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Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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Tuning Overtone Melodies

Fine-tune options are useful for the purposes of overtone melodies. Characterized by instruments such as the didgeridoo and the Jew’s harp, overtone melodies use only the overtones or partials of a fundamental. (Refer to Chapter1 to review an explanation of what these are.) Buddhist monks sing overtone melodies, and they have developed remarkable singing techniques where they can sing two notes at the same time—the fundamental and the harmonics. The effect is quite amazing.

Equal temperament does not give the correct pitches for overtone melodies. To create an overtone melody, you would need to fine-tune the keyboard as you see in Figure 25.5.

Figure 25.5. Harmonic series fine-tuned keyboard.

This gives every harmonic ...

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