why does a major 7th harmonic sound good but a minor 2nd harmonic sound *bad*?
like why does C4 + B4 sound good while B4 + C5 sounds bad?
@colleen This drifts from music theory into psychoacoustics.
A lot of what we perceive as consonance or dissonance is down to physics and the way the waveforms interact. When the frequency of the top note is a nice multiple of the bottom note we tend to perceive the interval as consonant. When two notes are a half-step apart, there is no nice multiple between the two fundamental frequencies or the frequencies of their overtones. The result is a more chaotic waveform that sounds dissonant.
Of course there's all sorts of complexity here. Culture affects how we perceive music and studies have a hard time controlling for that.
So does timbre—even within the same instrument. A full, six string chord which sounds nice on a Stratocaster can sound muddy on a PRS because of the latter's fatter tone.
Register matters too. Thirds sound great up high but messy in lower registers.
@colleen I can explain this but not until tomorrow when I'm on the train, exhausted right now.
It has to do with the harmonic series & overtones that are present in each note
You may notice that e.g. a major third that's very low (say, C2 and E2 played together) is "grumblier" than a higher one (say, C5 and E5). Same deal. (Except thirds *should* be in tune with each other; but if you're playing an instrument with equal temperament they won't be).
@colleen basically bc the "gap" between notes in a minor 2nd interval is small enough for the overtones and harmonics to start beating. it's a very dissonant interval
i guess it's just an unexpected outcome because in both cases it's a B and a C, just, the octave is different & it's wild that that octave can change so much
@tom i just realized every music machine i own but the keystep is black
@colleen while the gap is *theoretically* the same for a major 7th, the harmonics change when the notes/octaves are swapped
@colleen the major 7th is a rly interesting interval in general bc it's also sorta dissonant but it just... works better
@colleen my music major best buddy once tried to explain that dissonance was all about context
In that C4+C#4 will be more clashy than C2+C#5
I have no real explanation I'm afraid but it's the start of something...
@colleen hey! I'm not sure I understand your question... I'll assume you're asking why does one sounds joyful and the other more dark :) it's a bit of psychology here, it's actually a very complicated question. Long story short it's because your brain can't define what emotion it is, so, it sounds bad to you. Very abridged explanation!
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