Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad) End Stage Fright
End Stage Fright
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#1321954 - 12/09/09 04:29 PM The Biological Rationale of Musical Scales
Andromaque Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/08
Posts: 3885
Loc: New York
An interesting article was just published in a scientific journal about the biology of musical scales. I have copied the abstract. The jourmal is PLOS One and the article is in the public domain if you are interested (Link below). I read through it quickly and noted a comment from someone about omission of some intervals characteristic of Indian Music. The article is a bit outside my interest/knowledge base in its experiemntal detail but it addresses a very interesting question. Great bedtime reading for music theory aficionados!!

The Biological Rationale of Musical Scales (Gill and Purves, Duke University)
Scales are collections of tones that divide octaves into specific intervals used to create music. Since humans can distinguish about 240 different pitches over an octave in the mid-range of hearing [1], in principle a very large number of tone combinations could have been used for this purpose. Nonetheless, compositions in Western classical, folk and popular music as well as in many other musical traditions are based on a relatively small number of scales that typically comprise only five to seven tones [2]–[6]. Why humans employ only a few of the enormous number of possible tone combinations to create music is not known. Here we show that the component intervals of the most widely used scales throughout history and across cultures are those with the greatest overall spectral similarity to a harmonic series. These findings suggest that humans prefer tone combinations that reflect the spectral characteristics of conspecific vocalizations. The analysis also highlights the spectral similarity among the scales used by different cultures.

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0008144

Top
(ad) Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#1321963 - 12/09/09 04:38 PM Re: The Biological Rationale of Musical Scales [Re: Andromaque]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17698
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Thanks, Andromaque! This one is going into my file for the next time I revise my psych of music course. thumb
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

Top
#1321987 - 12/09/09 04:59 PM Re: The Biological Rationale of Musical Scales [Re: Monica K.]
Frozenicicles Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/09
Posts: 1324
Loc: Canada
Sounds like an interesting read. Maybe it'll explain why atonal music sounds like $#@!@ to me...wonder if it's something that I can eventually get used to and find beautiful.

Top
#1322411 - 12/10/09 03:51 AM Re: The Biological Rationale of Musical Scales [Re: Frozenicicles]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7422
Fascinating stuff, but can somebody do a layperson's version?

Also, regarding the abstract, a scale doesn't have to be the division of an octave, although most are. They can be the division of any range - it's entirely possible to create a scale over a range of a fourteenth, for example.

Top
#1322413 - 12/10/09 03:57 AM Re: The Biological Rationale of Musical Scales [Re: wr]
Mark_C Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19286
Loc: New York
Thanks for posting this!! I'll be very interested to take a good look at this when I can.

Top
#1322422 - 12/10/09 05:20 AM Re: The Biological Rationale of Musical Scales [Re: Mark_C]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Quote:
Accordingly our analysis does not depend on intervals and scales precisely mimicking a harmonic series, but evaluates degrees of similarity. The average similarity of all intervals in the scale is then used as a measure of the overall similarity of the scale under consideration to a harmonic series. In this way we assess whether the scales with the highest degree of similarity to a harmonic series are in fact the scales commonly used to make music.
This is a bit cart before the horse. The difference in intonation is at least of equal if not more interest.
Quote:
One historically important theory was suggested by Helmholtz [19], who argued that dissonant musical tone combinations are produced by inadequate harmonic overlap. In other words, when the harmonics of two musical tones fall within the minimum frequency distance at which two pure tones can be individually resolved by humans (the critical bandwidth), an unpleasant perception of “beating and roughness” occurs (see also refs. 11, 39–42).
I think this makes more sense - a what is left out of the scale being the more important approach.
_________________________
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/


Top

Moderator:  Brendan, Kreisler 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
Download & Print Sheet Music Instantly
sheet music search
sheet music search

sheet music search
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
117 registered (Atrys, accordeur, antony, AZNpiano, Arizona Sage, 31 invisible), 1336 Guests and 50 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
74206 Members
42 Forums
153514 Topics
2249603 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Morning Mist: a ballade for piano
by JoelW
04/17/14 12:27 AM
Insanity
by Polyphonist
04/16/14 11:55 PM
Yamaha P140 sluggish keys : how to fix?
by Bambell
04/16/14 11:52 PM
Cristina Perri - HUMAN piano cover
by SAO
04/16/14 11:12 PM
Valentina Lisitsa plays Michael Nyman!!
by ShiroKuro
04/16/14 10:17 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission