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partial theory

is the practice of deriving tones from various partial relationships found in one or multiple overtone series (using one or multiple fundamentals at a time). Tones are described as numbers, suggesting simple number relationships, or whole number ratios, where the fundamental is considered the first partial. It is an extension or branch of Just Intonation practices, with the allowance of/adaption to enharmonic differences found in resonating materials (strings/tubes/metal), but with the attention made towards the structure of the pure overtone series where harmonic relationships may be clearly defined.

Tones are notated as numbers rather than letters (though numbers and letters may work together in notation for reading purposes). The intention is towards the various combination sounds of tones together (in relationship) rather than singular pitches. Following, perhaps, what Tenney defined as Clang: "A sound or sound-configuration which is perceived as a primary musical unit or aural Gestalt." The attention, however, turns towards elemental tonal color in a musical unit.

Thinking, utilizing, and intuiting partial relationships may be the clearest practice towards discovering and understanding various Clangs in music and in musical occurrences. This requires adaptability and openness, a willingness to accept natural phenomena/the environment as directive. This falls (somewhat) outside of standard musical training, and therefore can be contradictory to the material developed musicians have grown accustomed to. However, it can also enhance one's attention towards one's own practice and perhaps explain various intuitive musical choices already in use.