Man's physical universe

xanabras

UNIT VI

SECTION 9

SCIENCE AND ART HAVE JOINED HANDS IN THE

PRODUCTION OF MUSIC

Introduction.

Music undoubtedly gives greater pleasure to more people than

does any other art, and it can be even better appreciated or enjoyed if

one knows something about the scientific basis of its production. Just

as the painter uses the knowledge of light and color to express his emotions,

so the musician applies his knowledge of sound to express his

feelings. Modern advances in color photography have changed the

emphasis and functions of painting, and, similarly, electrical musical

instruments are providing new tools and creating new problems for

musicians.

Sounds Are Classified as Noise and Tones.

The ear classifies sounds roughly into two classes: noises, which are

disagreeable or irritating, and tones, which are received with pleasure

or indifference, depending on the circumstances. Tones or any combination

or succession of tones which are received with pleasure are said to

be musical. There is no sharp borderline between a noise and a tone.

Sounds classified as tones by some people are considered to be noise by

other people.

Noise is generally a sound of too short duration or of too

great complexity to be analyzed by the ear. The best of music, or

even any sound at all, gives the sensation of noise when the ear is too

fatigued to analyze further sounds of any kind. Lack of training causes

people to classify certain kinds of music as noise. Thus a "jazz"

orchestra, Chinese music, or an African dance is disagreeable to people

who have not learned or perhaps have not wanted to learn to appreciate

such combinations of sounds.

A pure tone, produced by a simple vibration with no overtones,

is unusual. Pure tones may be obtained with tuning forks, certain

weak (stopped) organ pipes, or a flute or French horn softly blown.

Most musical tones are rich in overtones. When the overtones predominate,

the tone is likely to be strident or harsh. Tones are sounds

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