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Encyclopedia > Musical scale

In music, a scale is a group of musical notes that provides material for part or all of a musical work. Scales are ordered in pitch or pitch class, with their ordering providing a measure of musical distance. Scales differ from modes in that scales do not have a primary or "tonic" note. Thus a single scale can have many different modes, depending on which of its notes is chosen as primary. The distance between two successive notes in a scale is called a "scale step." Composers often transform musical patterns by moving every note in the pattern by a constant number of scale steps: thus, in the C major scale, the pattern C-D-E ("doe, a deer") might be shifted up a single scale step to become D-E-F ("ray, a drop"). This process is called scalar transposition. Since the steps of a scale can have various sizes, this process introduces subtle melodic and harmonic variation into the music. This variation is what gives scalar music much of its complexity. This article is about modes as used in music. ... In music transposition refers to the process of moving a collection of notes (pitches) up or down in pitch by a constant interval. ...

Contents

Background

Scales are typically listed from low to high, or, alternatively and more rarely, from high to low. A scale is octave-repeating when every pitch in the scale appears in every possible octave. An octave-repeating scale can be represented as a circular arrangement of pitch classes, ordered by increasing (or decreasing) pitch class. For instance, the C major scale can be represented as the circular ordering C-D-E-F-G-A-B-[C], with the bracket indicating that the ordering returns to its starting point. In music and music theory a pitch class contains all notes that have the same name; for example, all Es, no matter which octave they are in, are in the same pitch class. ...


This single scale can be manifested at many different pitch levels. For example a C major scale can be started at C4 (middle C; see scientific pitch notation) and ascending an octave to C5; or it could be started at C6, ascending an octave to C7. This article or section may be confusing for some readers, and should be edited to be clearer or more simplified. ...


Scales may be described according to the intervals they contain: In music theory, the term interval describes the difference in pitch between two notes. ...

or by the number of different pitch classes they contain: In music theory, a diatonic scale (from the Greek diatonikos, to stretch out; also known as the heptatonia prima; set form 7-35) is a seven-note musical scale comprising five whole-tone and two half-tone steps, in which the half tones are maximally separated. ... The chromatic scale is a scale with twelve pitches, each a semitone or half step apart. ... In music, a whole tone scale (set form 6-35, 02468t) is a scale in which each note is separated from its neighbors by the interval of a whole step. ... In music and music theory a pitch class contains all notes that have the same name; for example, all Es, no matter which octave they are in, are in the same pitch class. ...

Scales can be abstracted from performance or composition. They are also often used precompositionally to guide or limit a composition. Explicit instruction in scales has been part of compositional training for many centuries. One or more scales may be used in a composition, such as in Claude Debussy's L'Isle Joyeuse. Below, the first scale is a whole tone scale, while the second and third scales are diatonic scales. All three are used in the opening pages of Debussy's piece. A pentatonic scale is a musical scale with five pitches per octave. ... In music a hexatonic scale is a scale with six (hexa) degrees. ... A heptatonic scale is a musical scale with seven pitches per octave. ... In the history of music, prehistoric music (previously called primitive music) is all music produced in preliterate cultures (prehistory), beginning somewhere in very late geological history. ... For other uses, see Jazz (disambiguation). ... Modernism in musicis characterized by a desire for or belief in progressand science, surrealism, anti-romanticism, politicaladvocacy, general intellectualism, and/or a breaking with tradition or common practice. ... In music, a diminished scale (set 8-28) is a scale in which the notes of the scale ascend in alternating intervals of a whole step and a half step. ... Buskers perform in San Francisco A performance, in performing arts, generally comprises an event in which one group of people (the performer or performers) behave in a particular way for another group of people (the audience). ... Musical composition is a phrase used in a number of contexts, the most commonly used being a piece of music. ... In music, precompositional decisions are those decisions which a composer decides upon before or while beginning to create a composition. ... Claude Debussy, photo by Félix Nadar, 1908. ... LIsle Joyeuse is an extended solo piano piece by Claude Debussy composed in 1904. ...


The lydian mode, middle, functions as an intermediary between the whole tone scale, top, and the major scale, bottom. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (894x264, 8 KB)Whole tone, lydian, and major scales File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ...


Terminological note

Musicians use the term "scale" in several incompatible senses.


Scale vs. Mode. Sometimes the term refers to an ordered collection in which no element has been chosen as primary. Thus musicians will talk about the "diatonic scale," the "octatonic scale," or the "whole tone scale." However, the term is sometimes used to mean "mode," indicating that an element of the scale has been chosen as most important. Thus the "C major scale" and used to refer to types of scale related by transposition. In this sense, musicians will talk about the diatonic scale, considering the C diatonic scale and G diatonic scale to be instances of a single, larger category. Consistency suggests distinguishing a "scale" (such as C or G diatonic) from "scale type" (the diatonic scale-type"). To avoid neologisms, however, we will follow traditional musical practice, using the term "scale" in both senses. Context should allow readers to distinguish between particular scales and the larger types to which they belong. In music transposition refers to the process of moving a collection of notes (pitches) up or down in pitch by a constant interval. ...


In addition, the term "scale" is used in psychoacoustics to refer to various ways of measuring distances between pitches. See bark scale and mel scale. Psychoacoustics is the study of subjective human perception of sounds. ... The Bark scale is a psychoacoustical scale. ... The mel scale, proposed by Stevens, Volkman and Newman in 1937 (J. Acoust. ...


Scales in Western music

Scales in traditional Western music generally consist of seven notes and repeat at the octave. Notes in the commonly used scales (see just below) are separated by whole and half step intervals of tones and semitones. The harmonic minor scale includes a three-semitone step; the pentatonic includes two of these. Classical music is a broad, somewhat imprecise term, referring to music produced in, or rooted in the traditions of, European art, ecclesiastical and concert music, encompassing a broad period from roughly 1000 to the present day. ... This article will be merged with Italian musical terms at some point in the near future. ... In music theory, the term interval describes the difference in pitch between two notes. ...


Western music in the Medieval and Renaissance periods (1100-1600) tends to use the white-note diatonic scale C-D-E-F-G-A-B. Accidentals are rare, and somewhat unsystematically used, often to avoid the tritone. In music theory, the major scale is one of the diatonic scales. ... For other uses, see Tritone (disambiguation). ...


Music of the common practice periods (1600-1900) uses three types of scale:

These scales are used in all of their transpositions. The music of this period introduces modulation, which involves systematic changes from one scale to another. Modulation occurs in relatively conventionalized ways. For example, major-mode pieces typically begin in a "tonic" diatonic scale and modulate to the "dominant" scale a fifth above. In music theory, the major scale is one of the diatonic scales. ... A minor scale in musical theory is a diatonic scale whose third scale degree is an interval of a minor third above the tonic. ...


In the nineteenth and twentieth century, additional types of scale are explored:

A large — indeed, virtually endless — variety of other scales exists: The chromatic scale is a scale with twelve pitches, each a semitone or half step apart. ... In music, a whole tone scale (set form 6-35, 02468t) is a scale in which each note is separated from its neighbors by the interval of a whole step. ... A pentatonic scale is a musical scale with five pitches per octave. ... The diminished scale is a musical scale the pitches of which ascend in alternating whole tones and semitones. ...

The Phrygian dominant scale is constructed by raising the third of the Phrygian scale and is the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale, the fifth being the dominant. ... In music, the Arabic scale is arrived at by either: Raising the seventh of the Jewish scale Raising the seventh and third of the Phrygian mode Lowering the sixth and second of a major scale The sequence of steps comprising the Arabic scale is: half – augmented – half – whole – half – augmented... The Hungarian minor scale is a type of combined musical scale. ...

Naming the notes of a scale

In many musical circumstances, a specific note of the scale will be chosen as the "tonic"--the central and most stable note of the scale. Relative to a choice of tonic, the notes of a scale are often labeled with numbers recording how many scale steps above the tonic they are. For example, the notes of the C diatonic scale (C, D, E, F, G, A, B) can be labeled {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7}, reflecting the choice of C as tonic. The term "scale degree" refers to these numerical labels. In the C diatonic scale, with C chosen as tonic, C is the first scale degree, D is the second scale degree, and so on.


Note that such labeling requires the choice of a "first" note; hence scale-degree labels are not intrinsic to the scale itself, but rather to its modes. For example, if we choose A as tonic, then we can label the notes of the C diatonic scale using A = 1, B = 2, C = 3, D = 4, and so on. However, the difference between two scale degrees is independent of the choice of scale degree 1. Thus whether two notes are adjacent in a scale, or separated by one note, does not depend on the mode under discussion.


The scale degrees of the traditional major scale can also be named using the terms tonic, supertonic, mediant, subdominant, dominant, submediant, subtonic. If the subtonic is a semitone away from the tonic, then it is usually called the leading-tone (or leading-note); otherwise the leading-tone refers to the raised subtonic. Also commonly used is the "movable do" solfege naming convention in which each scale degree is given a syllable. In the major scale, the solfege syllables are: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So (or Sol), La, Ti (or Si), Do (or Ut). The tonic is the first note of a musical scale, and in the tonal method of music composition it is extremely important. ... In music or music theory, the supertonic is the second degree of the scale, it is the second note of a diatonic scale. ... For mediant in mathematics, see Mediant (mathematics) In music, the mediant is the third degree of the diatonic scale. ... In music, the subdominant is the technical name for the fourth tonal degree of the diatonic scale. ... The word dominant has several possible meanings: In music theory, the dominant or dominant note (second most important) of a key is that which is a perfect fifth above the tonic; in just intonation the note whose pitch is 1. ... In music, the submediant is the sixth degree of the scale. ... In music, the subtonic is the lowered seventh degree of the scale, as opposed to the leading tone. ... In music theory, a leading-tone (called the leading-note outside the US) is a note or pitch which is resolves or leads to a note one semitone higher or lower, being an lower and upper leading-tone, respectively. ... Sol-fa redirects here. ...


In naming the notes of a scale, it is customary that each scale degree be assigned its own letter name: for example, the A diatonic scale is written A - B - C♯ - D - E - F♯ - G♯ rather than A - B - D♭ - D - F♭ - E double sharp - G♯. However, it is impossible to do this with scales containing more than seven notes. Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ...


Non-Western scales

In traditional Western music, scale notes are most often separated by equally-tempered tones or semitones, creating, at most, twelve pitches per octave. Many other musical traditions employ scales that include other intervals or a different number of pitches. A common scale in Eastern music is the pentatonic scale, consisting of five tones, in a pattern equivalent to the black keys on a piano. In the middle eastern Hejaz scale, there are some intervals of three semitones. Gamelan music uses a small variety of scales including Pélog and Sléndro, none including equally tempered intervals. Ragas in Indian classical music often employ intervals smaller than a semitone (Burns 1998, 247). Arabic music maqamat may use quarter tone intervals (Zonis, 1973). In both ragas and maqamat, the distance between a note and an inflection (e.g., śruti) of that same note may be less than a semitone. Gamelan - Indonesian Embassy in Canberra A gamelan is a kind of musical ensemble of Indonesia typically featuring a variety of instruments such as metallophones, xylophones, drums, and gongs; bamboo flutes, bowed and plucked strings, and vocalists may also be included. ... Pelog is one of the two essential scales of Gamelan music native to Bali and Java, in Indonesia. ... Slendro (called salendro by the Sundanese) is a pentatonic (five tone) scale, one of the two most common scales used in Indonesian gamelan music. ... Raga (rāg /राग (Hindi), raga (anglicised from rāgaḥ/रागः (Sanskrit)) or rāgam /ராகம் (Tamil)) are the melodic modes used in Indian classical music. ... The origins of Indian classical music can be found from the oldest of scriptures, part of the Hindu tradition, the Vedas. ... Arabic music includes several genres and styles of music ranging from Arab classical to Arabic pop music and from secular to sacred music. ... In Arabic music a maqaam (Arabic: ‎, Hebrew: ) is, a technique of improvisation that defines the pitches, patterns, and development of a piece of music and which is unique to Arabian art music. ... A quarter tone is an interval half as wide (aurally, or logarithmically) as a semitone, which is half a whole tone. ... The Å›ruti (Sanskrit thing heard, sound) is the smallest interval of the tuning system of Indian classical music. ...


Microtonal scales

The term microtonal music usually refers to music with roots in traditional Western music that employs non-standard scales or scale intervals. The composer Harry Partch made custom musical instruments to play compositions that employed a 43-note scale system, and the American jazz vibraphonist Emil Richards experimented with such scales in his 'Microtonal Blues Band' in the 1970s. Easley Blackwood has written microtonal but equal-tempered composition. John Cage, the American experimental composer, also created works for prepared piano which use varied, sometimes random, scales. Microtonal scales are also used in traditional Indian Raga music, which has a variety of modes which are used not only as modes or scales but also as defining elements of the song, or raga. 19 scale piano Microtonal music is music using microtones — intervals of less than an equally spaced semitone, or as Charles Ives put it, the notes between the cracks of the piano. ... A composer is a person who writes music. ... Harry Partch (June 24, 1901 – September 3, 1974) was an American composer. ... Pikasso guitar In 2006 luthier Yuri Landman built the Moodswinger, a 12 string overtone zither for Aaron Hemphill of the noiseband Liars A custom made instrument is a musical instrument that is considered to be of ones own design or a modification or extension of a defined guideline of... The 43-tone scale is a just intonation scale with 43 pitches in each octave invented and used by Harry Partch. ... A typical vibraphone. ... Emil Richards is a percussionist who plays a variety of different percussive instruments. ... The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, also called The Seventies. ... The name Easley Blackwood is known in two areas: music and the game of contract bridge. ... For the Mortal Kombat character, see Johnny Cage. ... A prepared piano is a piano that has had its sound altered by placing objects (preparations) between or on the strings or on the hammers or dampers. ... Raga (rāg /राग (Hindi), raga (anglicised from rāgaḥ/रागः (Sanskrit)) or rāgam /ராகம் (Tamil)) are the melodic modes used in Indian classical music. ... This article is about modes as used in music. ... For other uses, see Song (disambiguation). ... Raga (rāg /राग (Hindi), raga (anglicised from rāgaḥ/रागः (Sanskrit)) or rāgam /ராகம் (Tamil)) are the melodic modes used in Indian classical music. ...

In music, 19 equal temperament, called 19-tet, 19-edo, or 19-et, is the scale derived by dividing the octave into 19 equally large steps. ... A quarter tone is an interval half as wide (aurally, or logarithmically) as a semitone, which is half a whole tone. ... In music, 31 equal temperament, called 31-tet, 31-edo, or 31-et, is the scale derived by dividing the octave into 31 equally large steps. ... In music, 53 equal temperament, called 53-TET, 53-EDO, or 53-ET, is the tempered scale derived by dividing the octave into fifty-three equally large steps. ... In music, 72 equal temperament, called 72-tet, 72-edo, or 72-et, is the scale derived by dividing the octave into twelfth-tones, or in other words 72 equally large steps. ... In music, 88 equal temperament is the scale derived by dividing the octave into 88 equally large steps. ...

Jazz and blues

See also: jazz scales

Through the introduction of blue notes, jazz and blues employ scale intervals smaller than a semitone. The blue note is an interval that is technically neither major nor minor but 'in-between', giving it a characteristic flavour. For instance, in the key of E, the blue note would be either, a note between G and G♯ or a note moving between both. In blues a pentatonic scale is often used. In jazz many different modes and scales are used, often within the same piece of music. Chromatic scales are common, especially in modern jazz. One important aspect of jazz is its use of many complementary scales and the modification of these scales by the introduction of blue notes. ... In jazz and blues notes added to the major scale for expressive quality, loosely defined by musicians to be an alteration to a scale or chord that makes it sound like the blues. ... For other uses, see Jazz (disambiguation). ... Blues music redirects here. ... In music theory, the term interval describes the difference in pitch between two notes. ... Major is a military rank the use of which varies according to country. ... Look up minor in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In music theory, the key identifies the tonic triad, the chord, major or minor, which represents the final point of rest for a piece, or the focal point of a section. ... In music, a pentatonic scale is a scale with five notes per octave. ... This article is about modes as used in music. ...


Indian musical scale

Main article: Indian musical scale
Scales in music by number of pitches : edit
pentatonic | hexatonic | heptatonic | octatonic | chromatic


// There are 72 parent scales in Carnatic music(South indian classical music). ... A pentatonic scale is a musical scale with five pitches per octave. ... In music a hexatonic scale is a scale with six (hexa) degrees. ... A heptatonic scale is a musical scale with seven pitches per octave. ... In music, a diminished scale (set 8-28) is a scale in which the notes of the scale ascend in alternating intervals of a whole step and a half step. ... The chromatic scale is a scale with twelve pitches, each a semitone or half step apart. ...

Source

  • Burns, Edward M. 1998. "Intervals, Scales, and Tuning." In The Psychology of Music, second edition, edited by Diana Deutsch, 215–64. New York: Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-213564-4.
  • Zonis [Mahler], Ellen. 1973. Classical Persian Music: An Introduction. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

External links

  • 669 Unique Musical Scales with LucyTuned ScaleCoding in htm, xls, and FileMaker formats
  • Details of LucyTuned ScaleCoding system
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Musical scale
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  Results from FactBites:
 
Scale (music) - MSN Encarta (501 words)
Scale (music) (Italian scala, “ladder”), the arrangement, by rising or falling pitch sequence, of the notes used in a musical system.
These scales have a repeating sequence of semitones (on the white notes, E-F and B-C), and whole tones (between all other adjacent tones); and they have seven notes per octave (the eighth note in such a series is simply the repetition of the first note an octave higher).
By the late 19th century, because of the ever-increasing use of sharpened and flattened notes, Western music was based not on diatonic scales, but on a chromatic scale: 12 notes within the octave, all a semitone apart—C C-sharp D D-sharp E F F-sharp G G-sharp A A-sharp B (C).
Scale (music) (443 words)
Though the scales from musical traditions around the world are often quite different, the pitches of the notes in any given scale are usually related by a mathematical rule.
In traditional Western music, scale degrees are separated by tones or semitones.
Scales were originally derived from chord structures used, but now the notes in a chord are usually a subset of a particular scale.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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