major key

In order to find the notes for the next major key above C, we have to multiply the vibration-number of D, which is the top of the dominant C, by 3 and 5. It is out of the key of C at this point that the new key sprouts and grows, and by the primes and method which produce the key of C itself. So if we would find the relative minor of C, let us take the note which is a minor third below D - that is, B - to produce the minor. The minor sprouts and grows from this point of the key of C; for the relative minor grows out of the major, as out of the man at first the woman is taken. Moreover, B is the last-born of the notes for the major scale; for the middles, that is, the thirds of chords, are always produced by the prime 5; and the tops, that is, the fifths of chords, are produced by the prime 3, and are born before the thirds, though placed after them in the chords. Well, because B is the last-born note of the major, as well as a minor third below the top of the highest chord of the major, it seems that the minor should have this for its point of departure. Again, we have seen that the major and the minor are found in their strings and their vibrations by an inverse process, that one going back upon the other; and, there taking Nature's clue, let us proceed by an inverse process of generating the minor. Making B45 our unit, as F1 was our unit for the major, let us divide by 3 and 5 for a root and middle to B, as we multiplied by 3 and 5 for a top and middle to F. B45 divided by 3 is 15; here then is our E, the root of the chord, just where we had found it coming upward; for, remember, we found E15 by multiplying C3 by 5. This E, then, is the same in major and minor. Now B45 divided by 5 is 9; [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 31]

"and goes within this range, with its wondrous infoldings which so charm the ear, and which symbolise so many spiritual mysteries. These twelve major keys with their twelve minors are the musical world, and motion in the operation of 3 is not much hampered by rest controlling it in the operation of 2; and what is lost of so-called "perfect intonation" is far more than made up for in the beautiful system within system, which musical science, when fairly and fully brought into view, presents for our contemplation, and the intellect feasts along with the ear." [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 40]

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]

Whenever a sharp comes in in making a new key - that is, the last sharp necessary to make the new key - the middle of the chord in major keys with sharps is raised by the sharp, and the top of the same chord by a comma. Thus when pausing from the key of C to the key of G, when F is made sharp A is raised a comma. When C is made sharp in the key of D, then E is raised a comma, and you can use the first open string. When G is made sharp for the key of A, then B is raised a comma. When D is made sharp for the key of E, then F# is raised a comma; so that in the key of G you can use all the open strings except the first - that is, E. In the key of D you can use all the open strings. In the key of A you can use the first, second, and third strings open, but not the fourth, as G is sharp. In the key of E you can use the first and second open. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 100]

Fig. 1 - The pendulums in this illustration are suspended from points determined by the division of the Octave into Commas; the comma-measured chords of the Major key being S, 9, 8, 9, 5; T, 9, 8, 5, 9; D, 8, 9, 5, 9. The pendulums suspended from these points are tuned, as to length, to swing the mathematical ratios of the Diatonic scale. The longest pendulum is F, the chords being properly arranged with the subdominant, tonic, and dominant, the lowest, center, and upper chords respectively. Although in "Nature's Grand Fugue" there are 25 pendulums engaged, as will be seen by reference to it, yet for the area of a single key 13 pendulums, as here set forth, are all that are required. It will not fail to be observed that thus arranged, according to the law of the genesis of the scale, they form a beautiful curve, probably the curve of a falling projectile. It is an exceedingly interesting sight to watch the unfailing coincidences of the pendulums perfectly tuned, when started in pairs such as F4, A5, and C6; or started all together and seen in their manifold manner of working. The eye is then treated to a sight, in this solemn silent harp, of the order in which the vibrations of sounding instruments play their sweet coincidences on the drum of the delighted ear; and these two "art senses," the eye and the ear, keep good company. Fig. 2 is an illustration of the correct definition of a Pendulum Oscillation, as defined in this work. In watching the swinging pendulums, it will be observed that the coincidences [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 104]

In the festoons of ellipses the signatures are given in the usual conventional way, the major F having one flat and minor E having one sharp. The major and minor keys start from these respective points, and each successive semitone is made a new keynote of a major and a minor respectively; and each ellipse in the festoons having the key shown in its two forms; for example, in the major F, one flat, or E#, eleven sharps; in the minor E, one sharp, or F♭, eleven flats. Thus is seen all the various ways that notes may be named. The four minor thirds which divide the octave may be followed from an ellipse by the curved lines on which the ellipses are hung; and these four always constitute a chromatic chord. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 115]

In the three open columns are the three chromatic chords. In the close columns are the same chromatic chords, with the same designations, on the left. The middle row of letters are the chords of the major keys; the letter with the figure being the key note. The right hand row of letters are the chords of the minor keys marked in the same way. The artist will have no difficulty in making use of the other resolutions of this abundant store; but the young student should make similar tables of the other manners of resolution; he will find abundant help for this in other parts of this work. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 119]

Helmholtz's experiments on developing colours shown to agree with the scheme
—The sounds of the Falls of Niagara are in triplets or trinities
—The Arabian system divides tones into thirds
—Two trinities springing from unity apparently the germ of never-ending developments in tones and colours
—Inequality of the equinoctial points; is the want of equilibrium the motive power of the entire universe?
—The double tones of keyed instruments, the meetings by fifths, the major and minor keys, so agree with the development of colours, that a correct eye would detect errors in a piece of coloured music
Numbers not entered upon, but develope by the same laws
Bass notes omitted in order to simplify the scheme, 18 [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Table of Contents2 - Harmonies]

The eighteen tones of keyed instruments veering round and in musical clef below, the twelve seen that develope major keys
—The seven colours answer to the seven white notes
—The use of the two chasms, the key-note C and its root F rising from them
—A major key-note complete in itself, embracing the eighteen tones
—In the whole process of harmony there is limit, every key-note having its point of rest, and yet it is illimitable, . . . . . . . 22 [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Table of Contents2 - Harmonies]

whether veering round, or advancing and retreating in musical clef. I next tried the major keys which develope flats, and I thought that G♭ would develope a perfect harmony, but found that it must be F#, and that in this one harmony E# must be used in place of F♮; on reference, I found that thus the twelve keys developed correctly in succession, the thirteenth being the octave, or first of a higher series. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Dr. Gauntletts Remarks1, page 13]

THE term "key" in the minor developments must be taken in the sense in which it is understood by musicians, although it will be seen that it is only the seven of the harmony that are the relative minor keys of the majors, the scales with their chords sounding other keys. The grandeur, combined with simplicity, of the laws which develope musical harmonies are strikingly exhibited in the minor keys. Although at first they appear most paradoxical, and, comparing them with the majors, we may almost say contradictory in their laws of development, when they are in some degree understood, the intricacies disappear, and the twelve keys follow each other (with the thirteenth octave), all exactly agreeing in their mode of development. I shall endeavour to trace them as much as possible in the same manner as the majors, the lowest developments of the minor keys being notes with scales and chords, the notes always sounding their major harmonies in tones. Here an apparently paradoxical question arises. If the major keys are gained by the notes sounding the major tones, how are the minor keys obtained? Strictly speaking, there are no minor key-notes: the development of a minor harmony is but a mode of succession within the octave, caused by each minor key-note employing the sharps or flats of the fourth major key-note higher; and with this essential difference, it will be seen in how many points the developments of major and minor harmonics agree. I have carefully followed the same laws, and if any capable mind examines the results, I am prepared for severe criticism. I can only express that it was impossible to gain any other results than the seven of the harmony, the ascending and the descending scale and the chords combining three different keys. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Diagram VIII - On the Development of the Twelve Minor Harmonies, page 32]

"I esteem myself fortunate in being introduced to you, and becoming acquainted with your beautiful work on 'Tones and Colours.' I have, to the best of my ability, worked out your idea, by writing down in music the various discords in use amongst musicians, and resolving them according to the laws of Harmony, and I find in all cases the perfect triad agrees with what you term the trinities in colours. The way in which you find the whole circle of Major and Minor keys by pairs in colours is deeply interesting, and must be true. The only point of divergence between your system and that recognised by all musicians is the ascending Minor Scale. No musically trained ear can tolerate the seventh note being a whole tone from the eighth. The Minor second in the lower octave descending is very beautiful, and it is strange how all composers feel a desire to use it. To mention one case out of hundreds, I may cite Rossini's well-known air, 'La Danza.'
"Yours faithfully,
"W. CHALMERS MASTERS." [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Supplementary Remarks and Diagrams, page 53]

See Also

major scale
Ramsay - PLATE VIII - The Mathematical Table of Majors and Minors and their Ratio Numbers

Created by Dale Pond. Last Modification: Friday April 9, 2021 04:54:38 MDT by Dale Pond.