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Ratio

Relation or proportion of one measure to another which can be linear, geometric or volumetric. It can be one sound to another or one volume to another or just about any one class of things, forces or vibrations. Can also be expressed in parts. [See Proportion, Reciprocating Proportionality]

A relationship, or interval, expressing the vibrations per second, or cycles, of the two tones concerned, generally in the lowest possible (integer) terms; simultaneously a representative of a tone and an implicit relationship to a "keynote" - or unity.

Euclid's definition: a mutual relation of two magnitudes of the same kind to one another in respect of quantity. [from Partch 1974, Genesis of a Music, 2nd ed., Da Capo Press, New York, p. 73]

The ratio expressed as 1:2 says the first quantity is half the second quantity which is twice the first quantity. Music intervals are generally expressed as ratios.

Simple ratio
1:2 (1 is to 2)

Ratio of two ratios
1:2::2:4 (1 is to 2 as 2 is to 4)

Ramsay
Euler, while treating of music, shows that there are just three mathematical primes, namely 2, 3, and 5, employed in the production of the musical notes - the first, in ratio of 2 to 1, producing Octaves; the second, in the ratio of 3 to 1, producing Fifths; and the third, in the ratio of 5 to 1, producing Thirds. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 8]

"The numbers which express the motions of these twenty-five quantities have among themselves nineteen different ratios, or rates of meeting; and when these ratios are represented by the oscillations of twenty-five pendulums, at the number of 64 for the highest one, they will all have finished their periods, and meet at one for a new series. This is an illustration, in the low silence of pendulum-oscillations, of what constitutes the System of musical vibration in the much higher region of vibrating strings and other elastic bodies, and determines the number of undeveloped sounds which form the harmonious halo of one sound, more or less faintly heard, or altogether eluding our dull mortal ears; and which determines the number of sounds which, when developed, constitute the System of musical sounds." [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 16]

Different writers have put forth different views of what constitute a musical vibration, but their various views do not make any difference in the ratios which the notes of this sound-host bear to each other. Whether the vibrations be counted as single or double vibrations, the ratios of their relative motions are the same. Nevertheless, a musical vibration is an interesting thing in itself, and ought to be correctly defined.
A string when vibrating musically is passing and re-passing the central line of its rest or equilibrium with a certain range of excursion. Some writers have defined a vibration to be the passage of the string from one extreme of its excursion to the other, while some have preferred to define it as the passage of the string from the one extreme of its excursion to the other and back again. D. C. Ramsay has been led in his researches to define a vibration as the movement of the string from its central line of rest to the extreme of its excursion on one side, and back to the central line of rest; and from the central line of rest to the extreme of its excursion on the other side, and back again to the "right line," as he calls it, as a second vibration. His reasoning on this will be seen in what follows. (See Fig. 3, Plate IV.) [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 21]

"If we take a pendulum which goes from side to side 60 times in a minute, and another which goes from side to side 120 times in a minute, these two pendulums while oscillating will come to their first position 30 times during the minute. Now, if an oscillation is to be considered a natural operation, like the revolution of a wheel, or that of a planet in its orbit, which is completed when it returns to the place where the revolution began, then the pendulum's oscillation is not completed till it returns to the place of starting; and thus defined the oscillations of these two pendulums in the minute are not 60 and 120, but 30 and 60; 30 is the unit of measure in this case - 30 is the 1, and 60 is the 2; and this would establish the ratio of 1 to 2 in these two pendulums. And what is true in the ratio of 1 to 2 is true also of every other ratio, in this respect. This is a natural basis to work on, and defines the oscillation of a pendulum to be its excursion from extreme to extreme and back." [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 25]

"The system of musical sounds is derived from the laws of motion and a particular election of numbers which give the greatest variety of simple ratios.
There are three primary and pregnant ratios which produce the chords and scales. The first is the ratio of 1:2, producing Octaves, and nothing else; the second is the ratio of 2:3, producing Fifths; the third is the ratio of 4:5, producing Thirds." [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 26]

"notes which are produced by the two primes, 3 and 5. As the quadrant contains all the angles which give the different proportions in form, so does the ratio of 1:2, or the area of an octave, contain all the different notes in music. The ratio of 1:2 corresponds to unity, and, like the square and the circle in form, admits of no varieties. Half the length of a string gives an octave when the string is homogeneous and uniform; if the one half has more gravity than the other, the center of gravity of the whole string gives the octave. The ratio of 1:2 rests on the center of gravity. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 27]

"lower effect than the fifth; the seventh, B, has a higher effect than the sixth; but the eighth, C, has a lower effect than the seventh. If the effects of notes or chords depended wholly on the mathematical primes by which they are measured and located, or the ratios inherent in them, then the effects of the tonic, subdominant, and dominant chords would have been alike, for these chords are measured by exactly the same primes, and have exactly the same ratios. It is the position of the tonic chord which gives it its importance and not any special primes by which it is produced, nor any special ratios inherent in it. Notes by the power of 2 have a pure unmixed and invariable character. Notes by the first, second, and third powers of 3 have different degrees of centrifugal force; and the character of the notes produced by the first power of 5 depends on the character of the notes from which they are derived. The final character of notes and chords is determined by the amount of force which they have acquired from the way in which they have been derived, and from their position in the system. And no matter where these notes may be afterwards placed, like chemical elements, they never lose their original forces and tendencies. What Tyndal says of the inorganic chemical elements of the brain is true of the inorganic notes of music, "They are all dead as grains of shot." It is the organic state which gives the notes and chords their gravities and (levity|levities, and these two tendencies, the one upward and the other downward, constitute the vital principle of music. It is true that the mathematical operation is required to give birth and life to music, and that the mathematical system gives the knowledge of causes down to the law of gravitation, yet the artistic effects are fully realised from the tempered system deriving its organic harmony from this vital principle of music. The centrifugal tendencies of the notes of the subdominant, are too strong to be at all disturbed by the system being tempered. The enormous power of these chords corrects the effect which might otherwise arise from tempering, as the enormous power of the sun corrects the perturbations of the planets." [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 29]

"The ratio of 2:3 twelve times, in Fifths, is so near the ratio of 1:2 seven times, in Octaves, as to allow this cycle of the mathematical scales to be closed without losing any of its vitality. The reason why there are thirteen instead " [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 29]

Getting Fifths as we ascend toward the number twelve they are in themselves the same, but with regard to their relationships they are quite different. Before and up to the twelfth fifth no scale has all the notes at the same distance above the first scale of the series. But after twelve, the thirteenth scale for example, B#, supposing the scale to be marked by sharps only, is a comma and a very small ratio above C; Cx is the same distance above D of the first scale; Dx the same above E; E# is the same distance above F; Fx the same distance above G; Gx the same distance above A; and Ax the same distance above B. So the scale of B# is just the scale of C over again at the distance of twelve-fifths, only it is a comma and the apotome minor higher; and each series of twelve-fifths is this distance higher than the preceding one. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 30]

With twelve divisions in the Octave, each note is adapted to serve in any capacity, and does serve in every capacity by turns. It is quite clear that this cannot be said of the mathematically perfect notes. And this is where it is seen that what is perfect in mathematical ratios becomes imperfect in the Musical System. Indeed, the mathematical intonation does not give a boundary within which to constitute a System at all, but goes off into never-ending cycles.
In music, Nature begins by producing the Diatonic Octave of seven notes, derived by the mathematical ratios2; [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 34]

she is found to have produced the Chromatic scale of twelve semitones, derived from her own vital operations; so that there are no anomalies. It is a degradation of the mathematical primes to apply them to the getting of the semitones of the chromatic scale, as even Euler himself mistakenly does. The mathematical ratios lead the way in getting the notes of the diatonic scale, and that is all that is required of them. The true praise to the ratios is that they have constituted an organic structure with form and life-powers adapted for self-development. It would be little credit to the mother if the child required to be all its life-long pinned to her apron-strings. As the bird when developed so far leaves the shell, and is afterwards fully developed in new conditions; so the System of music when developed so far leaves the law of ratios, its mathematical shell, and is afterwards fully developed by other laws. Music has an inspirational as well as a mathematical basis, and when mathematicians do not recognize this they reckon without their host. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 35]

The twelve semitones being the practical fulfillment of the ratios when the life-force of the notes is considered, the great masters had the ratios in their most workable form invested in their key-boards, and this along with the musical ear was the sure word of prophecy to them.1 In their great works they have thus been enabled to develop the science of music, and to express it in the language of its art. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 36]

When the major scale has been generated, with its three chords, the subdominant, tonic, and dominant, by the primary mathematical ratios, it consists of forms and orders which in themselves are adapted to give outgrowth to other forms and orders by the law of duality and other laws. All the elements, orders, combinations, and progressions in music are the products of natural laws. The law of Ratio gives quantities, form, and organic structure. The law of Duality gives symmetry, producing the minor mode in response to the major in all that belongs to it. The laws of Permutations and Combinations give orders and rhythms to the elements. The law of Affinity gives continuity; continuity gives unity; and unity gives the sweetness of harmony. The law of Position gives the notes and chords their specific levities and gravities; and these two tendencies, the one upward and the other downward, constitute the vital principle of music. This is the spiritual constitution of music which the Peter Bell mathematicians have failed to discern: [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 37]

If the effects of notes and chords had depended entirely on their mathematical ratios, then the effect of the subdominant, tonic, and dominant would have been alike; for these three chords have exactly the same ratios. It is the law of position which gives the tonic chord its importance, and not any special ratios embodied in its structure. The ratio of 2 to 1 has a pure, unmixed, invariable character, always realized in the interval of the octave. The notes produced from 1 by the first, second, and third powers of 3 have different degrees of centrifugal force. The character of the notes produced by the first power of 5 depends on the character of the notes from which they are derived, namely, 1, 3, and 9. The final character of the notes and chords derived by the same ratios is determined by the amount of force which they have acquired from the way in which they have been derived, and from their position in the system; and no matter where these notes may afterwards be [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 37]

The mathematical scales, if followed out regardless of other laws which rule in music, would read like a chapter in Astronomy. They would lead us on like the cycles of the moon, for example. In 19 years we have 235 moons; but the moon by that time is an hour and a-half fast. In 16 such cycles, or about 300 years, the moon is about a day fast; this, of course, is speaking roughly. This is the way seemingly through all the astronomical realm of creation. And had we only the mathematical ratios used in generating the notes of the scale as the sole law of music, we should be led off in the same way. And were we to follow up into the inaudible region of vibrations, we should possibly find ourselves where light, and heat, and chemical elective motions and electric currents are playing their unheard harmonies; or into the seemingly still region of solid substances, where an almost infinite tremor of vibrations is balancing the ultimate elements of the world. Music in this case would seem like some passing meteor coming in from among the silent oscillations of the planetary bodies of the solar system, and flashing past with its charming sound effects, and leaving us again to pass into the higher silence of those subtle vibrations to which we have referred, having no infolding upon itself, no systematic limit, no horizon. But music is not such a passing thing. Between the high silence of these intense vibrations, and the low silence of oscillating pendulums and revolving planets, God has constituted an audible sphere of vibrations, in which is placed a definite limit of systematic sounds; seven octaves are carried like a measuring line round twelve fifths; and motion and rest unite in placing a horizon for the musical world, and music comes [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 39]

The specific levity of notes increases in proportion to the number of times the ratios are multiplied in order to produce them, going upward by sharps; and their specific gravity increase in proportion to the number of times the ratios are divided in order to produce them, going downward by flats. The knowledge of this is attained when everything is in its perfect order. It is the discovery of the Law of Duality in music which shows the method of applying the ascending and the descending ratios so as to exhibit that perfect order of Nature. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 43]

The individual character of any note, and the comparative degree of contrast between any two notes in the system, depends on at least three different causes. The first is the genetic relation of the two notes. If the one note has 2 vibrations and the other 3, or the one 4 and the other 5, or the one 5 and the other 8, because of this, and because of the excess of the vibration of the one over the other, "a third sound" or "grave harmonic" being awakened between them, the different ratios have different degrees of complexity, and, in a general way, the greater the complexity the greater the [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 60]

contrast. In the fifth, the ratio being 2:3, the excess of 3 above 2 is 1; this 1 bears a simple relation to both the notes which awaken it. The grave harmonic in this case gives the octave below the lower of the two sounds; 1 is an octave below 2. This is the simplest relation "a third sound" can have to the two which awaken it, and that is why the fifth has the smallest possible degree of contrast. The octave, the fifth, and the fourth may be reckoned as simple ratios; the major and minor thirds and their inversions as moderately complex; the second, which has the ratio of 9:10, and the major fourth F to B and its inversion, are very complex. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 61]

A second cause of difference in degree of contrast between two notes and other two notes in which the ratios are the same lies in this - whether the two notes belong to one chord or to different chords. Two notes in the subdominant chord have a different contrast from two in the dominant chord which have the same ratio. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 61]

F is soft, grand, and solemn;
C is melodious and soft;
A is interesting and soft.

C is melodious and soft;
G is melodious and vigorous;
E is interesting and melodious.

G is melodious and vigorous;
D is interesting and vigorous;
B is light, airy, and vigorous.


Although the system is composed of only three ratios, which in themselves moreover, are of a very fixed character, yet mobility and variety are chief features among the notes of the system. Great changes are effected by small means. By lowering the second of the major D one comma, the ratio of 80:81, [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 61]

Music, and mathematics have nothing more to do with it. Already the Law of Position has guided the genesis upward in the major; and while mathematical primes were generating the chords one after another in precisely the same way and form, like peas in a pod, the Law of Position was arranging them one over the other, and so appointing them in their relative position each its own peculiar musical effect bright and brighter. And when the major had been thus evolved and arranged by ratios and position, another law, the Law of Duality, gave the mathematical operation its downward direction in the minor; and while the primes which measured the upward fifths of the major also measure the downward fifths of the minor, the Law of Position is placing them in their relative position, and appointing each its own peculiar effect grave and graver. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 68]

If it be asked why no more primes than 2, 3, and 5 are admitted into musical ratios, one reason is that consonances whose vibrations are in ratios whose terms involve 7, 11, 13, etc., would be less simple and harmonious than those whose terms involve the lesser primes only. Another reason is this - as perfect fifths and other intervals resulting from the number 3 make the schism of a comma with perfect thirds and other intervals resulting from the number 5, so intervals resulting from the numbers 7, 11, 13, etc., would make other schisms with both those kinds of intervals. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 75]

The root of the subdominant is F, in the key of C major; and the top of the dominant is D. The difference between these two notes at the top and bottom of the chord-scale, is the quantity which two octaves is more than three fifths; it is the ratio of 27 to 30, a comma less than the minor third whose ratio is 5 to 6. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 76]

the excess of the vibrations of the one note over the other makes one or more sounds which are called "grave harmonics;" e.g., in the interval of the fifth, in the ratio of 2:3, the excess of 3 over 2 is 1, so the grave harmonic is an octave below the lowest of the two notes, that is, the ratio of 1:2. This reinforces the lowest note, 2, and gives it a solid effect. In this way the octave is incorporated into the fifth, and unity with variety is combined with the law of continuity at the very threshold of harmony. In 32 of the 42 intervals the grave harmonics are notes which belong to the natural scale. In the 10 remaining intervals which have not the exact number of vibrations found anywhere in the natural scale, 6 of them are from the number 7, thus - 7, 7, 7, 21, 21, 35; the remaining 4 are from 11, 13, 13, and 19. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 77]

"To say that I was surprised at what Mr. Keely has discovered would be saying very little indeed ... It would appear that there are three different spheres in which the laws of motion operate.
1 - The first is the one in which Nature plays her grand fugue on the silent harp of Pendulums. In one period of Nature's grand fugue, as illustrated by pendulums, there are 19 ratios in 25 circles of oscillations ranging over 6 octaves; but all in silence. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 86]

And it is another very interesting fact that those numbers multiplied into each other always make 720, the number in the minor genesis which corresponds to 1 in the major; F1 being the generative root of the major, and B720 the generative top of the minor; so adjusted they place the two D's beside each other - D26 2/3 and D27 - and we see the comma of difference between these two numbers which are distinctive of the major and the minor; 26 2/3 x 3 = 80, and 27 x 3 = 81, and 80:81 is the ratio of the comma. This is the Ray and the Rah in which there lurks one of music's mysteries. Let him that is wise unravel it. It is symbolic of something in the spiritual realm of things; its full meaning is only found there. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 88]

The scales march on following each other methodically, whether they be written with sharps or flats, and

"Not a step is out of tune, as the tides obey the moon."

The most natural, because the genetic, way to write the scales is to make the major scales all in sharps, after C, because the major genesis is upward in ratios ascending; and to make the minor scales all in flats, after A, because the minor genesis is downward in ratios descending. Let the young student, however, always keep in mind that the sharps and flats are simply marks to show how Nature, at whatever pitch we are taking the scales, is securely keeping them in the same form as when they are first generated; and in their birthplace no sharps or flats are needed. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 90]

Nine-tenths of a string, if stopped and acted on, gives a tone the ratio of 9:10, but if touched and acted on as a harmonic it gives a note which is three octaves and a major third above the whole string. If the remaining tenth of the string be acted on either as a stopped note or a harmonic it will give the same note which is three octaves and a major third above the whole string the ratio of 1:10, so that the stopped note of one-tenth and the harmonic of nine-tenths are the same. Indeed the bow acting on stopped note of one-tenth, on harmonic of nine-tenths, or on harmonic of one-tenth, produces the same note, as the note is the production of one-tenth in each case; for in the harmonic, whether you bow on the nine-tenths or the one-tenth, while it is true that the whole string is brought into play, yet by the law of sympathy which permeates the entire string, it vibrates in ten sections of one-tenth each, all vibrating in unison. This is what gives the harmonic note its peculiar brilliancy. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 92]

In the opening of the third measure the tune returns to its own key by striking the tonic. This case is a very simple illustration of how a composition will move with perfect naturalness in more keys than one, the keys so grow out of each other, and may either merely snatch a passing chord from a new key, or pass quite into it for a phrase or two, or for a whole measure, then return as naturally, either by a smooth and quiet or by a strongly contrasted turn, according to the chords between which the turn takes place. In such modulation there may or there may not be marked a #, , or , in the air itself; the note which Nature raises in the new key may occur in one of the other parts of the harmony. In Watchman it is A, the fourth, which is altered; from being it is made . The change which takes place in the sixth of the scale, which is C in Watchman, is only one comma, the ratio of 80 to 81, and it slips into the new key as if nothing had happened. No mark is placed to it, as the comma difference is never taken notice of, although it is really and regularly taking place, with all the precision of Nature, in every new key. It is, however, only the note which is altered four commas, which is marked by a #, , or , as the case may be. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 94]

"There are three chromatic chords, and each of these three is related to eight particular tonic chords. When one the these chromatic chords goes to any one of its eight tonic chords, three of its notes move in semitonic progression, and the other note moves by the small tone, the ratio of 9:10. There is exception to this rule, whether the key be major or minor. But when the chromatic chord which should resolve to the tonic of C is followed by the subdominant, or the tonic of F (the example in Mr. Green's book), only two of its notes move in semitonic progress. Your friend describes the chord as if it had gone to the tonic of B; and what he said about it, and about D going to C, is what is supposed to be [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 94]

"The organic structure of music is formed by the three ratios of 1:2, 1:3, and 1:5, from the laws of quantities and motions; but as it is only the ratio of 1:2 that has a pure, unmixed, invariable character, and as the notes produced by the first, second, and third powers of THREE have different degrees of centrifugal force, and the character of the notes produced by the first power of FIVE depends on the character of the notes from which they are derived, so the final character of the notes and chords is determined by the amount of force which they have acquired from the way in which they have been derived, and from their position in the system; and no matter how these notes may be afterwards placed, like chemical elements, they never lose their original force. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 95]

Subdominant - F, A, C E G, B, D - dominant


- and it is balanced between the two forces. If the effects of notes or chords depended solely on their ratios, then the effect of the subdominant, tonic, and dominant would have been alike, for these chords have exactly the same ratios. The centrifugal force of the notes of the dominant chord would take if away from the tonic chord; but Nature, in her skill to build and mix, has in the octave scale placed the middle of the dominant B under the root of the tonic C, and the top of the dominant D under the middle of the tonic E; so that these two rising notes are inevitably resolved into the tonic chord. The gravitating tendencies of the notes of the subdominant would take it also away from the tonic; but in the octave scale Nature has placed the middle of the subdominant A above the top of the tonic G, and the root of the subdominant F above the middle of the tonic E; so that these two falling notes also are inevitably resolved into the tonic chord. In this way two notes resolve to the center of the tonic, D upwards and F downwards; one to the top, A to G, and one to the root, B to C. Nature has thus placed the notes which have upward tendencies under the notes having downward tendencies; she has also related them by proximity, the distance from the one to the other being always either a semitone or the small tone of the ratio 9:10. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 95]

"There are two distinct laws which rule in astronomy - viz., masses and distances; and there are two distinct laws which rule in music - affinities and proximities. The notes produced by simple ratios as 1:2, 2:3, 3:4, etc., are attracted to each other by the law of affinity; notes which are beside each other in the octave scale and have moderately complex ratios as 9:10 and 15:16, are attracted to each other by their proximities. F and C, and C and G, and G and D are related to each other by affinity. C is related to the fifth below and the fifth above; G is related to the fifth above and the fifth below. F and C, C and G, and G and D are never nearer to each other than a fifth or a fourth, and in either case they [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 95]

notes attracted by proximity are attracted in the direction of the center of the tonic chord, major or minor. But if D in the major is attracted by C, the root of the tonic, then it would be moving away from the center. Two notes which have the ratio of 8:9, as C and D, or two notes which are produced by the same ratio as C and D, or two notes where each of them is either a root or a top, as C and D, never resolve to each other by proximity. It is an invariable order that one of the notes should be the middle of a chord. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 99]

"What we have thus said about the resolving notes to the major tonic has been allowed in the case of the minor. No one ever said that the second of the minor scale resolved to the root of the tonic. Notwithstanding the importance of the tonic notes, the semitonic interval above the second of the scale decided the matter for the Law of Proximity; and no one ever said that D, the root of the subdominant minor, did not resolve to C, the center of the tonic minor, on the same terms that two notes are brought to the center of the tonic major; with this difference, that the semitonic interval is above the center in the major and below it in the minor. The other two notes which resolve into the tonic minor are on the same terms as the major; with this difference, that the semitonic interval is below the root of the tonic major and above the top of the tonic minor. And the small tone ratio 9:10 is above the top of the tonic major and below the root of the tonic minor. If it has been the case that D resolved to the root of the tonic major, then, according to the Law of Duality, there would have been another place where everything would have been the same, only in the inverse order; but, fortunately for itself, the error has no other error to keep it in countenance. This error has not been fallen into by reasoning from analogy. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 99]

VIOLIN-FINGERING - Whenever the third finger is normally fourth for its own open string, then the passage from the third finger to the next higher open string is always in the ratio of 8:9; and if the key requires that such passage should be a 9:10 interval, it requires to be done by the little finger on the same string, because the next higher open string is a comma too high, as would be the case with the E string in the key of G.
In the key of C on the violin you cannot play on the open A and E strings; you must pitch all the notes in the scale higher if you want to get [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 99]

the use of these two open strings in the key of C, on account of the intervals from G to A and from D to E being the ratio of 9:10, the medium second in the scale. G, the third finger on the third string, to A, the open second string, and D, the third finger on the second string, to E, the open first string, being in ratio of 8:9, the large second, you must either use the fourth finger for A and E, or use all the other notes a comma higher. But if thus you use all the notes a little higher, so as to get the use of the A and E strings open, then you cannot get the use of the G and D strings open. On the other hand, in this key of C, if you use the G and D strings open, you cannot use the A and E strings open. One might think the cases parallel, but they are not; because you have a remedy for the first and second open strings, but no remedy for the other two. The remedy for the first and second open strings is to put the fourth finger on the second and third strings for the E and A; but it would be inconvenient, if not impossible, to use the other two strings, G and A, by putting the first finger a comma higher than the open string. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 100]

Whatever interval is sharpened above the tone of the open string, divide the string into the number of parts expressed by the larger number of the ratio of the interval, and operate in that part of the string expressed by the smaller number of it. For example, if we want to get the major third, which is in the ratio of 4:5, divide the string into five parts and operate on four. The lengths are inversely proportional to the vibrations. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 100]

Six Octaves required for the Birth of the Scale

EXPLANATION OF PLATES.
[BY THE EDITOR.]


THIS plate is a Pendulum illustration of the System of musical vibrations. The circular lines represent Octaves in music. The thick are the octave lines of the fundamental note; and the thin lines between them are lines of the other six notes of the octave. The notes are all on lines only, not lines and spaces. The black dots arranged in these lines are not notes, but pendulum oscillations, which have the same ratios in their slow way as the vibrations of sounding instruments in the much quicker region where they exist. The center circle is the Root of the System; it represents F1, the root of the subdominant chord; the second thick line is F2, its octave; and all the thick lines are the rising octaves of F, namely 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64. In the second octave on the fifth line are dots for the three oscillations which represent the note C3, the Fifth to F2, standing in the ratio of 3 to 2; and the corresponding lines in the four succeeding Octaves are the Octaves of C3, namely 6, 12, 24, and 48. On the third line in the third Octave are 5 dots, which are the 5 oscillations of a pendulum tuned to swing 5 to 4 of the F close below; and it represents A5, which is the Third of F4 among musical vibrations. On the first line in the fourth Octave are 9 dots. These again represent G9, which stands related to C3 as C3 stands to F1. On the seventh line of the same octave are 15 dots; these represent the vibrations of E15, which stands related to C3 as A5 stands to F1. On the sixth line of the fifth Octave are 27 dots, representing D27, which stands related to G9 as G9 stands to C3, and C3 also to F1; it is the Fifth to G. And last of all, on the fourth line of the sixth Octave are 45 dots, representing B45, which, lastly, stands related to G9 as E15 stands to C3, and A5 to F1; it is the Third to this third chord - G, B, D. The notes which arise in each octave coming outward from the center are repeated in a double number of dots in the following Octaves; A5 appears as 10, 20, and 40; G9 appears as 18 and 36; E15 appears as 30 and 60; D27 appears as 54; and last of all B45 only appears this once. This we have represented by pendulum oscillations, which we can follow with the eye, the three chords of the musical system, F, A, C; C, E, G; and G, B, D. C3 is from F1 multiplied by 3; G9 is from C3 multiplied by 3; these are the three Roots of the three Chords. Their Middles, that is their Thirds, are similarly developed; A is from F1 multiplied by 5; E15 is from C3 multiplied by 5; B45 is from G9 multiplied by 5. The primes 3 and 5 beget all the new notes, the Fifths and the Thirds; and the prime 2 repeats them all in Octaves to any extent. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 102]


When 25 pendulums are arranged and oscillated to represent the different musical ratios in their natural marshalling, they will all meet at 1 when 64 of the highest is counted. This plate is intended to show that there are two kinds of meeting and passing of the pendulums in swinging out these various ratios. In the ratio of 8:9 the divergence goes on increasing from the beginning to the middle of the period, and then the motion is reversed, and the difference decreases until they meet to begin a new period. This may be called the differential way. In the ratio of 45:64 there is an example of what may be called the proximate way. In this kind of oscillations meet and pass very near to each other at certain points during the period. In 45:64 there are 18 proximate meetings; and then they exactly meet at one for the new start. This last of the ratios, the one which finished the system, is just as if we had gone back to the beginning and taken two of the simplest ratios, [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 105]

save the octave, and made them into one, so that in its proximate meetings during its period it seems composed of the ratio 2:3 twelve times, and 3:4 seven times; twelve times 2 and seven times 3 are 45; twelve times 3 and seven times 4 are 64. This long period of 45 to 64 by its proximate meetings divided itself into 19 short periods, and oscillates between the ratios of 2:3 and 3:4 without ever being exactly the one or the other; the difference being always a very small ratio, and the excess of the one being always the deficiency of the other. This fifth, B to F, has been misnamed an "imperfect fifth." When these two notes in the ratio of 45:64 are heard together, the oscillating proximately within it of the two simple ratios gives this fifth a trembling mysterious sound. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music,page 106]

The ratio of 1:2 belongs to neither proximate nor differential periods. It corresponds to unity; and, like the square and the circle, it admits of no varieties. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music,page 106]

There are seven differential and eleven proximate periods all differing in their degrees of complexity according to the individual character of the ratio; and they illustrate to the eye what is the effect in the ear of the same ratios in the rapid region of the elastic vibrations which cause the musical sounds. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music,page 106]

It will be observed that this plate represents intervals by its areas, that is, the distances between the notes; and the notes themselves appear as points. But it must be remembered that these distances or intervals represent the vibrations of these notes in the ratios they bear to each other. So it is the vibration-ratios which constitute the intervals here pictorially represented as areas. The area, as space, is nothing; the note itself is everything. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 107]


There are 42 intervals exclusive of the octave interval with ratio 1:2. There are seven seconds of three magnitudes, so determined in the genesis of notes - two in the ratio of 15:16; two, 9:10; and three, 8:9. There are seven corresponding sevenths - two in the ratio of 8:15; two, 5:9; and three. 9:16. There are seven thirds - one in the ratio of 27:32; three, 5:6; and three, 4:5; and there are seven corresponding sixths - three in the [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 109]

ratio of 5:8; three, 3:5; and one, 16:27. There are seven fifths - one in the ratio of 45:64; one, 27:40; and five, 2:3; and seven corresponding fourths - five in the ratio 3:4; one, 40:54; and one 32:45. These are the ratios of the intervals in their simplest expressions as given in the second outer space above the staff in the plate. In the outer space the intervals are given less exactly, but more appreciable, in commas. The ratios of the vibration-numbers of each interval in particular, counting from C24, are given in the inner space above the staff. These vibration-numbers, however, are not given in concert pitch of the notes, but as they arise in the low audible region into which we first come in the genesis from F1, in the usual way of this work. The ratios would be the same at concert pitch; Nature gives the numbers true at whatever pitch in the audible range, or in the low and high silences which lies out of earshot in our present mortal condition. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 110]


Hughes
General remarks on the method of harmonies developing on all kinds of instruments, including the human voice
—Much paradox, but yet the scheme will admit of clear demonstration
—A musical note compared to a machine, the motive power not of our creation
—The imperfection of keyed instruments, from some notes acting two parts, attuned to the ideal of harmony within us
Macfarren quoted on the echoing power of a cathedral attuning the Amen
—Why music as an art precedes painting
—Philosophers and mathematicians have only studied music to a certain point
—Every key-note a nucleus, including the past, the present, and the future; no finality in any ultimate
—The late Sir John Herschel's views on the musical gamut alluded to
—The imperfection of keyed instruments adapts them to our present powers
—The laws will be seen to develope the twelve major and the twelve minor keys in unbroken sequence and in harmonious ratio; to gain them in geometric order [as] keyed instrument should be circular, the seven octaves interlacing in tones a lower and a higher series, . 15 [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Table of Contents1 - Harmonies]

the artificial system must not be mixed up. The wonders of Nature's laws in the developments of harmonies, consist in the beautiful adaption of keyed and all other musical instruments to a range commensurate with human powers. The chromatic scale of twelve notes (the thirteenth being the octave) is not the scale of Nature. To construct a musical instrument upon real divisions of musical tones, each of them being in correct ratio with the others, it would be necessary to have a larger number of tones to the octave. In the development of harmonies on the natural system, we trace the perfect adaptation of means to ends, meeting the intricacies of every musical instrument, including that most perfect of all— the human voice. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, The Method of Development or Creation of Harmonies3, page 17]

"Now comes the important question—Are the intermediate colours of the spectrum produced by vibrations that bear a definite ratio to the vibrations giving rise to the intermediate notes of the scale? According to our knowledge up to this time, apparently not." [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, On Colours as Developed by the same Laws as Musical Harmonies2, page 19]

"Comparing wave-lengths of light with wave-lengths of sound—not, of course, their actual lengths, but the ratio of one to the other—the following remarkable correspondence at once comes out:—Assuming the note C to correspond to the colour red, then we find that D exactly corresponds to orange, E to yellow, and F to green. Blue and indigo, being difficult to localise, or even distinguish in the spectrum, they are put together; their mean exactly corresponds to the note G: violet would then correspond to the ratio given by the note A. The colours having now ceased, the ideal position of B and the upper C are calculated from the musical ratio." [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, On Colours as Developed by the same Laws as Musical Harmonies2, page 19]

This quotation on vibrations will be seen to agree with the laws which I have gained. The fact that six of the notes of keyed instruments are obliged to act two parts, must prevent the intermediate notes bearing a definite ratio of vibrations with the intermediate colours of the spectrum. I name the note A as violet, and B ultra-violet, as it seemed to me clearer not to mention the seventh as a colour. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, On Colours as Developed by the same Laws as Musical Harmonies2, page 19]

See Also


comma
Figure 8.11 - Four Fundamental Phases of a Wave
Figure 8.9 - Four Fundamental Motions of a Pendulum
Figure 6.17 - Areas and Volumes - Relations and Proportions
Figure 6.19 - Sphere to Cube - Relations and Proportions
Figure 14.10 - Proportionate Tonal Relations dictate Contraction or Expansion
Fraction
Fundamental
geometric ratio
Interval
Keynote
Laws of Music
Laws of Ratios
musical ratio
note
Pythagorean Comma
Pythagorean Komma
Reciprocating Proportionality
step
Table 2 - Controlling Modes and Proportions
Table of Plate Harmonics and Intervals
three primary ratios
Universal Ratios
6.8 - Proportionate and Relative Geometries
9.12 - Velocity of Sound and its Propagation Rate are Proportional
12.00 - Reciprocating Proportionality
3.13 - Reciprocals and Proportions of Motions and Substance
13.15 - Principle of Proportion

Created by Dale Pond. Last Modification: Monday March 15, 2021 05:41:13 MDT by Dale Pond.