Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Morning Show - Building metaphors (and scales)

The Morning Show is a blog companion to the podcast audio.

Yesterday I was going on about some nonsense about how a northbound road trip on a beautiful spring afternoon felt like I was driving through a thirteenth chord.  What does that even mean?  Musicians might nod knowingly, but I'd like to introduce the rest of you to the beautiful language of chords...and to give you a new way of seeing the world!  To understand chords, we have to understand scales, but don't worry, it's easy.  Western music is based on a system called the even tempered tuning system, which breaks sound up into 12 blocks.  I can start with this note, A, and play up 12 blocks, and then it repeats again as a multiple.  So, if A is ringing at 110 cycles per second, or Hertz, once I play through all 12, I arrive again at A, ringing at 220 cycles per second.  From A to A is called an octave.  If I take 7 of these 12 notes, and arrange them in a particular recipe or formula, I arrive at a major scale.  This is the do-re-mi we've heard about.  FYI, the formula is WWHWWWH, with a whole step being two "blocks", frets on the guitar, or keys on the piano, and a half step being one.  So, there you have it.  One step closer to understanding a metaphor, and using it yourself!

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