Namaskāra to everyone,
I'm reading a paper, which has two paragraphs that stood out at me:
"2. Modeling language relationships by sound
"The distinguishing "linguistic" and epistemological feature of the Ṛg Veda hymns is the manner in which they are grounded in sound and demand a selection amongst alternative musical patterns. Since the number of tonal systems is infinite, the selection of a finite number of them by the singer/musician at the moment of execution, not only closes him within a certain limitation or determination (e.g., just tuning, equal temperament) but, more radically, it forces him to constantly face the internal incompatibility of any such systems, the tones of every conceivable system must constantly face and submit to a radical sacrifice to permit others to emerge. (1978, p. 12)
"Therefore, from a linguistic and cultural perspective, we have to be aware that we are dealing with a language where tonal and arithmetical relations establish the epistemological invariances. Language grounded in music is grounded thereby on context dependency; any tone can have any possible relation to other tones, and the shift from one tone to another, which alone makes melody possible, is a shift in perspective which the singer himself embodies. Any perspective (tone) must be "sacrificed" for a new one to come into being; the song is a radical activity which requires innovation while maintaining continuity, and the "world" is the creation of the singer, who shares its dimensions with the song." (1978, p. 57)
The thing that stood out at me is my experience of music, which while I enjoy it in spite of my deafness and can hear pitches and pitch myself relative to my didgeridoo instruments, I don't think in terms of equal-temperament tuning of western music, though I understand the concepts. How to explain... I can be hearing music from different parts of the world using vastly different tuning systems, and I would have no idea this would be happening. It just sounds normal to me. I can't even really tell the difference between a minor and a major key just by listening. I've heard bands known to play a particular song(s) with carnatic style on the guitar, and I have no idea how it sounds different. It seems like as long it has a pleasant or interesting sound and a decent rhythm, anything goes. It is the opposite for many people, apparently. It grates on them, or they get disoriented.
Anyone have to anything to say on this? I'm unraveling a mystery here...