Hot answers tagged

71

Quite Possibly, but it depends on a number of factors. First up, answering the easier part of the question: Are there other principles by which the relationship between tones can be set? The answer is yes, and it's been done. Robert Schneider (Neutral Milk Hotel, Apples in the Stereo) created a new musical scale based on Logarithms. You can hear an example ...


38

Singing still has a place in modern battle. https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/general_music_news/us_marines_blaring_acdc_to_agitate_iraqi_insurgents.html According to the Associated Press, U.S. marines in Fallujah, Iraq have been broadcasting messages by loudspeaker to agitate Iraqi insurgents, announcing, "You are cowards for hiding behind women ...


34

Why not use the wood itself? Or Cajons There's any number of drum variations that don't use a skin as such - primitive ones are simply hollowed out logs.


30

If you're assuming an atmosphere anywhere like ours (so basically the same acoustics), ears anywhere like ours (20 -- 20,000 Hz.) and hands like ours, then yes, you would probably see considerable convergent evolution of musical instruments, based on a few key mechanical oscillators or resonators, namely, vibrating membranes, air columns or strings: drums:...


26

The whole point of the drummers and fifers are FOR the march. Walking in formation requires timing and coordination. The drums helped everyone keep the beat. Now the military uses cadences. It keeps time and occupies the mind. Having 'music' during battle would be strange. Once fighting starts you won't hear it and what is its point? It's not like you ...


26

This won't work. Your enemy doesn't need to understand music to predict your actions and destroy you. Music is - at its core - math. There's a limited number of patterns that people find "attractive", and which really count as music as opposed to random noise. The distinction is important, because the latter can actually damage the focus and rhythm of ...


24

He's going about it all wrong if he's in a western military. Even most infantrymen rarely, if ever, see who they're shooting at. He should join a 3rd-world military as a mercenary. They have much looser discipline, meaning he won't be reprimanded for singing. Further, their equipment and training are much poorer, so they often need to get much closer to ...


24

You don't need to understand music to appreciate it. I listen to japanese music without translation because I hear it from the openings on shows. I listen to vocaloid styled music without knowing the base language. The pacing of lyrics and the instrumentals mean more to me than the actual words. Technically, Pop music already works this way. I can't have ...


24

"Earth has abut 4,500 languages spoken commonly": Actually there are only about 100 languages spoken natively by more than 0.1% of the population of Earth. Out of those 4500 languages, 4000 have minuscule numbers of speakers. "Some parts of Scotland needs to be subtitled on British television" . . . . . . which is hardly unexpected given than (a) Scots and ...


22

This answer is based on my own time in the military which included 2 tours: What kind of situations in modern day combat warrant loud singing by at least one particular combatant? There is no direct combat situation in a realistic battle which would allow for this. The reason? Because your statement lets assume that other noises are not getting in the ...


20

It's probably impractical. Pros: Soldiers know their flanks are clear as long as they can hear the drummers. This is a tactical and psychological boon. The enemies are intimidated by the drumming. Enemies may unconsciously fall into time with the beat, while friendlies are trained to avoid the predictability this leads to. The battle fever, for more ...


20

Canvas covered with boiled linseed oil. Basically you will have oilcloth, or (if slightly different process is used) thin sheet of linoleum, sans fillers. It has elasticity and thickness similar to leather, and is similarly airtight. Should work all right. Still, ability to wet form leather or rawhide makes it superior material, so you need really solid ...


20

We can't go back in time but, as a musician I think I can answer. It doesn't have to be invented because it occurs naturally. When people chant together in a large group, they have different pitched voices. It's natural for women and children to sing at least an octave above the men. However there are intermediate voices. They may not sing an octave but ...


18

Several come to mind: Paper No, not the modern, short-fiber crap you get from the dollar store. You want the good stuff made of long fibers like flax or cotton. (basically what they use for making paper currency). It's really quite strong, and air-tight, and a few layers of it would make a decent drumhead. Cloth Similar idea to the paper, but you'll ...


16

Cosmic radio waves How to make a sound A speaker works on the principles of magnetism. An electric signal is applied to a coil suspended inside a permanent magnet (basically, a piece of iron). As the current varies, the coil vibrates. The coils is then attached to a cone so that the vibrations it creates propagate through the air as sound. Alternately, the ...


16

TL;DR : These parameters can indeed be controlled mechanically, though not to the extent enabled by today's synthesizers and software. Pretty much all of the instruments of the traditional orchestra can adjust some or all of these parameters mechanically. They existed well before synthesizers were a thing, though the terminology was different. Let's take ...


16

Given the sheer volume of disposable electronics that have been manufactured to date it seems inevitable that junkyard scavengers would be able to get some working again. Old smart phones, iPods, etc.. are literally in landfills. No cellular network left but as long as you have battery power it can still play music. Charging a small DC battery really is ...


16

YES The answer is the calliope. Basically, pressurised steam is piped through whistles attached to a keyboard. The main differences between a calliope and a pipe organ are pressure and medium. Pipe organs are made, mostly, of wood and thin metal parts. Steam is made almost entirely of water, and hot water at that. The wooden pipes of an organ will ...


15

Until Edison patented his phonograph, the only way for people to listen to music was to be present at a live performance. Therefore I see two possibilities here: rather tongue-in-cheek, if they want to listen to music, they just need to build musical instruments and play them, or have someone play for them. Percussions are probably the easiest to build, ...


14

As this answer says, most musical instruments as we know them won't work underwater. You might see something completely new arise, but we should assume that people will first reach for what is easiest. And what's that, for underwater music? Vocalization, as noted in the linked answer. There's no particular reason to believe that it would sound anything ...


14

Since water is @ 800 times denser than air, musical instruments the way we think of them are not going to happen. Strings and reeds, for example, won't be able to vibrate at the high frequencies that produce musical notes. We should look at how naturally occurring sounds are made under water. Precussion would work, for example snapping claws or clicking ...


14

This is a fun one because, as many have noted, on the surface the plan is doomed to fail. If it's used to synchronize a bunch of humans in the form "attack on beat 3 of the last measure," it's just a very inefficient code, easily parsed and defeated. To make this work, we have to stop thinking like computers. We have to stop thinking in terms of simple ...


13

Fipples Other answers have mentioned fippled flutes, otherwise known as whistles, where an unshaped stream of air is blown over a shaped piece of material (bone, wood, ceramic, metal, etc). The player provides the air, but has very limited ability to shape the tone because it's produced by the fipple. Recorders, native american flutes, organs, and Irish ...


13

I think we can get some idea from Alex the Parrot. Alex could answer "Yellow" when asked "What color key?" and answer "Key" when asked "What object yellow?" each when shown an array of different objects of different colors. He also appeared to be able to count up to six, answering "Five" when shown a table full of cubes of many colors and asked, "How many ...


12

The animals in nature with the best singing vices are birds; they achieve their facility by virtue of their syrinx, an organ located at the fork of the trachea. A humanoid with a syrinx would be able to produce two separate notes simultaneously. It is also shown that some species of bird are able to vary the notes they produce extremely rapidly, ...


12

If you take a string and vibrate it, and then take a string identical to the first but half its length, you will notice it makes a sound exactly one octave higher than the original. Many key concepts to primitive music are very simple and likely to be discovered by any culture with a creative instinct. Even the piano isn't so complicated: all it does at its ...


11

There is a line of "reasoning" I sometimes hear from people in the SCA: "well they had indigo dye, and they had french seams, and they had pants, so blue jeans are totally period!" Well, yes and no. So too with modern music forms. Yes you can trace some elements back -- they had drums in the middle ages, and recited poetry with instrumental accompaniment, ...


11

Assuming it existed in an audible range we could hear (and presumably technology could help to bridge that gap by downshifting/upshifting frequencies as desired for us to hear their music and them to hear ours, which would also be useful for speech of course), then there's a distinct possibility we would find it to be musical, but it would likely be very ...


11

The old masters spoke to the world I've never met a musician who didn't appreciate (if not enjoy) classical music. Even punk musicians appreciate classical music. It's layered, addresses emotion, it's BIG. It was an era where a precious handful of people were so honking creative and fabulously capable with the instruments that it produced a sweeping ...


11

Old-style wind-up phonographs would be the way to go. They require no electricity; just turn the handle to wind up the spring. They use flaring horns to amplify the sound picked up by the pickup. In some travel versions, the horn is built into the lid. There are plenty of old phonograph records out there, but it might be difficult to get recent pop music in ...


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