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Encyclopedia > Quarter tone

A quarter tone is an interval about half as wide (aurally, or logarithmically) as a semitone, which is half a whole tone. In music theory, the term interval describes the difference in pitch between two notes. ... A semitone (also known in the USA as a half step) is a musical interval. ... The musical interval of a major second — also called a whole-tone — is the relationship between the first note (the root or tonic) and the second note in a major scale (and also a minor scale). ...


In equal temperament the quarter tone is 50 cents, or a frequency ratio of 21/24 or 1.0293. In 24 tone equal temperament, or the quarter tone scale, it is the smallest step. Two equal temperament quarter tones equal a semitone, and three make a three-quarter tone. A three-quarter tone may also be considered half of a minor third. In just intonation the quarter tone is often 36:35 or 33:32, approximately half the semitone of 16:15 or 25:24. An equal temperament is a musical temperament — that is, a system of tuning intended to approximate some form of just intonation — in which an interval, usually the octave, is divided into a series of equal steps (equal frequency ratios). ... The cent is a logarithmic unit of measure used for musical intervals. ... In music, a step is a linear or successive interval between two pitches which are consecutive scale degrees. ... A minor third is the smaller of two commonly occurring musical intervals compounded of two steps of the diatonic scale. ... In music, just intonation, also called rational intonation, is any musical tuning in which the frequencies of notes are related by ratios of whole numbers. ...

Trumpet with 3 normal valves and a quartering on the extension valve (right).
Trumpet with 3 normal valves and a quartering on the extension valve (right).

Many composers are known for having written music including quarter tones or the quarter tone scale, first proposed by 19th-century music theorist Mikha'il Mishaqah (Touma 1996, p.16), including: Alberto Ginastera, Alois Hába, Charles Ives, Krzysztof Penderecki, Tui St. George Tucker, Ivan Alexandrovich Vïshnegradsky, Mildred Couper (see List of quarter tone pieces). Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 331 pixelsFull resolution (1747 × 723 pixel, file size: 169 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) |Description=C-Trompete mit 3 normalen Ventilen und einem Viertelton-Verlängerungsventil |Source=selbst erstellt/bearbeitet |Date=13. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 331 pixelsFull resolution (1747 × 723 pixel, file size: 169 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) |Description=C-Trompete mit 3 normalen Ventilen und einem Viertelton-Verlängerungsventil |Source=selbst erstellt/bearbeitet |Date=13. ... The trumpet is a musical instrument in the brass family. ... Composers are people who write music. ... Mikhail Mishaqah (1800-1889) was the first theorist to propose a division of the octave into twenty-four equal tones (24-tone equal temperament, quarter tone scale), this being the current basis of the Arab tone system. ... Alberto Evaristo Ginastera (Buenos Aires, April 11, 1916 – June 25, 1983 Geneva) was an Argentinian composer of classical music. ... Alois Hába (June 21, 1893 - November 18, 1973) was a Czech composer primarily known for his microtonal compositions, especially using the quarter tone scale, though he used others such as sixth-tones and twelfth-tones. ... This photo from around 1913 shows Ives in his day job. He was the director of a successful insurance agency. ... Krzysztof Penderecki. ... Tui St. ... Ivan Alexandrovich Vïshnegradsky (1893-1979, also Wyschnegradsky, Wyshnegradsky, Wischnegradsky, Vishnegradsky, or Wishnegradsky) was a Russian composer primarily known for his microtonal compositions, including the quarter tone scale, though he used scales of up to 71 divisions. ... Mildred Couper (1887–1974), prominent American composer and pianist, was one of the first musicians to experiment with quarter-tone music. ... Sofia Gubaidulina Quaternion for cello quartet, two of the cellos are tuned down a quarter tone Music for Flute, Strings, and Percussion, the strings are divided into two sections, one of which is tuned a quarter-tone lower than the other. ...

Contents

Playing quarter tones on musical instruments

A quarter tone clarinet by Fritz Schüller.

Because many musical instruments manufactured today are designed for the 12-tone scale, not all are usable for playing quarter tones. Sometimes special playing techniques must be used. Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links Metadata No higher resolution available. ... Quarter tone clarinet by Fritz Schüller (1883-1977) of Markneukirchen A quarter tone clarinet is an experimental clarinet designed to play music using quarter tone intervals. ...


Conventional musical instruments which can play quarter tones include:

Experimental instruments have been built to play in quarter tones, for example a quarter tone clarinet by Fritz Schüller (1883-1977) of Markneukirchen. The term synthesiser is also used to mean frequency synthesiser, an electronic system found in communications. ... A string instrument (also stringed instrument) is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. ... Example of bending on electric guitar A bend is a guitar technique that involves bending the tone upwards, thus making the note or chord sound sharper than normal. ... A brass instrument is a musical instrument whose tone is produced by vibration of the lips as a player blows into a tubular resonator. ... The trombone is a musical instrument in the brass family. ... A woodwind instrument is a musical instrument in which sound is produced by blowing through a mouthpiece against an edge or by a vibrating reed, and in which the pitch is varied by opening or closing holes in the body of the instrument. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Quarter tone clarinet by Fritz Schüller (1883-1977) of Markneukirchen A quarter tone clarinet is an experimental clarinet designed to play music using quarter tone intervals. ... Markneukirchen is a town in the Vogtlandkreis district, in the Free State of Saxony, Germany. ...


Other instruments can be used to play quarter tones when using audio signal processing effects such as pitch shifting. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with pitch shift. ...


Pairs of conventional instruments tuned a quarter tone apart can be used to play some quarter tone music. Indeed, "quarter tone pianos" have been built which consist essentially of two pianos stacked one above the other in a single case, one tuned a quarter tone higher than the other.


Music of the Middle East

While the use of quarter tones in Western music is a more recent and experimental phenomenon, these and other microtonal intervals have been an important part of the music of the Arab world, Turkey, Iran, Assyria, Kurdistan and neighboring lands and areas for many centuries. Arabic music includes several genres and styles of music ranging from Arab classical to Arabic pop music and from secular to sacred music. ... The modern Arab tone system, or system of musical tuning, is based upon the theoretical division of the octave into twenty-four equal divisions or 24-tone equal temperament, the distance between each successive note being a quarter tone (50 cents). ... Microtonal music is music using microtones -- intervals of less than a semitone, or as Charles Ives put it, the notes between the cracks of the piano. ... “Arab States” redirects here. ... For other uses, see Assyria (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Kurdistan (disambiguation). ...


The concept that Eastern music uses quarter tones is entirely a Western view. The truth is that there is no such interval used in the music of the East. Western musicologists are generally unable to think outside the box of the tempered scale. Hence the idea of quarter follows naturally from the Western semi-tone which is exactly half of the Western whole tone. The tempered (and somewhat sterile) system of the Western scale is only a few hundred years old as a concept, whereas the theory and practise of Eastern musics are thousands of years old. The Pythagorean tetrachord system produced intervals of many kinds. None of these are equal to a quarter or even three quarters of a tone in the Western way of understanding music.

Many Arabic maqamat contain intervals of three-quarter tone size; a short list of these follows.[1] (Note: Due to the lack of widespread support for Unicode quarter tone characters, a regular flat symbol is used with a strikethrough. The proper form has a short diagonal stroke through the stem, not a straight stroke through the bowl.) Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... 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. ... The Unicode Standard, Version 5. ... Figure 1. ...

  • 1 - Bayati (بياتي): D E F G A B♭ C D
  • 2 - Hussayni
  • 3 - Siga (سيكاه): E F G A B C D E
  • 4 - Rast (راست): C D E F G A B C (with a B♭ replacing the B in the descending scale)
  • 6 - ‘Ajam
  • Sabba (صبا): D E F G♭ A B♭ C D


The medieval philosopher and scientist Al-Farabi described a number of intervals in his work in music, including a number of quarter tones. Al Farabi (870-950) was born of a Turkish family and educated by a Christian physician in Baghdad, and was himself later considered a teacher on par with Aristotle. ...


Assyrian/Syriac Church scale:

  • 1 - Qadmoyo (Bayati)
  • 2 - Trayono (Hussayni)
  • 3 - Tlithoyo (Segah)
  • 4 - Rbi‘oyo (Rast)
  • 5 - Hmishoyo
  • 6 - Shtithoyo (‘Ajam)
  • 7 - Shbi‘oyo
  • 8 - Tminoyo

Greek tetrachords

The enharmonic genus of the tetrachord described by the Greek Archytas consists of two quarter tones and a major third. The enharmonic genus has historically been the most mysterious and controversial of the three Greek genera. ... The tetrachord is a concept of music theory borrowed from ancient Greece. ... Archytas Archytas (428 BC - 347 BC) was a Greek philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, statesman, strategist and commander-in-chief. ... A major third is the larger of two commonly occuring musical intervals that span three diatonic scale degrees. ...


See also

In musical tuning, a temperament is a system of tuning which slightly compromises the pure intervals of just intonation in order to meet other requirements of the system. ... Sofia Gubaidulina Quaternion for cello quartet, two of the cellos are tuned down a quarter tone Music for Flute, Strings, and Percussion, the strings are divided into two sections, one of which is tuned a quarter-tone lower than the other. ... The following is a list of intervals of meantone temperament. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Spector, Johanna (May 1970). "Classical 'Ud Music in Egypt with Special Reference to Maqamat" (GIF). Ethnomusicology 14 (2): 243–257. Retrieved on 2006-09-08. 

Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 251st day of the year (252nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

References

  • Habib Hassan Touma (1996). The Music of the Arabs, trans. Laurie Schwartz. Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press. ISBN 0-931340-88-8.
Tunings edit
Pythagorean · Just intonation · Harry Partch's 43-tone scale
Regular temperaments
Equal temperaments :   12-tone · 19-tone · 22-tone · 24-tone · 31-tone · 34-tone · 53-tone · 72-tone · 88-tone
Non-equal temperaments :   Meantone (Quarter-comma; Lucy tuning; Septimal) · Schismatic · Miracle
Irregular temperaments
Well temperament

  Results from FactBites:
 
Quarter tone - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (148 words)
A quarter tone is an interval half as wide (aurally, or logarithmically) as a semitone, which is half a whole tone.
In equal temperament the quarter tone is 50 cents or 2
A three-quarter tone may also be considered half of a minor third.
MSN Encarta - Search Results - Quarter Tone (122 words)
Quarter Tone, in music, an interval, half that of a semitone.
Tone, in music, sound that has a definite pitch, as distinct from noise, which is sound that lacks identifiable pitch.
As the first all-American breed, the quarter horse is the essential, all-around horse of the...
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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