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The nature chord #2659400
07/06/17 06:20 PM
07/06/17 06:20 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 23,951
New York City
pianoloverus Online content OP
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pianoloverus  Online Content OP
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(I also posted this on the Tech Forum but I think it is relevant to both.)

I'm going to try and describe as best I can an interesting conversation I had with my tech at the end of yesterday's tuning. Some of what I say may not be completely correct because of my memory or not totally understanding what he said. I am very curious if other techs use this idea when tuning.

I had noticed for a long time(he has tuned my piano for at least a decade)that near the end of the tuning session he would often play Impressionistic sounding rolled chords in the treble. I had no idea why he was doing this but I asked him yesterday.

He said(I may not remember or express this correctly)these chords were called nature or natural chords. He uses these chords to help evaluate if notes in the high treble is tuned correctly. These chords consist of notes whose successive partials are the note, call it x, in the treble he is evaluating. I can't give you the specific notes he mentioned because I don't know the overtone series except for the first two partials but the top note in the chord, call it "p", would have x as its first overtone.The note below p, call it q, would have x as its second overtone. The note below q, call it r, would have x as its third overtone, etc.

I don't know how many notes he plays when he plays the nature chord but my guess is around 8. Somehow listening to the nature chord helps him tell if the note x is stretched the right amount. I think he said the nature chord is like an upside down harmonic series.

Anyone else use this idea or hear about it? For those who are familiar with this concept, have I described it reasonably correctly?

Last edited by pianoloverus; 07/06/17 06:42 PM.
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Re: The nature chord [Re: pianoloverus] #2659414
07/06/17 06:58 PM
07/06/17 06:58 PM
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Posts: 12,058
Georgia, USA
Rickster Offline
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Deleted...

Last edited by Rickster; 07/06/17 11:17 PM. Reason: Deleted

Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: The nature chord [Re: Rickster] #2659441
07/06/17 08:13 PM
07/06/17 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Rickster
Pianoloverus, I think what you describe is pretty much what most all musicians, who tune their own instruments (with the exception of most piano musicians, of course) recognize as natural intonation or melodic harmony. Having played the guitar, banjo and violin many years before I ever owned a piano, I learned to tune my instruments, without an electronic tuning device, with only one or two notes as benchmark. For example, on the guitar, the bottom string is E major and the top string is E major. Get a good E note, and you could tune the rest with the "nature chords"; yes, there are more than one. You can then use the E major chord to check and see if the other 4 strings/notes on the guitar are tuned correctly.

It is the same with the violin, E, A, D & G from the bottom up. Tune either note, and you should be able to tune the other three by use of the nature chord(s).

Just like a piano tuner that uses only an A-440 tuning fork; Once you get the A note right, you can tune the other 87 notes accordingly, using natural chord combinations and intervals. If a note is off a bit, the nature chord will sound sour or dissonant.

This is my understanding of the nature chord.

Interesting topic...

Rick
I'm not sure but I don't see how what you talked about is related to what my tech said.

I'll try to be more specific(I looked up the harmonic series so I can give some specific notes in the nature chord). If my tech wanted to test the stretch on the highest C on the piano, the nature chord for that note would consist of (going from the top of the chord down) the C below the highest C, the F below that note, the C below that note, the A -flat below that note, the F below that note, etc. i.e. the intervals(octave, fifth, perfect 4th, major 3rd, minor 3rd, etc.) in the harmonic series but going downward. Since all of those notes have the highest C as one of their overtones, he can somehow evaluate the stretch by listening to this nature chord.

Re: The nature chord [Re: pianoloverus] #2659447
07/06/17 08:29 PM
07/06/17 08:29 PM
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If you play the first 8 ascending tones on a horn, for example, you will get the the fundamental pitch, known as the first partial, followed by seven more pitches, each exactly a unitary increasing integer of the fundamental pitch.

Example, 100Hz, 200Hz, 300Hz, 400Hz, 500Hz, 600Hz, 700Hz, 800Hz. These represent the beginning of the just intonation diatonic scale.

If one calls 100Hz the first degree of the scale, say 'C1' (it isn't really even close, but the idea is sound), then 200Hz is C2, 300Hz is G2, 400Hz is C3, 500Hz is E3, 600Hz is G3, 700Hz is is Bbb3 (really flat Bob), and 800Hz is C4. Adding 900Hz will give you D4, 1000Hz will give you E4.

Each one of these partials is contained in the 'C1', but also occurs in the notes associated in the scale. In an idealized piano (not possible), the pitches of all the partials would precisely match the pitches of the higher notes. Due to the inharmonicity of the strings, this is not possible, but a pleasant compromise is possible. To that is your tuner listening.

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Re: The nature chord [Re: pianoloverus] #2659478
07/06/17 10:50 PM
07/06/17 10:50 PM
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Posts: 12,058
Georgia, USA
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Another nature chord is when the Mockingbird sings his/her song at first light. That is one of the best nature chords, lacking inharmonicity or the need for stretch.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: The nature chord [Re: pianoloverus] #2659672
07/07/17 03:10 PM
07/07/17 03:10 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 23,951
New York City
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Here's a better explanation and correct naming from Ed Sutton on the Tech Forum:

"It is properly called the Chord of Nature, and in theory consists of all the notes which have a partial at the given note. For testing purposes you may first play the chord (or really just a top part of the chord) minus the note where all the partials coincide, then play the note to hear if it "fits."
For example, for C7, the test chord could include C6, F5, C5 and G#4 (play these notes and you will hear the coincident partials at C7). You could also add F4, D4, C4, A#3 and G#3, but the effect gets blurred. In theory every note from F#3 down has a partial in the vicinity of C7, but I don't think these will be very helpful in tuning!
Putting it another way, all the notes used in aural tests are, in some way, part of the chord of nature for the coincident partials being tested."

Last edited by pianoloverus; 07/07/17 03:12 PM.

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