Re: indefinite pitch

Subject: Re: indefinite pitch
From: Kevin Austin (
Date: Fri Oct 07 2005 - 22:50:45 EDT

Seems to me that it kinda' sorta like you know, like lacks er,
precision. It seems to get more precarious.

  -- A knob, knot, protuberance, or swelling.

  -- Physics. A point or region of virtually zero amplitude in a
periodic system.

  -- Mathematics. The point at which a continuous curve crosses itself.

Maybe there is a prefered word to "node". The reference below (if
correctly quoted) conjoins spectrum and pitch identification. If the
reference is to the continuum between simple harmonic motion and
stochastic distribution of frequency, that appears to be somewhat
vague to me. (Where is Paris? It's between Chicago and Moscow.)

As the original question was about a technical terms for a spectrum
which seems to have a poorly defined 'most important frequency', the
continuum may not be a simple line.

There is narrow band noise which may appear as 'pitched', and
spectras of sinetones that (in many people) do not induce the
perception of a 'pitched' sound.

Some forms of complex spectra are more easily segregated than others
(several critical bands being excited), producing no sense of "note".

This matter, along with a large number of other aspects of streaming,
critical bandwidths and segregation have been of rather intense
compositional concern to me, and a set of 'solutions' is proposed in
my 12 DX-tures of 1985.
The 12 pieces are closely related. The later ones in the series may
get more to the point more quickly.

It may be that the three or four or five terms we have are inadequate
to start to fully describe the range of possibilities. (??)



At 21:44 -0400 2005/10/07, Greg Eustace wrote:
>Smalley defines a nodal spectrum as "a band or knot of sound which
>resists pitch identification. He places it on a continuum between
>"notes" and "noises".
>Quoting Kevin Austin <>:
>> Or perhaps not. I Google'd with no results that seemed to fit.
>> Node:
> > Physics. A point or region of virtually zero amplitude in a
>periodic system.
> >
> > ??
> > Best
> > Kevin
> >
>> At 09:35 +0100 2005/10/07, Alistair MacDonald wrote:
>> >If I remember correctly, Denis Smalley's Spectromorphology chapter
>> >in The Language of Electroacoustic Music (Ed Emmerson) is useful. He
> > >talks about nodes of frequency.
> > >
> > >Alistair
> > >

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