A Phenomenological Enquiry of Pythagorean Tuning in the Creation of New Music


This research explores the experiential and practical performance aspects arising through using primarily Pythagorean but also other forms of ‘non-tempered’ tuning systems. The focus is primarily on the application of these tuning systems in the creation, performance and apprehension of new music. In Western cultures ‘equal temperament’ is the dominant tuning standard to the extent that Western musicians and audiences may not be aware of other tuning possibilities. However, using non-tempered tuning standards arguably produces a different physical experience in the listener and a different quality of physicality in sound production on a musical instrument. The questions arise: ‘How do people experience non-tempered tuning?’ How do musicians respond to the demands of playing in tuning systems that are not familiar and may work counter intuitively to the architecture of the instrument they play? Does the experience of the musician using different tuning systems enhance or detract from other performance attributes?



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"Japanese researcher Hajime Fukui has found that people have lower testosterone levels when listening to their favourite music, which he interprets as an indication of music socialising function, promoting sexual self-control and lowering agression."

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