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Chord Analysis and Sound

The chord clusters were analysed with a specialised computer program, created by Knut Guettler. The recorded near-field tone spectra were conditioned with A-weighting to simulate the response of the ear, after which the harmonics with the most significant amplitudes were picked as the perceived pitches. For the most part, we have notated tones that sound less than 12 decibels below the loudest partial. In our notation, the fundamental and the fifth with octaves are normally omitted, except for in special cases where they sound very loud. This because they tend to blend in with the fundamental tone, which is always present and dominant. In the notation, the precise pure-tuned intonation of the harmonic series (in cents) is normally not indicated. For example, the 7.partial of the A-string is notated as a G, even though it sounds quite flat. However, where any other tone becomes a quartertone, or closer to a quartertone than a half tone, it is notated as a quartertone in the traditional manner.

The multiphonic sounds were recorded on a double bass by Peter Elias, fitted with Thomastik Spirocore strings. All sound samples are mixed in Pro Tools and have in and out fades, meaning that the samples cannot be used to compare attack and release of tone. The cluster frequencies may turn out slightly different from instrument to instrument, based on the resonances favoured by the particular instrument.

Importantly, the texture of the sound is not notated. We have not indicated whether the sound is bright or dark, intense and strong or dull and soft. A texture can be perceived as very complex, even if only one or two notes are notated in the chart.