Music Theory

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ESB -1138

ESB -1138
Undertone Series:

The concept of the undertone series (the hypothetical division of a fundamental) is useful in creating all kinds of interesting new scales, colors, and modes. This is what gives us a negative harmony, for example. There's this idea of polarity. Basically there's the overtone series (that's positive) and that's things growing up from the note C. It's a series of notes which ring out sympathetically with fundamental and it's pervasive throughout all nature. In other words, it's what naturally creates the major triad. Then there's an inversion of the overtone series called the undertone (that's negative). It doesn't exist in nature. When you invert that major triad you actually get a minor triad based on F. So the inversion of C through the undertone series is a F minor chord. The undertone series isn't talked about that often. It's a very useful theoretical concept if you're looking to expand your ideas beyond what necessarily major and minor are but think of them as reflections from one another.

I definitely recommend listening to Jacob Collier's interview here for more on the undertone series (he goes on the Super Hyper Mega Metal Lydian scale). He explains dividing the minor third into four equal parts and he applies it in a very interesting way:


Also, you can check out Harry Partch who used in his just intonation with the utonal and otonal.

CD vs. Vinyl:

Objectively speaking, there is more information encoded into a 96k 24-bit digital audio file then a vinyl record. There's more dynamic range in the digital audio file. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it is a better musical experience. It might be more enjoyable listening to the vinyl for a variety of reasons. There's a warm, fizz saturation to the sound that might technically make it "worse" but at the same time might be better for certain music. A lot of music benefits from this sort of warming up the sound. But this point is rather, well, pointless as most people consume music through crappy headphones or crappy systems or poor mp3 recordings or streaming through Spotify which is like 96 kbps. That's incredibly low quality. It doesn't matter whether it's CD or vinyl if your headphones are crap.

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