Showing posts from August, 2012

Pitch Perfection - a psychological perspective

Adherence to shruti is the greatest truth in music.  Every system of note in the world places extreme importance in tuneful renditions of the basic 12 tones within an octave.  In reality, the yardsticks of what is tuneful varies from system to system.  For instance, certain note values in Just-Intonation system of natural melodic systems in the world like Carnatic Music (CM)/Hindustani (HM) are different to those heard in Equal Tempered-Tuning system, embraced in the West.

Varied yardsticks
In friendly terms, Just intonation is based on laws of physics and aesthetics, but the intervals between any two notes in an octave is not constant.  While this sounds beautiful when notes are heard one after the other, it can create problems when certain note-combinations are rendered simultaneously by orchestras.  Therefore, for reasons of harmony, Western scholars 'averaged out' some note values to create equal intervals between the 12 tones.   Violin-legend Yehudi Menuhin has gone on re…