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Music

For archive (Updated on February 6, 2019)

Some Basics

From a High School Physics book (donated by Asia Foundation or Ford Foundation), I learned about the 12-note logarithmic scale used in music.

Two notes that are an octave apart have frequencies where the higher note has twice the frequency of the lower note.

The 12 notes correspond to the 7 white keys and 5 black keys for an octave on the traditional piano keyboard.

Most beginners use only the white keys to play music in C major.

Some simple Oriental tunes can be played using only the black keys.

Most musical instruments generate sound from the physical movement.

  • When we play music on the old piano, it strikes a set of strings with the selected hammers. The sounds can be controlled with the aid of pedals.
  • When we play music on a guitar, the vibration of the strings produce the sounds. With the aid of electrical and electronic devices, the sounds can be synthesized.

The variety of musical instruments is due in part to the differences in generating the musical envelope with

  • rise/attack
  • sustain
  • fall/decay

There are courses and books on the theory and practice of music.

We also learned about programs to provide transposition and harmony.

The audio tapes and the CDs have given way to iPod (and a slew of MP3 players).

Eddie Aung Thet, younger brother of Robert Win Boh, used to play the guitar with some professional groups back in Burma. Later in the US, he took a course in MIDI and related topics, and is now very conversant with digital music composition.

I started playing Burmese tunes (e.g. Mar Mar Aye’s songs) that were annotated with the Do-re-me (1-2-3) notation. I also tried briefly to play using the formal music sheet.

I ended up “playing by ear”. My repertoire is limited, but I can play some instruments to relieve my stress.

Some say that Music is Mathematics for the Mind, or vice versa.

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