Wednesday, April 22, 2009

BEDA Day 23: Slonimsky's Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns

Music theory nerd alert:

Stop whatever you're doing right now and look up Nicolas Slonimsky's Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns. It's a collection of virtually (or quite possibly literally) every musical scale imaginable. And I'm not talking only the ones covered in a harmony text book; I'm talking everything.

So, I invented a new scale a few months ago, with a repeated interval pattern of: whole step, half step, minor third, half step (repeat ad infinitum). This scale does not replicate at the octave, so its pitches must be register-specific. Also, while the interval pattern repeats every P5, the actual pitch names don't repeat until after seven octaves, meaning that the scale would always have slightly different intervals depending on the octave in which it is played.

Info: The range of a piano is just barely over seven octaves.

Cool, huh?

Click for a graphic (.TIF) or MIDI of the complete seven-octave scale.

But alas, it turns out that Nicolas Slonimsky beat me to it by at least 62 years (probably more). I've merely "discovered" scale #950 in his Thesaurus. It's right there under "Diapente Progression", Interpolation of Two Notes, Scale 5 (I think?). My scale.

Boy, Ecclesiastes 1:9, you said it.

1 comment:

  1. Haha! Javen had to explain the rest of your post to me, but I like the closing line! I flatter myself that you put that in there to get my comment...