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Muzoracle for Musicians

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Harmonies and Ratios: A Note Regarding Tuning

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The ratios associated with the harmonies in the Muzoracle are based on a system of tuning called “just intonation.” Once above the 5:4 mark in the Series, there are multiple ratios associated with each dyad; there is a Tritone, for example, at 10:7 and 11:8 as well as at 7:5, and a Major Second at 10:9 as well as at 9:8. Which ratios are the “right ones” is a matter of speculation. Over the centuries various tuning systems have come and gone, and contemporary composers have their pick of the lot, if they bother to care. The vast majority of the music we hear these days is in “equal temperament,” a tuning wherein only the octaves are perfectly in tune, and the notes in between the octaves are simply equidistant. This allows for all sorts of chromatic acrobatics compositionally, but from a certain perspective creates a music out of sync with nature -- a big problem for sound healers, harmonic purists, and people with perfect pitch. The intricacies of tuning are many, and its history is lively; to explore it further, please consult the Recommended Reading and Links page.

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