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Thread: scales for wind chimes

  1. #1
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    scales for wind chimes

    what a fun project. i bought some 3/4 " copper pipe and a pipe cutter, used an online tuning calculator, and made a set of wind chimes. thing is, i think i might be getting too much dissonance for a set of chimes (which should sound relaxing, basically--although i am trying to add a few notes of definite mysteriousness. trying to create a more exotic scale). maybe i could get some advice here?

    i'm not yet sure where the dissonance is coming from--i need to do more testing. but here are the intervals i used.

    1, 2, 3, #4, 5, b7, 8, 9, #9

    (forgive my mixing of sharps and flats. this is how i like to think of the scale.)

    so as you can imagine from this, my primary impulse was to create a set of lydian chimes. i had some pipe left over after the fifth and started playing with these other intervals. questions:

    1. i thought that since that sharp 9 is in a higher octave, it wouldnt conflict too much with the natural third in the lower octave. and it's not, near as i can tell. the sharp nine may, however, be in conflict with another interval, which i cant remember right now. any ideas?

    2. i think the flat 7 is in conflict with something, too.

    3. my fifth might be a bit out of tune. i seem to remember the fifth conflicting with one of the higher notes. but obviously, it shouldnt conflict with the flat 7 or the sharp nine...

    i dunno. is this a bad choice for a scale? did i do something stupid? a number of options are open to me right now. what happens if i replace the lower major 3rd with a minor third that matches the sharp nine up above? (i think i might lose the lydian feel. what scale is:

    1, 2, b3, #4, 5, b7, 8, 9, #9?


    but here's another, maybe more serious question:

    is the dissonance i'm hearing coming from too many notes that are a major second apart? cause with wind chimes, notes of the scale often sound together, of course. so i mean, if i remove that 2 there, i wont have to hear 2 and 3 sounding together, or the 1 and 2. so maybe i should *remove* some notes from this scale. what do you guys think?
    "All bad poetry is sincere" -- Oscar Wilde

  2. #2
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    cool idea,

    I think that the half step in between the ninths is going to make it sound bad.

    I would've gone for more of a chordal approach. I feel like a min9 would've sounded cool. Or maybe two chords stacked on each other, although there would be repetition, you could make the lower notes the roots and then stack the rest on top.

    I'd like to hear a recording of your chimes

  3. #3
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    actually the ninth to the sharp ninth sounds excellent. those top three notes all sound ok, even when sounding together. but there are clashes, somewhere, between the high notes (starting with flat 7) and the low notes. basically something in the high registers is clashing with the bottom notes. dont know what it is yet.
    "All bad poetry is sincere" -- Oscar Wilde

  4. #4
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    It might be the 9# and 2? Try getting rid of the second.

    Is it possible to test each one with each other? Let's see... 9 notes... each note has 8 other notes.... so that'd be 72... that's a lot.

    Any chance that you could record it?

  5. #5
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    it's the sharp nine and the flat seven! they're a second tritone within a scale that already has one (the root--sharp four).

    so i guess it's one of two things...
    "All bad poetry is sincere" -- Oscar Wilde

  6. #6
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    oops, no. i made a mistake in that last post. thats not a tritone.
    "All bad poetry is sincere" -- Oscar Wilde

  7. #7
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    wait. yeah.

    im in the key of b.

    a is the flat7 and d sharp is the sharp nine. thats my second tritone...

    someone help. should i remove or alter that flat seven? or the sharp nine?
    "All bad poetry is sincere" -- Oscar Wilde

  8. #8
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    you have a tritone between 1 and #4... the interval between b7 and #9 is an augmented third (a perfect fourth)

    1 #4 b7 #9 together that makes a min7b5

    I think your problem is that you have a 2, #9, and 3. In the same octave those are all a minor 2nd apart (imagine it a 2, #2, and 3).

    Also you have a #4 and 5 which is another min2.

    I don't know, i'm just guessing.


    The b7 is A and the #9 is D, not D#... D# would be the 3rd... this is confusing me... so I guess you do have 2 tritones... but when i play them together it doesn't sound bad to my ears (A D# F B).. i don't know.
    Last edited by snufeldin; 04-28-2005 at 08:19 PM.

  9. #9
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    hey Fortymile,

    Hows that mental excersise I gave you coming alone? Hmmm. ok.

    Here's a suggtestion for your wind chimes. make a short pipe and a long pipe an octave apart. Then divide the difference between them into six. Add this dimmention to the dimention of the smaller pipe and keep adding it until you get six pipes. You should get this scale. Equiptatonic Scale This is a pentatonic scale Where the notes between the prim and the octave are equally spaced. Should sound nice.

  10. #10
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    "The b7 is A and the #9 is D, not D#... D# would be the 3rd... this is confusing me... so I guess you do have 2 tritones... but when i play them together it doesn't sound bad to my ears (A D# F B).. i don't know."


    ----ARGH!!!! i mixed my scales! i always do this! any key im working in, i move it over into the key of C in my head. here, i made the mistake of not remembering that, and i was thinking of the upper octave in the key of C. what an error.

    to get it straight once and for all:

    B, C#, D#, F, F#, A, B, D, D#

    which is:

    1, 2, 3, #4, 5, b7, oct, #9 (a b3 if thought of in lower octave), 10 (a major third if thought of in lower octave).

    this is a grating chord when played as a chord, obviously. i need to eliminate and change some things. why did i do it this way.

    los boleros, ill try that on piano. but my chimes need to have the lydian sharp four. that was the initial goal here. as for your exercise, i havent been working on music since i last posted here. i need to convert that exercise over to piano, and i am very lazy.
    "All bad poetry is sincere" -- Oscar Wilde

  11. #11
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    I think this would sound cool... just an idea.

    C E B C G
    1 3 7 8 12

    or, since you want to add in the #4

    C E B C F#
    1 3 7 8 #11

    I think that m2 between 7 8 would sound cool

  12. #12
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fortymile

    los boleros, ill try that on piano. but my chimes need to have the lydian sharp four. that was the initial goal here. as for your exercise, i havent been working on music since i last posted here. i need to convert that exercise over to piano, and i am very lazy.
    well if it's the lydian mode you are looking for, it's nothing more exotic than just a plain major scale.

    C major = F Lydian

    So if you make it F-G-A-B-C-D-E-F, you will have your sharp fourth.

  13. #13
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    i know what the lydian scale is. you know me, LB, i'm all about modes.

    the problem is that i built a scale where the 'bottom half' is lydian and the top half is something else. something that clashes. the bottom sounds fine. great, even. but the upper notes were all experimental, and they're clashing with the bottom half of the scale, especially when they sound together. i wasnt thinking in terms of 'chords.' i didnt bother to think about how chimes would sustain for a very long time.

    so thats the purpose of this post. i'm keeping at least the 1, 3, #4, and 5. anything else is up for grabs. what other intervals can 'work' with lydian?

    as for the reason why i did this scale in B instead of, say, F, it's because my initial pipe length was random--whatever looked about right to my eye. i then used an online calculator to give me the lengths for the chromatic scale with that initial length as the tonic. technically these chimes use as a tonic a microtone that falls between b and c--i was a little off with that first cut. but it's fine. the scale is in tune relative to itself.
    "All bad poetry is sincere" -- Oscar Wilde

  14. #14
    Latin Wedding Band Los Boleros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fortymile
    so thats the purpose of this post. i'm keeping at least the 1, 3, #4, and 5. anything else is up for grabs. what other intervals can 'work' with lydian?.
    Off the top of my head, I would add to that the b7 and the b9. It will have a very Dominant sound but with a b5 feeling to it. (something that I can totaly relate to. It whould sound real cool with all the notes played at once and sustaining.

  15. #15
    Registered User fortymile's Avatar
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    the flat7 is in there already. youre saying strike the 9 and sharp nine and substitute a flat 9? that would be like the phrygian note, right?
    "All bad poetry is sincere" -- Oscar Wilde

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