Musical Semant[r]ic[k]s (KEVIN AUSTIN )

Subject: Musical Semant[r]ic[k]s
Date:    Tue, 1 May 2001 07:31:52 -0400

Roger Wat ... >I have a nagging notion that not all of the world's pentatonic scales are >anhemitonic: some do have semitone intervals in them. The best reference I >can find this morning is on p62 of Storr "Music and the Mind", but I'm sure >somewhere I've got a long list of extant pentatonic scales. Perhaps someone >else has this. ... In (western european 12 tone ET scale system) music, there are 38 "5 note (pitch class) sets". [Pitch-class set theory.] ... 'Modes' can be understood as the rotation of a[n ordered] set ... thus C D E F G A B has the same notes, but different semitone order from D E F G A B C -- the first is called the 'Ionian mode', the second, the 'Dorian mode'. (The first is similar to the "major scale", but the "major scale" has [other] hierarchical implications ... IME.). ... Each of the 38 'pentatonic scales' has 5 rotations, producing a maximum of 190 pentatonic scales (in WE 12 T ET S S). >From: Alexandra Hettergott <a.hettergott(at)WANADOO.FR> >Subject: Re: Let's have a test on chord grammar Yo! Alexandra!! >>There are just no clear semantic signals in music, and >>syntactic signals are missing altogether. >'Syntactic signals' in speech exist (only) in relation to an external >(structural) reference system -- Mmmm ... possibly, but maybe the 'syntactic signals' don't exist in speech, but rather, it might be that the perceptual and interpretive systems of individuals extracts (what one considers to be) the 'important' aspects of the signal. Which, IMV, is learned, and is therefore cultural. It would therefore (from this line of thought) be that the syntactic signal exosts in relation to an _internal_ (structural) reference system. <<<8-()>>>>>> !! > you might easily have such thing also in music ... IME & IMV, definitely! However, this 'common' language (response) is unique to every individual. [A new operational definition of 'common'!] > So the 'inversions' as for a triad, i.e., sixth chord (1st) >and six-four chord (2nd), might be sort of corresponding to the >'inflections' of (flexible) words This might be so (for many people), however in my (teaching experience), I continue to note that _many_ people do not hear the first inversion triad as being 'an inflection' of the root position chord. For those who don't hear this, the learning curve is _steep_. For those not (overly) familiar with 'harmony', a numerical example. Which of these two patterns is 'more similar'? 4 3 3 4 3 5 Hmmmmm ... the first is a major triad in semitones; the second is a minor triad in semitones; the third is a 'first inversion' major triad in semitones. Students have to 'learn' that the first and third patterns are 'more similar' ... no, not the first and second, or the second and third! > likewise as you have 'inversions' and 'retrogrades' >in dodecaphonic music, plus their 'mirroring', (analogously) >corresponding to (inflected) word form and / or order in speech >sentences ; .redor emit fo lasrever a si ereht ecnis ,deviecrep eb ylisae nac edargorter a taht erus ton ma I [Retrograde] Hrnroziob' R,n mlg xlmermxvw zylfg rmevihrlm. Similarly, I'm not convinced about inversion. [Inversion] ??mlrhivemr-vwzitligvi big lg gmzD Want to try retrograde-inversion?? [RI] > or one might also think of the conclusive (terminative) >character of different (final) cadences in traditional music in this >context. And the 'unstable' tritone of tonal music is a preferred (and understood) cadential feature in Messiaen. >'Semantics' is due to the reference to some (external) meaning, As I wrote .. I think the meaning is 'internal' ... which could be why some things mean some thing to some people, and not to others. And there may be primitives ... and (self-)learned schema ... [Bregman ASA p 642 ... ASA = Auditory Scene Analysis.] Best Kevin kaustin(at) The tulips are thinking about budding ... and the squirrels are thinking about the budding tulips. Chili pepper time!

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