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Five represented the five elements in nature, and according to the Chinese book of changes (aka “I Ching”), 3 represented heaven and 2 represented earth, and since harmony is the rapport of heaven and earth, they used the ratio of 3:2 to find the right notes.
The chord will have notes that are away from each other by the exact same proportions that were separating the beats in time.
A little back story Many years ago I stumbled across a music history book that covered music from different parts of the world and I was mesmerized by the story of the Chinese emperor of the Zhou dynasty who sent out his court musician to the woods to bring back 5 bamboo pipes so they cut them and made a scale out of them.
In a world without ratio, notions such as love, beauty, fear, dissonance, wealth and distance would mean absolutely nothing.
We are made of infinite combined fractions just like the world that surrounds us. The fact that we don’t know the number doesn't mean it is not there. When a note is played on an instrument, we hear an illusion.
The reason for this is that when the space between the two sounds becomes extremely short, our ears stop hearing the spaces and start perceiving a continuous sound whose pitch is determined by the number of cycles per second these two sounds are oscillating at.
This illusion is very much like in cinema where our eyes perceive the continuous motion of pictures once the frame rate is over 24 frames per second.Given that pitch is all about the cycles per second it produces, any sound should, in theory, produce a pitch if we let it run at the same frequency.Take any sound you can think of, such as a spoon hitting a plate, a knock on the door or the sound of your sneeze, put it in an audio software and speed it up to 440 times per second and you will hear the note A.If these 5 notes are to be arranged in sequential order, they become what we call the or not, that story ignited a never-ending adventure in trying to understand the science behind the music and consequently changed the way I look at music.It was precisely what I needed to hear at a time where I had so many questions about topics that were generally considered obvious facts.For me, it was never a given fact that a major scale has 7 notes and an octave gets divided into 12. Why these 7 in particular and why this specific sequential order? What makes a certain beat groovy when played by one drummer and the same exact copy of the beat flat when played by another drummer?Beat is pitch in different time zones One day I thought about this: Any musical note has a frequency and frequency is measured by Hertz (Hz) which is another way of saying “cycles per second”.How would rhythm sound like at 50 times its original speed? Fast forward one sound and you get a pitch, fast forward multiple sounds and you get multiple pitches. The video is self-explanatory but here are few written thoughts about the content for the curious humans: Slow down I will stop right here but not before leaving you with one final thought: Reverse all of the above!If grooves become chords, chords should become grooves and this makes me wonder: How would a Count Basie Big Band chord sound like if slowed down 50 times?If we add up all these ratios, excluding the fundamental, we get the fundamental!We gave the note we would have called it a hundred names.