I suffer from a special form of dyslexia, one that makes it easy to understand things (specifically: related facts), but conversely makes it hard to explain things verbally. I think I understand how music works, so to prove I'm not mad
I've made a minor career of the unholy challenge of explaining music to
Gradually it's getting much easier to explain, as I
build a portfolio of simple examples. Learning about the jammer and the Wicki-Hayden key pattern) was a major breakthrough.Herein I will try to show you why the jammer and music go well together.
How to show clearly where the harmonics are and how they fit together
This is roughly how the inner ear hears ("feels" is a more accurate term) a single note. Sounds in the raw, as it were, broken down into individual harmonics touching the ear's nerves gently in a line and spacings determined by basic count-on-your-fingers arithmetic. That may be how the ear "feels" the touch, but like the feel of a pen in the hand, wherein touches across several fingers gets integrated into a single sensation; the brain sees a single "pen".
One can fold the graph above over midway at the octave change point:
This is also, partly, the way the nerves fold over on their way to the brain.
this only shows you the good stuff; where the consonance points are.
Around each harmonic is a spot about a semi-tone flat or sharp where if a
another harmonic is present then it sounds dissonant.
A better way to show how we hear sounds
So the jammer layout has two added bonuses:
From this, much is obvious. One can, believe it or not, deduce all the world's common musical scales - and perhaps, invent modestly exotic new ones .
Why an interval sounds like it does
one play two notes there is always a pitch interval between them (even
if it's the same nominal pitch). The two sets of harmonics overlay each
other and interact in simple ways to produce a complex result.
A Major Third
will sound nice and smooth (consonant) and the overlapping harmonics
will sound especially interesting. Even a small deviation in overlap
either way, but especially down in pitch (flat) won't sound as good (not
really bad as in evil), just louder and obnoxious.
Now, in music, everything is relative: one can aim at lots of different harmonic series in the root. Below is shown the interval of a perfect minor third, some of its harmonics overlay the strong 6th, 12th, 24th and interestingly, the 7th and 14th harmonics of the root (these last are not well tuned).
The odd thing is that it's kind of like friends: while you may get along fine with Susan, and just swimmingly with Ann, yet find Ann and Susan fight like cats that caught the same mouse; The minor third and major third just don't get along in the same chord. Yet a millisecond is all that's needed to separate them.
Making music interesting
Play a root note with a major third, then instantly switch to a minor third, and the overlaps change: we've switched to overlaps on the 6th, 12th, 24th, 7th and 14th. The ear doesn't care, but your brains goes 'hey - what happened to the root note?'. It takes about a second to figure it out, so as long as you keep changing about once a second, you're in business.
(dear reader: an audio demo is needed here - care to craft one for me?)
Making the simplest chord
Here you can kinda see the overylay pattern of a Major Chord (root position):
Things get interesting to the ear - and that means the start, the barest start, of harmony.
Naturally, there is more to it all. In particular, I've omitted the gory details dissonance, the critical effect of volume, and what happens when more than two harmonics interact.