MusicNovatory/Introduction/Reference/Comments and Questions/Introduction/Volume and Timbre

I am particularly interested in arranging and orchestration. What section(s) of the site would you recommend?

Please see the answer to the next question, below.

The four principal "dimensions" of music have always been: Time, Pitch, Volume and Timbre. I was fascinated by the addition of (a) Beat/Off-beat (qualitative dimension) in Time and (b) Chrominicism (qualitative dimension) in Pitch. How come you do not mention Volume and Timbre?

- We will answer both of the previous questions together because their answers cover pretty much the same ground.

The reason we have not mentioned Volume and Timbre is that they are the quantitative and qualitative dimensions of a third World, that of Energy. Volume is simply the result of the total energy involved, whereas Timbre is the result of the proportions in which this total energy is used in the Natural Harmonics (see the JUST INTONATION section on the site). The more energy there is in the upper harmonics, the more the Timbre is nasal and bright. The more energy there is in the fundamental harmonic (#1) the more the timbre is "fluted" and dark. This is a very important part of the art of orchestration because the dark sounds can act as good accompaniment for the bright sounds, but not the other way around. Needless to add that Volume is also crucial to orchestration in order to establish good balance between the parts.

Now the reason we have not mentioned these two dimensions in the World of Energy is because they affect performance far more than they affect the basic structure of a piece of music. Changing the orchestration of a piece (transcribing a piano piece for orchestra, for example) does not, and certainly should not, basically change the essence of the original. For the present, we find that we have our hands full presenting the basic elements of composition, but we will certainly look into this in due time.

However, arranging is not merely orchestration. It also includes proper harmonization, often with more sophisticated sonorities (this you will find in HARMONY-TRANSFORMATIONS). Development of Melodic treatment and transformation, and the creation of counter-melodies will be coming shortly, as well.