Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile

Advanced

why is the major scale constructed like it is?

Posted by expuddle 
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
July 03, 2014 10:14AM
ttw wrote:

>In one sense, the question of the structure of the major scale
>isn't really complete.

The mother Nature paved the long road to it in wonderful manner.
Ancient people had only primitive music instruments. Because of it only few first overtones up to 6. one were significant (Zarlino's senario) . It is clear that 2,3,4 and 6 overtones must concord with Pythagorean tuning which is based on ratios 2 and 3. The rather good concordance of 5 harmonic was gift from Nature. Othervice it were much more difficult to create music scale.
Why is diatonic scale became so important? It has cyclic structure
T,T,H,T,T,T,
------H-------
which is gift of Nature too. It possess following properties:
- if note ahead the sequence of 3 tone intervals is sharpened or note behind of them is flatted then in its place is formed sequence of 2 tones and on place of 2 tone intervals is formed sequence of 3 tone intervals. In the first case the diatonic structure is repeated with bias on 7 H clockwise and in 5 H accordingly in second case. Because of it diatonic scale has the important advantage to change tonic note via use of only one accidental. This property is consequence of octave division on 12 parts via Pythagorean tuning (PT). It exist, as well, by any division of conditional octave on tones and 2 their halves ( in common case, which is unessential now, 2 groups from same number of halves) by which halftone intervals aren't directly consequent but separated by 2 sequences of tones one which includes 1 tone more as other. By it numbers of tone intervals in conditional octave octave may be any of 4,6 (our 12 semitones), 8, 10 and so on. Thus the famous fifth circle isn't particular property of fifth interval but of many note's structures with division of conditional octave on tones and semitones .
It is clear by adding to diatonic scale any new note from chromatic scale 2 additional semitones intervals would appear together with impossibility of the magic circle. If that property of diatonic scale isn't consequence of namely PT then it might be considered as once more gift of nature.
The next gift is that PT scale with 12 chromatic notes was possible to replace with 12 ET system so that most important ratios got very well or better approximation then by PT what permitted to transfer melody free.
And once more gift (may be it isn't last one): tone intervals roughly correspond to frequency bandwidth of the cochlea auditory filters and as consequence halftone interval can play leading function.

>"In one sense, the question of the structure of the major scale isn't really complete. What are the putative starting points for the analysis. If one starts with all possible 1/1 to 2/1 ratios, the question arises why the particular notes chosen? "

Possibly the main matter isn't in ratios but in structure of major triads. Here the compositions of Beatles and article "Harmonic language of Beatles" (https://2akordi.net/znan ) are interesting. They knew very little about music theory and composed their melodies according to intuition. Overwhelming majority of their compositions is written in major tonality and the same part of their chords are major. It may be explained that smooth melodies (as majority of them by Beatles) demands mostly intervals 0,1,2 semitones between neighboring melody notes and pairs notes from different major chords provide that better, especially in cadences. Besides notes of major chords of same tonality have considerable horizontal ties thank to their same partials from 2,3,4,5 harmonics.

Yuri VilenkinIn
Lineanus
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 25, 2015 02:03PM
Wow! Much to do over something pretty simple. Those who claim it has nothing to do with the harmonic series, or that the major scale must be an evolution, are not correct. I am going to claim that a hypothetical intelligent civilization in another galaxy could easily come up with the same scale, provided they detect sound with a device similar to our ears.

You don't need modern scientific equipment, nor do you need to understand the math of the harmonic ratios. What you do need is a stringed instrument with three strings tuned in fourths or fifths. Note that many early stringed instruments had three strings. So, a piano doesn't help. Those strings are hidden in a black box. I'm holding a guitar and to sound out the harmonics I'm simply going to touch fractions of the strings when I pluck them to turn off the larger vibrations of each string.

Starting on the A string (the fundamental harmonic) when I touch the string in the middle of the string (1/2) it shuts off the fundamental harmonic and sounds out the second harmonic, what Western Civilization on the planet Earth calls an octave (which means the eighth note). Pluck either side of the string, it's the same pitch. Touch the string on either 1/3 or 2/3 of the string length it sounds out the third harmonic, what we call a fifth. Pluck either side of the string, it's the same pitch. When I touch the string at 1/4 or 3/4 it sounds out fourth harmonic, the next octave higher in pitch. These "even harmonics" sound out an octave above the fundamental, or an octave above the third harmonic (musicians call it a fifth) when the fraction is also divisible by 3. When I touch at 1/5, 2/5, 3/5, or 4/5 it sounds out the fifth harmonic, what we call a third. Sorry if that is confusing. Those notes are an A major chord. Well, well, the harmonic series after all. In tonal theory it's called the tonic chord.

Where do we go from there? That is why we need two more strings. Any string tuned to an even harmonic is just going to sound out another octave. So, tune a string to the third harmonic (a fifth, 1/3 or 2/3 of the string), and I have conveniently tuned a string to E. Sound out the same harmonics on the E string and you have constructed an E major chord. In tonal theory it's called the dominant chord.

Now we need to go in the back door so to speak. Another way to tune a string by a third harmonic (fifth, an odd harmonic) is to tune that new string so that its third harmonic is the same pitch as the original fundamental harmonic (A), or an octave above. I have conveniently tuned a string to D. Sound out the same harmonics on the D string and you have constructed a D major chord. In tonal theory it's called the subdominant chord.

Now we have played seven pitches (thus calling the next one up an octave=eighth note). Bunch them together so you can "scale" them. There you have it. The major scale.

All that would have been much more evident if you were sitting here with my guitar. And it would have taken up only about a minute of your time.

Another issue: Why isn't the major scale A, B, C, D, E, F, G? It was the Renaissance into the Baroque when they more frequently composed in the sixth mode of the major scale, its relative minor, the natural minor scale. And they named those notes A, B, C, D, E, F, G. Leaving us with the confusing major scale starting on C.
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 25, 2015 05:16PM
Lineanus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wow! Much to do over something pretty simple.
> Those who claim it has nothing to do with the
> harmonic series, or that the major scale must be
> an evolution, are not correct.

Why don't you learn some history instead of simply relying on what others say because it seems logical to you.
Lineanus
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 26, 2015 10:00AM
I only relied on what my guitar says and it never lies! Nor does the harmonic series. Maybe I didn't explain it well enough for you to understand it. My bad. And history: The Greek Civilization came up with exactly what I explained at least 2500 years ago.
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 26, 2015 10:12AM
Lineanus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I only relied on what my guitar says and it never
> lies! Nor does the harmonic series. Maybe I
> didn't explain it well enough for you to
> understand it. My bad. And history: The Greek
> Civilization came up with exactly what I explained
> at least 2500 years ago.

But they didn't.

The Greeks certainly knew about the effects of simple ratios (2:1, 3:2, at least), but they didn't construct the major scale from them. (They didn't known anything about the harmonic series, of course, because they didn't have the technology to measure frequency; they just knew some of the effects of it. They worked with string lengths, pipe lengths, metal weights.)

If the major scale is somehow "natural", how do you explain the fact that it didn't exist until around 400 years ago (at the earliest)? It was a European invention. The notes that comprise it may have been centuries older, but that specific mode of them wasn't part of European music until the Renaissance.
In any case, non-European cultures have very different priorities as to what kinds of scale they use. Is their music thereby "unnatural"?

Here's some recommended reading:
[www.yumpu.com]
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 26, 2015 01:28PM
Lineanus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> All that would have been much more evident if you
> were sitting here with my guitar. And it would
> have taken up only about a minute of your time.

The only reason it took about a minute of your time is that you already knew what you were aiming for. You conveniently chose intervals and a harmonics range that you knew would result in the major scale - so guess what? You got the major scale. You could just as easily have come up with another scale had you chosen different intervals.

Most music developments from the Middle Ages onwards are well documented, and even though music history can't pinpoint exactly how or when the note collection that became the major scale, or its precursor the Ionian mode, came to be, it clearly shows that it certainly wasn't arrived at by your reverse engineering method.

It was completely absent from both the Ancient Greek System and the Medieval Mode system. It only began to make regular appearances in secular music of the Renaissance Period and became officially recognised in 1547 as the Ionian mode. How long it had been bubbling unnamed under the surface before that is unknown, and that's because most secular music, unlike sacred music, was never recorded in print but handed down orally. Possible origins are:

Natural expansion of the pentatonic scale - Secular musicians adding notes to fill in the minor 3rd steps would arrive at it (as well as transposed versions of the already existing Lydian and Mixolydian modes)

Musica Ficta - The common practice of flatting the awkward 4th note (B) of the original Lydian mode produces a transposed version of the Ionian mode that exactly matches our modern F major - but only in notes, not in intent.

Raising the 7th note of the original Mixolydian mode to produce a leading note also results in a scale that matches our modern G major.

One thing is certain. It was produced by musicians making music, and not by theorists using harmonics to construct a scale artificially in the hope that it would catch on.
Lineanus
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 27, 2015 05:57PM
Wow again!

I see nobody here has an instrument with three open strings tuned in fifths or fourths. I didn't need to know the harmonic series or even math ratios to derive the major scale from the natural harmonics by touching the string at 1/2, then 2/3, then 4/4. then 4/5 the length of each string (the notes of what we now call a major chord). The loudest natural harmonics, in order. How is that selecting which intervals I needed to produce the desired results? The major scale is what you get. No other scale. No math needed. No science needed. You don't need Pythagoras' explanation.

And really? Touching a string when you pluck it is a modern development? You don't need modern equipment to measure the harmonic series; it is right there on a vibrating string; plain as day!

I thought the Greeks had the Ionian scale. I could be wrong about that.

I doubt some scholarly tome is going to change the natural harmonics of a vibrating string. If my guitar does something differently tomorrow, I'll apologize.
Lineanus
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 27, 2015 06:38PM
Oh, sorry. 3/4 not 4/4 lengths of each string.
Lineanus
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 27, 2015 08:21PM
And I guess I should clarify "math ratios" to "interval ratios" before someone comments on the factions of lengths of the vibrating string being "math ratios".
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 28, 2015 01:53AM
Maybe we're talking at cross-purposes. No-one is disputing that doing what you did produces the major scale. It's a well-known fact. It's also well known that (assuming tuning in 4ths) if you had chosen the lower string as your 'tonic', you'd have come up with the Mixolydian mode, and if you had chosen the upper string, you'd have come up with the Lydian mode. What you've actually produced is a diatonic note set, which, according to history, evolved from Ancient Greek 4-note diatonic tetrachords using tones and semitones. (The Greek Ionian scale is different to the Ionian mode/major scale)

By the time we get to the Middle Ages, history shows that the vast majority of recorded Western music (plainchant, etc.) was diatonic, but of the 7 possible diatonic note arrangements that can be produced from a diatonic note set, only four were being used in actual music - which became the Dorian, Phrygian Lydian and Mixolydian Modes (plus a down-shifted version of each with the prefix Hypo added - all fancy Greek names but not the same note arrangements as the Greek system) but no sign yet of anything resembling the Ionian mode/ major scale.

Of course, it's not impossible that someone long ago could have done exactly the same thing as you and produced a set of notes that matches the modern major scale or the Renaissance Period Ionian mode, both of which lay in the future. The question is WHY? What would they do with this artificially created scale? (artificial in the sense that, unlike the existing scales/modes, it didn't come from already existing music). Did they compose a new kind of music with it which gradually became popular enough for the scale to be recognised and named as the Ionian mode in the Renaissance Period?

That last part is true; it certainly did become popular enough to be recognised and named, but to say that it was born as a result of someone messing around with harmonics, rather than naturally evolving from existing scales/music, is extremely far-fetched, don't you think?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/28/2015 06:50AM by Fretsource. (view changes)
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 28, 2015 06:46AM
Lineanus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wow again!
>
> I see nobody here has an instrument with three
> open strings tuned in fifths or fourths. I didn't
> need to know the harmonic series or even math
> ratios to derive the major scale from the natural
> harmonics by touching the string at 1/2, then 2/3,
> then 4/4. then 4/5 the length of each string (the
> notes of what we now call a major chord).

Major chord. Not major scale. I only count three notes there. ;-)
Lineanus
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 28, 2015 12:30PM
>Fretsource

Thank you. I am actually pleased and relieved that someone does understand my suggestion.

However, I still do not agree that my suggestion is far-fetched in the least. I suggest that touching a string when you pluck it must be far more ancient than recorded history can tell us. And measuring the lengths of strings can't tell the whole story.

Tuning three strings to the loudest harmonic that is not an octave of the fundamental, produced easily enough by touching a string at 1/3 or 2/3 (what we now call a fifth), whether ascending or descending, wouldn't be a difficult idea to discover (here come the interval ratio studies, already discussed at length). And now I must agree that we would have Ionian, Mixolydian, and Lydian on equal standing so to speak. And I suggest that these are the least "artificial" of all heptatonic scales. Unless "artificial" is redefined to mean it must have a precursor. Further, improvising with these notes can't be a modern innovation. What they sound like depends on where a listener has "put his ear", since I don't know how else to say that. How would we know that some Lydian melodies didn't end on its fifth, and some Mixolydian melodies didn't end on its fourth?
Lineanus
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 28, 2015 04:05PM
>JonR

Is that John Riley?

If so, I noticed you correctly posted on another forum that what was being called the "Lydian minor" scale is the fourth mode of the Neapolitan scale and just adds the fifth to the whole tone scale. I'm impressed! I have used the two on the ii-V progression, not with great success. I view and hear the two as a tetrad with another stacked on the perfect fifth: natural/major and lydian/natural. Or you may prefer "upper minor" over "natural". Very strange sounding scales to me. What I call "Lydian minor" is the fourth mode of the Harmonic major scale. And have used it with great success over a iv-I in the major key.

I was going to post there until I read yours.
Lineanus
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 28, 2015 11:43PM
And since I'd like to hangout with you guys a bit more, I find some discussion confusing. When I look up Greek Lydian diatonic tetrachord I clearly hear what I would call the major tetrachord (except I prefer the word tetrad).

And I'm not the only one: [en.wiki2.org]
Lineanus
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 28, 2015 11:58PM
oh sorry again. The site seams to be:
[en.wiki2.org]
Lineanus
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 29, 2015 12:26AM
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 29, 2015 02:04AM
Lineanus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

>What they sound like depends
> on where a listener has "put his ear", since I
> don't know how else to say that.

Where the listener puts his ear is an important point if I understand what you mean by that. And now a scenario has taken shape in my head where a guy in the pre-Ionian middle ages has done what you suggest and come up with the scale CDEFGAB. It's completely unknown to him, but as luck would have it, he lives next door to Notre Dame Cathedral where the great modal composer Leonin works. He pays him a visit and says "Mr Leonin, I've come up with this mode by using harmonics, but I don't recognise it. It's C D E F G A B - any idea what it might be? " Leonin answers " Yes it's just the Lydian mode but starting from the C below instead of F - what we call the Hypolydian mode, with its final, F, nicely in the middle of its range. That's why you didn't recognise it." The guy then proceeds to play some music he's composed with it, but Leonin explodes "Whoa! WTF! You're doing it all wrong! You're treating the wrong note as the final. F is the final not C". But the guy isn't moved "Nah - I like it this way", he replies - "everything relating to C. It's different and cool". Leonin would then end the conversation with - "Begone and don't ever bring that unholy music here or to any church ever again or you'll find yourself locked up with the 'Free the tritone' mob!"

Leonin's ears were obviously in the wrong place to appreciate the music because he was expecting Lydian/ Hypolydian mode music but got something completely different. He can't really be blamed as he can only judge from what he already knows. If he could have put his ears in the same place as the guy's, history might have been very different and the Ionian mode wouldn't have been completely ignored by the music establishment (i.e the Church) for the next few hundred years.

Meanwhile, the guy continued to write music with it, played some gigs in the taverns and whorehouses and slowly but surely got some fans and influenced other musicians with their ears in the right place, until the music became so popular that its underlying scale could no longer be ignored by the establishment. It was officially recognised and named the Ionian mode in a famous treatise called Dodecachordon by the theorist Heinrich Glareanus in 1547 - and even given a 'plagal' partner - the Hypoionian mode starting from G with the final C in the middle of the range.

I like that story. If only there were a single shred of evidence to support it - but sadly there isn't.
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 29, 2015 04:25AM
I like that story too. :-)
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 29, 2015 04:42AM
Lineanus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> >JonR
>
> Is that John Riley?

That's my name, but without the H. There are plenty of John Rileys about (even a few Jon Rileys) but I don't know anyone else by that name who posts on forums lke this...

> If so, I noticed you correctly posted on another
> forum that what was being called the "Lydian
> minor" scale is the fourth mode of the Neapolitan
> scale and just adds the fifth to the whole tone
> scale. I'm impressed!

Thanks. I don't remember that, but I'm sure you're right. ;-)

> I have used the two on the
> ii-V progression, not with great success. I view
> and hear the two as a tetrad with another stacked
> on the perfect fifth: natural/major and
> lydian/natural. Or you may prefer "upper minor"
> over "natural". Very strange sounding scales to
> me. What I call "Lydian minor" is the fourth mode
> of the Harmonic major scale.

As I think you know, "Lydian minor" is defined as 1 2 3 #4 5 b6 b7.
But I kind of agree with you that the 4th mode of Harmonic major ("dorian #4"?) might deserve the name better.

> And have used it
> with great success over a iv-I in the major key.

I agree harmonic major is an obvious choice when you have alternating major I and minor iv (eg in the bridge to "Blue Skies"). But I haven't found much use for it otherwise. Usually when a minor iv goes to I, I find melodic minor works better (ie mixolydian b6 relative to the tonic); that's because the bVII7 is a common sub there.

Now, you'll have to excuse me, but talking about scales leaves me feeling unclean somehow.... bad taste in the mouth... a vague sense of guilt or shame... like I'm being unfaithful to the real world of music.... ;-)
Lineanus
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 29, 2015 03:13PM
>single shred of evidence

I understand that I'm just proving your point about "evolution" of the scale, but I'm still wondering why Mr. Barbera wrote about this:

The name Lydian refers to the ancient kingdom of Lydia in Anatolia. In Greek music theory, there was a Lydian scale or "octave species" extending from parhypate hypaton to trite diezeugmenon, equivalent in the diatonic genus to the medieval and modern Ionian mode, i.e., the modern major scale: C D E F | G A B C (Barbera 1984, 233, 240).

Admittedly, the tuning was different, but that's true with other Greek modes.

And New World Encyclopedia:

Only one accidental is used commonly in Gregorian chant—si (B) may be lowered by a half-step. This usually (but not always) occurs in modes V and VI, and is optional in other modes.
Mode I II III IV V VI VII VIII
Name Dorian Hypodorian Phrygian Hypophrygian Lydian Hypolydian Mixolydian Hypomixolydian
Final (note) D D E E F F G G
Final (solfege) re re mi mi fa fa sol sol
Dominant (note) A F B-C A C A D C
Dominant (solfege) la fa si-do la do la re do

"Used commonly" in mode V, Lydian in F, "may be lowered a half step", B flat.

-------------------------------------

>Dorian #4?

No, I was referring to Lydian b3 or Melodic minor #4. fourth mode of Harmonic major. As in my composition "Into Her Everlasting Love".

[picosong.com]

I think Mr. Riley wrote something similar to "go away kid you bother me". I'm probably wrong again.
Lineanus
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 29, 2015 10:30PM
What chord do I start and end on: "Into Her Everlasting Love"?
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 29, 2015 11:25PM
Lineanus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> The name Lydian refers to the ancient kingdom of
> Lydia in Anatolia. In Greek music theory, there
> was a Lydian scale or "octave species" extending
> from parhypate hypaton to trite diezeugmenon,
> equivalent in the diatonic genus to the medieval
> and modern Ionian mode, i.e., the modern
> major scale: C D E F | G A B C (Barbera 1984,
> 233, 240).

Yes - I'm sure that as soon as they had the diatonic tetrachord concept expanded to 7 note diatonic scales, they'd know about and name all 7 possible arrangements, one of which corresponds with the major scale - which they called Lydian. The trouble is there's so little evidence of actual Greek music that there's no way to know if it had any musical use or was just a theoretical possibility.

And by the time the Gregorian monks set about classifying the scale structure of the existing body of Church music, and giving them names that they thought were the correct Greek names, only four (plus their plagals) were represented - none of which corresponded with the major scale (Renaissance Ionian/ Greek Lydian). Maybe it had been used but had died out by that time. Who knows? Not me - that's for sure ;-)


> And New World Encyclopedia:
>
> Only one accidental is used commonly in Gregorian
> chant—si (B) may be lowered by a half-step. This
> usually (but not always) occurs in modes V and VI,
> and is optional in other modes.
> Mode I II III IV V VI VII VIII
> Name Dorian Hypodorian Phrygian Hypophrygian Lydia
> n Hypolydian Mixolydian Hypomixolydian
> Final (note) D D E E F F G G
> Final (solfege) re re mi mi fa fa sol sol
> Dominant (note) A F B-C A C A D C
> Dominant (solfege) la fa si-do la do la re do
>
> "Used commonly" in mode V, Lydian in F, "may be
> lowered a half step", B flat.

Yes - that's the point I made earlier about Musica Ficta - Lowering the B of the Lydian (and Hypolydian) mode (Modes V & VI
Lineanus
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 30, 2015 12:30AM
Very Good. I agree. Musica Ficta probably "becomes" the major scale (nomenclatural trivia). But you were writing about a "single shred of evidence".

Aristoxenus describes the diatonic genus (Greek: διατονικό γένος) as the oldest and most natural of the genera (Mathiesen & 1999 310). It is the division of the tetrachord from which the modern diatonic scale evolved. The distinguishing characteristic of the diatonic genus is that its largest interval is about the size of a major second.

Sorry Jon got fed up with me.
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 30, 2015 03:03AM
Lineanus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> >Dorian #4?
>
> No, I was referring to Lydian b3 or Melodic minor
> #4. fourth mode of Harmonic major.

Sorry, yes, Dorian #4 is mode 4 of A harmonic minor, and has a b7.

> As in my
> composition "Into Her Everlasting Love".
>
> [picosong.com]

That sounds like a C harmonic major exercise to me. C and Fm chords.
IOW, I hear C as the root, not G.

> I think Mr. Riley wrote something similar to "go
> away kid you bother me". I'm probably wrong
> again.

Yes you are wrong :-). It was only all the talk about scales that was bothering me. Your questions are actually quite interesting, but I think Fretsource is better equipped to handle them than I am.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/30/2015 03:14AM by JonR. (view changes)
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 30, 2015 03:16AM
Lineanus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What chord do I start and end on: "Into Her
> Everlasting Love"?

Fm/G? G7susb9?

Interesting chord to start, but sounds like an odd one to end on. But that's because I hear C as tonal centre, I guess.
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 30, 2015 03:40AM
Lineanus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Very Good. I agree. Musica Ficta probably
> "becomes" the major scale (nomenclatural trivia).
> But you were writing about a "single shred of
> evidence".

Yeah that was tongue in cheek - I meant: no evidence about the guy living next door to Leonin and getting kicked out of the cathedral. :-)
>
> Aristoxenus describes the diatonic genus (Greek:
> διατονικό γένος) as the oldest and
> most natural of the genera (Mathiesen & 1999 310).
> It is the division of the tetrachord from which
> the modern diatonic scale evolved. The
> distinguishing characteristic of the diatonic
> genus is that its largest interval is about the
> size of a major second.

I'm not sure why you're quoting this as it agrees with what I said earlier when I said:
"What you've actually produced is a diatonic note set, which, according to history, evolved from Ancient Greek 4-note diatonic tetrachords comprising tones and semitones" (two tones and one semitone to be precise).

That was my 'shred of evidence' that it didn't come from harmonics but from combining diatonic tetrachords. Where the diatonic tetrachord came from, I've no idea except it was a four-string (tetra+chord) tuning system for instruments. Maybe that's like asking where did standard guitar tuning come from or 'Dropped D' or 'Open G'. From practical need, I guess.
Lineanus
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 30, 2015 04:54PM
JonR wrote
>That sounds like a C harmonic major exercise to me. C and Fm chords.
>IOW, I hear C as the root, not G.

I did score it in C. I'm not certain of the best way to describe the opening and closing chord. I think it should be something like C add b6, 11/G (since there is no 7th). This next is a guitar thing: I "discovered" it when I happened to bar an open C/G. "Hello, what are you?", and decided to compose a song around it. Since it has the notes of both C and Fm, when I scored the bass to play C on it through most of the rest of the song it could be heard either way, and, of course you're right again, then Fm.

One thing I find interesting is that when I do play an A note (on F chord) it sounds out of key to me after the melody keeps insisting that Ab is in the key.

>Interesting chord to start, but sounds like an odd one to end on. But that's because I hear C as tonal centre, I guess.

That brings to mind I read that George Martin said he told the Beatles not to end their songs on V-I.

Fretsource wrote
>I'm not sure why you're quoting this as it agrees with what I said earlier

I wasn't trying to make a statement there, more like a citation.

>the guy living next door to Leonin...getting kicked out of the cathedral.

I actually liked your story as well. I don't hear the Devil's Interval nearly as dissonant as b9, for example, having grown up with Blues, Rock, Boogie-woogie, hearing it almost daily.

>that [the scales] didn't come from harmonics but from combining diatonic tetrachords. Where the diatonic tetrachord came from, I've no idea

Which brings back my original suggestion. I know it all sounds like hindsight, circular reasoning, the chicken or the egg logic, but I don't think so.
Lineanus
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 30, 2015 07:54PM
JonR wrote
>Dorian #4 is mode 4 of A harmonic minor, and has a b7.

I came across another name for Dorian #4 in literature on Jewish music: Ukrainian Dorian. They view it as the seventh mode of Jewish Ahavah Rabbah, which is also the Spanish Gypsy scale in Flamenco, Phrygian Dominant in Jazz, and just starting on the fifth note of Harmonic Minor in Classical music. You might not be interested, but I like names for everything. (What!? More scales!? Jeez!) I'm considering starting another topic about which came first, probably brewing up another firestorm. I'll wait a month or so to see before tossing in my 2cents. Or is there some other forum more appropriate?

Does anyone know the best place to post a thesis on the spread of Renaissance Passamezzo Antico, La Folia, and Romanesca across Europe?
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 31, 2015 03:58AM
Lineanus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> JonR wrote
> >That sounds like a C harmonic major exercise to
> me. C and Fm chords.
> >IOW, I hear C as the root, not G.
>
> I did score it in C.

How you score it is not the issue. That's just writing.
The key is what sounds like the key. It only makes sense to call it "F lydian b3" if you hear F as the keynote.

> I'm not certain of the best
> way to describe the opening and closing chord. I
> think it should be something like C add b6,
> 11
/G (since there is no 7th).

What's wrong with "Fm/G"?

> One thing I find interesting is that when I do
> play an A note (on F chord) it sounds out of key
> to me after the melody keeps insisting that Ab is
> in the key.

Well, of course. ;-)

>
> >Interesting chord to start, but sounds like an
> odd one to end on. But that's because I hear C as
> tonal centre, I guess.
>
> That brings to mind I read that George Martin said
> he told the Beatles not to end their songs on
> V-I.

Different point. He probably felt V-I was too cheesy and obvious. (Do you have a link or reference for that? Sounds believable, but I've not read it before.)
I doubt he ever suggested they end on V, still less a strangely dissonant V7susb9.
OTOH, if they'd suggested it themselves, he'd probably have gone along with it. (Nothing wrong with it, if you're sure that's what you want!)
Lineanus
Re: why is the major scale constructed like it is?
March 31, 2015 06:16AM
JonR wrote
> >That sounds like a C harmonic major exercise to
> me. C and Fm chords.
> >IOW, I hear C as the root, not G
I did score it in C

>How you score it is not the issue. That's just writing.
>The key is what sounds like the key. It only makes sense to call it "F lydian b3" if you hear F as the keynote.

Where did you get all that? "not G"? "call it F if I hear F as the key"?. I composed it in C, just as you thought in the first place.

>What's wrong with "Fm/G"?

If you prefer that, it's FmM7/G. I don't.

>Different point.

Different point from what?
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login