Drum Notes


Drum notes? Indeed.

It turns out, on reflection, that if your drummer winds up and plays fast enough he might be playing your alto line. For those into the music in astrology (or the other way round) as covered in my recent article Windowpanes, here’s a couple of more discoveries about the wonders of scaling. There I noted that the periods of the planets doubled (like octaves) until you reached the audio scale turned into recognizable notes and harmonies, with a list of notes for the planets.  That article was written before I noticed that, on a much closer level, if you take a 3 over 4 beat (like 60 beats per minute together with 80) and double them until you get up to the tonal range, you get a natural fifth, and so on with other syncopations, which actually produce melody and chords when speeded up. In other words, when you raise the rhythm track to the next recognizable higher scale, you get melody and harmony, and the reverse as well. So, the principle of proportionate scaling even applies within segments of the audio range itself.

Now, in a recent article in New Scientist magazine called Winners Wear Red, science has done another set of experiments to prove the obvious: that lower-spectrum colors (like red) are more noticeable, have more impact, and seem more threatening than higher-spectrum colors (like blue) which are associated with more delicate and intellectual feelings. The lower sets the pace and forces the demands, the higher shapes and filigrees the details of where it’s proceeding. That’s a principle that applies in music as well (bass track drives and structures the mid and treble melody and harmonies, and the rhythm track many octaves below (as we have noticed) drives the entirety of the melody sections both bass and treble. So, too, the lower-frequency outer planets are the traditional drivers of social change, while the middle and inner planets paint what’s happening in the shorter-range details, particularly among individuals, who are in turn caught up and driven by the larger, lower-frequency picture.

It’s the same the whole world (or universe) over. One wonders what tunes the microbes are humming, and what relatively (to us) mini-beats are setting their tiny toes to tapping…

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