"...the sympathetic frequencies and deep harmonies in this universe, which can be intuitively felt but hardly explained, may well be a source of more than matter or life or mind." -Guy Murchie
Music is not an arbitrary invention dependent on cultural whims or accidents
Music is the deepest and purest form of interspecies communication, derived from perceptions of the inevitable and immutable forms created by the complex interactions of vibrating bodies. A body in vibration defines a universe of possibility, a universe of tones who's relationships in the unconscious unfolding of music making follow laws similar to gravity or the electromagnetic force. Uberstring theory is the exposition the "laws" and of how the music of Earthlings (the only evidence I have so far) follow these laws.
ALL vibrating bodies vibrate in both whole and in parts; in most cases those parts are integer ratios e.g. 2:1, 3:1, 4:1 etc. This creates a tone cluster, called the "overtone series" or "harmonic series" - the relative amplitude levels of the various pitches determines the tone quality of the vibrating body the pitches described as scalur intervals are: 2:1, 4:1, 8:1, 16:1, etc. = the octave or unison, 3:1, 6:1, 12:1, etc.= the fifth, 5:1, 10:1, 20:1, etc = a major third 7:1, 14:1, etc = a minor seventh 9:1, 18:1, etc. = a major second, or "whole tone" 11:1, 22:1, etc. = a tritone 13:1, etc. = minor sixth 15:1, etc. = major seventh Since ALL vibrating bodies break up this way, more or less, the tympanum, or ear drum, ALSO breaks up producing overtones. That means even if it were possible to create in air a perfect simple tone - with no overtones at all, one could not perceive it so, since one's ear drum would add at least a few "overtones". What is called "just intonation" comes from the overtone series, but check two things out: 1) the series produces no common human musical mode 2) not all vibrating bodies break up into integer ratios (e.g. - metalophones, cymbals & gongs) 1) there is no common human musical scale described within the range perceptible as pitches. If we normalize the series to an octave we get: 4:1 9:8 5:4 3:2 13:8 7:4 do re mi sol le ta do (le = "la flat", ta= "ti flat") 1 2 3 5 6 7 It should be noted that, in the overtone series, the first tritone (interval of 3 whole tones) is encountered is between The 5th harmonic, 5:4 a major third, and The 7th harmonic, 7:4 a minor seventh So even a fairly simple vibrating body at, say, 329.23Hz (F above middle C) is really a DOMINANT 7th chord wanting to resolve, to resolve to the implied tonic of Bb. In Uberstring theory, the most powerful force in tonal music is the TRITONE; an unstable compound that must either EXPLODE or IMPLODE, depending on tonal context. Heres the argument: The natural valence of the conscious perception of simple vibrating body is The 7th Harmonic tends to resolve DOWN a half step The 5th Harmonic tends to resolve UP a half step Creating the TONAL center Which is the note in the relation 4:3 to the fundamental; a note itself not in the overtone series, but implied as the tonal center of the "Universe Of Possibility" created by the overtone series. For example a simple vibration of 329.23Hz, the F above middle C, creates the following tritone and implies a TONAL center of Bb: Eb -7th harmonic- D Wants to IMPLODE to the major third A -5th harmonic- Bb And its inversion A Bb Wants to EXPLODE to the minor sixth Eb D Heres where things can get real fun, vis--vis substitutions, ... In equal temperament it is fairly easy to create a context where the EXPLOSIVE tritone A Eb Can function as its enharmonic equivalent A D# Which now IMPLODES to: G# E (new tonal center) Please notice the new tonal center of the enharmonic modulation, E, is a tritone from the old tonal center Bb! It is in equal temperament that tritone substitutions work best and provide so many opportunities for chord substitutions with or without implied modulations. But where do the commonly used justly intoned modes come from? The major mode do re mi fa sol la ti do the Minor mode do re ma fa sol le ta do "Mixolydian" do re mi fa sol la ta do "Hijaz" do ra mi# fa sol le ta (ti) do All 72 srutis of Carnatic theory - that is 72 notes to the octave from which -essentially- all humanly used modes are built and the 12 note tempered scale of Western "art" and commercial music since the 18th Century are meant to represent - can be derived from thinking of pitches as a kind of "solar system" of which the TRITONE is the great force of gravity - defining, but not being, the tonal center - something like the Sun. Pitches derived from the first 15 overtones are primary satellites, each defining their own subordinate "Universe of Possibility" One of the best ways to visualize this is from my esteemed predecesor Roger Fludd:-djg (stay tuned for more, or email djg at(@) well.com)
2) What about non-linear series? Most metalophones break up in a non-linear way, that is they do NOT produce an overtone series of integer ratios. This is why most cymbals are pitch indistinct and why many musics based primarily on metalophone orchestras (Indonesian, Thai, ) have developed such seemingly odd (to other ears) scales.
Brown, G. Spencer Laws of Form 1972 Julian Press, NY
Sethares, William A.
Tuning Timbre Spectrum Scale 1998 Springer Verlag
I'd like to think Uberstring Theory is not just about music -
albeit all music - but will provide a key link in the quest
of a "Theory of Everything" - will provide the key to where
consciousness fits in with "M Theory". My clues that I am on
the right track here come from contemporary physicists
Paul Davies and
Roger Penrose, and
, but even more so from:
Damasio A.R. The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness Harcourt Brace, New York, 1999, 2000.
In most Indian theory, both Hindustani and Carnatic and their close relatives, it is far more useful to discuss a scale of 22 scrutis - that is, identifiable notes - but some Carnatic theoriests are much closer to "Uberstring" theory in discussing 72, which accounts for greater and greater subtlties - a good general discussion of the 22 can be found at http://www.carnaticcorner.com/articles/22_srutis.htm. This excellent resource, which is in close harmony with Uberstring Theory, briefly discusses the theory of 72 srutis. Another discussion which gives it more credence, but is less closely related to Uberstring theory can be found at: http://www.raganet.com/RagaNet/Issues/4/72part1.html
and a related 72 note tempered discussion at: and a related 72 note tempered discussion at: http://www.72note.com/danielou/sruti.html and historical discussion at: http://carnatica.net/special/essay-shrikaanth.htm
Good discussion of Qin (Ming Dynasty Chinese classical) Music... I know nothing of this music, but the discussion of tuning and intonation here is germaine to umberstring Theory.