G sharp

It is according to the Law of Duality that the keys on the piano have the same order above and below D, and above and below G# and A♭, which is one note. In these two places the dual notes are given by the same key; but in every other case in which the notes are dual, the order above the one and below the other is the same. The black keys conform to the scale, and the fingering conforms to the black keys. On that account in the major scale with flats, for the right hand the thumb is always on F and C; and as the duals of F and C are B and E in the minor scale with sharps, for the left hand thumb is always on B and E. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 44]

The triplet B, D, F, has been called the imperfect triad, because in it the two diatonic semitones, B-C and E-F, and the two minor thirds which they constitute, come together in this so-called imperfect fifth. But instead of deserving any name indicating imperfection, this most interesting triad is the Diatonic germ of the chromatic chord, and of the chromatic system of chords. Place this triad to precede the tonic chord of the key of C major, and there are two semitonic progressions. Place it to precede the tonic chord of the key of F# major, and there are three semitonic progressions. Again, if we place it to precede the tonic chord of the key of A minor, there are two semitonic progressions; but make it precede the tonic chord of E♭ minor, and there are three semitonic progressions. This shows that the chromatic chord has its germ in, and its outgrowth from the so-called "natural notes," that is notes without flats or sharps, notes with white keys; and that these natural notes furnish, with only the addition of either A♭ from the major scale or G# from the minor, a full chromatic chord for one major and one minor chord, and a secondary chromatic chord for one more in each mode. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 52]

a minor third. So by adding the middle of the minor dominant, G, but made G#, that the third so produced may be a minor third, according to the nature of the chromatic chords, we have on this minor side of the chord G#, B, D, F, which we may call its minor form, inasmuch as the semitone of its second minor third is the one, B-C, which genetically arises in the minor genesis; and inasmuch as it has also received its supplemental G# from the minor dominant. How shall we find its complement on the other side? We have seen that D, the Janus-faced center of this triad, B, D, F, looks, as D27, toward the major also; it has already F in common with the major subdominant. The very next step is to the middle of this chord, A. Middles, we have just seen, are ever ready to accommodate themselves; and this minor third triad claims that A be flattened, for on this side also, though its major side, it must have a minor third; so by adding the middle of the major subdominant, A, but made A♭, according to the nature of chromatic intervals, that this F-A♭ also may be a minor third; and now we have it as B, D, F, A♭, which we may call its major form, inasmuch as the semitone of its minor third, E-F, is the one which genetically arises in the major genesis, and inasmuch as it has now received its supplemental A♭ from the major subdominant. This, then, is the chromatic chord in its native place, and in its native constitution; a 4-note chord, wholly of the minor thirds. It will be observed that it has now, in its two forms, divided the octave into minor thirds - 4 minor thirds, so it is very much at home anywhere in the octave; indeed it is at home everywhere - G#, B, D, F, A♭. And as every diatonic common chord in music is constituted of materials found in the octave of notes, it cannot be far from a chromatic chord in some one of its forms.
We have already seen that this new compound chord, the chromatic, like the dominant seventh and subdominant sixth, is a 4-note chord, and, like them, made up of minor thirds - they mostly so, this wholly so; and we have seen that this compound chord embraces the whole octave, cutting it into minor thirds -

G# a B c D e F g A♭.

And now we shall also see the chromatic chord system cutting the octave into semitones. If we follow this chromatic chord system out, we shall have the octave [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 55]

divided into twelve semitones, thus - G#, A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#. This is the operation which has stood done in our keyboards for many generations - [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 56]

By taking four minor thirds upward from G# or downward from A♭, we have the first chromatic chord in its twofold form. Its central note is D, the top of the dominant major, and the root of the subdominant minor, being its own dual, that is to say, its minor birth being dual to its major birth.1 On the keyboard it has the same order of keys above it and below it; this dual D [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 56]

G# as it occurs in the scales of A, E, and B major, and A♭ as it occurs in the scales of F and B♭ minor, are only distant the apotome minor, and are well represented by one key of the piano. It is only G# as it occurs in the scale of F six sharps major, and A♭ as it occurs in the scale of E six flats minor, that is not represented on the piano. These two extreme notes F# and E♭ minor are at the distance of fifteenth fifths and a minor third from each other. This supplies notes for 13 major and 13 minor mathematical scales; but as this is not required for our musical world of twelve scales, so these far-distant G# and A♭ are not required. The piano is only responsible for the amount of tempering which twelve fifths require, and that is never more than one comma and the apotome minor. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 80]

There are 32 notes required for each octave for the 13 major and the 13 minor mathematical scales. These 32 notes are by the law of duality arranged symmetrically from D as a center upwards to G#, and downwards to A♭. D itself serves for 2 of the 32 on the piano. The first black keys on each side of D serve for nominally 3 notes each = 6. The first white key above and the first below D serve for 2 notes each = 4. The second white key above and the second below serve each for 3 notes = 6. The second black keys above and below D serve each for 3 notes = 6. The third black key above D is G#, the third below is A♭; this key, for it is one, serves for 2 of the 32. There is a comma of difference between D minor and D major. Six fifths below the minor D26 2/3 is A♭, the root of the subdominant of the key of E♭ minor; and six fifths above the major D27 is G#, the top of the dominant of F# major. The difference between this minor A♭ and this major G# is two commas and [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 85]

the apotome minor; but one of these is the original comma which is genetically between the two D's; and it occurs here again at the 13th scale, the first of a new circle; it really corresponds to the two D's at the beginning of this first series. Whenever there is more than one comma and the apotome minor between G# and A♭, it is because there has been a mistake in counting this one over again; or some other mistake. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 86]

The two notes required for the scale of
E minor are the F# of G, and the D of C major;
for B minor, the C# of D, and the A of G major;
for F# minor, the G# of A, and the E of D major;
for C# minor, the D# of E, and the B of A major;
for G# minor, the A# of B, and the F# of E major;
for D# minor, the E# of F#, and the C# of B major. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 90]

"Dividing the octave into twelve semitones is a near approach to the mathematical quantities, and this saves the musical artist from errors in tone - at least to any extent; but it does not save from errors in judgment. In the case of G#, for example, not one of the reasons given for the use of the sharp seventh in the minor scale is a correct one. A touch of nature makes the world akin, and a touch of the Law of Duality balances everything in music." [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 99]

The intervening chord between the Diatonic and Chromatic systems, B, D, F. - This chord, which has suffered expatriation from the society of perfect chords, is nevertheless as perfect in its own place and way as any. From its peculiar relation to both major and minor, and to both diatonic and chromatic things, it is a specially interesting triad. F, which is the genetic root of all, and distinctively the root of major subdominant, has here come to the top by the prime 2. D, here in the middle, is diatonically the top of the major dominant, and the root of the minor subdominant; and on account of its self-duality, the most interesting note of all; begotten in the great genesis by the prime 3. B, the last-begotten in the diatonic genesis, top of the diatonic minor, middle of the dominant major, and begotten by the prime 5, is here the quasi root of this triad, which in view of all this is a remarkable summation of things. This B, D, F is the mors janua vitae in music, for it is in a manner the death of diatonic chords, being neither a perfect major nor a perfect minor chord; yet it is the birth and life of the chromatic phase of music. In attracting and assimilating to itself the elements by which it becomes a full chromatic chord, it gives the minor dominant the G# which we so often see in use, and never see explained; and it gives the major subdominant a corresponding A♭, less frequently used. It is quite clear that this chromatic chord in either its major phase as B, D, F, A♭, or its minor phase as G#, B, D, F, is as natural and legitimate in music as anything else; and like the diatonic chords, major and minor, it is one of three, exactly like itself, into which the octave of semitones is perfectly divided. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 101]

Here on the keyboard we see, nearest to the front, the great 3-times-3 chord of the full genesis of the scale from F1 to F64. When this chord is struck by the notched lath represented in front of the keyboard, the whole harmony of the key is heard at once. Behind this great chord are placed, to the left the subdominant, tonic, and dominant chords of the minor. D F A, A E C, E G B; and to the right the subdominant, tonic, and dominant chords of the major, F A C, C E G, G B D. When the notched lath is shifted from F to D, the minor third below F, and the 3-times-3 minor is struck down in the same way as the major, the whole harmony is heard; and the complete contrast of effect between major and minor harmony can be fully pronounced to the ear by this means. Behind these six diatonic chords, major and minor, on the part of the keyboard nearest to the black keys, are the three chromatic chords in their four-foldness, in both major and minor form. The center one shows the diatonic germ of the chromatic chord, with its supplement of G# on the one hand completing its minor form, and its supplement of A♭ on the other hand completing its major form. A great deal of teaching may be illustrated by this plate.

ERRATUM. - B♭, first chromatic chord, misplaced.
[Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 104]

When Leonhard Euler, the distinguished mathematician of the eighteenth century, wrote his essay on a New Theory of Music, Fuss remarks - "It has no great success, as it contained too much geometry for musicians, and too much music for geometers." There was a reason which Fuss was not seemingly able to observe, namely, that while it had hold of some very precious musical truth it also put forth some error, and error is always a hindrance to true progress. Euler did good service, however. In his letters to a German Princess on his theory of music he showed the true use of the mathematical primes 2, 3, and 5, but debarred the use of 7, saying, "Were we to introduce the number 7, the tones of an octave would be increased." It was wise in the great mathematician to hold his hand from adding other notes. It is always dangerous to offer strange fire on the altar. He very clearly set forth that while 2 has an unlimited use in producing Octaves, 3 must be limited to its use 3 times in producing Fifths. This was right, for in producing a fourth Fifth it is not a Fifth for the scale. But Euler erred in attempting to generate the semitonic scale of 12 notes by the use of the power of 5 a second time on the original materials. It produces F# right enough; for D27 by 5 gives 135, which is the number for F#. D27 is the note by which F# is produced, because D is right for this process in its unaltered condition. But when Euler proceeds further to use the prime 5 on the middles, A, E, and B, and F#, in their original and unaltered state, he quite errs, and produces all the sharpened notes too low. C# for the key of D is not got by applying 5 to A40, as it is in its birthplace; A40 has already been altered for the key of G by a comma, and is A40 1/2 before it is used for producing its third; it is A40 1/2 that, multiplied by 5, gives C#202 1/2, not C200, as Euler makes C#. Things are in the same condition with E before G# is wanted for the key of A. G# is found by 5 applied to E; not E in its original and unaltered state, E30; but as already raised a comma for the key of D, E30 3/8; so G# is not 300, as Euler has it, but 303 3/4. Euler next, by the same erroneous methods, proceeds to generate D# from B45, its birthplace number; but before D# is wanted for the key of E, B has been raised a comma, and is no longer B45, but B45 9/16, and this multiplied by 5 gives D#227 13/16, not D225, as Euler gives it. The last semitone which he generates to complete his 12 semitones is B♭; that is A#, properly speaking, for this series, and he generates it from F#135; but this already altered note, before A# is wanted for the key of B, has been again raised a comma [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 107]

advance by semitones, the keys with ♭s and #s alternate in both modes. The open between G# and A♭ in the major, and between D# and E♭ in the minor, is closed in each mode, and the scale made one. The dotted lines across the plate lead from major to relative minor; and the solid spiral line starting from C, and winding left and right, touches the consecutive keys as they advance normally, because genetically, by fifths. The relative major and minor are in one ellipse at C and A; and in the ellipse right opposite this the relative to F# is D#, and that of G♭ and E♭, all in the same ellipse, and by one set of notes, but read, of course, both ways. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 117]

This diagram shows pictorially the open in the spiral of the mathematical scales, in which, if written in sharps only, B# is seen a little, that is, a comma and the apotome minor, in advance of C, and as the first scale of the new cycle; for it is a violation of Nature's beautiful steps to call it a thirteenth scale of this order, since every scale in the order is 31 commas in advance of the preceding, whereas B# is only one comma and a small fraction in advance of C. If the scales be written in ♭s and #s for convenience of signature, then G# is seen a comma and apotome in advance of A♭; while the whole circle of keys advancing by fifths are each 31 commas in advance of the preceding. We may therefore cast utterly from us the idea of there being more than twelve mathematical scales, and view the so-called thirteenth as simply the first of a new round of the endless spiral of scales. There is, however, in this note a banner with the strange device, "Excelsior," for it leads us onward into ever-advancing regions of vibrations, and would at last bring us to the ultimate and invisible dynamic structure of the visible world. The tempered system of 12 keys, as in Fig. 1, is by causing the G# and A♭ to coalesce and be one, as the two D's are already literally one by Nature's own doing. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 118]

The inner stave contains the chromatic scale of twelve notes as played on keyed instruments. The flat and sharp phase of the intermediate notes are both given to indicate their relation to each other; the sharpened note being always the higher one, although seemingly on the stave the lower one. The two notes are the apotome minor apart overlapping each other by so much; ♭D is the apotome lower than C#; ♭E the apotome lower than D#; F# the apotome higher than ♭G; G# the apotome higher than ♭A; and A# the apotome higher than ♭B. The figures for the chromatic scale are only given for the notes and their sharps; but in the mathematical series of notes the numbers are all given. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 120]


Keys Roots Fourths
[Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Diagram VII - The Modulating Gamut of the Twelve Keys2, page 30]

Table of Keys
[Harmonies of Tones and Colours, The Twelve Scales Meeting by Fifths, page 31a]

AS an example of the twenty-four, compare A major, developing, in Diagram II., with A minor, Diagram IX., taking the notes in the order which they sound in trinities. The three notes of the primaries sounded by A minor are, first, the same root as the major; the two next are the fourth and seventh higher notes (in the major, the fifth and sixth); the secondaries only vary by the sixth and seventh notes being a tone lower than in their relative major. Observe the order in which the pairs unite; the fourth in depth, sounded seventh, isolated. A and its root do not rise from the chasms. The fundamental key-note C was seen not to be interfered with, neither is the fundamental minor key-note A; G# on the one side, and B♭ on the other, being the key-notes. The seven of each minor harmony embrace only seventeen tones. C major and A minor are the only two keys which sound the seven white notes of keyed instruments. The minor scale and chords of A are not included in this remark. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Diagram IX - The Minor Keynote A and Its Six Notes, page 34a]

The Minor Gamut modulating in the meeting of fifths through seven octaves. We may here trace the twelve, each fifth note becoming the higher key-note. But the sixth and seventh notes of the scale are discords. For example, in the key of A, the sixth note, F♮, is a discord with the second note, B♮; and the seventh note cannot be sounded as G# falling into the eighth, without being a discord with the third note, C♮. No octave can be sounded in the Minor Scale, as it has risen into the fifth higher key of E. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, The Minor Gamut Modulating in the Meeting of Fifths61, page 65]

See Also


Created by Dale Pond. Last Modification: Thursday April 15, 2021 03:36:25 MDT by Dale Pond.