Returning to musical universals - Question of equidistant scale
It is widely accepted that asymmetries in intervals of the musical scale (i.e., inequalities of the interval steps) serve as “orientation points so that we can know ‘where’ we are in the scale” (Krumhansl, Snyder). This feature is often treated as universal (Dowling, Harwood, Trehub, etc.). At the same time, there is evidence of equitonics (equidistant scales) in various world musics. Examples of equitonics can be found in European folk music (Grainger, Sachs, Sevåg, etc.), as well as in “exotic” music cultures. Often such scales are anchored on a framework of a fourth or fifth (i.e. the strongest consonances) and filled in with “loosely-knit” (Grainger) intermediate tones. The result is "anhemitonic heptatonism" (Sevåg). Measurements of the musical scales in Lithuanian songs (ca 100 examples) show intermediate cases between equitonics and 12ET-diatonics, however, the principle of equitonicism predominates. Their transcribers and authors of numerous theoretical notes, however, misinterpret the scales as “Ancient Greek” and/or characteristic of “chromaticisms”. Equitonics may be more widespread throughout the world than presumed. Often diatonic “Ancient Greek” scales and scales with chromaticisms are mere misinterpretations of "anhemitonic heptatonism". Equitonics can be regarded as a “more ancient” universal characteristic of the early stages of musical phylogenesis (Alexeyev) and ontogenesis (Zurcher). ...
ConferenceESCOM 2009 : 7th Triennial Conference of European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music
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- ESCOM 2009