Talk:KISS notation

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Middle C

Your reasoning for choosing C4 as a standard pitch seems to imply that A=440 Hz both forces two reference pitch standards and has some sort of intrinsic disadvantage for people with absolute pitch.

I don't believe that either of those are generally true for any reason.

One could simply choose A=440 Hz and build all tonal definitions from A instead of from C. It should make no difference at all unless one chooses a tonal system that either does not define an A or does not define a C. I would be inclines, myself, to think that A makes more intuitive sense as a starting point, being the first letter of the alphabet.

I may be mistaken, but I don't see why anyone with any form of perfect absolute pitch in a microtonal context should think it easier to identify a C than an A, nor any named note from any other named note, arbitrarily. For those without perfect absolute pitch, but with some sort of good relative pitch perception might see an advantage in a reference standard that is a harmonic of whatever frequency AC electrical service is in their country, but since both 50 Hz and 60 Hz are widespread standards, both 261 Hz and 440 Hz would be equally bad, in general.

--Bozu (talk) 20:48, 29 May 2020 (UTC)

C261.6 is major-centrism. D293 is the one real standard tuning. FloraC (talk) 04:05, 30 May 2020 (UTC)
I understand that In MIDI, Middle C is note number 60 which equates to C and that this could be the reason some people tend to see "Middle C" as a possible center. Also the clefs typically used for Piano scores give this tone a certain dominance. I play the piano as well and had a lot of work to do to overcome my childish C-major centrism but I'd plead that a notation system should have the freedom to chose its central note. What I don't understand is that a notation system has to define the exact frequency for it's root note. --Xenwolf (talk) 07:22, 30 May 2020 (UTC)
This topic can get toxic at some points. Well, 60 is not a special note in MIDI, yet the center of MIDI, between 63 (Eb) and 64 (E), can be interpreted as centering around C-G.
By suggesting D as the center, I mean it's a fact. The heptatonic scale has two inherent tuning centers that produce symmetry, currently surprisingly nicely signified by D, and betweem G and A. It's surprisingly nice cuz A and G are the first and last letters in the sequence, respectively, and D is right in the middle. There's a unity between tuning and notating. I can see it recognized in this community. Look at how they do the heptatonic porcupine notation: they typically place the one large step between G and A, so it's still centered around D.
Now to develop another notation system, as long as it's based on a scale, we will have such a center, whatever its signifier is, and we'll need the signifier-frequency form to tune it (or how do you tune it?). Do you need a particular frequency for a particular tuning? Probably not. You just take one frequency and tune everything, including the diatonic scale. So the choice is down to one of the frequencies in that scale. Which one? My answer is obvious. FloraC (talk) 17:36, 30 May 2020 (UTC)
I'm not sure about that logic, though, since it suggests Eb as a reference pitch. --Bozu (talk) 14:20, 3 June 2020 (UTC)
It doesn't. FloraC (talk) 01:11, 4 June 2020 (UTC)
Half of 127 is 63.5 note 63 is Eb, not D. If you choose D as a reference because it's halfway up from A through the musical alphabet, why not just choose A anyway, since your reference is justified by another reference? Anyway, in an octave-based system, halfway up the A scale is the tritone, which is closer to Eb than to D. If you are specifying a heptatonic scale, then it depends on which heptatonic scale you use as a template, which introduces even more references. I mean, if you can get it to catch on, I'll be happy to go with the flow, but I'm just not following your logic on why D should be a universal reference pitch.
In my opinion, whichever is already established as the most universally accepted reference pitch should be the reference pitch to which we try to conform until we can think of something that stands on its own logical ground as being better. I do sometimes see D or C as a defined reference pitch, but the vast majority of tuning forks, keyboards, pitch pipes, electronic tuners, etc., use A4=440 Hz as a standard, in my experience. Maybe it's a North American thing, but I don't think it is. I'm not married to the idea, but I just don't really get why this community seems so insistent on changing the reference pitch to C, unless it's more convenient for a specific circumstance, like MIDI. --Bozu (talk) 15:46, 4 June 2020 (UTC)
I can't really add anything to the conversation, but I believe the reason why C is used so much is because we're all familiar with the diatonic scales in 12EDO, which is usually on C. Thus, because of C261.626 being engraved into our heads, we just have a bunch of notations based off of C. I don't know if this is right in other countries (rather than America/Mexico/Canada/UK/Britan/etc), but that's just how I see it. --CritDeathX (talk) 17:04, 4 June 2020 (UTC)
For reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concert_pitch#History_of_pitch_standards_in_Western_music https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A440_(pitch_standard) I was unable to locate a wikipedia article about any sort of C-based standard pitch, but please correct me if you are aware of one. In the USA, you can pick up a land line and hear 440 Hz. Working off and on as a semi-professional musician, I have only ever encountered people who used an A standard, which was overwhelmingly A4=440 Hz. Even in microtuning groups, there seems to be a large portion of people who refer to an A standard, even if there are quite a few prominent people who argue that a C standard would be better. Being that we are in a mindset of challenging every tuning standard, I always assumed that the push to use a C standard instead was something to do with electronic music being more convenient to make that way. Again, I probably assumed incorrectly. --Bozu (talk) 18:10, 4 June 2020 (UTC)
I'm probably the one that's assuming incorrectly. Admittedly, I'm basing this thought off of my own experiences, so I probably shouldn't even be talking about it. To be frank, I wasn't aware that much people used A440 as a root note. Thanks for clarifying things for me. --CritDeathX (talk) 18:53, 4 June 2020 (UTC)
I don't have a single clue how you can blindly equate 63.5 with 63. 63.5 is between Eb and E, or both Eb and E, or alternatively interpreted, C and G as they are equally away from the center. Therefore, it can be concluded the MIDI keyboard is a major-centrist layout.
I never said MIDI keyboard is of any significance in choosing the reference pitch in the first place. I just pointed out its major-centrism is not for the fact C is 60, but for another reason.
I don't choose D for "it's halfway up from A". Check the following facts. (1) The signifier is in the center of the muscial alphabet. What makes D special is that "it's halfway up from A" is as true as "it's halfway down from G", so there's A-G, B-F, C-E, all centered around D. (2) The signified is in the center of the current heptatonic scale. Consequently there's (3) the center-center alignment, which I appreciate. That's the reason why I choose D.
Read my text with some care, plz.
P.S. Is this community quite in the C party? I actually see a lot of friends of D party here. FloraC (talk) 11:11, 5 June 2020 (UTC)
But neither Eb nor E are the same as D, right? From an objective standpoint, I don't see why any of this ought to matter. If D is significant because of it's position relative to A, doesn't that make A more significant? The heptatonic scale starts and ends on the octave, according to classical instruction, so I don't follow the logic presented that G is significant as some sort of marker, moreso than any other named note. G is the minor seventh in the A heptatonic scale, so it's already moving preference away from the major scale and toward the dominant scale, which isn't any less bias, it's just different. If you used similar logic to state that A should be the standard because it is the first letter of the alphabet, I'm not sure I'd feel that was a good enough reason on its own to change the current standard.
I don't think there has ever been a poll here, specifically, but there was a thread over in the XA on Facebook about A4 vs middle C as a standard pitch. The only reason anyone seems to think it matters is for the sake of clear communication. The impression I got over there was that middle C was more acceptable, and the reasons cited were because of MIDI and because it was the impression of those who adopted it that it was more commonly adopted by the community. The orchestral standard in the region of the world that conforms to ISO standards is A4=440 Hz. There are tons of very vocal groups challenging that standard for whatever reason, most infamously the A4=432 Hz group. For that reason alone, I think it makes life so much easier to define a reference pitch as A4=xxx Hz and move on. Trying to shift things to a middle C standard is too closely tied to piano, is too different from the adopted standardization for apparently arbitrary reasons, and also adds other arbitrary complications in the most general sense.
For example, if you start your scale with A, A will be in your scale. If you start with C, C will be in your scale, but why start with the third letter instead of the first? I guess if you chose to argue that all letters are equal and, therefore, defining A as the first letter is biased against other letters, then that could be a valid point, except for the fact that the very idea of defining a reference pitch tied to a specifically letter-named note shows necessary bias for that named letter anyway. Since I think that's all silly anyway, and we need to establish the standard solely for the sake of communicating clearly with other musicians, there is no need to throw out the existing and accepted convention unless there is a valid reason to do so. As yet, I have not heard a reason that I view as logically valid. D is halfway between A and G, okay, but if you are basing your argument that D is significant because of it's position relative to A, then that just reinforces the validity of using A. Choosing D because it's close to Eb or E, which is significant for whichever reason just suggests instead to use Eb or E. Choosing middle C because of its significance on the piano or with MIDI would probably mean a lot to me if I were primarily a piano player or was deeply involved with MIDI in some fundamental way. But for most musicians, I see no reason why that would catch on.
Have you ever been in a leadership role with a band or orchestra, and if so, did they use anything other than the ISO 16 or ASA reference pitch standard? --Bozu (talk) 13:01, 5 June 2020 (UTC)
> But neither Eb nor E are the same as D, right?
> Choosing D because it's close to Eb or E
I think I said "I never said MIDI keyboard is of any significance in choosing the reference pitch in the first place". Don't know why you keep mentioning all the Eb and E stuff as if my advocacy for D had anything to do with that.
> If D is significant because of it's position relative to A
> but if you are basing your argument that D is significant because of it's position relative to A
Never did I base my argument that D is significant for its position relative to A, either. Look, D being relative to A is equally essential as A being relative to D. It is the fact that D is central in both notating and tuning that makes D special. The centrality is relative to other notes, but to say A is special whenever comparing D with A is a pretense. I decide to put it more brutally this time. Look at all the letters: ABCDEFG. Look also at the circle of fifths, by which the diatonic scale is generated: FCGDAEB. Now, which is special? That said, there is one unbiased diatonic scale too, called Dorian.
> Trying to shift things to a middle C standard is too closely tied to piano
> Choosing middle C because of its significance on the piano
C is not inherently significant on the piano.
> Have you ever been in a leadership role with a band or orchestra
No. I'm all on my own. FloraC (talk) 15:52, 5 June 2020 (UTC)
D is not central to anything in standard notation, or are you saying that D is central to the musical alphabet ABCDEFG? If the latter, what makes the center any more significant than the beginning or the end? Why is dorian mode unbiased, as you say?
Middle C is the note on the piano which appears between the two staves (It also happens to be used in a couple of the microtonal software applications for keyboards, but, in my experience, A4=440 is slightly more common even there - but I don't have a lot of exposure - and I've never seen any of these refer to D).
Use whichever you are comfortable using, but if you are advocating for others to follow suit, then I would suggest having a reason why that other people can understand. The ISO 16 standard dictates a frequency for A4, which is what virtually all mainstream western-influenced music references. From my personal experience, D would be a better choice than C for orchestra, since the string section can tune to an open D or open A or open G, but nothing else, but oboe players and concert clarinet have a much easier time tuning to A than to D. I think that A was chosen as a matter of practicality well over a hundred years ago, and not much has changed since then. If you want to challenge the A4=440 Hz part, then I'm 100% behind you to choose whichever frequency you want to choose. However, by communicating that choice in a way that is awkward for everyone, put a lot of undue burden on everyone else.
Say that two microtonal musicians wish to collaborate on a song over the miracle of the internet. Musician A chooses to perform in Orwell[9] in A in 53-edo at A4=440 Hz. Musician B can pretty easily set up to accommodate that. If Musician A instead chooses a reference pitch of E^4 = 334.33 Hz. Musician B can still figure this out, but it's a pain, because the reference pitch given is communicated in a weird way. Now, I'm sure we can agree that D is a lot less weird, but, if there is already a standard in place for musicians all over Europe and the Americas to refer to A4, anything that is not communicated as A4 is at least a little weird (as in, going against convention). So why? --Bozu (talk) 21:33, 5 June 2020 (UTC)
> Why is dorian mode unbiased, as you say?
Let's look at the circle of fifths. Dorian is the one that's generated by equal steps from each side. Dorian is also the mode that inverts to itself. The inversion pairs are like: Lydian-Locrian, Ionian-Phrygian, Mixolydian-Aeolian, and Dorian-Dorian.
> what makes the center any more significant than the beginning or the end?
The center is the reconciliation of the beginning and the end. If one argues for one, one can argue for the opposite with equal validity, but they unite at the center.
> going against convention
Citing the status quo is cheap. We're talking about different things: what's better and what we should do. Actually, digital tuning is very easy, just a few clicks to get the tuning files through. I'm not so concerned about acoustic instruments since most are difficult to microtune anyway. FloraC (talk) 06:04, 6 June 2020 (UTC)

I don't want to disturb your discussion too much, but I thought it might be useful to keep in mind that "KISS notation" is just one representative of many notation systems. --Xenwolf (talk) 21:24, 5 June 2020 (UTC)

I suppose the topic has drifted from the initial question (which was directed at the reasoning given in the article to recommend middle C as a reference pitch), which maybe only the author can properly address. Perhaps this would be better addressed by linking this article to another article (which one?) that has more information about the topic. --Bozu (talk) 21:33, 5 June 2020 (UTC)
... or we ask the author of the notation system, Mike Battaglia, to shed some more light on the reasons for his choice. --Xenwolf (talk) 21:41, 5 June 2020 (UTC)
There is way too much for me to even begin to respond to above, and frankly I think some of the people in this comment section need to calm down. I do advocate for a "middle note = 261.6 pitch standard" for various reasons, and I already have a 1000-word section in the document on absolute pitch standardization regarding why I think it's a good idea. Beyond that, my thought is, tune to whatever pitch standard you want. Mike Battaglia (talk) 02:46, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
I'm sorry if that was offending. I failed to predict this conversation could get so long. FloraC (talk) 03:58, 10 June 2020 (UTC)
Sorry. I just wanted some clarification, and maybe to open up a discussion. I guess the topic is closed for discussion. Thanks for taking the time to respond. Feel free to clean all of this up if you want. --Bozu (talk) 16:49, 10 June 2020 (UTC)