[Smt-talk] Harmonic and Melodic Scales

Martin Braun nombraun at telia.com
Wed Dec 4 04:28:21 PST 2013

Dear Marcel,

The differences between C# and Db or between C-F and C-E# exist exclusively 
in imagination. They have no physical basis.

If you read scores, major parts of your brain that are involved are the 
visual brain, possibly the linguistic brain, and the auditory brain. Now, in 
which of these parts of the brain varies the processing between C# and Db?

Answer: It varies in the visual and linguistic parts, but not in the 
auditory parts.

The emotional associations may also vary, but it is important to note that 
such variations are not part of the music but part of the ideas about music.

The small deviations from equal temperament that we see in historical 
tunings are relevant for consonance issues. But they are not relevant for 
pitch class. The interval C-F on the violin varies much more according to 
musical context than it can vary on the cembalo according to different 
tuning systems. The origin of this pitch class tolerance lies in the 
auditory brain, where pitch class is not represented in narrow lines, like 
on a ruler, but in wide strips, like on the back of a zebra.

More instructive than musical mathematics and philosophy is what the 
musicians and the instrument makers do. In Indian classical music we have 
the success of the 12-key hand-pumped harmonium. In European music we have 
the introduction of 12-tone equal temperament in the fret spacing of the 
lute. The latter predates Baroque music and excessive modulations. It is 
interesting that 12-tone equal temperament in the fret spacing of the lute 
was used, even though there was no compelling musical reason to do so, and 
uneven fret spacing was also used and is quite popular today. The fact that 
even fret spacing was used 500 years ago, for music that was not modulated 
much, demonstrates the affinity of such a technique to the chroma map of the 
auditory brain.


Martin Braun
Neuroscience of Music
S-66492 Värmskog

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Marcel de Velde" <marcel at justintonation.com>
To: <smt-talk at lists.societymusictheory.org>
Sent: Tuesday, December 03, 2013 9:37 PM
Subject: Re: [Smt-talk] Harmonic and Melodic Scales 

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