Re: Tunings (was Re: sacred geometry)
Sat, 20 Sep 1997 19:47:44 -0400 (EDT)

In a message dated 9/20/97 9:46:17 AM, you wrote:

>The normal scale has full steps, like from C to D, and half steps, from
>C to C# to D. The scale Randalls wanted to use had C# be different
>from Db, so that you had equal steps from C to C# to Db to D. I think
>there was also a single step between E and F and between B and C.
>This divided the octave into 18 equal steps rather than the usual 12.
>Most of the white notes came out to be about the same.

Easley Blackwood, my harmony teacher, wrote a set of microtonal etudes using
equal divisions of the scale rangin from 13 to 24. They are interesting,
although I find them mostly unsatisfying musically. 18 has some neat stuff
in it, yes, but mostly it's quite discordant. 19 has the best approximation
of a standard diatonic (white-note) scale. 15 and 23 are the most
interesting as they contain good equal-division approximations to pentatonic
scales; the blues scale for 15 and 2 Indonesian modes for 23. Easley was
trying to get a student to use 15 for rock or blues but nothing ever came of
it as far as I know.

>It was just as easy to program the sound generator to use these
>frequencies as the standard ones, of course, and Randalls had a great
>time playing with the altered scale. We ended up using only one piece
>like this. It had a lot of runs in it, since that showed off the special
>charactersistics in an intriguing way. It sounded good.

Are you sure the divisions were equal? That doesn't sound like 18. If you
take 12, and add 1 for each black note, you get 17, which is one of the more
consonant scales. It has great major chords.

>So realize that the standard 12 tone scale isn't the only one possible.

Well, no, but Easley did eventually come to the conclusion that 12-tone was
the best for music in the classical and pop styles.