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Spelling in artificial scales.

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.

Moderator: Moderators (Main)

1142 posts since 10 Oct, 2004

Postby JumpingJackFlash; Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:49 pm Re: Spelling in artificial scales.

MadBrain wrote:
JumpingJackFlash wrote:Writing the Eb major scale using any notes (or any spelling of notes) other than Eb F G Ab Bb C and D is objectively wrong.

You're missing my point. The difference between Eb and D# only exists on paper

I'm not missing your point, I'm refuting it.
Notice I deliberately put "writing" in bold (which was exactly what you wrote incidentally).

And in any case, the difference doesn't just exist on paper, it exists in theory too. - You may not understand that, but it's true nonetheless.

Eb is not the same as D#.
As I said, spelling Eb major with a D# is wrong.

MadBrain wrote:and it exists only for one reason: making parts easier to read.

This isn't true either.
If it was, nobody would ever write B# instead of C, or Cx (double sharp) instead of D, since in both cases the latter is much easier to read. But yet both of the former exist as the leading notes of C# major and D# minor respectively (and in other contexts too). Using the other way in either context is wrong. How easy it is to read (or not) is irrelevant.

MadBrain wrote:"X" exists only from when you write the word down,

What is the 24th letter of the alphabet then?
The sound is irrelevant. The letter still exists even if you're deaf; there is a correct way to spell Xylophone and various incorrect ways.

MadBrain wrote:You only use "X" in "xylophone" because it's easier to read than "zylophone", due to the fact that it's been spelled with an "x" millions of times before (and also because it makes you look smarter).

No, you use an X in Xylophone because that's the correct way of spelling it.
Spelling things correctly doesn't make you look "smart", but spelling them incorrectly can certainly make you look stupid.
Unfamiliar words can be looked up in my Glossary of musical terms.
Also check out my Introduction to Music Theory.
720 posts since 6 May, 2008, from Berlin, Germany

Postby A_SN; Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:46 pm Re: Spelling in artificial scales.

MadBrain wrote:
JumpingJackFlash wrote:[...]
No, it's got nothing to do with temperament.
There are many things wrong with the above, but perhaps the most obvious one is that you don't start Eb major with a D#. By definition, it (obviously) must start with Eb. To do otherwise would be like spelling Ceiling with an S, or Xylophone with a Z!

Sounding alike doesn't necessarily follow that two things are the same.

Writing the Eb major scale using any notes (or any spelling of notes) other than Eb F G Ab Bb C and D is objectively wrong.

You're missing my point.

I don't think he's missing the point. Yes, the Eb scale makes the same sounds as D# F G G# A# C D, but we're all talking about notation here, and as far as notation goes it's quite absurd writing it this way, just think about the interval names it implies. Or think about how if you used that for sheet music you'd have two different Ds and Gs and no E or B, so you'd have different notes sharing the same lines and some empty lines, it'd be a mess. If you accept musical notation as conventions that mean something to people, then writing that scale this way is hardly better than writing "D# D### D##### D###### D######## D########## D###########". You might as well do like me and make up your own notation.

But basically this is what I said earlier, it's scientific pitch notation colliding with real musical notation. In other words you guys are talking about two different things in a way that might use the same symbols but means different things. To MadBrain D# is whatever pitch is a multiple of ~39 Hz, to JJF (and probably anyone else who studied music theory) it's something more specific that is clearly not part of the Eb major scale with implications like representing a weird augmented interval. To one "D#" just represents a pitch class, to the other it implies relations with other notes/with a scale. Before arguing about notation you need to know which kind of notation you're both talking about.

If you want to represent music in scientific pitch notation then more power to you, but you have to be aware that it's not what traditional musical notation is about. Which is why you might as well join the dark side of putting integers all over the place ;) it's good low-level fun.
Developer of Photosounder (a spectral editor/synth), SplineEQ and Spiral
Aroused by JarJar
1049 posts since 15 Oct, 2008

Postby Aroused by JarJar; Wed Mar 05, 2014 10:41 pm Re: Spelling in artificial scales.

MadBrain wrote:
You're missing my point. The difference between Eb and D# only exists on paper, and it exists only for one reason: making parts easier to read. .

But your point is simply false. For orchestras and choirs, these are different pitches, with different cycles per second, depending on the music. Tonal music is about relationships and motion. The piano and electronic keyboards, with their fixed twelve tones, are only part of the picture. Music education has generally taken a dive in recent times, but even players who don't realize that they're doing it do these things.

Of course, you may not give a hoot about orchestras, choirs, string quartets, Beethoven, Gershwin, and all that. There's no law that says you must have a view broader than piano and electronic keyboard music.
202 posts since 10 May, 2008, from Lisboa, Portugal

Postby Musicologo; Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:14 am Re: Spelling in artificial scales.

Why is this sub-discussion, not related to to the topic, still going? I thought I was very clear in my answer in page 3.

"You win something, you lose something". "Context". "what comes before and after", etc...

Numbers serve SOME purposes, notation serves OTHER purposes.

An "Eb" means a LOT more than just frequency. It has implied a series of all other informations related to context, to what notes come before and after, to where it belongs inside a tradition and a genre, etc, etc, etc...

Numbers are useful to deal with computers and symbolic reasoning at certain levels. And are very precise for that. Letters may be ambiguous because they carry additional layers of information within them, not always related to mere frequency and pitch.
Play fair and square!

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