What it ’tis

What it ’tis, it ain’t. What it ain’t, it ’tis. – Atmosphere



a pure form of communication, transcending language and culture, revealing raw emotional elements inherent to one’s being. A portal to the soul, so to speak, allows music to be both absorbed and emanated. It is osmosis of emotions, from the performer to the listener, from the listener to performer, and within both performer and the listener.



The art of arranging sounds in time so as to produce a continuous, unified, and evocative composition, as through melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre.

Traditional western music is comprised of 12 consecutive notes (semitones) with a frequency ratio equal to the 12th root of 2 (2(1/12) ~ 1.0594). In other words, using the note A4 (440Hz) as a relative tone:

A# = 440(1.0594)

B = 440(1.05942)

C = 440(1.05943)

and so on until (1.059412) orĀ  {2(1/12)*12) = 2} where the frequency is exactly double, creating an octave. The octave phenomenon is where one waveform oscillates exactly twice (or half) as fast as the other. This miraculous natural occurrence causes us to perceive the same ‘note’ at a different pitch and serves as a great reference to use during composition.

Western music arranges these 12 different sounds (over different octaves of course) in all sorts of fancy formations.

Classical perfect 3rds, 4ths, 5ths.
Rockin’ pentatonic and blues (b5 and 6ths please!)
Jazzy b5, b7, bb7, 9′s, 11′s, 13′s.
Modal phrygian, lydian, locrian, etc.

The way that the waveforms of consecutive or stacked notes mix and mingle through the air resonate within us in different ways and also defines a sound or even an era. What makes a pitch pleasant? Why is the Major chord pattern of a stacked root, 3rd and 5th a happy sound? Why is the augmented 4th (F# above C) classed as dissonance, and even named diabolus in musica by theorist of the 18th century? (funny how that interval is used so widely in jazz now, stick it to the man!) What makes the blues blue or jazz jazzy?

The perception of these sounds falls under the discipline of phsychoacoustics which includes a core science understanding of the physical nature of oscillations and waves, calculus and linear algebra, acoustics, signal processing, human anatomy and physiology, neuroscience, as well anthropology, sociology, psychology, history, and of course music theory. The wide spectrum of base knowledge associated with psychoacoustics exhibits the complexities in understanding how the arrangement of physical phenomena is processed and impacts the emotional element.

Dissecting the listening experience reveals music as the fusion of science and art.



an art form whose medium is sound.

Undoubtedly, the tools used in the production of these sounds have changed quite a bit. From african drum calls, to chanting, the introduction of the harpsichord, piano, and horns, to orchestra’s. Strings, brass, reeds and sticks. The electric guitar. The american drumset.

Electronic sound manipulation: from Varese to Revolution 9.

Computers and digital sound manipulation

Sampling and mash-ups

Web 2.0 and collaboration

Technology has expanded the tools to create music, evolving it with each new technological generation.


is liquid.

Whether your instrument is YouTube and FruityLoops, a 108 piece modern orchestra, or a breezy day; music remains unchanged in using an arrangement of sounds to summon that which is deepest in oneself while flowing and forming with minds and times.

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