(OT) non-octave scales (was Re: various infotaining natlang tidbits)
|From:||Jonathan Chang <zhang2323@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, June 14, 2000, 19:28|
In a message dated 2000/06/14 12:17:34 PM, thorinn wrote:
>Are there actually intonation systems out there where you don't have
>any pitches in a 2:1 ratio at all?
Yep, & for lack of a classification they are generally called "non-octave
scale tuning systems.
>All the systems that I have seen
>described repeated themselves after an octave, but that may be an
>artifact of the descriptions --- and of course I haven't seen all
Quite a number of scale tuning systems in South East Asia, Oceania &
parts of Africa have scales in which 2:1 ratios are not used - preferences
tending to near-octave pitches or pitches beyond the octave by as much as a
quartertone are fairly common. In recent years, fractal-based scale tunings
have also added to the "non-octave" class of tunings - besides other
mathematicallly-based scale tuning systems.
Non-octave tunings tend to be unequal tunings & thus quite "spicy" or
"alien" sounding. . . which should be inspirational to those of you who are
into creating truly original concultures.
Funny story: I met a musician who couldn't believe me when I said there
are scale tuning systems with more than 12 pitches in an octave-range.
I simply loaded up my JI-Calc (Just Intonation Calculator) program on my
computer & demonstrated a random series of different scale systems - in
example, 13-tone Equal Tempered scale (very alien sounding), 19-tone Equal
Tempered scale (very aggressive sounding... imagine a weird mix of Wagner &
Klingon), the Indian _sruti_ system of 22-pitches, Harry Partch's Monophonic
Fabric with it's 43-tones, Mercator II's 53-pitch scale, etc..
(There is also a few scale tuning systems that have as many as several
hundred pitches to an octave range, but these IMHO tend to be just "special
His jaw dropped to the floor & ever since he has been a "tuning freak."
At the other extreme, there are interesting scale tunings with less than
5-tones per octave range as well. These I find to be deceptively "simple" and
"primitive." I personally find highly unequal pentatonic scale tunings to be
highly rewarding in terms of various emotive modes (especially extremely
dark, alien-sounding drone music as well as various "lighter" percussive
music pieces using metallic instruments - including a "mutated"/prepared toy
piano, *musical mad scientist gigglabytefit*).