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Re: Custom music notation?

From: Silvain Dupertuis
Subject: Re: Custom music notation?
Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2021 21:14:11 +0100
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To all those who say chromatic scale would be simpler... I am not sure!
In response to Pashkuli Keyboard...

Scales are not just formulas and “natural major” scale is not arbitrary. Moreover, even if it is a characteristic of western music, this scale is not simply cultural.

Harmony rely on a strong physical base, which let us understand why musical intervals are mainly based on octaves, fifths and thirds – as well as the natural major scale.

In melody, notes are arranged in a sequence, and sound close to one another when the interval is small. But so-called natural intervals are the one which are easy to sing correctly.

In harmony, by contrast, notes sound nearly identical when distant of one octave. And the proximity of chords is based on the cycle of fifths (an approximate cycle, thanks to the temperament). For example, chords of C and G are close to one another when C and C♯ are nearly as far away as possible (C and F♯ are the farthest).

A great part of the beauty of music comes from the interleaving of these two kinds of proximity (melodic and harmonic). Transposition and changes of key add sharps and flat according to the fifths cycle. This is complex, but it reflects the real structure of music.

The 12th chromatic scale, on the other hand, is just a good approximation of the natural intervals based on fifth and their transposition. It allows us to play music on keyboards instruments (with black and white keys). One can of course write music using just this 12th notes chromatic scale, as if there were no white and black keys. This seems simpler only at first sight. Because, then the meaning in terms of this interleaving of harmony and melody is lost…

A last point: 5 notes scales are widely used in Asia. The 5 notes scale correspond very well to the the 5 notes you can play on the black keys of a piano. And men and women singing together sing at a distance of one octave nearly everywhere in the world. These are just signs which point to the fact that this complex musical system is not arbitrary, and is more than a simple western cultural convention.

Le 05.02.21 à 18:23, Pashkuli Keyboard a écrit :

Scales are just formula. The problem is the unnecessary (though inevitable) 'reference' for all scales to a specific special case of one scale - the so called "natural" major.
That is a problem, which is even worse when talking about specific notes. Especially problematic when double flats or sharps are introduced... because of the aforementioned 'reference'.
I never got grasp of this as to me all music (at least 90% of the music I listen) is just those 12 notes.

Silvain Dupertuis
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