People have been organizing, codifying, and systematizing musical scales with numerological zeal since antiquity. Scales have proliferated like tribbles in quadra-triticale: just intonations, equal temperaments, scales based on overtones, scales generated from a single interval or pair of intervals, scales without octaves, scales arising from arcane mathematical formulas, scales that reflect cosmological or religious structures, scales that “come from the heart.” Each musical culture has its own preferred scales, and many have used different scales at different times in their history. This chapter reviews a few of the more common organizing principles, and then discusses the question “what makes a good scale?”
KeywordsHarmonic Series Equal Step Musical Scale Scale Step Interval Ratio
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