The interval between the root and the fifth tone above it.
A diatonic interval of five notes. Its ratio is 2:3, the diapente of the ancients.

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 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]

"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]

this is the middle of our chord, E, G, B; and remember that this also is G as we found it coming upward, C3 multiplied by 3 being G9. This is another note of the minor, the same in its quantity as that of the major. Now for another chord downward we must divide the root of the one we have found, namely E15, by 3, which will give us A5, the root of a center chord for the minor, and the very key-note of the relative minor to C. And remember that this A5 is just as we found it in coming upward, for F multiplied by 5 gave us A5. Now divide E15 by 5 and we have C3, the middle to our minor chord, A, C, E. Still we must remember that this C3 is just as we found it coming upward, for F multiplied by 3 is C3. Behold how thus far major and minor, though inversely developed, are identically the same in their notes, though not in the order in which they stand in the fifths thus generated. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 32]

The number 3 is the creative power in music, producing fifths, but it is under the control of the Octave prime - the number 2. It is the supreme octave which forms a boundary by making twelve fifths and seven octaves unite in one note. Within this horizon lies the musical system in its threefoldness - major, minor, and chromatic. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 35]

A grave harmonic is a secondary note which spontaneously arises when two different notes are sounded together. It is a note whose mathematical number is the difference of the two which awaken it; e.g., F2 and C3, the interval of the fifth, awakens a grave harmonic whose number is 1, which is the difference of 2 and 3; and this 1 strengthens F2, for it is its lower octave. But the interval of F2 and F4, or any other octave, does not awaken a grave harmonic, since there is no difference-number between the two. - Editor. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 36]

The extremes of the levities and gravities of a key-system are always at the extent of three fifths; and whatever notes are adopted for these three fifths, the center fifth is the tonic. As there never can be more than three fifths above each other on the same terms, so there can never be more than one such scale at the same time. A fourth fifth is a comma less than the harmonic fifth1; and this is Nature's danger-signal, to show that it is not admissible here. Nature does not sew with a knotless thread in music. The elements are so place that nothing can be added nor anything taken away without producing confusion or defect. What has been created is thus at the same time protected by Nature. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 38]

The major scale is composed of three fifths with their middle notes, that is to say, their thirds. And as three such fifths are two octaves, less the small minor third D to F, taking the scale of C for example, so these three fifths are not joined in a circle, but the top of the dominant and the root of the subdominant are standing apart this much, that is, this minor third, D, e, F. Had they been joined, the key would have been a motionless system, with no compound chords, and no opening for modulation into other keys. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 38]

There are joinings, however, though at a wilder limit. The system of music is not a spiral line. The minor scale is developed from the major by the law of Duality; and when this is done, D26 2/3, the root of the subdominant minor, is so near to D27, the top of the dominant major, that one note may be made to serve for both; and this joins the one extreme of the major and minor systems in this note D, which has thus duality in itself. The only other place where the dual system of major and minor stands open is at the other extreme of the two modes, between B, the top of the dominant minor, and F the root of the subdominant major; and these unjoined ends reach away till at three fifths below F, namely A♭, and at three fifths above [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 38]

The structure and quantity of the three fifths in a major scale are always 9, 8, 9, 5 = 31 commas; but the structure and quantity of the fourth fifth is 8, 5, 9, 8 =3 0 commas; F, A, C, = 31 commas; C, E, G, = 31 commas; G, B, D, = 31 commas; d, f, a, 8, 5, 9, 8=30 commas. - Editor. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 38]

B, namely G#, they come in touch of each other like the two D's. When this three fifths below F major and three fifths above B minor have been developed, the extremes A♭ and G#, though standing like the two D's in duality, are so near that here again one note can be made to serve both. The major series of scales and the minor series at these limits are thus by two notes which have duality in themselves hermetically sealed; but not till Nature has measured off for any one of these scales a sphere of twelve keys in which to move in perfect freedom of kinship by softly going modulations. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 39]

In the laws of quantities and motions the three primary ratios, 1:2, 1:3, 1:5, with the three different units, F1, C3, and G9, the roots of the chords of the subdominant, tonic, and dominant, produce the three chords of the musical system major, the one not interfering with the other; and by an inverse process are produced, from B720, E240, and A80, its generating notes, the three chords of the musical system minor; the one chord not interfering with the other. In a similar way the chromatic chords can be produced from three different units, without the one interfering with the other; and, like the subdominant, tonic, and dominant chords of the diatonic scale, they are fifths apart. So we may call them the subdominant, tonic, and dominant chromatic chords. Each of the three chromatic chords has also kinship with the major and minor modes, from the way in which the diatonic minor triad is constituted a chromatic chord by its supplement coming in the one side from the minor, and on the other side from the major system. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 53]

which seems to show that not only has one part of a vibrating string sympathy with another part of it so as to go into harmonic partials, as we have just seen, but as if the very air itself had sympathy with harmoniously vibrating strings; for Tartini observed that two harmonious sounds being produced and sustained as they can be, for example, by a strong bow on the violin, a third sound will be heard. Tartini's name for it was simply "a third sound." This is not an overtone, as Helmholtz has called the harmonic partials of one sounding string, but an undertone, because it is a "grave harmonic," away below the sounds of the two strings which awaken it. The subject of these undertones has been carefully studied since Tartini's day, and more insight has been obtained since we are now able to count and register the vibration of any musical sound. Helmholtz has called these third sounds of Tartini's "difference sounds," because when awakened by two strings, for example, the vibration-number of the third tone is the difference of the vibrations-numbers of the two tones which awaken it. The note C with vibration-number 512, and another C whose vibration-number is 256, the octave, awakened no third sound, because there is no difference between the two numbers - the one is just the doubled or halved; but if we take C256 and G381, its fifth, the difference number is 128; this being a low octave of C256, it has the effect of strengthening the upper one. Helmholtz found this to be the law of the third sound as to its producing, and the effect of it when produced. This third sound, mysteriously arising in the air through the sympathy it has with all concordant things, is another among many more suggestions that the whole Creation is measured and numbered to be in sympathy one part with another. The Creation is a universe. [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]

The various raisings and lowerings of notes in advancing keys, major and minor. - In each fifth of the majors ascending the top of the dominant is raised a comma. A40 in the key of C becomes A40 1/2 in the key of G; E60 in the scale of G is E60 3/4 in the scale of D; B90 in the scale of D is B91 1/8 in the scale of A. This alteration of the top of the dominant major goes on through all the twelve scales. Similarly, by the Law of Duality, each fifth in the minors descending has the root of the subdominant lowered a comma. D54 in the key of E minor is D53 1/2 in the key of A; G72 in the scale of A is G71 1/9 in the scale of D; C48 in the scale of D is C47 11/27 in the scale of G. This alteration of the root of the subdominant goes on through all the twelve minor scales. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 62]

Subdominant - The fifth below the tonic in a key. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 63]

Tonic - The middle fifth in a key. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 63]

Dominant - The fifth above the tonic in a key. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 63]

The true Natural Scale of a Fifth [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 64]

Moreover, it is only from one to five, that is from C to G in ascending, which is its proper direction in the genesis, that the major in being harmonized does not admit of minor chords, but if we descend this same natural major scale of the fifth from five to one, that is from G to C, the first chord is C E G; the next chord is F A C; if this is succeeded by the minor chord A C E, there are two notes in common and one semitonic progression, as very facile step in harmony; and the following two notes are most naturally harmonized as minor chords. So modulation into the minor, even in this major scale, is very easy in descending, which is the proper direction of the minor genesis.2 In a similar way, it is only from five to one, that is from E to A in descending, which is its proper genetic direction, that the minor in being harmonized does not admit of major chords; but if we ascend this same minor scale of the fifth from one to five, the first chord is A C E, the next is E G B, and if this chord be followed by the major C E G, there are here again two notes in common and one semitonic progression; and the two notes following are then most naturally harmonized as major chords. So modulation into the major, even in this minor scale, is very natural and easy in ascending, which is the proper direction of the major genesis.3 The dominant minor and the tonic major are, like the subdominant major and the tonic minor, very intimately related in having two notes in common and one semitonic progression. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 65]

The great Genetic Scale, major and minor, the seed-bed and nursery of all, is that from which first of all the natural scale of the fifth arises into existence; and three fifths are generated in the major ascending side and three also in the descending minor side of the twofold genesis, giving us six fifths in all. At the top of the ascending genesis we find the major octave scale standing solid and in its perfect order and proportion; and at the bottom of the descending genesis we have the minor octave. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 66]

This great genetic scale, the all-producer, the all-container, extends over six octaves on each side; for it is not till high in the sixth octave we get B in the major, and it is not till low in the sixth octave that we get F in the minor. It is in the fifth octave, however, that the note which is the distinctive mark of the masculine and feminine modes is generated. D27 in the major, and D26 2/3 in the minor, distinguishes the sex of the modes, and shows which is the head and which the helpmeet in this happy family.2 On the major side F, the root of the subdominant chord, that is the chord which is a fifth below the key-note C, is the root of all. This is the beginning of this creation. If we call the vibration-number of F one, for simplicity's sake, then F1 is multiplied by 3 and by 5, which natural process begets its fifth, C, and its third, A; this is the root, top, and middle of the first chord. From this top, C3, grows the next chord by the same natural process, multiplying by 3 and by 5; thus are produced the fifth and third of the second chord, G and E. From the top of this second chord grows the third and last chord, by the repetition of the same natural process; multiplying G9 by 3 and by 5 we [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 66]

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]

The peculiar effects are exhibited when the chord-scale is next set forth. We have seen that there are six chords evolved in the genesis upward and downward, 3 in the major form and 3 in the minor. In the fifths of the minor the semitone is always in the lower third, occurring between the second and third in the subdominant and tonic, and between the first and second in the dominant chord; whereas in the major it is always in the upper third, between the fourth and fifth in the subdominant, and between the third and fourth in the tonic and dominant chords. While the thirds which the fifths contain are thus so varied, the fifths themselves have always one magnitude, whether major or minor. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 68]

In getting the length of a string, in inches or otherwise, to produce the scale of music, any number may be fixed on for the unit; or for the vibrations of the root note any number may be fixed on for the unit; but in the fractions which show the proportions of the notes of the scale, there is no coming and going here; this belongs to the invariables; there is just one way of it. Whatever is not sense here is nonsense. It is here we are to look for the truth. The numbers which express the quantities and the numbers which express the motions are always related as being of the same kind. The fractions bring their characters with them, and we know by this where they come from. 1/4 of a string gives a note 2 octaves above the whole string, no matter what may be its length; 2 has exactly the same character as 1; 2/4 gives the note which is 1 octave above the whole string; but in the case of 3/4 here is a new ingredient, 3; 3/4 of a string gives a note which is a fifth below the [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 75]

note by 2/4; and by the law of duplication, the law of the octave interval, a note which is a fifth below the note by 1/4, by 2/4, or by 1, the integer, i.e., the whole string. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 76]

There is nothing extraordinary in this. It is another fact which gives this one its importance, and that is that the musical system is composed of three fifths rising one out of another; so this note by 3/4 becomes the root not only of a chord, but the root of all the three chords, of which the middle one is the tonic; the chord of the balance of the system, the chord of the key; the one out of which it grows, and the one which grows out of it, being like the scales which sway on this central balance-beam. Thus F takes its place, C in the center, and G above. These are the 3 fifths of the system on its masculine or major side. The fractions for A, E, and B, the middle notes of the three chords, are 4/5, 3/5, and 8/15; this too tells a tale; 5 is a new ingredient; and as 3 gives fifths, 5 gives thirds. From these two primes, 3 and 5, along with the integer or unit, all the notes of the system are evolved, the octaves of all being always found by 2. When the whole system has been evolved, the numbers which are the lengths of the strings in the masculine or major mode are the numbers of the vibrations of the notes of the feminine or minor mode; and the string-length-numbers of the minor or feminine are the vibration-numbers of the notes of the major or masculine mode. These two numbers, the one for lengths and one for vibrations, when multiplied into each other, make in every case 720; the octave of 360, the number of the degrees of the circle. [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]

At the first, in the laws of quantities and motions adjusting musical vibrations, there is one chord of the three notes, F, A, C, the root, middle, and top of the five notes which compose the true natural scale; this one chord can be reproduced a fifth higher, C, E, G, in the same mathematical form, taking the top of the first for the root of the second chord. In like manner this second can be reproduced another fifth higher, G, B, D, still in the same mathematical form, and so fit to be a member of the chord-scale of a key. But the law does not admit of another reproduction without interfering with the first chord, so that a fourth fifth produces no new effect; but the whole key is simply a fifth higher, i.e., if the fourth fifth has been properly produced by multiplying the top of the third fifth by 3 and by 5, the generating primes in music. That this carries us into a new scale is seen in that the F is no longer the F♮ but F#, and the A is no longer A♮ but A,. But if we suppose the fourth fifth to be simply the old notes with their own vibration numbers, then D, F, A would not be a fifth belonging either to the major or the minor mode, but a fifth a comma less. The letters of it would read like the minor subdominant, D, F, A; but the intervals, as found in the upward development of the major genesis, instead of being, when expressed in commas, 9, 5, 8, 9, which is the minor subdominant, would be 8, 5, 9, 8, which is not a fifth of the musical system; these having always, whether major or minor, two 9's, one [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 77]

8, and one 5, making 31 commas, while this supposed fourth-fifth major would only have 30. The fifths of the musical system are thus strictly kept as a symbol of the Trinity of the Creator, Three in One. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 78]

The simple natural scale is the fifth; the compound natural scale is the octave; the harmony scale, or chord-scale, is the three fifths; the great genetic scale is six octaves; for, like the six creation days, it takes the six octaves to give birth to the elements of which the wondrous structure of our music is built up; the birthplace of B, the seventh of the octave scale, is the sixth octave of the great genetic scale. The area of the twelve major and twelve minor scales is twelve fifths or seven octaves, the twelfth fifth being a comma and the apotome minor in advance of the seventh octave. This is a quantity so small that it can be ignored in real music; and the two notes, say E# and F, joined to close the circle of this horizon of our music world. E# is the top of the twelfth fifth, and F is the top of the seventh octave; and they are practically, though not exactly mathematically, the same note. Illustrations of this will be found among the plates of this work. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 79]

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]

"By affinity the notes group in chords. The tonic is the center chord, the key of harmony; the dominant is the fifth above it and the subdominant the fifth below it, and these two are balanced on the center chord as the scales on a balance beam. The dominant chord is vigorous and active, tending to soar; the subdominant is solemn, soft, and grave, tending to sink; the tonic is melodious and restful, and in it the harmony of equilibrium. This far AFFINITY." [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 91]

See Also

Circle of Fifths
fourth-fifth major
Major Fifth
minor fifth
Perfect Fifth
Ramsay - A fourth Fifth inadmissible in a Key
Table 11.02 - Fifth is Double Tone
7.14 - Fifth
11.13 - Dominant Conditions are Mated Opposing Pairs as Fifths

Created by Dale Pond. Last Modification: Tuesday November 24, 2020 05:59:29 MST by Dale Pond.