I was awakened last night by a sound that has baffled me for years, the sound that, in fact, helped give rise to a whole new way of thinking about tone-relatedness: the opening sound of Schumann's Waldszenen (Forest Scenes).  (This is the subject of the second book of Tonal Refraction, due to hit the press any day now.)  What awakened me was the realization that if I were to write down in standard notation what I hear when I make that sound on the piano it would not correspond to the printed notation.  What I hear is a B-flat and two D's.  But only one of the D's is a played key, the other is a clear overtone one octave higher.  The B-flat reinforces the D overtone that so confuses me.  

The forest is Schumann's world of piano sound.  It is confusions of all sorts, some real, some imagined, some menacing, others trite.  Nothing simple about it.

 


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