Tunings for Nonharmonic Sounds

by William A. Sethares

Dissonance curves provide a systematic way to relate the spectrum of a sound to a scale in which it can be played with maximum consonance. This paper analyzes samples of rock from Chaco Canyon, derives the related scale, and describes several consonance-based ways in which the scale and sound can be musically exploited. An accompanying composition, the Chaco Canyon Rock, demonstrates many of the principles.

This paper was first presented at the Synaesthetica conference in Canberra, Australia, and the ideas were further developed in the book Tuning Timbre Spectrum Scale.

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