The World of The Seven-Alphabets
Can you imagine yourself living in a world with only 7 alphabets around? The seven are A B C D E F G.
Hmm… Maybe you’ll get a better idea if I arrange them like this: C D E F G A B?
Yeah, those are musical symbols for music notes. I have no idea why the early musicians chose these seven letters and this post is not going to talk about that history anyway. But here we are, living in a world with music being represented with 7-letters.
Are you a musician or a singer? Have you ever tried to be one? Maybe not all of us are musicians or singers but we all listen to songs, don’t we?
What is “music” by the way? According to dictionary.com, “music” is “an art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color.” Alright, we know that one. Next is, what is a sound? I’m not looking up for dictionary result on this. Basically any sound that we hear everyday is a longitudinal wave that traverse in the air with certain frequencies. And every musical note has its own vibration frequency. The standard A that is used as the concert pitch has a frequency of 440 Hertz, or 440 vibrations per second. The complete frequency list of every note is listed here.
Why am I saying all these technical stuffs? Because I want to show that actually there is a lot of science involved in music. In fact, music is a result of a series of physics phenomenon, starting from the instrument itself whether it is a piano, guitar, or others. The construction of a guitar is so much dependent on the Mersenne’s Law. Those frets on the guitar neck are spaced out with certain distances (they are not equally spaced out if you notice) so that the frequencies created will be that of musical notes.
The harmonic sound (guitarists do this all the time, harmonic sounds are on 0:07, 1:16, 1:24, 2:46, and 2:53) has a science explanation too. It doesn’t just happen. It happens because it follows science rules.
Lastly, I want to ask another question: Have you ever experienced only hearing the electric bass sound of a group band while the whole band is playing? I have had that experience. And normally you can only hear low frequency sounds from afar. Only when you get nearer, you can hear them all. This, again, is a result of higher amplitude wave travels further.
I found all these interesting and amusing that music is actually an application of science! However, a lot of musicians may not be well aware of this fact. The question is, is it important for musicians to understand the relation of music and science? Or we can also generalize the issue: Is it important for people in general to understand how things actually work despite of the fact that they have already been using them everyday?