Interference and the minor triad

This paper was written while I was on my gap year in France. I think I had started it before setting out, but I remember editorial correspondence arriving in Caen, Normandy where I was working as an assistant de langue at L’institution Saint Joseph. The point of the paper is to suggest that the special piquancy of the minor triad is due to the interference frequencies of the tonic and minor third which, unlike those of the major third, are in remote dissonance with the other notes of the triad. The argument was based on pure tones in the untempered scale (sinusoidal waves without overtones) and I side-stepped the problem of how the effect of the minor third could come through music played in a tempered scale. I can’t answer this question now – perhaps the ear adjusts back to pure intervals. The Strad is still published. Has been for 125 yrs, now.

BACK to AFW in print


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