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Music Theory for Recorder: Acoustics/Pitch

Acoustics is the scientific branch of musical studies. Using the physics of sound waves, the biology of the human inner ear and brain, and the mathematics of frequency we can understand what causes music to be different from all the other 'noises' that we hear. Here we will study pitch, overtones, timbre, and some of the history of intonation and temperament.  
It is highly recommended to work your way through this page starting at the top, as each installment builds on the previous one. It is also recommended that you consult the NOTES where you will find more detailed information regarding these topics.

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What Exactly is a Pitch

YouTube Video: Jesse Strickland

Short and simple explanations of the terms 'pitch,' 'frequency,' and 'octave.'

Why Does Music Only Use 12 Different Notes?

YouTube Video: David Bennett Piano

This excellent video is an advanced, highly technical explanation of the mathematical concepts of frequency and pitch and explains how our system of 12 notes came about.  As you continue your studies of music theory, come back to this video from time to time and it will start to make more and more sense.

Historical Pitch??

YouTube Video: Early Music Sources

This video discusses the 'historical pitch' movement and explains why some recorders are made to A=415 specifications.

Brief Overview of Consonance and Dissonance

YouTube Video: Pablo Howard Cello

This video presents all the intervals within an octave and rates their levels of consonance and dissonance.

Consonance vs. Dissonance

YouTube Video: Robert Jeter

A great introduction to the math behind sounds that are consonant and dissonant.  Interestingly the presenter, who is teaching the older subject of Counterpoint, classifies the Perfect Fourth as dissonant, but in today's music theory based on Harmony, we usually group the Perfect Fourth with the consonant intervals.



YouTube Video: Brad Harrison

This video shows the basic symbols used to modulate the volume or loudness of music.

Intro to the Harmonic Series

YouTube Video: Jesse Strickland

A quick, easy-to-understand introduction to the concept of overtones.

Why Don't All Instruments Sound the Same?

YouTube Video: 12tone

A more detailed examination of overtones and how they result in different timbres.

Overtones Timbre and the Harmonic Series Full

YouTube Video: Dan Reynolds Audio

Another video covering the topics of overtones and timbre using a spectrogram.

How Pythagoras Broke Music

YouTube Video: Oliver Lugg

This video presents the old Pythagorean tuning method, similar to just intonation.

Temperaments - What you need to know

YouTube Video: Elam Rotem

This video gives a nice overview of the history of temperament.

Just Intonation vs Equal Temperament

YouTube Video: Trippin' on Cookies

This video gives a visual and aural representation of equal temperament as opposed to just intonation.

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