Can you explain the chords and harmonies in this song
January 11, 2013 10:01 PM   Subscribe

I was listening to this song by disasterpeace and I was struck by how it has a different "earfeel" than other music. I don't know how to describe it, other than that it feels fatter. There's something in the way the notes harmonize that makes them resonate or something. Can someone please explain a bit of the theory behind why this sounds the way it does?
posted by rebent to Science & Nature (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Based on a quick listen, a combination of detuning and fattening. Detuning is having more than one oscillator playing at the same note frequency but slightly (a few percent) off tune. It kind of makes it sound like a group of instruments instead of a single instrument. Fattening is basically taking a sound that is panned, say, left and adding a very slightly delayed (10ms or so) echo panned to the right. It makes it sound like a very loud sound being heard from somewhat far away, basically.
posted by empath at 10:07 PM on January 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Two things I hear:

1- The tones are somewhat square-waved. Or perhaps triangle-waved. This adds a lot of harmonics that make it sound sort of "crunchy".

2- It sounds very unprocessed. Rather than sounding like a keyboard through an amplifier that is then mic'ed and recorded, this sounds like it is being generated by the playback device. I don't know the technical terms to how to describe this. Sort of like how a recording of a phone ringing sounds different than an actual phone ringing. There are no "room" acoustics on the track.
posted by gjc at 4:56 AM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sounds like the some of the tracks are doubled (i.e. two identical copies of a part 'pasted' into different parts of the stereo field, usually left and right), which can give a more in your face sort of 'hotter' sound. Also it sounds like there isn't much reverb added, which confers a sort of 'closeness' to the sound, i.e. you're in a room with the music instead of in a hall watching it from afar.

The chords and harmonies themselves, while quite cool, aren't, I don't think, responsible for the 'earfeel.' I think production techniques are.
posted by TheRedArmy at 11:05 AM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: thanks for the comments everybody!
posted by rebent at 6:45 PM on January 15, 2013

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