Ramsay - The Shifting Key with its unaltered form

round a common center which is lying between them, as the double stars do in the astral heavens. When this plate is reversed we have before us exactly the minor scale, and all the parts and attitudes related in exactly the inverse way, each to each, so perfect is the duality in unity of the two modes.


     When Plate XIII. is divided up the middle of the column, as in Plate XIV., so as that one side may be slipped up a fifth, representing a new key one-fifth higher, its subdominant made to face the old tonic, the two new notes are then pictorially shown, the second being altered one comma and the seventh four commas. The key at this new and higher pitch is by Nature's unfailing care kept precisely in the same form as the first; and wherever the major scale is pitched, higher or lower, the form remains unaltered, all the intervals arranging themselves in the same order. The ear, and the voice obedient to it, carry Nature's measuring-rule in them, and the writing must use such marks as may truly represent this; hence the use of sharps, flats, and naturals; these, however, be it observed, are only marks in the writing; all is natural at any pitch in the scale itself. All this is equally true of the minor mode at various pitches. These two plates are only another and more pictorial way of showing what the stave and the signature are usually made to express.


     One purpose of this plate is to show that twelve times the interval of a fifth divides the octave into twelve semitones; and each of these twelve notes is the first note of a major and a minor scale. When the same note has two names, the one has sharps and the other has flats. The number of sharps and flats taken together is always twelve. In this plate will also be observed an exhibition of the omnipresence of the chromatic chords among the twice twelve scales. The staff in the center of the plate is also used as to show the whole 24 scales. Going from the major end, the winding line, advancing by fifths, goes through all the twelve keys notes; but in order to keep all within the staff, a double expedient is resorted to. Instead of starting from C0, the line starts from the subdominant F0, that is, one key lower, and then following the line we have C1, G2, etc., B6 proceeds to G♭ instead of F#, but the signature-number continues still to indicate as if the keys went on in sharps up to F12, where the winding line ends. Going from the minor end, the line starts from E0 instead of A0 - that is, it starts from the dominant of A0, or one key in advance. Then following the line we have B1, F#2, etc. When we come to D#5, we proceed to B♭ instead of A#6, but the signature-number continues as if still in sharps up

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Created by Dale Pond. Last Modification: Thursday December 31, 2020 06:09:07 MST by Dale Pond.