- Hardcover: 426 pages
- Publisher: Springer; 2nd edition (November 4, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1852337974
- ISBN-13: 978-1852337971
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,934,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Tuning, Timbre, Spectrum, Scale 2nd Edition
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Very interesting, never-the-less.
Reader's should be warned that this is *not* an introductory text, and that it is not an overview of the area of tunings.
Additionally, it is interesting that the word 'timbre' is in the title, as there is not one iota of original perceptual research here...and timbre is a preceptual phenomenon.
"This new and greatly revised edition of William Sethares' classic book includes an attached CD-ROM that contains over three hours of sound examples that demonstrate the ideas in action, as well as computer programs that enable readers to conduct their own explorations. "
Rating applied to missing content or false/ incorrect product description.
TTSS is written so as to be comprehensible to a wide readership. It was a pleasure reading this informative and stunning book. In places it is even entertaining as the author's sense of humor shows through. The book should eventually find its way into many libraries (public, private, and institutional) because it contains new and important original contributions to many areas of music.
There are 345 pages divided into 13 sections and 6 short appendices. There is an extensive bibliography, a discography, an index, and an accompanying Compact Disk containing 33 sound examples. All sound examples are explained in the book, and they provide convincing support for the author's premises.
A succinctly written Prelude tells what Tuning, Timbre, Spectrum, Scale is all about. I found myself looking forward to learning more about the ideas outlined here. You'll find yourself anxious to learn where a particular concept will lead. The author has a knack for gradually building up an idea to its climax while keeping the reader involved, and this is rare amongst books where new ideas are being presented.
The book begins, in Section 1, with a challenge to current thinking concerning the consonance of musical octaves. A new idea is presented and its validity demonstrated using audio examples on the accompanying CD. ... Superb demonstration!... Section 1 also introduces a unique and practical method of quantifying the tonal consonance of any musical sound. The next four sections are entitled respectively: The Science of Sound, Musical Scales, Consonance and Dissonance of Harmonic Sounds, and Related Spectra and Scales. These sections taught me much about musical sounds and concepts. They are well written and include many informative figures, and they provide descriptions of more unique audio examples on the CD.
The Science of Sound section addresses the issue: what is sound? This leads into clear discussions of relevant terms. The reader is taken on a fascinating journey into timbre, pitch, scales, tunings, spectral analysis, beats and consonance. After reading about Musical Scales, you'll feel like an expert, and gain an appreciation of scales since the time of Pythagoras. You'll understand the profound influence they have had over the centuries in defining musics of an era.
The next section on Consonance and Dissonance provides a historical perspective of the way in which these terms have been used, and then focuses on Sensory Consonance. This has the unique property, amongst consonance/dissonance concepts, of being quantifiable in a scientific sense. It is here that one discovers a fundamental connection between the consonance works of Helmholtz 1877, Plomp & Levett 1965 and Partch 1974, which leads to a reasonably complete understanding of sensory consonance. The plot thickens as the connection between sensory consonance and musical scales unfolds. This connection is then transformed into practice as the author creates new and unique songs, A Bell, A Rock and A Crystal. It is amazing to observe musical passages created in this way.
The following section, Adaptive Tunings, describes the author's algorithms for tuning in real time, or , as is sometimes described, how to "tune on the fly". Once again, the accompanying CD provides adaptively tuned musical passages verifying algorithmic predictions. It seems that music is about to expand its domain of musical sounds in a significant way. Read the book to find out why and how this is happening.
The book contains much, much more. There is a section on Gamelans, a theory for 10 TET, dissonance curve computer programs, sensory consonance score of a Scarlatti sonata, analysis and synthesis of harmonic and non-harmonic sounds. Fourier Transform analysis and limitations, dissonance surfaces for chords, and a well thought out final section: Speculation, Interpretation, Conclusion.
I believe the author also recognized a basic limitation of Western music, and again went to the heart of the problem, figured it all out, and then proved his point. The result of these efforts is this exceptional book.