As many of you know, I am a full-stack web developer by profession. As part of our weekly reading hour, I read (and was clearly excited by) the following passage from David Kadavy‘s Design <for> Hackers:
Music and Dance
Although some experimentation has been done with irrational numbers, such as the golden ratio, the most popular music tends to contain very simple patterns. Most rock songs are in 4/4 time, meaning that there are four beats per measure. Also occasionally found in popular music is 3/4 time, meaning there are three beats per measure; 3/4 time is the time signature of waltz music.
One of the most fascinating examples of proportion in music can be found in proportion’s influence on tone, as shown in Figure 5-15. If you strum an open guitar string tuned to C, you’ll hear a C note. If you shorten the length of the string to half its original length, you’ll hear another C note, but this time an octave higher (the eighth note in the major scale). If you take that same string and strum it instead at three-fourths its original length, you’ll hear an F note (the fourth or subdominant note in the major scale). If you strum the string at two-thirds its original length, you’ll hear a G note (the fifth or dominant note in the major scale).
Shortening a guitar string to three-fourths or two-thirds its original length produces the subdominant and dominant notes, respectively, in the major scale.
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