Re: Average Pitch (?) (Alexandra Hettergott )

Subject: Re: Average Pitch (?)
From:    Alexandra Hettergott  <a.hettergott(at)WANADOO.FR>
Date:    Sat, 16 Sep 2000 23:00:14 +0200

Kevin Austin pointed out, concerning Paul von Hippel's questioning on "average pitch used in [Western] music" : >>A couple of years ago, someone reported an attempt to measure the >>distribution of pitch heights used in Western music, and wanted >>to know what else had been done in this area. <> >Sorry, I'm not sure what you're looking for ... the average, the >distribution or the mean. The word 'pitch' is for me also not clear. Did >the Palestrina Mass study deal with the notation or the frequencies? >(fundamental or spectral). Well, while it is obvious that there are several possible approaches, starting from analyzing the music score alone (as Fucks did it, in a nonetheless quite interesting study(*)), in relation to the acoustic correlate (measurements of the respective parameters) related again to the corresponding perceptual one (as, e.g., Diana Deutsch has been doing with regard to Tchaikovsky's 6th symphony, hence stating a possible discrepancy between the "noted" and the actually "perceived", which btw does already start with transposing instruments), it might have been clear, to me, and as you are pointing out, that the notion "Western music" does not include the lot of music retraceable not exclusively to some Western classic tradition (models), and even less so to its traditional "instrument kit", that is, electroacoustic(ally modified) music (in a wider sense). (*) The Fucks' study, which is largely a statistical one, did, in fact, take for the most part the 1st violin into account each (orchestral/chamber music, Lied), proceeding from its notation ("formal structures"), and he did, of course, clearly see it as such being a "one-dimensional" reduction within a domain of immense dimensions. It is nevertheless an interesting and quite extensive (basic) study (over 100 works examined), e.g. also in observing "predominant intervals" in composers (with respect to the sample chosen), while of course being not at all exhaustive as far as the _perception_ of music (in its phenomenal totality) is concerned, though, that ideally might yet take all at once the score in its entirety (if given), the acoustic _and_ the perceptual correlate into account (plus the personal background experience of every subject involved...). It is an interesting point in this regard that along with the 20th-century's increasing technical possibilities music production did shift more and more (again) towards a non-noted (and less literally "prescriptive") creation form to which a possible (analysis) approach, apart from technical notes, particular programs, algorithms or generative rules (in a way replacing the score's function), in fact, will be _descriptive_ rather anyway, e.g., in combining some (spectro)graphical representation and a verbal description (that ideally, for its part, might take the techn(olog)ical aspects into account again, just as formerly those of score and instrumental properties...). And it is clear that (not only) in view of the vast possibilities given (not only) within electroacoustic music, the notion "pitch" alone will never be sufficient, even with regard to an "average" one (and this is why I'd consider sort of a "spectral centroid"-tracking quite an interesting tool). ..... Alexandra Hettergott. _______________________ Alexandra Hettergott 1, avenue des Gobelins /bo=EEte 23 F-75005 Paris/France T=E9l/fax: +33-(0)1-43 31 41 27 M=E9l: a.hettergott(at) _,,_ =B2( o o )=B3 /` =B0.. =B4\\ ( (| =B4 | )) \ ` =EF // ... peque=F1os ruidos """" proyectados en el tiempo ...

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