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Quarter Note

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About Quarter Note

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  1. Hi, @serendipitous journey! I wish that you and I could sit down together at a piano and talk this through! I’ll do my best to help. First of all, I highly recommend the book How Music Works: The Science and Psychology of Beautiful Sounds, from Beethoven to the Beatles and Beyond by John Powell. It’s been a few years since I’ve read it, so I don’t know if it will address all of your questions, but it is an excellent introduction and very accessible to the layman. The most important thing to remember is that, at its most basic, music is simply physical sound waves. In physics, waves are measured by different characteristics: frequency, amplitude, and wavelength (all of which matter in music). When you are talking about intervals, you are really talking about the ratios of the frequencies of two or more sound waves. The standard tuning frequency is that the note A1 = 440 Hz. So A2, one octave higher, is 2 x 440 Hz, or 880 Hz. That’s the 2:1 ratio of an octave. The ratio of 1.5:1 (or, in integers, 3:2) is a particularly pleasing-to-the-ear interval. (That’s the perfect fifth. I’ll get to why it’s a “fifth” in a moment.) The smaller the integers, the easier it is on the ear. Here’s one to take on faith, though one can dig up the numbers (and, I believe, the Powell book goes through the math): mathematically it works out best that there are seven notes between that 2:1 octave (counting the first, but not counting the octave) to make an easy-on-our-ears major scale. Those are the “tones”, and again, it all goes back to those small-integer ratios. (So, the ratio between the first note and another note higher in pitch in those eight-note divisions that gives you a 3:2 ratio of frequencies is the first and the fifth notes of the scale, so we call it a "fifth".) Well, our music is more interesting with more than just the major scale, so the next mathematically-easy-on-the-ears division is for 12 notes (again counting the first but not counting the octave). Those extra notes are the “semitones”. Remember that this all started out with the voice, followed by pitched wind and string instruments, not the piano. The black and white keys on a piano are just a convenience. In the voice and in non-keyboard instruments, the “easiest” scale may not be the C scale on the piano, simply because there is no convenient arrangement of black and white keys on a flute or a trumpet or a cello, and certainly not in the voice! Why not make the “A” scale the all-white keys on the piano? Great question! I’ll have to look that one up, and I’m sure that there is a logical explanation. You certainly could tune a piano that way – but then, you’d have to get every pianist in the world to switch over and transpose all their music and relearn everything that they’ve spent their whole lives learning, and that’s not going to happen. So, the related question is, then, why did people decide on A1 = 440Hz? Well, it didn’t used to be a standard. (Some historical organs and other period instruments are still tuned to another frequency.) It used to be that every ensemble picked some note and all the players in the ensemble tuned to that. But eventually, with more travel between population centers, musicians had to have a standard, and A1=440 came to be it. This is just the tip of the iceberg, based on what seem to be the biggest questions in your post. The Powell book will explain a lot more and better than I can (and your husband's colleague will explain it the best), but hopefully this will be a start for you. Best wishes, and good for you for asking these questions!
  2. Homer Price by Robert McCloskey. It's very funny. It's even Classical. I mean, with a main character named Homer, and uncles named Ulysses and Telemachus who are always exclaiming, "By Zeus!", how much more high-brow can you get? 😉
  3. Oooh! I’ll write you an essay! I came to poetry as a musician, attracted to the beauty of the sound and rhythm of language. All the earlier posters have given you great resources. But I’ll try to sell you on a few of my favorites, focusing on sound and rhythm. One of my favorite poems for the sheer beauty of language is "When We Two Parted", by Byron. The topic is depressing (that’s NOT why I love the poem!): It’s about a jilted lover telling (in imagination, I assume) how he would react if he were accidentally to meet his former love interest sometime afterwards, but the language is lyrically gorgeous. Here is the third stanza, my favorite: They name thee before me, A knell to mine ear; A shudder comes o'er me - Why wert thou so dear? They know not I knew thee, Who knew thee too well - Long, long I shall rue thee, Too deeply to tell. Read it out loud and and let your tongue roll over all those delicious “n’s” and “oo’s”. Then the gentle triplets abruptly stop short with the first “long”, like a punch to the narrator’s Romantic gut. It’s amazing how Byron could convey so much with a limited set of sounds. (For a far more uplifting poem of Byron’s, check out "She Walks in Beauty". There’s some really nice alliteration in the first few lines.) Edgar Allan Poe was superb at turning language into music. In fact, it was his essay, "The Philosophy of Composition", in which he detailed his process for composing "The Raven", that first introduced me to the idea that the sound of language itself could be beautiful. Here are just four lines from his poem "Annabel Lee" (yes, another depressing one, but gorgeous sounds): For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; Read them out loud, with a slight drawing out of the internal rhymes (“beams” and “dreams”, and “rise” and “eyes”). Listen for the repeating “m”s and “b”s. It’s like linguistic chocolate. For devotional poetry, please look at the wonderful Scottish Metrical Psalter. These are the psalms arranged for rhyme and meter. In my opinion, the most beautiful of these versified psalms (and, of course, the most well-know), is Psalm 23. You may already know it versified like this. Here is the first stanza: The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want. He makes me down to lie. In pastures green: he leadeth me The quiet waters by. You may want to listen to it set to music, reading the text at the same time. Brother James' Air is simply the most beautiful setting for this versified Psalm 23 that I know. (Oh, please do listen to it! It’s gorgeous!) Other favorite Psalms from the Scottish Metrical Psalter are 1, 84, and 121. In fact, when I have my kids memorize psalms, we always memorize them in these versified forms, because I think they stick better, especially when set to music, and they’re just plain beautiful. Check out this hymn setting (you'll need to add the singing yourself!) of the first part of Psalm 84 from the Psalter. For narrative poetry, my first recommendation would be "The Courtship of Miles Standish" by Longfellow. It’s not too long, the plot is accessible, it has some gentle humor, and of course, there is the sweet romance. I know this has been practically a book, but it’s hard not to gush about beautiful poems. Best wishes to you as you delve deeper into poetry!
  4. You are all inspiring me! I have been trying to learn German and Italian for ages, but it has been slow going, mainly because I just haven't been able to give daily time to language acquisition. My reason for learning those two languages hasn't been mentioned yet. Those languages are very beautiful when they are sung! I would love to be more familiar with German for listening to Schubert lieder, and to Italian for listening to opera.
  5. @scbusf, thank you very much for sharing your daughter's experience. This gives me hope! Best wishes to your daughter and you. I hope that she continues to improve.
  6. I checked and unfortunately, the wildlife center nearest us has an age limit of 18. But, there's nothing wrong with us hanging out at the raptor cages so often that the staff gets to know us. Many thanks for planting this idea in my head!
  7. Thank you, @BeachGal! I will definitely look into this and read the links you posted. This will be another question for my son's pediatrician. (Appointment coming up soon.)
  8. Thank you so much, @PeterPan! It really helps to hear how Interlocution is the foundations for the Zones work. Zones was a little frustrating for me, because while I got lots of good language from the book, my kids simply weren't ready to apply it. I'll ask our pediatrician about the genetic stuff at our next appointment. She'll probably know how to proceed. Many thanks!
  9. @Ktgrok, what a wonderful story about your son! I can see my son wanting to do some volunteer work just like that - but it will have to be in a few years. I suspect he's too young to volunteer for high-responsibility jobs at the wildlife center near us. This does give me some other ideas, though.... I really appreciate you sharing his experience!
  10. Thank you, @matrips! He has not had any blood work done, but I will mention it to his doctor at his next appointment (coming up soon).
  11. @Ktgrok, please tell me more about what your son did in his work with birds of prey, because my son loves anything to do with birds of prey, also! And thank you for the reminder that anger may be depression directed outward. We have wondered if my son may also be depressed.
  12. Thank you, @Terabith! We are also looking at gymnastics, too. It's good to have more options.
  13. Hi @PeterPan. Who would we go to for "running genetics"? This isn't something that his pediatrician has mentioned, but she may be very open to it. (She's a really open-minded doc.) Also, is the Interoception book anything like the Social Thinking materials? We went through both Zones of Regulation and We Thinkers, but neither seemed to register with him. But the Interoception concept (as far as I read on the link you provided) certainly seems to make sense.
  14. Thank you, @Katy! That's interesting that you see the connection to martial arts. My son also takes jiu-jitsu, but the PT says it may not be enough. Maybe working with horses will complement his martial arts practice.
  15. Æthelryth, thank you for sharing what you've seen. If it can do miracles for some kids, that gives me hope. Maybe it's more likely to help my son since he already wants to go back to the stable.
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