Saturday, January 21, 2023

An Insight from the Book "Of Sound Mind"

I've always known that the quality of a note, that which tells me whether it is being played by a violin or trumpet or clarinet, is dependent on the harmonic overtones of the sound wave.  It never occured to me that vowel sounds (as well as consonants and the uniqueness of a person's voice) are also created by the brain's interpretation of sound wave overtones, both harmonic and inharmonic.  

Well, of course.  A sound wave doesn't have any characteristic called eeeness or ooohness or aaahness, much less one called gruffness, whinyness or silveryness.  The brain creates those perceptions out of the sound waves available.

Thinking about the vowel that a musical instrument is "saying" --

The violin says GREEN TEA, "eeeeeeeeeeeee screech"

The trumpet says BLUE MOON, "oooh toot toot toot"

The triangle says WHITE TIE, "tie tie chime chime"

More about onomatopoeia later.

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