Ramsay - The Three Fifths which constitute the Scale

save the octave, and made them into one, so that in its proximate meetings during its period it seems composed of the ratio 2:3 twelve times, and 3:4 seven times; twelve times 2 and seven times 3 are 45; twelve times 3 and seven times 4 are 64. This long period of 45 to 64 by its proximate meetings divided itself into 19 short periods, and oscillates between the ratios of 2:3 and 3:4 without ever being exactly the one or the other; the difference being always a very small ratio, and the excess of the one being always the deficiency of the other. This fifth, B to F, has been misnamed an "imperfect fifth." When these two notes in the ratio of 45:64 are heard together, the oscillating proximately within it of the two simple ratios gives this fifth a trembling mysterious sound.
     The ratio of 1:2 belongs to neither proximate nor differential periods. It corresponds to unity; and, like the square and the circle, it admits of no varieties.
     There are seven differential and eleven proximate periods all differing in their degrees of complexity according to the individual character of the ratio; and they illustrate to the eye what is the effect in the ear of the same ratios in the rapid region of the elastic vibrations which cause the musical sounds.


     This plate is a representation of the area of a scale; the major scale, when viewed with the large hemisphere, lowest; the minor when viewed the reverse way. It is here pictorially shown that major and minor does not mean larger and smaller, for both modes occupy the same area, and have in their structure the same intervals, though standing in a different order. It is this difference in structural arrangement of the intervals which characterizes the one as masculine and the other as feminine, which are much preferable to the major and minor as distinctive names for the two modes. Each scale, in both its modes, has three Fifths - subdominant, tonic, and dominant. The middle fifth is the tonic, and its lowest note the key-note of the scale, or of any composition written in this scale. The 53 commas of the Octave are variously allotted in its seven notes - 3 of them have 9 commas, 2 have 8, and 2 have 5. The area of the scale, however, has much more than the octave; it is two octaves, all save the minor third D-F, and has 93 commas. This is the area alike of masculine and feminine modes. The two modes are here shown as directly related, as we might figuratively say, in their marriage relation. The law of Duality, which always emerges when the two modes are seen in their relationship, is here illustrated, and the dual notes are indicated by oblique lines across the pairs.
     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

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Created by Dale Pond. Last Modification: Wednesday December 23, 2020 04:16:24 MST by Dale Pond.