Overtones in Composition - Isolate Musical Harmonics in Real-Time. Ear Training and Composition using Harmonics. Powerful Narrow-Band Audio EQ. Voice to MIDI. Harmonic Tone Generator.
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The Theory of Perfect Pitch According to Harmonics
Perfect Pitch Training in the Harmonic Equalizer
The harmonic preset named, “Absolute Pitch” is a representation of the prominent harmonics thought to exist for the notes. The purpose of this preset is to exaggerate the perfect pitch qualities of each note in real time as they are played.
Harmonics – Definition
Every tonal sound from an instrument, voice, or any other source contains a fundamental frequency and harmonics (overtones). The harmonics of a tone are multiples of the fundamental frequency. When you play an A440 on your instrument, the sound you hear is made up from 440 Hz, 880 Hz, 1320 Hz, 1760 Hz, 2200 Hz, and so on.
Different instruments have different harmonic spectra. The following diagrams show the spectra for a clarinet and a guitar.
The harmonic spectra are different. The levels of the harmonics of tonal sound contribute to the timbre to the sound. We can easily tell the difference between a clarinet and a guitar because they have very different harmonic spectra.
Regarding perfect pitch, we may assume that musicians who have perfect pitch hear differences in “quality”, or timbre, between the notes. However, the harmonic spectra is determined by the instrument.
The theory of perfect pitch according to harmonics is that differences in harmonic levels between different notes is only perceived by the listener. There is no physical difference in timbre between the different notes. The perceived difference between the notes is due to the frequency response and resonant frequencies of the human ear. Like a microphone, the human ear can hear some frequencies better than others and contains certain parts, which are able to resonate strongly at particular frequencies. Any tonal sound entering the ear involves a range of harmonic frequencies. The result is that we perceive some frequencies as much louder than others even if they have the same physical loudness.
The above graph shows the equal loudness response for the human ear, which is much the same for all people. The bottom red line shows how loud the sound needed to be so that it could be heard by the test subjects. The sound at 20 Hz had to be played at over 70 dB SPL to be heard, while a sound of 1000 Hz could be heard at around 3 dB. The ear is most sensitive at 4000 Hz and a sound at 30 Hz has to be almost one million times as powerful as one at 4 kHz to be perceived the same.
The dips in the graph show the resonances of the ear, which are a result of the combination of resonating parts. For example, the auditory canal has a resonance at about 3 kHz. Other considerations are the vibration of the eardrum, the bones in the middle ear, and the complex behavior of the cochlea.
Of course, the equal loudness response of the ear is only part of the story of human hearing. There are many other phenomena going on when the ear is subjected to multiple frequencies. For example, the extent to which one frequency is masked by another depends greatly on the pitch of these frequencies.
In conclusion, perfect pitch is about the perceived spectra of the harmonics of the notes. On the one hand, there is the physical harmonic spectrum of a tonal sound. On the other, there is an internal spectrum from the response of the ear. It is thought that those who have perfect pitch are able to distinguish the spectrum of the sound resulting from the resonances of the ear from the physical spectrum created by the instrument. The main reason that perfect pitch is so rare could be that we tend to fixate on the fundamental pitch of the notes and, as musicians, the harmonics are not regarded with much importance. To hear with perfect pitch, you need to be able to listen to the harmonics.
For the sake of example, imagine a scenario shown above. Note 1 has Harmonic 2 above Harmonic 1 on the curve, while Note 2 has Harmonic 2 below Harmonic 1 on the curve. This means the relative perceived levels of the harmonics will differ between the two notes.
Harmonic Ear Training
The Harmonic Equalizer has an Ear Training Function to train your recognition of harmonics and harmonic combinations. Simply select the notes you wish to play and the harmonic presets (for example, 1st Harmonics, 2nd Harmonics, or any preset you have created yourself). The Ear Trainer will then play your notes at random and allow you to practice identifying which harmonic is being amplified. The mix between the original signal and the selected harmonics can be adjusted.
Perfect Pitch Training
The harmonic preset named, “Absolute Pitch” is a representation of the prominent harmonics thought to exist for the notes, according to the theory outlined above. The purpose of this preset is to amplify the perfect pitch experience. The Ear Trainer can be used in the same way as Harmonic Ear Training except the task is to identify the note playing, as the perfect pitch quality of each note is exaggerated as it plays.
To get started learning perfect pitch now – download the Harmonic Equalizer here. There is no subscription for the software, only a single one-off low payment! To learn about the many other functions of the Harmonic Equalizer, keep reading…
The Harmonic Equalizer is a 7-band EQ to match the fundamental and first six harmonics of the fundamental frequency at the input. There is also a 20-band harmonic generator, which can add harmonic frequencies. This means you can play notes and melodies in real time and hear whichever harmonics you choose, up to the 19th harmonic. You can choose to amplify or suppress the same harmonics for all the notes you play or you can select different ones. You can pick multiple harmonics or narrow down to just one.
Play your electric guitar or other instrument through the Harmonic EQ and see what sounds you can create! There are many presets already available to set the levels for all the notes. These are based on the various effects and uses for the sounds. For example, play melodies using harmonics, create melodies from harmonics of different notes that are close to one another, create counterpoint between note fundamentals and harmonics. You can set your levels so that a descending note melody creates a simultaneous ascending harmonic melody. Create other-worldly sounds! Some harmonics are not exactly equivalent to any note on the equal temperament scale but we can still use them together with the conventional scale and unlock new melodies using these harmonic frequencies.
As well as the button to play a sample note, there is a file player, which plays a chosen .wav or mp3 file through the live equalizer and detects the fundamental pitch of the audio as it plays. Or the pitch detection may be switched off so that you can choose which audio filters are applied to the audio. The file recorder on the player can be used to record any output at the computer audio out, so can record a live instrument session too.
Full Band EQ
A full band equalizer is also included in the application. The frequency bands used to isolate harmonics are very accurate and precise. The full band EQ presents all of these bands at once for use with file play or live capture.
The midi function does not specifically relate to the Harmonic EQ. It is incorporated into the app to make use of the fast pitch detection of the app. You can play or sing a note into the computer input then the Midi function will play that note on Midi. It can be used to send a signal to a midi output or it can be used with a Virtual Midi Synthesizer or it can send MIDI signals to a VST Host/DAW via LoopBe. Harmonics of the midi notes may be added in real time via the Harmonic Generator.
The Harmonic Equalizer as a VST
The current version of the application cannot be used as a VST plugin, although MIDI signals can be sent to a VST Host. However, the full integration of the Harmonic Equalizer as a VST is definitely on the cards for the upcoming versions. Any purchase of the application includes all future updates.
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