There are very few things in music which have not change written upon them. TWELVE and THREE, however, are stable. There is nothing that will disturb the propriety of the circle of twelve fifths, as in the tempered system of music; for, although the mathematical-intonation indulges in thirteen keys, the thirteenth is simply the first of a new cycle of twelve.
The working model of three fifths is that which possesses musical life-powers; and these life-powers go with it wherever it goes, and they go with nothing else. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 74]


The middle portion with the zigzag and perpendicular lines are the chromatic chords, as it were arpeggio'd. They are shown 5-fold, and have their major form from the right side, and their minor form from the left. In the column on the right they are seen in resolution, in their primary and fullest manner, with the 12 minors. The reason why there are 13 scales, though called the 12, is that F# is one scale and G♭ another on the major side; and D# and E♭ separated the same way on the minor side. Twelve, however, is the natural number for the mathematical scales as well as the tempered ones. But as the mathematical scales roll on in cycles, F# is mathematically the first of a new cycle, and all the notes of the scale of F# are a comma and the apotome minor higher than G♭. And so also it is on the minor side, D# is a comma and the apotome higher than E♭. These two thirteenth keys are therefore simply a repetition of the two first; a fourteenth would be a repetition of the second; and so on all through till a second cycle of twelve would be completed; and the thirteenth to it would be just the first of a third cycle a comma and the apotome minor higher than the second, and so on ad infinitum. In the tempered scales F# and G♭ on the major side are made one; and D# and E♭ on the minor side the same; and the circle of the twelve is closed. This is the explanation of the thirteen in any of the plates being called twelve. The perpendicular lines join identical notes with diverse names. The zigzag lines thread the rising Fifths which constitute the chromatic chords under diverse names, and these chords are then seen in stave-notation, or the major and minor sides opposites. The system of the Secondary and Tertiary manner of resolution might be shown in the same way, thus exhibiting 72 resolutions into Tonic chords. But the Chromatic chord can also be used to resolve to the Subdominant and Dominant chords of each of these 24 keys, which will exhibit 48 more chromatic resolutions; and resolving into the 48 chords in the primary, secondary, and tertiary manners, will make 144 resolutions, which with 72 above make 216 resolutions. These have been worked out by our author in the Common Notation, in a variety of positions and inversions, and may be published, perhaps, in a second edition of this work, or in a practical work by themselves. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 115]

This diagram shows pictorially the open in the spiral of the mathematical scales, in which, if written in sharps only, B# is seen a little, that is, a comma and the apotome minor, in advance of C, and as the first scale of the new cycle; for it is a violation of Nature's beautiful steps to call it a thirteenth scale of this order, since every scale in the order is 31 commas in advance of the preceding, whereas B# is only one comma and a small fraction in advance of C. If the scales be written in ♭s and #s for convenience of signature, then G# is seen a comma and apotome in advance of A♭; while the whole circle of keys advancing by fifths are each 31 commas in advance of the preceding. We may therefore cast utterly from us the idea of there being more than twelve mathematical scales, and view the so-called thirteenth as simply the first of a new round of the endless spiral of scales. There is, however, in this note a banner with the strange device, "Excelsior," for it leads us onward into ever-advancing regions of vibrations, and would at last bring us to the ultimate and invisible dynamic structure of the visible world. The tempered system of 12 keys, as in Fig. 1, is by causing the G# and A♭ to coalesce and be one, as the two D's are already literally one by Nature's own doing. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 118]

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 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]

If the laws which I shall endeavour to explain develope the twelve major harmonies, with each note in succession expanding its six tones from within itself; and if each of these is found to be a lower development, which leads the ear to a corresponding higher expansion of the twelve major key-notes, and the six tones of each ascending and descending in an unbroken sequence from any twelve consecutively, the thirteenth being the octave of the first, which commences a higher or a lower series; and if the twelve minor harmonies are also gained by the same laws from their twelve relative key-notes (the thirteenth again being octave): if, again, all other notes are shown to be but higher or lower repetitions of these twenty-four harmonies—may we not consider the problem as in some measure solved? especially as the harmonies proceed in geometric as well as harmonical ratio, and an accurate parallel can be traced between the development of notes and colours, which latter correspond with all the intricacies of harmonic sounds. [Harmonies of Tones and Colours, The Method of Development or Creation of Harmonies3, page 17]


[Harmonies of Tones and Colours, Diagram XIII - The Twelve Keynotes with Their Trinities, page 38a]

See Also

Thirteen keys
thirteenth octave
thirteenth scale
7.22 - Thirteenth
thirteen pairs

Created by Dale Pond. Last Modification: Tuesday March 23, 2021 04:40:09 MDT by Dale Pond.