Intro to Music Notes

Intro to Music Notes - Unit 3: Scales, Texture, Tonal...

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Unit 3: Scales, Texture, Tonal Systems, and Building Melodies - Scales and Modes Hel p JavaScript is required for your course. Please ensure JavaScript is enabled in your browser preferences. Note After Note: Some Musical Scales Mention of scales are found in early recorded history in civilizations that preceded ancient Greece, but not descriptions of the notes actually used in those scales. Our first definitive records come from ancient Greece and early Roman times. The Greeks describe, to some lengths, the scales that were common to the regions under their influence, including the Near East, and hence describe scales that were the wellspring of both Eastern and Western cultures. Measuring for Size Definition often relies upon measurement, at least for a partial description of a substance or thing. For the ancient Greeks, the first to come to grips with some definition of music, defining music meant much more than simply describing it. For anything to truly exist for them, the existence had to be proven, and this meant two steps, empirical observation and then the application of logic. What I have just laid out, of course, are the steps behind scientific method, and this process, of course, is one of the great gifts from the ancients to us. The earliest contributor to a systematic, scientific, and arithmetic study of music was Pythagoras or, more likely, the members of the cult that surrounded him during the sixth century B.C.E. The phrase "study of music" is somewhat misleading because, in reality, Pythagoras and his cult didn't study music, but sound. The approach was scientific, and in the category of science is where music remained for at least the next sixteen centuries! Nonetheless, Pythagoras' approach was ingenious. He heard music and daily sounds and recognized that not all pitches were the same. He knew sound was vibration. The question became, then, how to quantify what he was hearing? Pythagoras used a musical instrument called a monochord . The monochord was not really a musical instrument, but instead a single string stretched the length of a table-sized sounding board. Later monochords from the Middle Ages were given more strings, all invariably laid out in string lengths that reflected the ratios that Pythagoras
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discovered, but these monochords were used to demonstrate in teaching rather than as research tools. In his process, he first plucked the string to determine the pitch. Then he systematically divided the string into ratios to hear and measure the comparative changes in pitch. The first ratio was 2:1, and this division yielded the octave. The next two ratios, 3:2 and 4:3 yielded the intervals or distances between notes which we today call the fifth and the fourth, respectively. The names are purely functional--there are five notes when one counts from the starting note to the note create by the string division. The monochord below is a modern replica. It has multiple strings, each already divided to reflect the outcome of Pythagoras' experiments. In the end, Pythagoras and his followers got no closer to describing practical music,
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Intro to Music Notes - Unit 3: Scales, Texture, Tonal...

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