Guide by the Perplexed — Kentucky-Fried Crow

jackwhite

Doodle & Scrawl (JMN)

I’m due a serving of KFC for asserting in the last chapter of GBTP that in guitar tuning the Major Third between strings 3 and 2 punctuates a sequence of Perfect Fifths. I should have said Perfect Fourths.

For me, the way to clarity often is to go the wrong way around, trapping errors until I rest on a patch of clearing. When I made my “Perfect Fifths” gaffe, I thought I was in control of the narrative about the intervals between strings. I wasn’t.

The high E-string is string 1. The low E-string is string 6. In ascending string order — 1 through 6 — the tuning is E-B-G-D-A-E. In descending string order — 6 through 1 — the tuning is E-A-D-G-B-E.

Why should we care about descending string order? Because the pitch sequence in that order is from low to high. And the commonly talked-about intervals are the ascending ones, where the second pitch is higher than the first.

For me if not for you a question hangs in the air: Why did the guitar strings get numbered in this cart-before-horse fashion anyway?

I will deconstruct the interval picture with symbology in the next chapter. It will make no more sense than now, but there you have it — coming next.

(c) 2019 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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