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Re: Melodic Scale Design & Golden Flutes

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  • Graham Breed
    ... qualities ... particular ... it. I don t have the same experience as you, so I m still at the trial and error stage. Currently, I m playing with scales
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 18, 2001
      Jacky wrote:

      > At first - many a year ago - there was a bit of "trial and error",
      > which I think many of us must go through to understand what
      qualities
      > we enjoy in the scales we choose for our music making and
      particular
      > styles, but now - after many years of hearing a wide variety of
      > narrow and wide intervals for each general scale degree (including
      > the 2/1!) in a myriad musical contexts, I can just intuitively do
      it.

      I don't have the same experience as you, so I'm still at the trial
      and error stage. Currently, I'm playing with scales that have around
      20 notes so they can be rounded up to a 24 note keyboard mapping.
      They always have enough flexibility that I can find melodies. I
      could design subset scales to contain those melodies, and may do so
      to use a synthesizer with a 12-note octave, but haven't yet.

      I think you said you use a MIDI wind controller. That must affect
      what scales you look at. What's the largest convenient number of
      notes to an octave?

      The best melodic scale I've found must be one at
      <http://www.microtonal.co.uk/blues.htm>. Here are some cut and
      pasted cents values:

      0 133.6 182.4 386.3 449.3 498.0 653.2
      680.4 835.6 884.4 947.3 1151.2 1200

      The 7 note scale was designed to be like some "blues scales" people
      were throwing around on The Big List (TBL) but 7-limit rather than 11-
      limit. As I was working it out, I played along on my schismic fourth
      mapping. So I got instant feedback, but that also means it rests on
      all the mathematical ideas of schismic temperament.

      There are MIDI files, but I remember them not being very good.

      > What I enjoy are some small scale steps, that I can use as passing
      > tones with a primary mode I'm composing with.

      Ah, but you've also written in 13-equal, which doesn't have such
      steps! I think I understand you here, in that a variety of step
      sizes makes it easy to find interesting melodies. But you can always
      find good tunes in the small-numbered ETs if you work at it hard
      enough.

      Okay, there will be scales with too few notes per octave, or with
      those notes all bunched together so they aren't useful melodically.
      But common sense tells you not to worry about them.

      > I have uploaded a new piece to our files section as a demonstration
      > of what I mean (Golden Mean). The title is "Two Golden Flutes", and
      > uses the following scale based on the Golden Mean:
      >

      <tuning snipped>

      >
      > This scale has exactly 3 step sizes:
      >
      > 46.427
      > 75.120
      > 121.546
      >
      > And while the primary mode is and octatonic subset, I use the small
      > 46.427 cents intervals frequently as passing tones.

      I always try to tune up a scale before I comment on it, and this
      arrived too late last night to do so.

      > Of course, whether I'm making JI, Phi, ETs (frequently stretched
      > ones!), the logic for these methods comes into play. Sometimes the
      > music requires a certain scale - depending on the timbres, and
      > sometimes I'll create music with the scale qualities directly in
      mind
      > and choose my timbres accordingly.
      >
      > Hope this example will be a good demo of what I'm getting at - but
      > there's always the chance that it will just cause confusion, since
      > I'm not all that great at describing the ineffable things that
      happen
      > in music when tuning, timbre and rhythm comes together in the mix -
      > so I can only speak generally, and give a scale and an example.

      I'm no good at judging a scale by music other people write in it.
      This piece sounds good, but I don't know how it relates to the
      numbers you list above. Even small step-sizes aren't something I
      listen out for. I'm sure I'll find them when they're under my
      fingers.


      Graham
    • jpehrson@rcn.com
      ... http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crazy_music/message/532 I think, in general, Graham makes a good point about melodies... i.e. it seems that melodies can be
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 18, 2001
        --- In crazy_music@y..., "Graham Breed" <graham@m...> wrote:

        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crazy_music/message/532

        I think, in general, Graham makes a good point about melodies...

        i.e. it seems that melodies can be effectively be made from *any*
        scale.

        I even managed to make melodies from "hexanies" although, I must
        admit, it was a stretch and they were very "angular"
        very "Schoenbergian..."

        Perhaps Jacky is subliminally suggesting that the scales with melodic
        properties that *he* considers optimal are simply those that fit with
        his current or envisioned compositional style. That would make
        sense...

        _________ ________ ________
        Joseph Pehrson
      • Graham Breed
        ... There s an example for each tuning at . I recorded them all in one morning, so there d be a way for people to get
        Message 3 of 6 , Jul 19, 2001
          Jacky wrote:

          > > There are MIDI files, but I remember them not being very good.
          >
          > Let's hear'em! Sketches are ok here by me. After about 10 years of
          > being involved in the "home taper" scene, I've got a vivid
          > imagination about where even the most germinal ideas can be taken.

          There's an example for each tuning at
          <http://www.microtonal.co.uk/blues.htm>. I recorded them all in one
          morning, so there'd be a way for people to get the character of the
          scales without having to tune them up. I thought simple
          improvisations would be better than ascending/descending scales for
          that. Last time I heard them they sounded really inept, so I haven't
          dared listen again.


          > > Ah, but you've also written in 13-equal, which doesn't have such
          > > steps! I think I understand you here, in that a variety of step
          > > sizes makes it easy to find interesting melodies. But you can
          > always
          > > find good tunes in the small-numbered ETs if you work at it hard
          > > enough.
          >
          > Yes - I agree, and honestly it is something I have yet to throughly
          > explore. I will explore it more on your recommendation. 7 tET is
          > interesting to me - I've noodled a bit with this and it's sweet.

          I don't know that I'd *recommend* them because they don't currently
          interest me. But it's certainly possible to get good music out of
          them. 7-equal doesn't suit me at all, although the pentatonic
          subsets are interesting (but the equivalents from a neutral-third MOS
          more so). 14-equal is much more promising, and I will get round to
          it one day.


          Graham
        • BVAL@IIL.INTEL.COM
          Hi Jacky, I ve been able to download a few of your mp3s from the CM list. Your personality comes through in your music, the yearning for freedom , joy ,
          Message 4 of 6 , Jul 20, 2001
            Hi Jacky,

            I've been able to download a few of your mp3s from the CM list.

            Your personality comes through in your music, the yearning for
            'freedom', 'joy', 'sharing', and some humor too.

            You get these really nice sort of 'waterfall' melodic lines
            happenning, much more gestural than specifically
            melodic or harmonic. There is something in there like a hike
            I took in Oregon (very green, green, green and watery), or
            at Watkins Glen in upstate NY (where the trail actually does
            go through a few dozen waterfalls).

            After giving the Golden Flutes a spin, and thinking of the
            "stacked cell" thing I'd noticed, I got a better idea of what you
            mean by non-octave scales (at least I got a better idea of what
            I think it means to me).

            I do something similar in 12 and look forward to exploring the
            idea more in microtonal situations. For instance, in 12 I'll
            sometimes use an endless pentatonic

            C Eb F Ab Bb Dd Eg Gb etc....

            or endless Lydian

            C D E F# G A B C# D E F# G# etc...

            or endless Lydian arpeggio (chord of the #fifteenth)

            C E G B D F# A C# E G# etc...

            In a microtonal setting, I anticipated doing this with some
            structures that 'fold up' too fast in 12, (whole tones, major thirds,
            minor thirds as I 'grocked' the structure in your scale) as well
            as exploring new structures that do (or don't) fold up in new
            ways.

            When I was twiddling with seven equal, one of the prettier
            things that came out was just arpeggiating on the 'thirds' or
            'fourths' of the scale, since it would climc across a number of
            octaves in a 'strange' manner, while sounding its idea of
            'harmoniousnous' the whole time.

            You seem to approach it as if the octave isn't there whereas
            the way I see it (and the way I thought of mapping your scale
            to 79) is that the octave just doesn't happen to be a part of
            the musical structure, although it may be part of another
            structure that the musical structure is 'draped' over (like
            the sheet draped over another object, corners and some
            surfaces are apparent in the drapery, but the drapery also has
            its own shape and folds).

            Thanks Jacky!

            Bob Valentine
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