Architecture of Tonality

The charts and articles here explore the principles behind a proposal for unifying the three systems of harmony identified above to benefit the explorations of musicians, teachers, sound practitioners and all people with ears. Most of the general public, and a significant number of musicians, are unaware that the system our guitars and pianos and other western instruments are designed around called “equal temperament”, has strengths and weaknesses, was not given to us by the geometry of nature, and is not the only one used in the world today. I will call this the world of Tempered Harmony to facilitate eventually linking the three together as One Harmony. It came forward as a compromise in the 1700-1800’s and elicited great passions, pro and con, among musicians, clergy, architects, mathematicians et al. at the time.

My further intention is to reveal the larger context by identifying Proportional Harmony as used around the world (known as Just Intonation) and present Elemental Harmony as a mostly unrecognized system for designing instruments and producing tones. Finally I illuminate the best uses and differences between these three worlds of harmony. Where these three systems intersect (purple, orange, grey ) is fascinating unexplored territory for the developing of new instruments, adapting of current instruments, and spotlighting arenas of technique musicians naturally explore, without necessarily knowing this is going on.

AOT article
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AOT accompanying chart
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AOT chart of explorations
identifies creative musicians and instrument designers
exploring the intersection of the three worlds of harmony.
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"Interesting thoughts and charts. You've externalized a lot of ideas that I share with you, but haven't put into words or a system. And you've done so in a refreshingly non-academic manner. Bravo!!"

- Robert Dick, world class flute player, teacher and inventor glissando head joint, which explores the intersection of Tempered and Proportional Harmony (orange)