[geocentrism] Re: For Martin

  • From: "Steven Jones" <midclyth@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: geocentrism@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2007 00:37:43 +0100

Dear Jack,

I’ve read your question and tried to ascertain it’s meaning, but I’ve concluded maybe it’s possible you have a different concept as to how western music notation works.

Notes can be placed on or in-between the system lines and additional musical symbols (such as a simple change of cleff) can be used to indicate a different range when needed.

Agreed, five system lines as a standard is purely arbitrary, but it makes a lot of sense because it simply feels good, I can’t really provide a better answer than that! Most musicians haven’t complained. Five does cover a sufficient range (an octave and a forth) from D to G in C Dorian mode (try D to G on the white keys of a piano) and “ledger lines” can be also be used when needed. An example of a ledger line is provided in illustration 1. It is effectively a sixth system line, here representing the tone “middle C” on the treble clef. Two many system lines all the time would be cluttered.


2 is the note F
3 is the note G
4 is an example of “accidentals” both a sharp and a flat to represent another note to the preceding examples 2 and 3. When keys are changed it is through the means of these special symbols, but typically they will be spelt out next to the clef one time only at the beginning of a score.
5 Is an example of D Dorian mode discussed earlier.

I hope this helps and that I haven’t confused the matter even more.

Kind Regards,


On Thu, 20 Sep 2007 00:02:50 +0100, Jack Lewis <jack.lewis@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Dear Steven and Martin,
I have always been puzzled why music wasn't written on 6 staves since there are 12 notes. Could it be that music has evolved from the simple tones to the more complex? If 6 staves were used would it not make playing different keys easier?

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Martin G. Selbrede
  To: geocentrism@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2007 9:28 PM
  Subject: [geocentrism] Re: For Martin

  Dear Steven,

Well, I can say that my piano has drifted off of Western equal temperament, so compositions for it that I wrote using Western tonality have jumped the track into the world of microtonality. I do plan, however, to remedy this with a nice tuning. The biggest barrier to moving toward, say, the 17-degree scale is I'm not sufficiently motivated to learn Sanskrit.

However (in the interest of full disclosure), my Opus 16 (which was, in fact, performed publicly) did include a brief section that would have made Penderecki proud. I was aware of his works, particularly Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima, and so in my composition the string orchestra indulges in such non-Western dissonance for nearly a full minute (this occurring in a piece that lasts about 38 minutes in concert performance). And that's about it, folks.

I could have sworn that I had mentioned to you the research conducted by Ernest Ansermet about the geometry of the cochlear spiral in the inner ear -- that its curvature is based on the log of 12. Ansermet's conclusion was that the human ear naturally divides an octave into twelve parts. Since the cochlear spirals of other mammals are curved differently, such creatures may discern such music as alien gibberish. If one were to truly test animals for musical aptitude, the scale should be subdivided based on a specific animal's cochlear spiral geometry and music then created within that customized tonal architecture. If the animal responds to that, and not to music based on other scale divisions, we'd have some empirical support for Ansermet's theory that would be nearly unassailable.


  On Sep 19, 2007, at 3:08 PM, Steven Jones wrote:

    Dear Martin,

just wondering if you're interested in other tonalities besides western and whether you've ever explored any of them in your own compositions?

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  Martin G. Selbrede
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