter is that it's just light. Then why don't we see it before it is reflected

Have you ever looked at a fire, a computer screen or stars? Do you see them because of reflection of light?

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45 minutes ago, Ghideon said:

Have you ever looked at a fire, a computer screen or stars? Do you see them because of reflection of light?

yes, I think it's reflection of reflected light

Otherwise we would see the light itself in the air and so on

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