Genesis of the Scale

Genesis of the Scale - 11, 19, 20, 26, 34, 43, 50, 103, 104 [see Plate II]

"It is only because these six numbers contain nothing but what belongs to the proper geometrical genesis of the scale that they do not lead to an error. The arithmetical series being geometrically right up to six, made it appear that consecutive whole numbers from one onwards was the order of the ascending notes; and all the numbers from one to sixteen have been used in the genesis of the scale." [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 11]

And as the notes of this family are born of one fundamental note, so the chords into which they are grouped are like so many younger families. The fundamental note is the common root of three chords, each of which is a little family of notes having its own generating root; although the top of the first is the root of the second, and the top of the second, the root of the third. This also is illustrated in the Genesis of the Scale. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 20]

lastly it is altered again and becomes, by the power of 3 once more, F#,#, and serves in four keys. But this carries us beyond the horizon of our musical world of twelve keys; for in B#, the top of the tonic E, we have reached our twelfth fifth, and it here coalesces with C of the seventh octave, and closes the circle. This is the way that all notes become alternately altered, either by commas and sharps in the upward genesis of scales, or by commas and flats in the downward genesis, by the alternate powers of 3 and 5. In the upward genesis in this illustration, notes by the power of 5 serve in three keys, and those by the power of 3 serve in four keys. In the minors it is just the inverse on this by the Law of Duality. But no note serves for more than either three or four keys, as the case may be. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 63]


In Fig. 1, the mathematical framework of the scales major and minor, is shown the genesis of the scale. F1, in the top figure, is multiplied by 3, and that by 3, and that by 3, which brings us to D27, top of the major dominant. F1 is the root of the whole system. C3 is the top of the first chord, and from that grows the next, and from that the next; and so we have F, C, G, and D, the tops and roots of the major system of chords. When these 3 roots are each multiplied once by 5, the middles of the chords are found, as shown - A, E, and B; so B is the last-born of the major family. When B is taken 4 octaves higher at the number 720 and divided by 3, and that by 3, and that by 3, we get the notes E, A, and D, which are the roots and tops of the minor system of chords. Dividing B, E, and A each by 5 once, we get the middles of the 3 minor chords, as shown. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 103]

Here on the keyboard we see, nearest to the front, the great 3-times-3 chord of the full genesis of the scale from F1 to F64. When this chord is struck by the notched lath represented in front of the keyboard, the whole harmony of the key is heard at once. Behind this great chord are placed, to the left the subdominant, tonic, and dominant chords of the minor. D F A, A E C, E G B; and to the right the subdominant, tonic, and dominant chords of the major, F A C, C E G, G B D. When the notched lath is shifted from F to D, the minor third below F, and the 3-times-3 minor is struck down in the same way as the major, the whole harmony is heard; and the complete contrast of effect between major and minor harmony can be fully pronounced to the ear by this means. Behind these six diatonic chords, major and minor, on the part of the keyboard nearest to the black keys, are the three chromatic chords in their four-foldness, in both major and minor form. The center one shows the diatonic germ of the chromatic chord, with its supplement of G# on the one hand completing its minor form, and its supplement of A♭ on the other hand completing its major form. A great deal of teaching may be illustrated by this plate.

ERRATUM. - B♭, first chromatic chord, misplaced.
[Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 104]

are always when they have returned to the side from which they were started. The Pendulographer, also, when writing the beautiful pictures which the musical ratios make when a pen is placed under the control of the pendulums, always finds his figure to begin again when the pendulums have finished their period, and have come for a fresh start to the side from which the period began. This confirms our author's definition of an oscillation of a pendulum. Fig. 3 is an illustration of the correct definition of a Musical Vibration, as also given in this work. Although the definition of an oscillation is not identical with that of a vibration, yet on account of their movement in the same ratios the one can be employed in illustration of the other as we have here done. Fig. 4 is a uniform rod suspended from the end as a pendulum; it will oscillate, of course, at a certain speed according to its length. In such a pendulum there are three centers related in an interesting way to the subject of Music in its three chords - subdominant, tonic, and dominant, which roots are F, C, and G. The center of gravity in the middle of the rod at 2, suspended at which the rod has no motion, corresponds to F, the root of the subdominant, in which there is the maximum of musical gravity. The center of oscillation at 3, which is one-third of the length of the rod from the end, is like the root of the tonic whose number is 3 in the genesis of the scale from F1. In this point of suspension the oscillations are the same as when suspended from the end at 1. The point at 9 is at a ninth from the center of oscillation. Our author discovered that, if suspended at this point, the pendulum had its highest rate of speed. Approaching the end, or approaching the center of oscillation from this point, the rate of speed decreases. Exactly at one-ninth from the center of oscillation, or two-ninths from the end, is this center of velocity, as Ramsay designated it; and it corresponds in some sort also to the root of the dominant G, which is 9 in the genesis of the scale from F1; its rate of vibration is nine times that of F1. The dominant chord is the one in which is the maximum of levity and motion in music. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 105]

The larger hemisphere of the Fifths is uppermost when taking the minor view of the plate, and suggests the idea of the minor being weighed downward, as it really is mathematically in the genesis of the scale, which is seen in the D of the minor being a comma lower than the D of the major. Taking the major view of the plate, the smaller hemisphere is uppermost, and suggest the idea of rising upward, as it really does in the [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 106]

Nature does give us the chromatic scale of 12 semitones, but she does so by a very different process.
We have, however, to thank Euler, perhaps, for starting the genesis of the scale from F instead of C, which he does without assigning any reason for it, and, it seems without seeing the deep significance of it; and since he does this as a mere matter of course, it would be interesting to know if he had not seen F thus used by some other, it may be some obscure genius who had insight to discern, more than push to put forth his finding - a case in which the world has doubtless sometimes been a loser. - Editor. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 108]


In the center column are the notes, named; with the lesser and larger steps of their mathematical evolution marked with commas, sharps, and flats; the comma and flat of the descending evolution placed to the left; the comma and sharp of the ascending evolution to the right; and in both cases as they arise. If a note is first altered by a comma, this mark is placed next to the letter; if first altered by a sharp or flat, these marks are placed next the letter. It will be observed that the sharpened note is always higher a little than the note above it when flattened; A# is higher than ♭B; and B is higher than ♭C, etc.; thus it is all through the scales; and probably it is also so with a fine voice guided by a true ear; for the natural tendency of sharpened notes is upward, and that of flattened notes downward; the degree of such difference is so small, however, that there has been difference of opinion as to whether the # and have a space between them, or whether they overlap, as we have shown they do. In tempered instruments with fixed keys the small disparity is ignored, and one key serves for both. In the double columns right and left of the notes are their mathematical numbers as they arise in the Genesis of the scales. In the seven columns right of the one number-column, and in the six on the left of the other, are the 12 major and their 12 relative minor scales, so arranged that the mathematical number of their notes is always standing in file with their notes. D in A minor is seen as 53 1/3, while the D of C major is 54; this is the comma of difference in the primitive Genesis, and establishes the sexual distinction of major and minor all through. The fourth of the minor is always a comma lower than the second of the major, though having the same name; this note in the development of the scales by flats drops in the minor a comma below the major, and in the development of the scales by sharps ascends in the major a comma above the minor. In the head of the plate the key-notes of the 12 majors, and under them those of their relative minors, are placed over the respective scales extended below. This plate will afford a good deal of teaching to a careful student; and none will readily fail to see beautiful indications of the deep-seated Duality of Major and Minor. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 109]

This is a twofold mathematical table of the masculine and feminine modes of the twelve scales, the so-called major and relative minor. The minor is set a minor third below the major in every pair, so that the figures in which they are the same may be beside each other; and in this arrangement, in the fourth column in which the figures of the major second stand over the minor fourth, is shown in each pair the sexual note, the minor being always a comma lower than the major. An index finger points to this distinctive note. The note, however, which is here seen as the distinction of the feminine mode, is found in the sixth of the preceding masculine scale in every case, except in the first, where the note is D26 2/3. D is the Fourth of the octave scale of A minor, and the Second of the octave scale of C major. It is only on this note that the two modes differ; the major Second and the minor Fourth are the sexual notes in which each is itself, and not the other. Down this column of seconds and fourths will be seen this sexual distinction through all the twelve scales, they being in this table wholly developed upward by sharps. The minor is always left this comma behind by the comma-advance of the major. The major A in the key of C is 40, but in the key of G it has been advanced to 40 1/2; while in the key of E, this relative minor to G, the A is still 40, a comma lower, and thus it is all the way through the relative scales. This note is found by her own downward genesis from B, the top of the feminine dominant. But it will be remembered that this same B is the middle of the dominant of the masculine, and so the whole feminine mode is seen to be not a terminal, but a lateral outgrowth from the masculine. Compare Plate II., where the whole twofold yet continuous genesis is seen. The mathematical numbers in which the vibration-ratios are expressed are not those of concert pitch, but those in which they appear in the genesis of the scale which begins from F1, for the sake of having the simplest expression of numbers; and it is this series of numbers which is used, for the most part, in this work. It must not be supposed, however, by the young student that there is any necessity for this arrangement. The unit from which to begin may be any number; it may, if he chooses, be the concert-pitch-number of F. But let him take good heed that when he has decided what his unit will be there is no more coming and going, no more choosing by him; Nature comes in [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 117]

See Also

12.21 - Fibonacci Whole Numbers v Irrational Decimal near Equivalents
chromatic scale
Diatonic scale
Etheric Vibratory Scale
Genesis of Polarity
genetic root
musical scale
Natural Scale
Ramsay - A Wrong Method - Sedley Taylor's Scales
Ramsay - The Liberty of Inspiration - The Law of the Ear
Ramsay - PLATE II - The Genesis
Ramsay - PLATE XII - The Major and Minor Scales
Ramsay - PLATE XIII - The Vertebral Column of the Musical Scale
Ramsay - PLATE XXI - The 24 Scales with their Signatures in
Ramsay - PLATE XXII - Mathematical Table of the Twelve Major Scales and their relative Minors
Ramsay - PLATE XXIII - The Mathematical and Tempered Scales
Ramsay - PLATE XXVII - The Mathematical Scale of Thirty two notes in Commas, Sharps and Flats
Scale of the Forces in Octaves
three chords of the Diatonic Scale

Created by Dale Pond. Last Modification: Sunday January 3, 2021 04:28:37 MST by Dale Pond.