Edited By Albrecht Schneider and Arne von Ruschkowski
Rytis Ambrazevičius: Concerning the Question of “Loosely-Knit” Roughly Equidistant Scale in Traditional Music
307 Rytis Ambrazevičius Concerning the Question of “Loosely-Knit” Roughly Equidistant Scale in Traditional Music1 Abstract 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, inter alia, in European folk music (Grainger, Sachs, Sevåg, etc.). 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 (71 examples) show intermediate cases between equitonics and 12ET-diatonics, however, the principle of equitonicism predominates. Their tran- scribers 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 misinterpreta- tions of "anhemitonic heptatonism". Equitonics can be regarded as a “more ancient” universal characteristic of the early stages of musical phylogenesis (Alexeyev) and ontogenesis (Zurcher). I. Introduction The notion of “loosely-knit” equidistant scale is explained in the first part of this paper. The second part is an analysis of musical scales in Lithuanian traditional singing. Three sample repertoires containing...
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