Category Archives: Guitar

More Math of Music II – Frequency

I must confess that I’m a geek, and I love numbers. So much so that in a recent post I talked to you about the Math of Music – It’s A Numbers Game. In it I’ve come to realize that there’s a whole lot more to music than just stringing notes together. There’s a whole lot more that the music represents. So let’s dig into some of the more interesting numbers that surround music including some of your favorite instruments.

There are 88 Keys on a piano keyboard.
There are 3 valves on a trumpet.
There are usually 21-24 frets on a guitar.
The bass guitar and the ukulele USUALLY have 4 strings.
The typical guitar USUALLY will have 6 strings but can have more.

There are so many more numbers that are associate with music and here’s another interesting fact and I mentioned it in my previous post called “The Math of Music – It’s a numbers game.” One of the interesting things is that Octaves are exactly a 1:2 ratio in terms of the frequency or the pitch of the notes measured in Hertz. For example, the A above Middle C is 440 Hz. The A above it is 880 Hz, and the A below Middle C is 220 Hz.

The A above Middle C, A440 is the note that has become the standard pitch for tuning orchestra and other musical instruments in the United States and the United Kingdom and it’s territories. This standard was adopted by the International Organization for Standards in 1955 as reported by Wikipedia, and this was reaffirmed again in 1975. Fascinating!

While looking into this deeper on the Music Masterworks Website – Where Math Meets Music – I found this chart below that describes in detail what the ratios are between the notes in terms of the frequency in broad terms. The math also shows how some notes help to form consonant tones between each other.  For example G is 1.5 times the frequency of C and is a perfect 5th above where as E is 1.25 times C and is a Major 3rd above C.

Similarly, the ratio from C to C# is 18/17th and the sound waves don’t really meet up. So when they are played simultaneously their frequencies clash (in a manner of speaking) and they sound dissonant.

Note Perfect Ratio to C Actual Ratio to C Ratio off by Frequency in Hz
Middle C 261.6
D 9/8 or 1.125 1.1224 0.0026 293.7
E 5/4 or 1.25 1.2599 0.0099 329.6
F 4/3 or 1.333… 1.3348 0.0015 349.2
G 3/2 or 1.5 1.4983 0.0017 392.0
A 5/3 or 1.666… 1.6818 0.0152 440.0
B 17/9 or 1.888… 1.8877 0.0003 493.9

So that’s why when you play the C Major Chord with C-E-G in it you get a sound that’s pleasing to the ear. And also when you play C, C# and D altogether it sounds harsh. It’s all in the Math of Music. The math makes it easier to listen to the consonant and dissonant sounds and find new and improved ways to Play It By Ear!!!

18 Blogs In 8 Days!!!

18 Blogs In 8 Days


On top of all the challenges that I have for the new year 2014, I just gave myself a new one – 18 Blogs In 8 Days!!! It is a challenge that I think will be accomplished. Here’s why I think so.  I have a lot of subject matter still to cover with my health, my love of music and technology (PCs, Tablets, and Smart Phones) and the sports teams in the best region of United States – Boston and New England!!!

One of the challenges that I have are the creation of graphics for these blogs. I recently turned to the internet for answers and found this blog by Ryan Hanley: that shows how to create really cool graphics using the free web resources of and also the free graphic editor by These websites are phenomenal to say the least. If there are other viable alternatives to these websites please let me know so that I could pass them along.

Health is very important for happiness and all around well being. Most people don’t pay enough attention to their health until it is almost too late. In a lot of cases, the diseases are treatable if caught early enough. You can’t mess with your health. I’ve got a challenge with a group of friends who are in different parts of the globe. It’s called Focus T25 and it just uses 25 mins a day for your work out and then 3 mins of streching. It’s been going great. I Love This!

Then there’s my love of music and technology. They make a very good way to spend time and money to get back to the rest of civilization and the billions of people who use music and technology in their daily lives.

I’m counting on you all to help me get there: 18 Blogs in 8 Days? It can be done; It will be done. How? Just relax, enjoy and…

Play It By Ear!!!

Staying In Tune


At the beginning of each year, people make resolutions. They resolve to lose weight, write a book, be more spiritual, quit smoking, record a music E.P. or mix-tape, among other things. In order to accomplish these goals they have to stay in tune with their resolution and have it resonate with the rest of their life.

One of the instruments that I have learned to play by ear over the years is the guitar, which has 6 strings. In order to play correctly the strings have to be tuned to the correct pitch – E, B, G, D, A and E (from highest to lowest). Sometimes people use alternate tunings but they still have to be tuned to those tunings. If they’re not tuned correctly, then the music does not sound beautiful. The picture above is from my tuner – Snark. It is a beautiful piece of technology that allows me to very accurately get the pitch that I need in place. I love it.

Playing by ear invariably includes keeping in tune especially when you’re using an instrument that requires precise monitoring of pitch, such as the voice or a stringed instrument like the violin or cello. It could make or break your performance when you’re out of tune. Similarly when you are accompanying someone on the guitar or piano, you have to listen to make sure that you are in the same key and that you’re staying in tune with the rest of the ensemble.  The key to all of this is staying consistent and focused, always checking your TUNER to make sure that you’re in tune.

As a christian I always pray that I stay in tune with my Creator, just like when I’m playing my instruments. One of the main ways I stay in tune is to pray as often as possible. I also SCHEDULE time to read the Bible and other devotionals. If you can schedule your dentist appointments, you can schedule your devotional time. It’s important for your journey through life and you need it to stay in tune

So keep on praying and playing. Keep on practicing your instrument. Keep on smiling as you Play It By Ear!!! Stay In TUNE!!!

More Than Words!!

More Than Words - Excerpt

So this is my 31st post since I started the challenge to post a blog every day. It has been a challenge. I have learnt some interesting things about myself. I learnt that I could do something I never thought I could do – Blog for 31 days. OK. So I missed some and had to go into the other month. But there were days when I put up 3 blog posts. In The SAME DAY! WOW. There are no words. I’ve come to realize that it takes “More Than Words” to do a blog. And the words that you see on the blog is sometimes inadequate to express what I feel.

So with that said I took to the guitar instead of the piano to say that its really “More Than Words”

And Still I smile and use every day as an opportunity to Play It By Ear

Endurance – Never Give Up!

The Endurance Ship in Full Sail - Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

Endurance – is defined by Wikipedia as the ability of an organism to exert itself and remain active for a long period of time, as well as its ability to resist, withstand, recover from, and have immunity to trauma, wounds, or fatigue... Endurance may also refer to an ability to keep going through a tough situation involving hardship, & stress.

Ernest Shackleton - Image Courtesy of Wikipedia

This is exemplified by the Imperial Trans-Antartic Expedition that was run by Sir Ernest Shackleton from 1914 to 1917. It’s also called the Endurance Expedition because of how many months the people on the expedition had to wait to be rescued in very poor and cold conditions. The human spirit can cause a man to endure great things. These men endured because they believed that their leader, Sir Ernest Shackleton would return for them. He did!

And just as these men endured you have to endure as you learn something new or even as you continue in whatever task you’re engaged in. I remember when I started playing the guitar, I had to endure the calluses and hand pain. But I’m glad I did, because the end result is great opportunities to Play It By Ear.

Smile and remember that today is another opportunity to Play It By Ear!

Growing Pains – Ouch!


Starting anything new involves some growing pains. Even restarting something after a brief lay off has its own share of pains. It is my belief that these pains help more than hurt, and they are useful for weeding out people who aren’t committed as well as strengthening those who are committed.

Some of the pains that you feel as you grow are physical, and some are mental. One of the most obvious examples I’m music is the pain associated with learning to play an instrument like the guitar. Your fingertips hurt. Your wrist hurts from holding the guitar neck. Your shoulders hurt from holding the strap. And the list goes on. These pains are necessary though as they help to build calluses and generally strengthen the muscles. As it has been said – “No Pain! No Gain!” Or as I’ve come to embrace it – “Yes Pain! Yes Gain!”

Sadly, a lot of the mental pains we encounter are self inflicted. These are pains of frustration with self; pains of fear of failure; pains of inadequacy; and a host of others. Can you think of anymore mental pains that people encounter as they try to learn or do something new? Additionally there are other pains that are inflicted by others. Usually they are detractors that try to discourage you and pull you down with negativity.

The thing to do is to keep moving forward. Tell yourself, “Self? You can do this!!! You are not a failure!!!” You can hold your head up knowing that the pains you experience are temporary.


This statement is so true. The pains that you would experience Do NOT Last!!! Transient is the name of the game for pain. You will get through this.

So put a smile on your face and remember today is just another opportunity to Play It By Ear.