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The Minor third – a mystery revealed

music-evoked emotion
The paradox of music-evoked sadness

Taruffi L, Koelsch S – Published October 20, 2014

music-evoked emotion
music-evoked emotion

Department of Educational Sciences & Psychology and Cluster of Excellence, “Languages of Emotion”, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany

This study explores listeners’ experience of music-evoked sadness. Sadness is typically assumed to be undesirable and is therefore usually avoided in everyday life. Yet the question remains: Why do people seek and appreciate sadness in music? We present findings from an online survey with both Western and Eastern participants (N?=?772). The survey investigates the rewarding aspects of music-evoked sadness, as well as the relative contribution of listener characteristics and situational factors to the appreciation of sad music. The survey also examines the different principles through which sadness is evoked by music, and their interaction with personality traits.

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We Three Kings

Kings College sings "We Three Kings"

King’s College Choir

Kings College

The Choir owes its existence to King Henry VI to sing daily services in his magnificent chapel. This remains the Choir’s role and is an important part of the lives of its 16 choristers, 14 choral scholars and two organ scholars, who study a variety of subjects in the College.
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A Munchkin Welcome – The Wizard Of Oz

Lollipop Guild
A Munchkin Welcome - The Wizard Of Oz

The Lullaby League and the Lollipop Guild greet Dorothy. 


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Three is the Magic Number – Blind Melon

Three is the Magic Number - Blind Melon
Three is the Magic Number by Blind Melon
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Three Little Pigs Bop

3 Little Bops
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R.E.M. Breaks Up After Three Decades

By Matthew Perpetua

Michael Stipe of REMSeptember 21, 2011 1:25 PM ET Michael Stipe of REM performs during the Voodoo Experience Festival in New Orleans.Sean Gardner/Getty ImagesR.E.M. announced today that they have broken up after 31 years together. “As lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band,” the band said in a statement on their official website. “We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished.”

In just over three decades as a band, R.E.M. released 15 albums including landmark works such as Murmur, Reckoning, Document, Out of Time and Automatic For the People. The band’s final album, Collapse Into Now, was released in March of this year. The band have plans to release a career-spanning greatest hits collection later this year, which will include a handful of new songs finished after the band completed Collapse Into Now.

“During our last tour, and while making Collapse Into Now and putting together this greatest hits retrospective, we started asking ourselves, ‘what next’?,” bassist Mike Mills wrote on the R.E.M. site. “Working through our music and memories from over three decades was a hell of a journey. We realized that these songs seemed to draw a natural line under the last 31 years of our working together.”

Mills insists that the band have ended their working relationship on very good terms. “We feel kind of like pioneers in this,” he says. “There’s no disharmony here, no falling-outs, no lawyers squaring-off. We’ve made this decision together, amicably and with each other’s best interests at heart. The time just feels right.”

“I hope our fans realize this wasn’t an easy decision; but all things must end, and we wanted to do it right, to do it our way,” says frontman Michael Stipe.

Ethan Kaplan, owner of the R.E.M. fan community Murmurs and former Senior Vice President of Emerging Technology at Warner Bros. Records, says that the band’s decision was influenced in part by label politics. “I suspected this was coming last fall,” Kaplan tells Rolling Stone. “If you remember, they weathered a lot of storms in this business, and have always operated on their own terms. [Warner Bros.] changed starting last September, and I think the demands on a band now to get a record out were more than they might have wanted to commit. I can understand that after how hard they worked for how long, the thought of going back to ‘paying dues’ with new label staff, in a very weird industry, was too much.”

In a 2007 Rolling Stone interview, Stipe summed it up nicely. “We didn’t set out for this to be a career. We just knew it was something we wanted to do, and we would stop when we didn’t want to do it anymore.”

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Music Theory Chords

  1. Music. A combination of three or more pitches sounded simultaneously.
  2. Harmony, as of color.

v., chord·ed, chord·ing, chords. v.intr.

  1. To be in accord; agree.
  2. Music. To play chords on an instrument.

  1. Music. To play chords on.
  2. To harmonize.
Pictures at an Exhibition-Great Gate of Kiev

In tonal music the fundamental chord is called the triad. It consists of three pitches, two a perfect fifth apart and a third pitch a major or minor third lower, forming respectively the major or minor triad. However, a triad may instead be diminished or augmented, or may contain dissonant elements such as a seventh. In atonal music, other types of chord formations occur. It is, however, an essential property of a chord that it be conceived as an entity, that its constituent notes “fuse” rather than merely coincide in time.

The most frequently encountered chords are triads, so called because they consist of three distinct notes: further notes may be added to give seventh chords, extended chords, or added tone chords. The most common chords are the major and minor triads and then the augmented and diminished triads. The descriptions “major”, “minor”, “augmented” and “diminished” are sometimes referred to collectively as chordal “quality”. Chords are also commonly classed by their root note so, for instance, the chord C Major may be described as a triad of major quality built upon the note C. Chords may also be classified by inversion, the order in which their notes are stacked.

Definition and history

Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition “Promenade”, is a piece showing an explicit chord progression.(Nattiez 1990, p. 218)

Mussorgsky Pictures at an exhibition chords
Mussorgsky Pictures at an exhibition chords

The English word “chord” derives from Middle English “cord”, a shortening of “accord” in the original sense of “agreement” and later “harmonious sound”. A sequence of chords is known as a chord progression or harmonic progression. These are frequently used in Western music. A chord progression “aims for a definite goal” of establishing (or contradicting) a tonality founded on a key, root or tonic chord. The study of harmony involves chords and chord progressions, and the principles of connection that govern them.

Otto Karolyi writes that “two or more notes sounded simultaneously are known as a chord” though, since instances of any given note in different octaves may be taken as the same note, it is more precise for the purposes of analysis to speak of distinct “pitch classes”. Furthermore, as three notes are needed to define any common chord, three is often taken as the minimum number of notes that form a definite chord. Hence Andrew Surmani, for example, (2004, p. 72) states; “when three or more notes are sounded together, the combination is called a chord” and George T. Jones (1994, p. 43) agrees; “two tones sounding together are usually termed an interval, while three or mores tones are called a chord“. According to Monath (1984, p. 37); “A chord is a combination of three or more tones sounded simultaneously” and the distances between the tones are called intervals. However sonorities of two pitches, or even single-note melodies, are commonly heard as “implying” chords.

For a sound configuration to be recognized as a chord it must have a certain duration. But, since a chord may be understood as such even when all its notes are not simultaneously audible, there has been some academic discussion regarding the point at which a group of notes may be called a chord. Jean-Jacques Nattiez (1990, p. 218) explains that “we can encounter ‘pure chords’ in a musical work,” such as in the “Promenade” of Modest Mussorgsky‘s Pictures at an Exhibition but “often, we must go from a textual given to a more abstract representation of the chords being used” – as in Claude Debussy’s Première Arabesque.

Upper stave: Claude Debussy‘s Première Arabesque. The chords on the lower stave are constructed from the notes in the actual piece, shown on the upper stave.

debussy premiere arabesque melody and chords
debussy premiere arabesque melody and chords

In the medieval era, early Christian hymns featured organum (which used the simultaneous perfect intervals of a fourth, a fifth, and an octave), with chord progressions and harmony an incidental result of the emphasis on melodic lines during the medieval and then Renaissance (15-17th centuries).

The Baroque period, the 17th and 18th centuries, began to feature the major and minor scale based tonal system and harmony, including chord progressions and circle progressions. It was in the Baroque period that the accompaniment of melodies with chords was developed, as in figured bass, and the familiar cadences (perfect authentic, etc.). In the Renaissance, “certain dissonant sonorities that suggest the dominant seventh occurred with some frequency.” In the Baroque the dominant seventh proper was introduced and it was in constant use in the Classical and Romantic periods. The leading-tone seventh began to be used in the Baroque and continues. Nondominant seventh chords began to be used in the Baroque period, became frequent in the Classical, began to give way to altered dominantss in the Romantic period, and underwent a resurgence in the Post-Romantic and Impressionistic period.

The Romantic period, the 19th century, featured increased chromaticism. Secondary dominants began to be used in the Baroque, becoming very common in the Romantic period. Many contemporary popular Western genres continue to be founded in simple diatonic harmony, though far from universally: notable exceptions include the music of film scores, which often use chromatic, atonal or post-tonal harmony, and modern jazz (especially circa 1960), in which chords may include up to seven notes (and occasionally more).

Triads consist of three notes; the “root” or “first” note, the “third” and the “fifth”. For example the C major scale consists of the notes C D E F G A B: a triad can be constructed on any note of such a major scale and all will be minor or major except the triad on the seventh or leading-tone which is a diminished chord. A triad formed using the note C itself consists of C, the root note, E (the third note of the scale) and G (the fifth note of the scale). The interval from C to E is of four semitones, a major third, and so this triad is called C Major. A triad formed upon the same scale but with D as the root note, D (root), F (third), A (fifth), on the other hand, has only three semitones between the root and third and is called D minor, a minor triad.

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Three Radio Theremin » Synthtopia

Three Radio Theremin from Yuri Suzuki on Vimeo.

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Peter, Paul, and Mary

Peter Paul and Mary“Peter, Paul and Mary are folk singers.” So stated the liner notes to the group’s self-titled 1962 debut album. Today, this declaration seems redundant, because the term “folk music” has come to be virtually interchangeable with the group name, but when the words were written, they were meant less as a stylistic distinction than as a mission statement.

In the decades prior to the ‘60s, through the work of such avatars as Woody Guthrie, the Weavers and Pete Seeger, folk music had become identified with sociopolitical commentary, but the idiom had been forced underground in the Senator Joe McCarthy witch-hunting era of the late ‘50s.

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Loog – Three string guitar

Another day, another three-stringed guitar on Kickstarter. This instrument comes to us courtesy of Rafael Atijas and started out as a thesis project at NYU. It is a simple, 3-string guitar for kids that is tuned to open chords and allows you to strum up and down the neck without having to perform many fretting maneuvers. The guitar comes unassembled and includes an instruction book.

three string guitar

The Loog Guitar is not only fun and easy, it is also convenient. You can start with the short-scale model, recommended for kids ages 6 to 9, and when the little player grows, you can replace the neck of the guitar without the need to buy a whole new instrument. Just swap the old short-scale neck for the new long-scale neck and you are ready to go.

In fact, every part in The Loog Guitar is interchangeable and compatible will all models. In this way, you can get the triangular-shaped guitar, and if you feel like changing to the rectangular guitar, you can just buy the body, easily attach it and have a brand new looking guitar without the cost of a whole new instrument.

The project isn’t currently funded (we suspect it will be shortly) but the guitar costs $150 and for $300 you get a special lesson from Rafael himself. $500 gets you a few guitars while $1,000 gets you a set of two. The Loog is also upgradeable.

Beginner Guitar HQ – by guitarists for guitarists

E-Sharp maj-1

This is a nice free website that teaches you how to play a guitar in seven days. There are many articles for guitarists by guitarists, so the information is very helpful. Below are a few examples of posts. Please visit their site to learn more at Beginner Guitar HQ

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Three Trapped Tigers

Three Trapped Tigers

Three Trapped Tigers are three guys from the UK who create experimental music. So far they’ve released one EP each year, for the last three years. Each song that they have made on these EPs runs into each other so that each track’s title is numbered chronologically (i.e the three EPs have a total of thirteen tracks numbered one to thirteen).

Despite their serious OCD issues the music is, at first listen, a chaotic. Explosions of aggression from guitars and frenzied trashing chords are all too common in Three Trapped Tigers’ music. On closer inspection, you soon realise there is actually organisation to this sonic madness, extremely tight organisation. So what you actually get is angular riffs, rave synth lines, electronic beats sporadically taking over the drums and soothing downtempo pads. You realise that you actually end up where you started, there are so many sounds going on, placed with extreme accuracy to shock you at the perfect moment.

Video on Vimo here

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Three Dog Night

Three Dog NightThree Dog Night touted itself on being "pure entertainment" in an era of musical messages. They were there to look good and make hit records, and that’s exactly what they did, amassing fourteen gold or platinum awards between 1969 and 1976. They outlasted nearly all of their contemporaries, and most of their critics.

"We were blasted back then," said co-founder Danny Hutton, "by people who thought ‘commercial’ was a dirty word. Yeah, we weren’t ‘purists.’ Purists believe there’s some virtue in being unknown and living in poverty. We wanted to play music that would have a broad appeal — please the greatest number of people. If being commercial meant satisfying your audience, then yes, we were commercial. And proud of it."

Three Dog Night began their streak in 1969 with "Try a Little Tenderness," "One," "Easy to Be Hard," and "Eli’s Coming." In 1970, the hits continued with "Celebrate," "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)," "Out in the Country" and "One Man Band." Cory Wells, another founder (along with Chuck Negron), talked about the biggest of those songs.

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