Talk:A recovering microtonalist's critical reaction to Why Microtonality/WikispacesArchive
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Why Xenharmony can sound no less normal than 12EDO to most and far more original with the right tricks in hand and good practice and is completely worth it to connect with other musicians and even audiences
Shortly, I think it is well worth the pain of learning a Xenharmonic system not just for the sake of your own enjoyment, but also connecting with others by making more original sounding music and/or inspiring others who may someday become musical giants to try Xenharmony.
Here is why:
"If you treat 12-TET as a 188.8.131.52.17.19 temperament"
IMO this is where things get tricky as I consider 12EDO to have a significant hole in ratios of 7 and consider 7 to have a very unique color, akin to purple where 12EDO just has red and blue in that area. 7/4 in 12EDO? Not really. 14/9? Not even close! 12/7? Not at all! And these very same ratios are key points in the construction of a tuning such as 22EDO that focuses on that exact "color" that 12EDO essentially misses. And ever try an arpeggio with the "bad" 14/9 fifth instead of the "good" 3/2 and an 8/7 instead of the usual 9/8? You may well be surprised how oddly natural it sounds.
Or just listen... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHHv3mwJTlg Brendan's entire band uses 22EDO and plays in front of Western audiences WITHOUT telling them it is xenharmonic and they generally respond to it as very normal far as being musical but also extremely unique.
What 12EDO does have is what I consider the weakest ratio of 7 (both the ratio and the octave inverse turn out to be virtually the same thing) and hardly a color. A tritone between 7/5 and 10/7 at literally the square root of the octave (a unique mathematical property) that, IMO, sounds essentially colorless and dissonant as a result.
12EDO does have boatloads of puns and awesome efficiency due to such puns/"dual purpose" ratios, but within 22EDO lies essentially tempered chords and saturated suspensions that can easily be used to "fake" normal-sounding levels of consonance. In 2HE Harmonic Entropy, for example, a 12:14:16:18:21 chord in 22EDO actually has a slightly LOWER dissonance rating than the C D E G B major 9th chord due to the 7-limit nature of the dyads in the prior chord (e.g. the 22EDO 21/14 virtually = 3/2, 21/12 = 7/4, 21/18 = 7/6) and essentially tempering the chord makes even the 21/16 very close to 4/3.
A lot of these tricks come together to make a xenharmonic system that is both distinct and in many to most ways competitive with normal far as consonance/efficiency. The article states
"On the other hand, if you have a novel chord progression made up of unfamiliar chords--i.e. chords carefully chosen to subvert most listener's 12-TET categorical perception--you might succeed in disrupting their expectations, but don't expect them to thank you for it. "
By doing the above, I believe it is quite possible to succeed in the above though I disagree with the latter premise, particularly looking at things like reviews of Brendan Byrnes' work or Marcus Hobbs' or Sevish's, for example: it is completely possible to be thanked for using xenharmony even among people who have never heard it IF you are very careful both to use xenharmonic-exclusive chords and progressions and pick ones that sound on a virtually equal consonance level with those from 12EDO. It is also completely possible with musicians with the right attitude, although not the type who can barely get the work effort to make band practice, to simply adopt all band member instruments to a chosen special tuning and play as a coordinated team in it. Or just do it with software, which can work with just about any electronica or film-score related genre.
Perhaps the real barrier to writing Xenharmonic music is having the determination to find a system that works well for you, stick with it instead of bouncing among the endless options, and truly master is to a point you are fluent in it to a similar extent as an accomplished 12EDO musician and can trick most people into thinking it is as or even more musical than something well written in 12EDO.
- mikesheiman January 06, 2017, 09:55:42 AM UTC-0800