vibration number

Number of vibrations per time interval, usually a second. Hertz, cycles per second, etc.

In order to find the notes for the next major key above C, we have to multiply the vibration-number of D, which is the top of the dominant C, by 3 and 5. It is out of the key of C at this point that the new key sprouts and grows, and by the primes and method which produce the key of C itself. So if we would find the relative minor of C, let us take the note which is a minor third below D - that is, B - to produce the minor. The minor sprouts and grows from this point of the key of C; for the relative minor grows out of the major, as out of the man at first the woman is taken. Moreover, B is the last-born of the notes for the major scale; for the middles, that is, the thirds of chords, are always produced by the prime 5; and the tops, that is, the fifths of chords, are produced by the prime 3, and are born before the thirds, though placed after them in the chords. Well, because B is the last-born note of the major, as well as a minor third below the top of the highest chord of the major, it seems that the minor should have this for its point of departure. Again, we have seen that the major and the minor are found in their strings and their vibrations by an inverse process, that one going back upon the other; and, there taking Nature's clue, let us proceed by an inverse process of generating the minor. Making B45 our unit, as F1 was our unit for the major, let us divide by 3 and 5 for a root and middle to B, as we multiplied by 3 and 5 for a top and middle to F. B45 divided by 3 is 15; here then is our E, the root of the chord, just where we had found it coming upward; for, remember, we found E15 by multiplying C3 by 5. This E, then, is the same in major and minor. Now B45 divided by 5 is 9; [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 31]

which seems to show that not only has one part of a vibrating string sympathy with another part of it so as to go into harmonic partials, as we have just seen, but as if the very air itself had sympathy with harmoniously vibrating strings; for Tartini observed that two harmonious sounds being produced and sustained as they can be, for example, by a strong bow on the violin, a third sound will be heard. Tartini's name for it was simply "a third sound." This is not an overtone, as Helmholtz has called the harmonic partials of one sounding string, but an undertone, because it is a "grave harmonic," away below the sounds of the two strings which awaken it. The subject of these undertones has been carefully studied since Tartini's day, and more insight has been obtained since we are now able to count and register the vibration of any musical sound. Helmholtz has called these third sounds of Tartini's "difference sounds," because when awakened by two strings, for example, the vibration-number of the third tone is the difference of the vibrations-numbers of the two tones which awaken it. The note C with vibration-number 512, and another C whose vibration-number is 256, the octave, awakened no third sound, because there is no difference between the two numbers - the one is just the doubled or halved; but if we take C256 and G381, its fifth, the difference number is 128; this being a low octave of C256, it has the effect of strengthening the upper one. Helmholtz found this to be the law of the third sound as to its producing, and the effect of it when produced. This third sound, mysteriously arising in the air through the sympathy it has with all concordant things, is another among many more suggestions that the whole Creation is measured and numbered to be in sympathy one part with another. The Creation is a universe. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 60]

This great genetic scale, the all-producer, the all-container, extends over six octaves on each side; for it is not till high in the sixth octave we get B in the major, and it is not till low in the sixth octave that we get F in the minor. It is in the fifth octave, however, that the note which is the distinctive mark of the masculine and feminine modes is generated. D27 in the major, and D26 2/3 in the minor, distinguishes the sex of the modes, and shows which is the head and which the helpmeet in this happy family.2 On the major side F, the root of the subdominant chord, that is the chord which is a fifth below the key-note C, is the root of all. This is the beginning of this creation. If we call the vibration-number of F one, for simplicity's sake, then F1 is multiplied by 3 and by 5, which natural process begets its fifth, C, and its third, A; this is the root, top, and middle of the first chord. From this top, C3, grows the next chord by the same natural process, multiplying by 3 and by 5; thus are produced the fifth and third of the second chord, G and E. From the top of this second chord grows the third and last chord, by the repetition of the same natural process; multiplying G9 by 3 and by 5 we [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 66]

generate D and B; D is the highest note in the chord-scale, but B is the last-born note, and has a higher vibration-number in the genesis. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 67]

There is nothing extraordinary in this. It is another fact which gives this one its importance, and that is that the musical system is composed of three fifths rising one out of another; so this note by 3/4 becomes the root not only of a chord, but the root of all the three chords, of which the middle one is the tonic; the chord of the balance of the system, the chord of the key; the one out of which it grows, and the one which grows out of it, being like the scales which sway on this central balance-beam. Thus F takes its place, C in the center, and G above. These are the 3 fifths of the system on its masculine or major side. The fractions for A, E, and B, the middle notes of the three chords, are 4/5, 3/5, and 8/15; this too tells a tale; 5 is a new ingredient; and as 3 gives fifths, 5 gives thirds. From these two primes, 3 and 5, along with the integer or unit, all the notes of the system are evolved, the octaves of all being always found by 2. When the whole system has been evolved, the numbers which are the lengths of the strings in the masculine or major mode are the numbers of the vibrations of the notes of the feminine or minor mode; and the string-length-numbers of the minor or feminine are the vibration-numbers of the notes of the major or masculine mode. These two numbers, the one for lengths and one for vibrations, when multiplied into each other, make in every case 720; the octave of 360, the number of the degrees of the circle. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 76]

At the first, in the laws of quantities and motions adjusting musical vibrations, there is one chord of the three notes, F, A, C, the root, middle, and top of the five notes which compose the true natural scale; this one chord can be reproduced a fifth higher, C, E, G, in the same mathematical form, taking the top of the first for the root of the second chord. In like manner this second can be reproduced another fifth higher, G, B, D, still in the same mathematical form, and so fit to be a member of the chord-scale of a key. But the law does not admit of another reproduction without interfering with the first chord, so that a fourth fifth produces no new effect; but the whole key is simply a fifth higher, i.e., if the fifth has been properly produced by multiplying the top of the third fifth by 3 and by 5, the generating primes in music. That this carries us into a new scale is seen in that the F is no longer the F♮ but F#, and the A is no longer A♮ but A,. But if we suppose the fourth fifth to be simply the old notes with their own vibration numbers, then D, F, A would not be a fifth belonging either to the major or the minor mode, but a fifth a comma less. The letters of it would read like the minor subdominant, D, F, A; but the intervals, as found in the upward development of the major genesis, instead of being, when expressed in commas, 9, 5, 8, 9, which is the minor subdominant, would be 8, 5, 9, 8, which is not a fifth of the musical system; these having always, whether major or minor, two 9's, one [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 77]

To develop the two new notes for a new key a fifth higher, you multiply the vibration-number of the top of the dominant of the key you have by 3 and by 5, thus-

C   9   D   8   E   5   F   9   G   8   A   9   B   5   C
24      27      30      32     36      40      45      48
48      54      60      64     72      80      90      96 [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 82]

third; and in order to do so, A has been mathematically raised a comma, which makes G A B now a 9-8 comma third. E F G, which in the scale of C was a 5-9 comma third, must now take the place of A B C in the scale of C, which was a 9-5 comma third; and in order to do so, F is mathematically raised 4 commas, and must be marked F#; and now the interval is right for the scale of G. E F# G is a 9-5 comma interval. This mathematical process, in the majors, puts every scale in its original form as to vibration-numbers; but since the same letters are kept for the naming of the notes, they must be marked with commas or sharps, as the case may be. In the Sol Fa notation such marks would not be necessary, as Do is always the key-note, Ray always the second, and Te always the seventh. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 83]

ratio of 5:8; three, 3:5; and one, 16:27. There are seven fifths - one in the ratio of 45:64; one, 27:40; and five, 2:3; and seven corresponding fourths - five in the ratio 3:4; one, 40:54; and one 32:45. These are the ratios of the intervals in their simplest expressions as given in the second outer space above the staff in the plate. In the outer space the intervals are given less exactly, but more appreciable, in commas. The ratios of the vibration-numbers of each interval in particular, counting from C24, are given in the inner space above the staff. These vibration-numbers, however, are not given in concert pitch of the notes, but as they arise in the low audible region into which we first come in the genesis from F1, in the usual way of this work. The ratios would be the same at concert pitch; Nature gives the numbers true at whatever pitch in the audible range, or in the low and high silences which lies out of earshot in our present mortal condition. [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 110]

This plate sets forth the essential duality of the musical system of vibrations. It is a remarkable fact that the numbers of the vibrations of the major mode are the numbers for the string proportions of the minor mode; and vice versa, the string proportions in the major are the numbers of the vibrations in the minor. We have, however, to see that we use the proper notes and numbers; we must know the secret of Nature. This secret rests in the duality of the notes, and begins from the two D's. The center of gravity of the musical system of vibrations is found in the comma space between the two D's as they are found in the genesis of the two modes. In these two D's the vibration number and string proportions are nearly identical. Starting from this point as the center of gravity in the [Scientific Basis and Build of Music, page 118]

See Also

cycles per second
Vibration Number
Wave Number

Created by dale. Last Modification: Monday January 4, 2021 04:30:18 MST by Dale Pond.