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Terms Relating To Vocal Music
Dynamics
Tempo (_continued_)
Embellishments
Scales (_continued_)
Symbols Of Music Defined
Terms Relating To Forms And Styles
Musical Instruments
Chords Cadences Etc
Measure


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Terms Relating To Forms And Styles (_continued_)
The History Of Music Notation
Terminology Adoptions 1907-1910
Symbols Of Music Defined Part Two
Auxiliary Words And Endings
Some Principles Of Correct Notation
Abbreviations Signs Etc
Miscellaneous Terms
Miscellaneous Terms (_continued_)
Terminology Reform


Random Music Terms

Acoustics
Some Principles Of Correct Notation
Terms Relating To Forms And Styles
Miscellaneous Terms
Tempo
Abbreviations Signs Etc
Chords Cadences Etc
Symbols Of Music Defined
Musical Instruments
Scales



Scales





76. A scale (from scala, a Latin word meaning ladder; Ger.
Ton-leiter) is an ascending or descending series of tones, progressing
according to some definite system, and all bearing (in the case of
tonality scales at least) a very intimate relation to the first
tone--the key-tone or tonic. (See p. 28, Sec. 78; also note 1 at
bottom of p. 38.)

Many different kinds of scales have existed in various musical
eras, the point of resemblance among them all being the fact
that they have all more or less recognized the octave as the
natural limit of the series. The difference among the various
scales has been in the selection of intervals between the
scale-tones, and, consequently, in the number of tones within
the octave. Thus e.g., in our major scale the intervals
between the tones are all whole-steps except two (which are
half-steps), and the result is a scale of eight tones
(including in this number both the key-tone and its octave):
but in the so-called pentatonic scale of the Chinese and
other older civilizations we find larger intervals (e.g.,
the step-and-a-half), and consequently a smaller number of
tones within the octave. Thus in the scale upon which many of
the older Scotch folk songs are based the intervals are
arranged as follows:

1 whole 2 whole 3 step-and- 4 whole 5 step-and- 6
step step a-half step a-half

The result is a scale of six tones, corresponding
approximately with C--D--E--G--A--C in our modern system.

The term pentatonic is thus seen to be a misnomer since the
sixth tone is necessary for the completion of the series, just
as the eighth tone is essential in our diatonic scales.

The following Chinese tune (called Jasmine) is based on the
pentatonic scale.




77. In studying the theory of the scale the student should bear in mind
the fact that a scale is not an arbitrary series of tones which some one
has invented, and which others are required to make use of. It is rather
the result of accustoming the ear to certain melodic combinations (which
were originally hit upon by accident), and finally analyzing and
systematizing these combinations into a certain definite order or
arrangement. The application of this idea may be verified when it is
recalled that most primitive peoples have invented melodies of some
sort, but that only in modern times, and particularly since the
development of instrumental music, have these melodies been analyzed,
and the scale upon which they have been based, discovered, the inventors
of the melodies being themselves wholly ignorant of the existence of
such scales.

78. A key is a number of tones grouping themselves naturally (both
melodically and harmonically) about a central tone--the key tone. The
word tonality is often used synonymously with key in this sense.

The difference between key and scale is therefore this,
that while both key and scale employ the same tone
material, by key we mean the material in general, without
any particular order or arrangement in mind, while by scale
we mean the same tones, but now arranged into a regular
ascending or descending series. It should be noted in this
connection also that not all scales present an equally good
opportunity of having their tones used as a basis for tonality
or key-feeling: neither the chromatic nor the whole-step scale
possess the necessary characteristics for being used as
tonality scales in the same sense that our major and minor
scales are so used.

79. There are three general classes of scales extant at the present
time, viz.: (1) Diatonic; (2) Chromatic; (3) Whole-tone.[13]

[Footnote 13: If strictly logical terminology is to be insisted upon the
whole-tone scale should be called the whole-step scale.]

80. The word diatonic means through the tones (i.e., through the
tones of the key), and is applied to both major and minor scales of our
modern tonality system. In general a diatonic scale may be defined as
one which proceeds by half-steps and whole-steps. There is, however, one
exception to this principle, viz., in the progression six to seven in
the harmonic minor scale, which is of course a step-and-a-half. (See p.
33, Sec. 86.)

81. A major diatonic scale is one in which the intervals between the
tones are arranged as follows:

1 whole 2 whole 3 half 4 whole 5 whole 6 whole 7 half 8
step step step step step step step

In other words, a major diatonic scale is one in which the intervals
between three and four, and between seven and eight are half-steps, all
the others being whole-steps. A composition based on this scale is said
to be written in the major mode, or in a major key. The major diatonic
scale may begin on any one of the twelve pitches C, C[sharp] or D[flat],
D, D[sharp] or E[flat], E, F, F[sharp] or G[flat], G, G[sharp] or
A[flat], A, A[sharp] or B[flat], B, but in each case it is the same
scale because the intervals between its tones are the same. We have then
one major scale only, but this scale may be written in many different
positions, and may be sung or played beginning on any one of a number of
different pitches.

82. It is interesting to note that the major scale consists of two
identical series of four tones each; i.e., the first four tones of the
scale are separated from one another by exactly the same intervals and
these intervals appear in exactly the same order as in the case of the
last four tones of the scale. Fig. 53 will make this clear. The first
four tones of any diatonic scale (major or minor) are often referred to
as the lower tetrachord[14] and the upper four tones as the upper
tetrachord.

[Footnote 14: The word tetrachord means literally four strings and
refers to the primitive instrument, the four strings of which were so
tuned that the lowest and the highest tones produced were a perfect
fourth apart. With the Greeks the tetrachord was the unit of analysis as
the octave is with us to-day, and all Greek scales are capable of
division into two tetrachords, the arrangement of the intervals between
the tones in each tetrachord differentiating one scale from another, but
the tetrachords themselves always consisting of groups of four tones,
the highest being a perfect fourth above the lowest.]



It is interesting further to note that the upper tetrachord of any
sharp scale is always used without change as the lower tetrachord of
the next major scale involving sharps, while the lower tetrachord of any
flat scale is used as the upper tetrachord of the next flat scale. See
Figs. 54 and 55.



83. From the standpoint of staff notation the major scale may be written
in fifteen different positions, as follows:




It will be observed that in the above series of scales those beginning
on F[sharp] and G[flat] call for the same keys on the piano, i.e.,
while the notation is different, the actual tones of the scale are the
same. The scales of C[sharp] and D[flat] likewise employ the same tones.
When two scales thus employ the same tones but differ in notation they
are said to be enharmonic, (cf. p. 38, Sec. 93.)

Note.--The student is advised to adopt some uniform method
of writing scales, preferably the one followed in those given
above, the necessary sharps and flats appearing before the
notes in the scale and then repeated collectively at the end
as a signature. He is also advised to repeat these scales and
signatures over and over until absolute familiarity is
attained. E.g., E--F[sharp]--G[sharp]--A--B--C[sharp]--D[sharp]--E;
signature, four sharps, F, C, G, and D.





Next: Scales (_continued_)

Previous: Embellishments



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