Monday, October 21, 2019

Perenepsis IX: An Examination of the m2/m3 Scale

Number nine already? Where's number eight? Well, it's also done; I'm just posting #9 before it because I can. No other reason.

Last weekend, it occurred to me to make a scale by alternating minor seconds with minor thirds. This produces a six-note scale, similar to a whole-tone scale, but with every other note raised a half step (or lowered a half step, depending on which note you take as the tonic). This allows for four transpositions. I decided to alternate between the two that include C: C/Db/E/F/G#/A and G/Ab/B/C/D#/E. This leaves out three notes -- D, F#, and Bb (the most common sharp and the most common flat!) -- which I allowed a brief cameo just about halfway through. I couldn't find references anywhere to this scale, although I'm sure someone must've used it before. The other two transpositions are D/Eb-... and A/Bb-... Continuing along the circle of fifths, the next one would be E/F-..., but that just ends up the same as the C/Db scale, etc.

If you look at the score, you can see a G# in one measure with an Ab in the next; this is not just me trying to be annoying (I have more than enough ways to do that already: see note below), but an indication of which of the two above transpositions is in play. Also, there are measures containing both Db and D#, because I didn't want both altered and unaltered notes of the same name within either form of the scale (no C# or Eb, because C and E are in both).

This is my first go at using this scale; I did find an old thing where I was doing scale runs (on electric guitar) that included this scale (among others), but this is my first actual composition using it. I'll probably try it with string quartet, possibly assigning each instrument a different transposition, maybe not.

Next up: The one that comes before this one.

Note: As mentioned above, I have many ways of being annoying. I recently read that a lot of people find the Comic Sans font annoying, so I used it for the title on this video. You're welcome.

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