Ramsay - The Musical Effect of Notes

centrifugal force. A third note produced by the prime 5 is derived from the note produced by the first power of 3, and this note by the first power of 5 having being slightly acted on by the force of gravity, and the first power of 5 having only a little centrifugal force, the result is that this note E in the scale of C, derived from the first power of 3 by the prime 5, is balanced between the two forces. It is the only note in the system which in the octave scale has not a large interval on the one side of it nor on the other, and consequently it is the only note which attracts and is attracted by two notes from proximity. Thus it is that the musical system is composed of three notes having specific gravity and three having specific levity or bouyancy, and one note, E, the center of the tonic chord, balanced between these two forces. As the attractions of notes from proximity take place when the notes with downward tendency meet the note with upward tendency, had the notes been animated by only one of these forces there could have been no system of resolutions of the notes either in melody or harmony; they would all have been by gravity weighing it downwards, or by levity soaring upwards.
     The third note of the octave scale, E, the center of the tonic chord in the key of C, is the center of the system. It is the note which has the least tendency either upward or downward, and it has immediately above it in the octave scale the note which has the greatest amount of specific gravity, F, the root of the major subdominant; and immediately beneath it the note which has the greatest amount of specific levity, D, the top of the major dominant. Thus the root of the subdominant chord and the top of the dominant are placed right above and below the center of the system, and the gravity of the one above, and the levity of the one below, causes each of them to move in the direction of the center. These tendencies are seen in the scale at whatever key it may be pitched, and by whatever names the notes may be called. And it is on account of this permanency of character of the notes that the third note of the scale, E, in the key of C, has a lower effect1 than the second, D; and that the fourth note, F, has a lower effect than either the first, second, or third; the fifth note, G, has a higher effect than the fourth, F; but the sixth, A, has a

1 Effect here means, of course, musical effect in the ear's appreciation of the notes.

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See Also

Ramsay - The Law of Position

Created by Dale Pond. Last Modification: Wednesday November 11, 2020 04:43:53 MST by Dale Pond.