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Re: \chordmode vs. \notemode - On the relativity of absolute pitches

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: \chordmode vs. \notemode - On the relativity of absolute pitches
Date: Sat, 23 May 2015 18:40:48 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.0.50 (gnu/linux)

pls <address@hidden> writes:

> On 23.05.2015, at 16:57, David Kastrup <address@hidden> wrote:
>> pls <address@hidden> writes:
>>> Hi all,
>>> here’s another issue I posted somewhere and Carl answered:
>>>>> P.P.S.: On a different note: some day I would like to get to know the
>>>>> reason why in \chordmode the absolute pitches are one octave higher than
>>>>> in note mode.  For chord names correct absolute pitches don¹t matter. But
>>>>> they do when also using \chordmode in a Staff context.  Mixing both modes
>>>>> is rather error prone.
>>>> I do not know the answer why, but I believe it is intentional.
>> Definitely is.  Try it on piano.  The chords one octave lower are just
>> too mushy.  
> That’s not the point.  No one complains about having to specify the
> appropriate octave in \notemode.  You just enter c’ when you mean c’.

Come again?  People use \relative and \transpose (and now \fixed) in
order _not_ to have to enter c' when they mean c'.  Apart from fullblown
\transpose, those modes don't combine with \chordmode.

> If you entered c instead of c’ in \notemode you couldn't seriously
> complain about the sound of your instrument being too mushy,
> either. In \chordmode you *have* to enter c when you actually mean c’.
> That’s inconsistent.

Most people make sure that they only need to enter c when they actually
mean c' one way or another.

>> That a guitar can sound somewhat lower chords tolerably is
>> sort of irrelevant here since a guitar does not usefully follow the
>> chord voicings of \chordmode.
> Only a few chord voicing are really difficult (and very few
> impossible) to play on a guitar.

Oh come one.  How many properly voiced chords are available? C and G,
and you'll rarely stop after four notes either, particularly not with G.
And pretty much all of the rest in first position starts with a fifth
rather than a third.

That's not useful as a principal input mode.

>> Don't see the point, frankly.  Making \chordmode more generally
>> useful (like being able to get Fretboard-based voicings into Staff,
>> or map chords to their single octave inversions used for accordion
>> notation, or get either of those options into Midi): quite useful.
>> But putting everything one octave down without any other change:
>> don't see the point.
> I’d say it’s rather the other way around: \chordmode currently puts
> everything up by one octave in order to make note entry easier for
> some selected instruments

But putting everything one octave down would make it less useful for
piano and not more useful for anything else.  So where's the point?

> and thereby relativizes the absoluteness of the pitch names.

Chord mode chords do not really have all that much of an absolute
flavor.  For example, there is no difference between c/g and c/g' (you
need c'/g to get a difference).

I am not saying that there isn't a lot which may warrant improving.  But
a different fixed octave?  That's not really adding any use cases while
still changing the meaning of every existing score.

David Kastrup

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