Month: March 2020

“The Shaping of Harmony:” A Brief History of Temperament in Western Civilization

“The Shaping of Harmony” A Brief History of Temperament in Western Civilization by Adam Ahuja   The modern quantum physicist finds himself in a moment of imperfection when studying particle physics. As soon as he comes to understand the position of a particle, he cannot measure its velocity. On the other hand, as soon as she measures the velocity, she knows not the particle’s position. It is a game of constant trickery.   Humanity’s relationship with harmony, in many ways, has been similar to the quantum quandary. There is an inherent complication when considering the tonal position in a passage of music and its related harmony. On one hand, harmonies and melodies can be understood as flowing forth as natural whole number ratios stemming from a single position, the key center. However, when the tonal center moves from one position to the next, the ratio of harmonies must then move to accommodate the new key, as we strive, on some level, to maintain mathematically purity from one key to the next. In theory, this doesn’t sound too complicated; we may just shift harmonies to accommodate their new tonal center. This does tend to be the case when performing music for

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