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second

TIME: 1/60th of a minute.
MUSIC: noun: small interval, one step, following the first in an ordering or series

Ramsay
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]

Chords in a harmony are not at liberty to succeed each other in the way that single notes in a melody may. The notes in a melody may succeed in seconds, or they may succeed in larger intervals, any interval in the octave, even sometimes very effectively there may be a leap or fall of a whole octave. Chords cannot follow each other in this free way; they are under law, and must succeed accordingly. Their law is that they must be linked together either by having something in common in their elements, or have small intervals, semitonic progressions, between them. The former way, by notes in common, is the most usual way in diatonic succession of chords, the latter way, by semitonic progression, is a chief feature and charm in chromatic succession; but both in diatonic and chromatic progression of chords in harmony, notes in common and semitonic progression are usually found together. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 68]

common, to mingle with more chord-society. So those added thirds which constitute compound chords are like accomplishments acquired for this end, and they make such chords exceedingly interesting. The dominant assumes the root of the subdominant, and so becomes the dominant seventh that it may be affiliated with the subdominant chords. Inversely, the subdominant assumes the top of the dominant chord that it may be affiliated with the dominant. The major tonic may exceptionally be compounded with the top of the minor subdominant when it comes between that chord and its own dominant; and the minor tonic may in the same way assume the root of the major dominant when it comes between that chord and its subdominant. The minor subdominant D F A, and the major dominant G B D, are too great strangers to affiliate without some chord to introduce them; they seem to have one note in common, indeed, but we know that even these two D's are a comma apart, although one piano-key plays them both, and the F G and the A B are as foreign to each other as two seconds can be, each pair being 9 commas apart, and G A are 8 commas apart. In this case, as a matter of musical courtesy, the tonic chord comes in between; and when it is the minor subdominant that is to be introduced, the major tonic assumes the top of that chord, and then turns to its own major dominant and suavely gives the two to enter into fellowship; for the tonic received the minor subdominant through its semitonic E F, and carries it to the major dominant through its semitonic B C, along with C in common on the one side and G in common on the other. When it is the major dominant that is to be introduced to the minor subdominant the minor tonic fulfills the function, only the details are all reversed; it assumes the root of dominant, and by this note in common, and its A in common with its own subdominant, along with the semitonic second B C on the one hand and the semitonic E F on the other, all is made smooth and continuous. The whole of this mediatorial intervention on the part of the tonic is under the wondrous law of assimilation, which is the law of laws all through creation; but when the tonic chord has fulfilled this graceful action, it immediately drops the assumed note, and closes the cadence in its own simple form.1 [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 71]

There is no one musical interval which is the perfect measuring rule for the others. But the octave has been divided into 53 parts called commas, and these commas are as near a commensurable rule as we need seek for measuring the musical intervals; always remembering that, strictly speaking, these intervals are incommensurable. The large second has 9 commas; the medium second has 8; and the small second 5; and all other intervals, being of course composed of some of these seconds, can be measured accordingly. Thus the comma, though not itself an interval of our musical system, is the handy and sufficiently perfect inch, let us call it, for practical purposes in music. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 75]

circumstances. And if we may add D to the subdominant chord of d F A C, so we may also, in other circumstances, add the subdominant chord as harmony to D, thus - D f a c, and no discord occur. There is only the interval of a second between F and G in this dominant 9th, and only an interval of a second between C and D in this subdominant 6th; a second standing alone is a discordant interval, as a poison by itself may kill; but as a poison by the processes of nature in chemistry compounded with something else may be an excellent medicine, so may a second when mixed and compounded with something else in music become an excellent harmony. Music is a great apothecary, skillful in compounds. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 81]

third; and in order to do so, A has been mathematically raised a comma, which makes G A B now a 9-8 comma third. E F G, which in the scale of C was a 5-9 comma third, must now take the place of A B C in the scale of C, which was a 9-5 comma third; and in order to do so, F is mathematically raised 4 commas, and must be marked F#; and now the interval is right for the scale of G. E F# G is a 9-5 comma interval. This mathematical process, in the majors, puts every scale in its original form as to vibration-numbers; but since the same letters are kept for the naming of the notes, they must be marked with commas or sharps, as the case may be. In the Sol Fa notation such marks would not be necessary, as Do is always the key-note, Ray always the second, and Te always the seventh. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 83]

are attracted to each other by affinity. But the case is quite different with F and G and C and D. The second fifth above F is G (F a c, C e g), and G becomes the interval above F in the octave scale; and these two notes are neither attracted by affinity nor proximity nor gravitating tendency. F sinks away from G, being heavier, and under it; and G soars away from F, being above it, and lighter. In a similar way the second fifth above C is D (C e g, G b d), and D in the octave scale becomes the interval of the second above C, and C and D, like F and G, are not attracted by either affinity or proximity. C is heavier than D, and being under it would sink away from it; D is lighter, and being above it would soar away from it, and so neither are they attracted by gravitating tendency. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 96]

"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]

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]

WITH THEIR RATIO NUMBERS.


In the center column are the notes, named; with the lesser and larger steps of their mathematical evolution marked with commas, sharps, and flats; the comma and flat of the descending evolution placed to the left; the comma and sharp of the ascending evolution to the right; and in both cases as they arise. If a note is first altered by a comma, this mark is placed next to the letter; if first altered by a sharp or flat, these marks are placed next the letter. It will be observed that the sharpened note is always higher a little than the note above it when flattened; A# is higher than ♭B; and B is higher than ♭C, etc.; thus it is all through the scales; and probably it is also so with a fine voice guided by a true ear; for the natural tendency of sharpened notes is upward, and that of flattened notes downward; the degree of such difference is so small, however, that there has been difference of opinion as to whether the # and have a space between them, or whether they overlap, as we have shown they do. In tempered instruments with fixed keys the small disparity is ignored, and one key serves for both. In the double columns right and left of the notes are their mathematical numbers as they arise in the Genesis of the scales. In the seven columns right of the one number-column, and in the six on the left of the other, are the 12 major and their 12 relative minor scales, so arranged that the mathematical number of their notes is always standing in file with their notes. D in A minor is seen as 53 1/3, while the D of C major is 54; this is the comma of difference in the primitive Genesis, and establishes the sexual distinction of major and minor all through. The fourth of the minor is always a comma lower than the second of the major, though having the same name; this note in the development of the scales by flats drops in the minor a comma below the major, and in the development of the scales by sharps ascends in the major a comma above the minor. In the head of the plate the key-notes of the 12 majors, and under them those of their relative minors, are placed over the respective scales extended below. This plate will afford a good deal of teaching to a careful student; and none will readily fail to see beautiful indications of the deep-seated Duality of Major and Minor. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 109]

It is very interesting to observe how the number seven, which is excluded from the genesis of the system of vibration, comes into view after the genesis is completed, not only in the seven seconds of the melodic scale, but also in the seven of each of the intervals. As there are seven days in the week, though the seventh was only after the genesis of creation was finished, so there are six intervals, but seven of each, as we have seen; and in each 7-fold group three magnitudes determined by the three genetic magnitudes of the seconds. There is much symbolic meaning in all this. Any of the intervals may be used in melody; in harmony also, either in simple or compound chords, they all have the honor of fulfilling a part; and even those, such as seconds and sevenths, which are less honorable in themselves, have great honor in compound chords, such as dominant sevenths and compound tonics, which fulfill exceedingly interesting functions in the society of chords. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 110]


The Octave being divided into 53 commas, the intervals are measured, as usual, by these, the large second having 9-commas, the medium second having 8, and the small second 5. These measures are then made each the radius by which to draw hemispheres showing the various and comparative areas of the seconds. The comparative areas of the thirds are shown by the hemispheres of the seconds which compose them facing each other in pairs. The comma-measures of the various thirds thus determined are then made the radii by which to draw the two hemispheres of the fifths. The areas of the three fifths are identical, as also the attitudes of their unequal hemispheres. The attitude of the six thirds, on the other hand, in their two kinds, being reversed in the upper and under halves of the scale, their attitude gives them the appearance of being attracted towards the center of the tonic; while the attitude of the three fifths is all upward in the major, and all downward in the minor; their attraction being towards the common center of the twelve scales which Nature has placed between the second of the major and the fourth of the minor, as seen in the two D's of the dual genetic scale, - the two modes being thus seen, as it were, revolving [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 113]


This is a twofold mathematical table of the masculine and feminine modes of the twelve scales, the so-called major and relative minor. The minor is set a minor third below the major in every pair, so that the figures in which they are the same may be beside each other; and in this arrangement, in the fourth column in which the figures of the major second stand over the minor fourth, is shown in each pair the sexual note, the minor being always a comma lower than the major. An index finger points to this distinctive note. The note, however, which is here seen as the distinction of the feminine mode, is found in the sixth of the preceding masculine scale in every case, except in the first, where the note is D26 2/3. D is the Fourth of the octave scale of A minor, and the Second of the octave scale of C major. It is only on this note that the two modes differ; the major Second and the minor Fourth are the sexual notes in which each is itself, and not the other. Down this column of seconds and fourths will be seen this sexual distinction through all the twelve scales, they being in this table wholly developed upward by sharps. The minor is always left this comma behind by the comma-advance of the major. The major A in the key of C is 40, but in the key of G it has been advanced to 40 1/2; while in the key of E, this relative minor to G, the A is still 40, a comma lower, and thus it is all the way through the relative scales. This note is found by her own downward genesis from B, the top of the feminine dominant. But it will be remembered that this same B is the middle of the dominant of the masculine, and so the whole feminine mode is seen to be not a terminal, but a lateral outgrowth from the masculine. Compare Plate II., where the whole twofold yet continuous genesis is seen. The mathematical numbers in which the vibration-ratios are expressed are not those of concert pitch, but those in which they appear in the genesis of the scale which begins from F1, for the sake of having the simplest expression of numbers; and it is this series of numbers which is used, for the most part, in this work. It must not be supposed, however, by the young student that there is any necessity for this arrangement. The unit from which to begin may be any number; it may, if he chooses, be the concert-pitch-number of F. But let him take good heed that when he has decided what his unit will be there is no more coming and going, no more choosing by him; Nature comes in [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 117]

See Also


8-comma second
9-comma second
comma
cycles per second
INTERMOLECULAR SECOND SUBDIVISION
interval
Major Second
Minor Second
semitone
semitonic second
sharp second
step
Time
7.11 - Second

Created by Dale Pond. Last Modification: Wednesday January 6, 2021 03:46:28 MST by Dale Pond.