The False Dichotomy of Musical Complexity and Beauty
This chapter is a brief history of musical tunings. From pure just intonation, music based on the natural harmonics, musicians kept making tuning compromises to accommodate greater complexity. Music had to be either very simple and in tune (like ancient music) or more complex and out of tune (like Bach). The 53-note-to-the-octave system allows music to be perfectly in tune and as complex as composers would like it to be. It’s a level of harmoniousness and rich complexity not possible in our current tuning system.
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