General Musical Matters

Time Signatures - What’s it really all about

This article looks at the concept of time signatures, but rather than starting from the written somewhat mathematical perspective we start with the actual musical sound. This article was original written to help adult beginners in a wind band understand why two time has two beats, three time has three beats, four time has four beats but six time has two beats ..! It’s not a problem if you are an established musician, but when students come to the for the first time it can be confusing. We hope that this article will help to clear up this mathematical mystery.

The Harmonic Series – What’s it really all about

In this video we look at the natural phenomenon that is the harmonic series. This is is based on the mathematical relationship between the number of vibrations for each note and is present in all forms of music and music making. It's part of the science of sound. In this video there are practical examples for brass, woodwind and stringed instruments. We also consider the flute and the clarinet and consider why it is that they are both effectively tubes of relatively similar length, but when they play their lowest note (C and D respectively) there is almot an octave difference. We also look at pure tuning of the perfect fifth and the fact that some major seconds are wider than others.

Circle of Fifths – What’s it really all about

In this video we look at the circle of fifths and consider using the "pure" or "perfectly tuned" fifth rather than tempered fifths as mentioned in the video “The Harmonic Series – What’s it really all about”. We also look briefly at various ways musicians have tried over the centuries to overcome an inbuilt tuning issue that exists within the system and we discover one piece of music written especially to prove a new approach to tuning that had an impact on tuning throughout Europe.