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I'm no expert in music theory. Can someone dumb down the concept of microtones for the rest of us laypeople? --MisterMe (talk) 08:58, 14 September 2019 (EDT)

Microtones are the notes between the keys on a piano! So like, you know notes like A and B, between those is A sharp (or B flat), but between A and A sharp would be a microtone! Western music revolves around a repeating series of 12 tones (A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab), but there are technically any number of tones between one note and another, so you have songs like Dog that make use of a 31 tone temperament! -j2
Thanks. These guys never cease to amaze me with their songwriting innovations. --MisterMe (talk) 16:07, 15 September 2019 (EDT)


This sounds interesting. Where does it occur in Dog? --ColorOfInfinity (talk) 21:39, 14 September 2019 (EDT)

The ascending piano figure in the, uh, chorus(?), that begins after the first "staring at the door"! -j2
Thanks. I did wonder how the scale only traversed 3 notes but seemed to be much longer... cool. --ColorOfInfinity (talk) 18:21, 15 September 2019 (EDT)
wait, i just relistened for the first time in months and there are microtones throughout! in the first half it just sounds like an out of tune piano, but once the ascending part happens (and the microtonal melodica appears!) it becomes evident that it is intentional. how quickly we forget! -j2
Cool. Oops, I didn't see the first trivia point on the song page. --ColorOfInfinity (talk) 19:59, 16 September 2019 (EDT)

idea for retooling this page theme?[edit]

after watching this page grow a little i've been wondering if "microtones" is a bit too specific for a title. mainly because with the exception of the House of Mayors tracks and some of the DAS 2018 tracks, the other examples don't seem to exactly *fit* the idea of microtones, or at least intentional use of microtones. for example i feel like for tracks like Heptone or Mainstream USA were more made with the idea of dissonance rather than 'let's use microtonality here' (mainstream usa seems like a couple out-of-tune guitars giving a really janky feel). would it be better to make this page more about dissonance, or maybe some better cool-sounding musical term that basically means 'usage of some really weird-ass musicality'? just throwing this out there, considering right now it's kinda vague with "microtones", and doesn't really cover a broad number of songs. Snagwhag (talk) 19:37, 17 April 2020 (EDT)

The two songs you mentioned are edge cases for sure, but the rest are fairly intentional Linnell experiments in applying microtonality to pop forms (e.g., see the Flans interview quote on McCafferty's Bib). I added Heptone based on the interview with Linnell in 2019's TMBPTMBG where he explained the evolution of the song in conjunction with his longstanding interest in microtones - he programmed microtonal scales into a synth, which Flansburgh then commandeered to create something that sounds unhinged. The end result is not so much "microtonal" as aleatorical. For that reason I wouldn't fight for including it, or (for the reasons you mentioned) Mainstream USA. The others need a specific tag like this one, I would say. --Nehushtan (talk) 21:49, 17 April 2020 (EDT)