written for Canadian Community News by Mike Sterling
Based upon Dvorak’s
Involute and Voice
Mike Sterling 2016
Patterns in Music
Notice the Patterns! They
more you look, the more you see.
The Bernoulli Involute with 36 strings arranged at 30 degree
In trying to learn something about music and exploring the
musical instrument that I created. I've discovered things new to me. Here is
There is a famous song that most of us have heard from childhood.
It is called 'Going Home'. The music is not difficult, but in
trying to learn the patterns, I was not experienced enough to have
all of them jump out for me.
I use a simple notation that
depends upon colour and the 12 tone intervals that are at the heart
of piano music. This is known as the Chromatic Scale.
Piano music runs from 0 to 8. This is shown in the keyboard layout
below. Only 3 notes are in interval 0 and 1 in interval 8
while the rest have 12 tones.
intervals are called 'octaves', but they consist of 12 tones, not 7.
(the 8th note or 13 note doubles or halves the pitch.)
So, looking at Going Home, you will see that we are dealing with notes
that are part of intervals 3, 4 and 5 of the piano only.
Playing 'Going Home' from the melody only, we use 8 notes out
of 36 possible on the Bernoulli Involute.
We pair them with their vibrations per second. You can
scramble the order in any way you want.
I learned the song 'Going Home' somewhat arduously and I can haltingly play it.
The colours aid me in seeing the patterns. I also put little coloured
dots on the Bernoulli near the base of the strings to conform with
There is nothing new in that or more to the
point ... there is nothing that a beginning piano student could not do better
without any aids. It's not a difficult melody.
What was new for me is this: By experimentation I learned, I can start
at any of the coloured notes, then meander around traversing the other 7 and it still
sounds just fine to me. This procedure generates 'new'
music. I can spin off new tunes kind of
like a jazz pianist might do.
I can go backward, forewords or take most any path with repeats
at my whim. I suspect that gifted musicians know this well
and they can take properly chosen notes and make something out of
them without too much effort. It was a revelation for me, but
probably old hat to good musicians.
Conclusion: I can take a path through the 8 notes in
any order and that path produces 'pleasant sounds' Double and
triple plucking and moving on forward and back works as well.
Does this work because I have distilled the melody of Going Home
down to its most basic tones? Can this 'distillation' be
extended to other well written melodies? I suspect so.
I'd like to hear from readers about this. Have they ever
experimented in this way?
Click the orange arrow to read the second column
Going Home Sung by Legends
Listen to four versions of Going Home
Hearing the same song sung by different voices lends a richness to
the music. Please listen to the four renditions of Going Home.