Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Jimmy Martin and the music theory of Pythagoras

Hi @Mark_Rocka that was just BRILLIANT. Jimmy Martin seemed lost for words, never yet seen anyone out talk Jimmy till now that it.

Who is that old timer doin the talkin?

No idea.

If you google Jimmy Martin and Pythagoras, you’ll find a copy of a longer version of this video. It might say.

That is hilarious. And he is Carlton Haney, a booking agent, bluegrass promoter, festival organizer, song writer, etc.

Here’s his Wikipedia page:
Here’s another page on him:

A very interesting guy.

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Y’all go watch the whole 20 minute video here; it’s priceless.


Thank you @Maggie that was hilarious :rofl::rofl::joy:

Great stuff… Is that true, about the different instruments each being in its own octave (except fiddle and mandoline) ? Never thought of that !

It’s not entirely false, but I think there’s more overlap than he’s making it sound like. For example, the guitar and banjo play in the same octave.

Also, (continuing @Mark_Rocka’s post) the dobro plays in the same octave as guitar and banjo, and even the fiddle and mandolin play in the same octave on the low strings. I haven’t watched the video though, so I’m not privy to what he said

Well see, there ya go, ya gotta go watch the video now, cause accordin to Carlton see, there’s only 5 instruments in a bluegrass band and dobro a’int one of 'em, so… :wink:


So yeah, Pythagoras was indeed a philosopher and mathematician and we all learned the Pythagorean Theorem in high school geometry, but I didn’t really think he had all that much to with music theory and scales and all that. :thinking::confused: Boy was I wrong.

I’ve just been reading up on Pythagorean tuning and scales and frequencies and tetrachords and octaves and diatonic semi-tones and augmented fourths and diminished fifths and wolf intervals; and now it seems that what sounded like gibberish is real stuff from Pythagoras. My head hurts.

Jimmy’s reaction is still priceless though. And kudos to Marcel for piecing that video together in just the right way.


Care to share some of your findings? You got me curious.

Oh my goodness, no, no, no. It was one of those things that started off OK but the further I dug, the more gnarly it got and it did start sounding like gibberish and my head started to hurt.

But, if you’re curious and daring enough, just google pythagoras music. There are gobs of sources and videos on the subject. Knock yourself out, which is probably something I should have done before I spent hours on it.


Well, a twenty minute video is like, my entire internet usage allotment of Mb for five days. I’ll just guess that the five he considered bluegrass are 1) bass 2) banjo 3) mandolin 4) fiddle and 5) guitar. Not necessarily in that order

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Hi @Maggie Sound Waves, Magnetic Waves, Radio Waves, Light, vibration, Rainbows in the sky and ripples on a pond are all related elements of physics. They form part of maths and are calculated using labels such as Frequency, Wavelength, Tone, Mhz, Oscillate. I am pretty sure that most folks will recall some of this from their time in High School.

In High School lessons on these topics were generally boring, it’s later in life when you see the connections the ah light bulb turns on. Pythagorean Theorem is everywhere in modern day life we are just not aware of it.

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exactly right

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