Danny Barnes
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Q

It is so cool that you make yourself available to answer all these questions, thank you so much for doing this.
My question is, what is it that makes banjo and fiddle sound so good together? Is it just because of hearing them so much in past music that they evoke some kind of ready-made cultural context; or is there some scientific reason that the sound waves compliment each other to sound like that?


Danny Barnes responded on 11/21/2016
A

good question. i think there is a jungian archetype for that sound. also, since they are tuned differently, the same passage played in unison on both instruments simultaneously has the overtones happening and note overlap in different places, so it sounds much bigger than it is i suppose. they also perhaps represent two different poles on the staccato/legato graph. the pitch footprint of the two fit quite nicely on a 78rpm record. i would say there is a psychoacoustic phenomenon happening, producing a non-tangible result. i read once, that if you were to show the schematic of a deluxe reverb amp to a EE, he would say it was a very primitive construct. yet somehow that tone is on nearly every pop and country record ever made. and we "associate" it as a pleasing tone. which came first? hard to say. but we know it IS cool. i suppose it's fruitless to look for meaning in non-poetic forms.

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