Written by Mal Webb

If you'd like to know when it's being performed, you could check the gig page: http://malwebb.com/gigs.html or get on Mal's email list (by emailing mal@malwebb.com ).

Here's the basic gist of it:

Notey likes single frequencies. Noisy likes as many frequencies as possible, but the perfect note and noise have always eluded them.
So they visit a wise chap called Knowsy to try to work it out, but soon find out that the science of music is a series of near misses, shifting sands and slippery slopes: Nature's cheeky like that!

Notey and Noisy will tickle your brain as its two titular protagonists embark on an aural cerebral adventure across the unstable landscape of the Facts, Figures, Physics and Phrivolity of Sound. Deconstructing the nuts and bolts of music is at once joyful and terrifying.
Imagine a mongrel mix of the Goons, Victor Borge, Jacob Collier and Julius Sumner Miller.
As an audient once said, "I didn't understand it all, but it made me feel clever".

It's a 75 minute show, with Mal Webb and Kylie Morrigan, playing 7 characters and some of the most complex arrangements and looping they've ever attempted, with voices, beatboxing, guitar, mbira, trombone, slide trumpet and violin. It's a bit like a radio show (more than a little influenced by the Goons).
  The show incorporates a projection of a spectrum analyser and a sweeping spectrogram on a screen that both helps the audience get their heads around the concepts and looks rather pretty.

Of the people who saw the first showing of Notey and Noisy, Josh Bennett (incredible multi-instrumentalist and certified music geek) said, "It's like the inside of my brain done as a musical".
And comedian Frank Woodley said, "Absolutely superb. A wildly enjoyable attempt to explain the mysteries of the profound pleasure of music. I love it. There's enough brilliant ideas in it to fill ten musicals. A wonderful witty tsunami of musical ideas, dense with the kind of beautiful melodies, astounding soundscapes and scintillating wit that I expect from Mal. A work of ludicrous ambition that had me dancing in my seat and grinning from highly stimulated ear to highly stimulated ear".

Despite what you might assume from the title, it's not a kids' show, although I reckon older kids will get it and even dig it! A nine year old who was at our first run with her mum, said, "I didn't understand all of it, but I didn't mind, 'cos I liked the characters so much... it was like looking through a window into a world I didn't know existed!" Cluey kid! When I asked if she though it'd work in her school, she said, "hmmm, it was good having the adults here". Yep!

Here's a link to 3 of the songs: MalKyDemos.html
Here's a 1.5 minute trailorette: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuAlmE19Ex0
And here's a longer showreel (4.5 mins): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4epAwrqM58


And here's the whole script!

I Like Notes
I Like Noise
Perfectly Wrong 1
Oscillators and Resonators
Resonance and Dampening
Difference Tone
 I Like Nought
Tension and Release
Perfectly Wrong 2
Sound of Love

NOTEY: Opera-ish high voice (posh UK accent)
NOISY: Louis Armstrong voice (US accent and occasional Jamaican throaty voice)
KNOWSY: FM radio voice (Oz accent)
NOUGHTY: Eliza Doolittle voice (Cockney accent)
HOUSEBAND and WIFI: Grandad/Granny voice (Oz accent)
NARRATOR: David Attenborough voice (UK accent)

[Perfectly Wrong whistle loop build]
WIFI: Oh, that's lovely, dear. What's is it?
HOUSEBAND: It's a 60 beat loop divided into 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s and 6s, whistling up a wholetone scale.
WIFI: Yes, it's very geometrical! But why?
HOUSEBAND: It's part of the show. I'm making a loop for our host, Knowsy, to do his intro over
WIFI: Ah, Knowsy with a K. Well, maybe you should beatbox... make it a little more hip
HOUSEBAND: What, like this?
[I Like Noise brushes loop (on Headrush)]
WIFI: Well, it's nice, but it's a little old school
HOUSEBAND: Well, so am I!
WIFI: It's not so much "hip" as "hip replacement". I was hoping you might bust out some funk.
HOUSEBAND: Hold your horses, dear, I'm not sure these people are ready for funk. I'll build up to that. I'll start with the whistles...
[Perfectly Wrong loop build with natter til...]
WIFI: Now, that's what I'm talking about!
HOUSEBAND: Oh, grammar, dear... it should be, "that's about which I am talking"... with the preposition in the right position... even street talk can be correct.
WIFI: Well, is this correct, then, dear? "Tell someone who cares"
HOUSEBAND: Well, yes, that's the imperative!
WIFI: [mutters] You'll be in peril in a minute! Now, let's get this show started properly
HOUSEBAND: Alright! So, for all you good folks gathered here today, it gives us great pleasure to welcome our host
WIFI: The scholarlily k-nowledgeable K-nowsy
[Intro line into...]

  Well, g'day, my name is Knowsy, that's Knowsy with a "K"
'Cos I like knowing stuff and learning things, it's what I do all day
People come to me with doubts on subjects I know nought about
But we together read, research and reason, til we nut it out

Now, today we have two folks with rather different views on sound
Please welcome Notey
NOTEY: Hello!
KNOWSY: Welcome Noisy.
NOISY: Hi there!
KNOWSY: Many thanks for popping round
So to start, could each of you perform, informing us, in song
Of all your sonic love and longing and then why you've come along

NOTEY: Shall I go first?
NOISY: Sure, yeah, go for it!

I Like Notes
I like notes, pure and clear
That's the sound that I love to hear
Perfect tones, if you please
Simply singular frequencies
Make mine sine waves every time
Jauntily mellifluous or
Hauntingly rising or sustaining
It floats my boat
A fine and well defined note
Much like...
A clarinet or flute
A lonely fog horn toot
A warbling bird at dawn
Or like my grandad's yawn
Cat's meow, dog's howl or hooting owl (oo oo)
Wine glass rims sing sweetly too
Cows moo and pigeons coo
Just to name a few

But the sound I've sought since infancy
Is the perfect note that's just one frequency
Could it ever be?

KNOWSY: Hmmm, the perfect note, eh... curious. So tell me, Noisy, what kind of sound do you like?
NOISY: Well, I'm a little different to Notey... let me tell you...

I Like Noise
I like noise, don't you know
Complex sounds are the way to go
Bring the noise if you please
Make mine multiple frequencies
Give me rich diversity
Fizzing, roaring
Sizzling, snoring,
Rattling and shaking
Bumps and grinding
Oh joy of joys
Nothing beats a good noise
Such as...
A whisper, gasp or a sigh
A hissing snake slides by
Bikes on a gravel track
To munch my favourite snack
Trains and fireworks, leaping in the lake (krft krfff)
Wind and rain, waves on the shore
And waterfalls galore
That's what I adore

But the sound I've sought since infancy
Is the perfect noise that's every frequency
Could it ever be?

KNOWSY: OK, the perfect noise ...hmmm.
NOISY: Do you think it could even be?

NOTEY: Gosh, Noisy, you act like all noises are good… how about [does a hawk/throat clear]? That's a noise that annoys me.
NOISY: Well, you act like all notes are good, how about "ooooo" [teasing]? That's a note that gets my goat.
NOTEY: OK, how about [load/gunshot]? That noise isn't so nice.
NOISY: Hmmm, how about "dit dit dit deeeeeeeeee…"? [heartbeat bleep to dead sound]. That note's not so nice neither.
NOTEY: Well, how about [Raspberry]?
NOISY: Well, how about "Derrr"?
KNOWSY: Hey, c'mon, both of you, please, shhh...
NOISY: Oh OK, Shhhh. Yeah, that's a good noise.
KNOWSY: No, I meant, "Shhh", as in "could you please tone it down a bit?"
NOTEY: Tone it down? Do you mean like [hums a sombre note]? Is that right?
KNOWSY: Well, no, I meant could you both please just be quiet for a moment?
NOTEY and NOISY: Oh OK, sure.
KNOWSY: Now, you're each hoping to find the perfect note and the perfect noise, which is fine in theory, but the real world doesn't really do... "perfect".

Perfectly Wrong 1
 Nature's kind of messy, the maths is all mashed up
Between friction, resistance and turbulence you get a half full empty cup
But I don't think that's a negative thing, while others probably would
'Cos correct and precise aren't always nice, appropriate or good

If it's not quite right for you and it's not quite right for me
With heart and mind, we might find just how perfectly wrong it can be
Perfectly wrong, wonderfully wonky, exactly out of whack, unashamedly shonky
Awry is alright. It's why we belong, being perfectly wrong


KNOWSY: OK, now, providing music for us today, we have our duo, Houseband and Wifi
HOUSEBAND and WIFI: Hello!... [Natter randomly until...]
NOTEY: Excuse me, are you names really Houseband and Wifi?
HOUSEBAND: Oh yes, dear, we met on the internet.
WIFI: And when we got married, the celebrant pronounced us Houseband and Wifi.
HOUSEBAND: Well, I think that's what she said... [H and W natter...]
KNOWSY: So, Houseband and Wifi, give us a demonstration of that looping stuff you do? With a good mix of notes AND noises, so both our guests are happy
HOUSEBAND and WIFI: [Natter and loop build]
WIFI: That's lovely dear... a good mix of notes and noise
KNOWSY: Yeah that's great. Now, Notey and Noisy, I've been reading up a lot about sound. But, in your words, what is it? And how does it get around?
NOISY and NOTEY: Well, it's... [Notey and Noisy do overpolite back and forth until...]
NOTEY: Oh, you go first. I went first last time
  NOISY: OK, well, can you give me that dancehall beat? I'll do it ragga style...

Oscillators and Resonators
[Throaty voice] Sound is vibrations, things wobbling, making other things wobble, which wobble the surrounding air, which wobbles the next bit of air, then the next bit of air and so on it goes, like rows of dominoes, pressure highs and lows passed so fast through the air from here to there to an ear, where it wobbles the eardrum, which wobbles the ossicles, which wobble the cochlea, where the hair cells and the stereocilia remodel the wobble, translatin' the vibration to electrical impulses in the brain, making thoughts of sound appear, coming in loud and clear and that's how we hear!

To generate a sound you need an oscillator to make the vibration and a resonator to make it greater
To guide its tuning, enhance its timbre, and to make it louder, rowdier, amplified. Allowing it to travel far and wide.
With a violin
NOISY: Or guitar
NOTEY: The oscillator is the string and the resonator is the hollow wooden body
And with a trumpet the oscillator is the player's lips and resonator is the air in the metal tube.
When you whistle, the oscillator is the turbulence between your lips and resonator is the air inside your mouth
  Which may seem the wrong way round, but

Sound is really fast, more than a thousand kilometres per hour
Which is so much quicker than the air you're blowing
Sound doesn't care which way the wind is going
It can swim up the airstream like a sonic salmon

NOTEY: Swimming up the airstream like a sonic salmon

High sounds are more directional than low
So a voice around a corner sounds muffled, you know?
And at an outdoor concert, the wind can blow
The trebles around while subs just go...
  in all directions!

NOISY: The bass has maximum diffraction action

NOTEY: Flowing through the air in all directions

KNOWSY: Hmmm, well, that's got me thinking. 'Cos surely...

Resonance and Dampening
When you make a sound, it's bound to bounce around ALL that's surrounding
Adding to it, taking from it, brightening, dulling and resounding
'Cos every space, every object, every damn thing has resonance and dampening
Reverb, echo or delay (ee ee)
Acoustics produce it when music's let loose, it's a manic sonic interplay
Entangled in every way

The size, shape and density dictates the frequency rates at which things like vibrating
And if these notes are found in the sound that's around, they'll join in, joyfully resonating

A hard surface reflects adding brightness and echos when made of glass, metal or stone
Fuzzy stuff will increasingly suck up high frequency leaving a woollier tone

Entangled in every way
It changes wherever you stray
So embrace it, 'cos it's here to stay

A milkshake's air bubbles' bass resonance doubles the subs, tap the base of the cup
For a doonging effect, deeper than you'd expect, as the froth subsides, its pitch goes up

No one has the same ear, we all differently hear, yes, our bodies are part of this too
  And each speaker and mic, are unique, unalike, then change placement and everything's new
Pure notes become noisy, pure noise becomes notey and there's nothing much you can do

When a sound is born the world adorns it all fully transforming
Wonderfully, beautifully, but sometimes brutal and deforming...


NOTEY: Oh, I guess with all that, it means I'll never hear a perfect pure note!
NOISY: And I'll never hear the perfect pink noise!
NOTEY: Don't you mean "white noise"?
NOISY: Well, "White noise" is every frequency at equal volume, but because frequency doubles for each octave, the high frequencies end up sounding too loud, like this [white noise]. But "Pink noise" adjusts for this by having the same volume of noise for each octave and it therefore sounds, to our ears, like the perfect noise. More like this [pink noise]. There's also Brown noise, which is deeper again, derived from Brownian motion. But speaking of motions, it's nothing to do with the Brown note, which is the proposed loosening frequency of the human bowel.
NOTEY: Oh Noisy, really!!
KNOWSY: He he! OK, moving on! So Notey, what would the perfect note sound like?
NOTEY: Perhaps, something like Ooooooooo, but I can never make it just one frequency.
NOISY: That'd be its harmonics, yeah?
NOTEY: What? Like on a guitar?
KNOWSY: Well... yes and no. Let's go and read up on it some more. In the meantime, Houseband and Wifi, what've you got?
WIFI: Well... harmonics... we love those!
HOUSEBAND: And overtones... we're overt ones for overtones!
WIFI: Oh, you're a bit of a pun gent, it seems.
HOUSEBAND: And that joke was a bit of a stinker!
WIFI: It was implied.
HOUSEBAND: Hey, they didn't mention partials, which are kind of the same.
WIFI: And don't forget "Formant"
HOUSEBAND: Oh, well, formant! That's another thing again... that's a whole show in itself.
WIFI: Oh, I can't wait for that one... Formant, the Musical
HOUSEBAND: Hmmm, OK, back to harmonics. I'm going sing up the notes of the harmonic series, up to the 12th harmonic
WIFI: Oh, and you could split the loop into the corresponding fraction
HOUSEBAND: Oh yes, and I'll count palindromically, to keep it symmetrical, so 4 will be 1232 1232...
WIFI: And then you could put three different grooves against it, in 4, 5 and 6.
HOUSEBAND: As I build the loop, can you say what percentage of a semitone the notes of the harmonic series are out of tune from equal temperament, our standard tuning system?
WIFI: Sure! Oh, and FYI, 1 percent of a semitone is called a "cent".
HOUSEBAND: Oh, and FYI, FYI stands for "For You Information"... FYI... BTW...Oh, I can see the others already heading back from the library, we better get a wriggle on.
WIFI: Quick, loop it up, cowboy! Let's do it in the key of G, for "Giddy up!"

1 is the fundamental, a G
2 is a G, the octave up
3 is a D, 2 cents sharp
4 is the next G up
5 is a B, 14 cents flat
6 is a D, 2 cents sharp
7 is an F, 31 cents flat
8 is the next G up
9 is an A, 4 cents sharp
10 is a B, 14 cents flat
11's C#, 49 cents flat
and 12 is a D, 2 cents sharp

WIFI: Oh look, a rope! How convenient!
HOUSEBAND: Oo, you can do that harmonics demo with it. I'll put down those beats.

[Loop build, then switch off voice looping]

Take a rope, spin it round
Spin it faster, but loosely wound
Like a sine wave for sight not sound
Pretty soon you're bound to have found
You can spin it in 2 parts, then 3, 4, 5 and 6
Even 7 or more, these are known as harmonics
Any instrument with a string
Will gladly do the same thing
Pluck it strongly while you touch your finger
Halfway up the string and hear it ring
  with NOTEY:
You can split it in 2 parts, 3, 4, 5 and 6
Even 7 or more, these are known as harmonics
Haaaaaarmonics! Haaaaaarmonics!
Air in tubes used in music
Like bugles, tubas, bassoons and flutes
  Harmonically produce their honks and toots
The way you buzz or blow will choose
with KNOWSY:
If the air will vibrate in 2 parts...

When you sing or play a note, it's not just one frequency
It's all of its harmonics too
But you don't hear them as notes, just as tone colour or timbre
But if you shape your mouth so the air inside resonates at the frequency of one of those harmonics it'll amplify it
So you can hear it as a note, come on, try it.
Sing "Wow" really slowly... then Ngoo Ngaw Nga Ngaw Ngoo...
Listen for the bugle in your mouth.
Then push the back of your tongue back into your throat
To give Kermit or Mr Bean tone to your note
Then slowly close your lips over that for a while
And soon you'll have the Tuvan or Mongolian style

They're also known as overtones but not all overtones are harmonics
Things like gongs, drums and xylophones have more irregular sonics
And while some tubes like didgeridoos or clarinets have odd harmonics overblown
Their sound spectrum has every harmonic overtone

Harmonics are called partials too and I'm rather partial to the natural mood of their tuning
It's ever so soothing and calming, a harmony not like what you hear on piano or guitar
Those intervals have been standardized and homogenized, it's a compromise, called Equal Temperament
Not quite what mother nature meant, though it's cool!

The notes get closer, through its ascent
Apart from octaves, they're slightly bent
To various degrees from Equal Temperament
But they're astoundingly coincident
  with NOTEY:
  The fundamental frequency times 2, then 3, 4, 5 and 6
Even 7 or more, these are known as harmonics...


NOISY: So, the words "harmonics" AND "overtones" are both used to refer to the peaks of a sound spectrum that give it tone quality
NOTEY: Yes, but, also, they can both mean the vocal technique of amplifying one of those peaks with the resonance of the vocal tract to make it a note
  NOISY: Oh yeah, but also the notes made by touching a string to make it vibrate in different fractions
  NOTEY: Yes, but also the notes overblown on a tube
NOISY: Which aren't always the notes of the harmonic series
NOTEY: Yes, it's all terribly confusing!
NOISY: Yeah!
KNOWSY: And what's more, the 2nd harmonic is called the 1st overtone!
NOTEY: Oh dear!
KNOWSY: Alrighty, well, from here, I feel like we need to read up some more about this Equal Temperament business.
NOTEY: Oh, yes please
HOUSEBAND: Aaaah, well, let me show you something. Guitars are tuned in Equal Temperament, or ET,  but I'm going to retune my high E string to the 5th harmonic of my low C [tune guitar]
WIFI: Making it 14 cents flat. That's about a 7th of a semitone
HOUSEBAND: Yes, so now you can hear what a harmonically tuned, or Just, major 3rd sounds like
WIFI: You don't hear that often... it's strangely calming, and yet seems wrong to our modern ears
HOUSEBAND: But to showcase ET, I'll play a bit of music using all 12 major chords equally.
WIFI: And we'll do it in 12/8, using the rhythm of the piano keys, using the black notes as rests [shows on keyboard]
HOUSEBAND: Wow, that's that African 12/8 bell pattern.
WIFI: What an amazing coincidence.
 HOUSEBAND: And we could use the rhythm of the black notes, using the white notes as rest.
WIFI: Well, perhaps Knowsy can get his nose out of that book now and tell us about the history of equal temperament.
KNOWSY: Hey, that's what I was just reading about.
WIFI: Another amazing coincidence.

ET (it's not natural)
Equal temperament, the octave split into an even twelve
Is so convenient, since Bach embarked on it, we've loved to delve
Into a world of changing keys, and yet it leaves us slightly ill at ease

'Cos it's not in tune with all the intervals of the harmonic series
AKA Just Intonation, prompting these maths / sonic queries
How'd this come about? And has some maths sort sought to sort it out?

Pythagoras and others 'round the world of similar mind
In China, India and elsewhere were both pleased and peeved to find
These disparate bits of maths match up and yet are nigglingly ill aligned

Two to the power of seven is one twenty eight, which doesn't quite fit
  With one point five to the power of twelve which is one twenty nine point seven and a bit.
Pythagorus must've hated it, his whole life he debated it.
It's called the Pythagorean comma 'cos he stated it
It means that equal temperament and Just perfect 5ths are about 2 hundredths of a semitone out

It may not seem like much, but it compounds throughout a whole piano's range
Pythagorus built his scale on all Just 5ths and hoped that change was not too strange
But lo! The major third, where the Syntonic Comma can be heard

'Twas Didymus and others 'round the world of similar mind
In China, India and elsewhere, were both chuffed and miffed to find
That these two other bits of maths are also, even moreso, misaligned

The fifth harmonic, the fundamental frequency times five, won't arrive
  At one point five to the power of four which is five point oh six two five
Old Didymus must've hated it, that eighty one to eighty bit
It's known as the Comma of Didymus 'cos he stated it
It means that Pythagorean and Just major 3rds are about a 5th of a semitone out

Equal temperament 3rds are but a 7th of a semitone out from Just, it's not as bad
But the major 3rds are still too happy, the minor 3rds too sad 
It's like a pageant smile and a panto frown it's like it's been tuned by a clown
This sound so slightly insincere, we've grown accustomed to by ear
For more than four hundred years, ET's been what one mostly hears
Its influence so strong so long that now Just 3rds seem kind of wrong.

And if you tune your guitar by harmonics, the G and B will be Pythagoreanally chronic
Pianos and mandolins use unison strings to difuse things non syntonic
Chromaticism's really neat, but so's a chord that doesn't beat

 For millennia, the finest minds have tried in vain to find a fix
But these ideals can't comprimise or bend to mathematic tricks
Give in, I say, with Zen-like glee, acceptance is the tonic key

Some soul singers sing really sharp, some show singers sing really flat
It's neither right or wrong, just different style, a sound, a colour that
When added to your palate lets new hues nuance between the frets

So when it's apt, adapt to Just, then other times you've gotta be
Well tempered, well adjusted, thusly roll with the dichotomy
It's our Just desserts, Catch 22, can't have our cake and ET too

Though it blows my mind that they align as well as they do

[Retune guitar]
[Switch back voice looping]
NOTEY: Yes, it is an amazing coincidence that equal temperament is even vaguely in tune with harmonics; we really should just be thankful for that!
NOISY: Yeah, and now I know why guitars never seem quite in tune.
NOTEY: Yes indeed. But goodness, that was quite a lot of information, wasn't it! I think I might need a little moment to digest it?
KNOWSY: Sure! I might do some more reading.
WIFI: Well, why don't you make some more loops then, dear
[Difference Tone loop builds, including difference tones on harmonica]
NOTEY: [To the audience] Oo, that harmonica part. He's playing one note and singing another, but can you hear the extra notes? [She demonstrates on melodica/Andes]
NOISY: Oh yeah! It's like when two people whistle or scream loudly, you get that weird low sound in your head.
NOTEY: [Start loop] I remember back when first noticed it, I actually sought professional help... I thought I'd lost my mind.
NOISY: Yeah, tell me about it!
NOTEY: Oh, OK, I will.

Difference Tone
"Doctor can you help me, I think I've gone insane
When I play two high notes at once I hear a low one in my brain
It's sometimes even lower than the instrument can sound
So where on earth's it coming from? There's no one else around
Can you hear it?"

The doctor nodded knowingly. Then stroked his beard and said
KNOWSY ("The Doctor"):
Indeed, it seems you're hearing things and yes, it's all in your head!
But you are not alone, this effect is widely known
In this eerie hearing claim, in fact we're all the same
That's the difference, (what?) That's the difference tone
That's its name, (oh!) That's the difference tone
But beware, once you're aware they're there, I swear, you hear them everywhere
That phony drone, that mystery moan... the difference tone

with NOTEY:
You know when two notes get close to in tune, you hear a beating?
As the frequencies freak out in your ear, sound waves compete repeating
In and out of sync, but as the notes get more remote
The beat speeds up until you hear that wobble as a note of it's own
That's the difference...
Listen in, that's the difference tone...
But beware...
The mathematics of it's nothing too complex
One frequency from the other, Y minus X
But two more difference tones, if you try, can be heard
At 2x minus y and 3x minus 2y, if you're a nerd
That's the difference...
with NOTEY:
Along with the Summation tones, they're kinds of Combination tones
They're also called Tartini tones, tuned like inverted overtones
So if it's Equal Temperament, their tuning can be kinda bent
The difference...

[Rezero volumes on Rang]

NARRATOR: While Notey, Noisy and Knowsy were busy discussing the sonic complexit...
NOTEY: Ah, excuse me, where's that voice coming from?
NARRATOR: I'm the narrator
NOTEY: Where have you been? The show's more than half way through
NARRATOR: Well, you were all doing perfectly well without me up to this point, but there's now something I need to draw your attention to...
NOTEY: Oh, OK, please, do go on
NARRATOR: Ahem, so, as Notey, Noisy and Knowsy were busy discussing the sonic complexities of nature, they failed to notice a darkly clad figure lurking quietly in the corner... until now...
[Guitar starts]
KNOWSY: Oh, g'day! I didn't see you there! When did you arrive?
NOUGHTY: Well, I've actually been here the whole time.
KNOWSY: Really! Well, how can we help you?
NOUGHTY: Well, like Notey and Noisy, I too have a sonic proclivity, of sorts
KNOWSY: Can you tell us about it?
NOUGHTY: Alright

I Like Nought
I Like...[pause]… Nothing more.
It's pure silence that I adore
Perfect...[pause]… if you please
I'll have none of your frequencies
  Zero, zilch, zip, empty, nought… that's why they call me... Noughty!

KNOWSY: Well, hi Noughty, would you like to join our discussion?
NOUGHTY: I'd like nothing better.
KNOWSY: Oh good. Well, we've exploring...
NOUGHTY: No no, you don't understand, what I mean is...

Nothing is better than this
I mean nothing is better than this
When things are all amiss and everything's a bore
Nothing would please me more
Anything could go wrong, while nothing remains secure
A lack of space and peace and quiet are things nothing can cure

Some say there's no such thing as nothing
There's always something there
When all around is silent
Your heartbeat fills the air
The gentle hiss of tinitus
Your gurgling gut, your breath
The only way to silence this is... death

But no(,) nothin' ain't further from the truth!
No(,) nothin' don't make no sense!
This mega meta-negativity's forsooth uncouth and hence

Let nothing come between us
Accept(except) a state of bliss
We're(wear/where) next to nothing('s) so at one(once)
So nothing compares to this

Sweet nothings whispered
Nothing said aloud(allowed), de nada, mi amor
Think nothing of it being nothing
like a good for nothing, nothing more

Nothing makes me want to sing
Nothing brings me joy
When I say nothing floats my boat
I sing out "Ship ahoy!"

Avast avoid (vaster void) all things(,) come to nothing(,)
Meaning(s) some dismiss
This loud and crowded, crazy world
Nothing is better than this


[50Hz hum starts over applause]
NOUGHTY: Awww, what's that noise?
NOISY: That's the AC hum.
NOUGHTY: The Air Conditioning?
KNOWSY: Well, yes and no. [Oh*] AC also stands for Alternating Current. Our mains electricity isn't DC, Direct Current, which is a stream of electrons, it's AC, Alternating Current, where the electrons wobble back and forth. Which makes that sound.
NOUGHTY: What? We can hear the electricity?
KNOWSY: Well, yes and no. [Oh*] When the AC in a wire goes past a magnet or into a piezo substance, it can cause a physical vibration and thus, sound.
NOUGHTY: Is that what they mean by airwaves?
KNOWSY: Well, yes and no. [Oh*] Sound really is "waves of air", but that term "airwaves" refers to radio waves, which, along with microwaves, infrared (or radiant heat), visible light, xrays and gamma rays, they're all vibrations of the magnetic field, which pass through the air.
NOTEY: But also through a vacuum.
NOUGHTY: Well, at least that's silent.
KNOWSY: Yeah...[yeah*] , well, yes and no. [Ooh!*] The AC power in a wire makes the magnetic field around it vibrate, which, if not properly shielded, can induce hum in the wires we send music through.
NOTEY: Or anywhere there's electricity
NOISY: If Edison had got his way and everything was DC, the hum wouldn't be a problem, yeah?
WIFI: Well, let's make a bit of music out of it
[Loop build (levels down)]

There's a buzz, it's electric. There's a hum all around
It's the power. literally, it's the sound of the AC frequency
The alternating current electricity transmitting from the power station
Has a rate of alternation of 50 Hz, 50 cycles a second
Setting up a vibration and thus the emanation of
A note that's a third of semitone sharp from G
It's rather alarmingly out of key
That hum is harming our harmony

But in the Americas it's all 60Hz
Half way from B flat to B, on the keys it lurks
Right in the crack between the white and the black
And exerts a worse hurt than 50Hz hurts

So how did this happen? Who's to blame? Let's take a little look back
At the miserably missed opportunity in tuning history that left our vibes out of whack

Well, in the 19th century the music world was trying to agree on standard pitch
To find the frequency to which the note A should be fixed
In 1834 some German's thought A oughta be 440
But the rest of the world stayed haughty and fought it
For more than a century, til eventually they agreed, indeed

But in those very same years, electrical engineers would debate with their peers
What the rate of the alternating current, the AC frequency, should be

It requires the right compromise between loss in wires and flickering light
And while most chose 50, Westinghouse was shifty on fifty and he fixed his at 60

But if only that electrician who was in the position to make the decision had met a musician
And had a conversation, and seen the correlation, did the calculation and made the compensation
They'd've split the difference 'twixt 50 and 60 to arrive... at 55
3 octaves below 440. It would've brought it all into line
We could've tuned to the flouros, jammed with a bandsaw
Had a techno rave with a microwave
Used the moan of the fridge like the drone of a didge. if only
Been a trance dance performer with a transformer, if only... ah, if only

But could we tune our music to 50Hz? A third of a semitone higher?
That's the same as having A as 449, which is fine for most ears, but it's dire
For people with perfect pitch and instruments that can't be tuned that much or at all

And to change the AC to 49Hz (which is G) would cost squillions to install

Now, the note you hear most is a hundred hertz, that's the octave above fifty
And it's harmonics then pile on top, plus other random pitches, but the seventh harmonic is nifty
It's a third of a semitone flat from a minor 7th, thus fixing the intonation
So if you hear an F then it's likely to be in tune! There's a minor consolation

Well, I do hope this proves to elucidate you on the loose state of our rates of vibration
Please don't be freaked by this speak of frequencies, be at ease, it's just information
For next time your frustrated playing music, bemused by why you wanna cry and fling your guitar off a bridge
It just may be that dumb AC hum, numbing and undermining your mind. So back away from the fridge


NOISY: But with standard pitch, 440, did they all really agree? I've heard it was a Nazi conspiracy

HOUSEBAND/WIFI: Well, that's the view of a few of the 432 crew
A passionate faction whose thoughts date back to
An 18th century physicist Sauveur who
Sought for every C to be a power of 2, like 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512 and more
In Equal Temperament that's A 430.54
But a century later Verdi would strive for
Pythagorean tuning making C128
A432, which as number is great
It's 2x2x2x2x3x3x3
 Useful factors and fab geometry but thence
  Claims of cosmic and molecular resonance
Jump from number to note in a manner offhanded
 Frequency involves seconds, a man-made standard
So it seems to me highly unlikely there'd be
  Such a universal syzygy of frequency
And it won't work on guitar or piano, seein'
 As the maths only match in pythagorean
But if you are feeling like retuning is healing
Then do it, for sure, I say, say no more

NOISY: But the Rock and Baroque folk like 415
KNOWSEY/NOTEY: And some others like 450
NOISY/NOTEY: And there's everything inbetween!

NOTEY: So with all these supposed ideals of pitch standards and tuning systems, it can never be quite resolved.
KNOWSY: Yep, nature's cheeky like that, like in quantum mechanics... if you want this, you can't have that. And if you want that, you can't have this.
WIFI: Yes, and with all this simplification, you know quantizing rhythms and auto-tuning notes, it's all a bit at odds with nature.
HOUSEBAND: Yeah, and the digitization of sound too. It's all very useful, at times... in a good balance
NOUGHTY: Awww, with all this debate about sound, surely you can see why I like silence so much.
NOISY: Well, I also love nothingness at times, but it's nice to have it framed with sound.
NOTEY: And vice versa.
NOISY: Exactly! Mix it up. Make it a journey [Etc.]
WIFI: Ahem... From silence to sound, from noise to note
Music needs it all to truly emote
HOUSEBAND: Oh, that's lovely, dear! A sweet little poem.
NOUGHTY: Aw, I didn't realise there could be a point to music. I just thought it got in the way of peace and quiet
KNOWSY: Well, if you can say that music has no point, then you could equally say that life has no point
NOUGHTY: Oo, that's a little dark
NOISY: Well, that's life...you gotta take the ups and the downs, the ins and outs, the good, the bad...
NOTEY: Speaking of that, have you ever noticed how the physical representations of music's variables often get confused?
OTHERS: What?!
NOTEY: Well, how we visualize aspects of sound. Like, when you go physically up on an accordian or cello, the pitch of the notes goes down [Sings example]
NOISY: Yeah, right, and same on guitar, with the highest string being at the bottom of the neck
NOTEY: Exactly. And that's just pitch! Here, let me explain...

Tension and Release
The highs and lows of music
Often get mixed up, so note them down
Pitch, tempo, tone and volume
But also textural density
And emotional intensity
The drama!
The cadences from craziness to calmer
That drive the vibe and guide the way from go to woah, so

Why play the same thing over and over? x3
Music isn't just about calm and peace
You need tension and release, tension and release

The words and the melody take me on a journey
The rhythm and the texture make it an adventure
The chords and the form lead me through the storm to the norm

From the fast to the slow, the high to the low
The dull to the bright, the loud to the quiet
With a pause and a stop, you'll work that applause and you'll take it to the top

Why play the same thing...

Questions and answers, sleepers and dancers
Extremes of emotion, waves on the ocean
Without hills and valleys, the land is really plain

From the fast to the slow, the high to the low
The dull to the bright, the loud to the quiet
With a pause and a stop, you'll work that applause and you'll take it to...

The bridge, post chorus, or middle 8
Another big bit for us to... anticipate
Or a breakdown, so low, it's over the top
As it builds and builds .... to the drop
WIFI: Ooh, Dubstep! A bit of EDM!
HOUSEBAND: Ah, yes, Electronic Dance Music. Hey, have you noticed that EDM doesn't use harmonic cadence as much as it uses textural and timbral cadence to create its tension and release...
WIFI: Oooo, I'm feeling the tension

Change or repetition can be tension or release depending on your state of mind and their position in the piece
Explore and savour the quiver of quavery flavour that that that's quantized or autotuned lacks.
'Cos all my favourite rhythms and melodies misbehave, off the grid and in the cracks

Are you deep in a groove or stuck in a rut?

That's the groove thing, the feel, the swing
The sweet push and pull round the pulse, round the globe, the beat
The subtle mash from rush to drag. The maths is mad
These neither 16ths nor triplets increase hipness
The physicality of different instruments and languages and dances dictate it
Though there's no knowing how to notate it!

From the fast to the slow, the high to the low
The dull to the bright, the loud to the quiet
With a pause and a stop, you'll work that applause and you'll take it to the top, take it to the top, take it to the top!

Why play the same thing...... TENSION AND RELEASE!


NOTEY: Oh Noisy, I didn't think I could ever end up appreciating noise so much
NOISY: I'm starting to feel the same way about notes... Notey
NARRATOR: Notey and Noisy gaze deeply into eachother's eyes, and they begin to sing of all the...
NOTEY: Oh, excuse me, we're having a moment here!
NARRATOR: Oh, sorry, do go on...

Perfectly Wrong 2
The nature of attraction, magnetic fields and gravity
We know what they do, but what they are remains a mystery
But I don't think that's a negative thing, though it freaks some people out
When the compound confounding our chemistry is the element of doubt

If it's not quite right for you and it's not quite right for me
With heart and mind, we might find just how perfectly wrong it can be
NOTEY: Perfectly wrong
NOISY: Wonderfully wonky
NOUGHTY: Exactly out of whack
KNOWSY: Unashamedly shonky
ALL: Awry is alright. It's why we belong, being perfectly wrong

WIFI: Aw, how sweet! Love really is about accepting our irreconcilable differences
HOUSEBAND: I really [rarely] agree
WIFI: Did you just say "really" or "rarely"?
HOUSEBAND: Bit of both, I reckon... he he!
WIFI: I couldn't agree any more!
HOUSEBAND: Yeah, what does that mean?! He he! That's the difficulty of calculating inverse relationships.
WIFI: Are you trying to put one over me? He he! [chuckling...]
  NARRATOR: So there we have it...  Notey and Noisy... Knowsy and Noughty... Houseband and Wifi... all discovering that through awareness and acceptance of the many minor mismatches in music, and in life, we can all get along and jam together!

Sound of Love
NOISY: Every oscillator needs an resonator
NOTEY: To find their perfect key, freak out on their frequency
KNOWSY: Reach a sonic boom in tune with the room
NOUGHTY: Sweet harmonics up above, it's the sound of love

NOTEY: Make a little note
NOISY: Make a little noise
NOUGHTY: Make a little nothing
KNOWSY: Then do it again, again again...
ALL: It's the love of sound, it's the sound of love

NOISY [Throaty voice]: Overtones on a drone, moan and groan
In the zone, the beats kick in, a riff, a loop, a lick in to a
with NOTEY: Groove, deep and embracing, hearts racing, chasing passion's waves crashing above [Loop Kyolin and Ky voice]
It's the sound of love

NOTEY: Make a little...

HOUSEBAND: As we travel back through history
WIFI: To unravel music's mystery
HOUSEBAND: Every culture round the earth
WIFI: Deeply understands its worth
HOUSEBAND: All choose a different quirky angle
WIFI: On music's rich imperfect tangle

[Natter (Lovely, Shakespearean, ending, oomph) to bring music back, then cast intros]


*Noughty's interjections