Tetratonic scale

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Example tetratonic scale.[1] About this sound Play 

A tetratonic scale is a musical scale or mode with four notes per octave. This is in contrast to a heptatonic (seven-note) scale such as the major scale and minor scale, or a dodecatonic (chromatic 12-note ) scale, both common in modern Western music. Tetratonic scales are not common in modern art music, and are generally associated with primitive music.[2][3]

Distribution[edit]

American Indian music[edit]

Tetratonic scales were common among the Plains Indians, though less common than the pentatonic scale.[4] Amongst the Arapaho, Blackfoot, Crow, Omaha, Kiowa, Pawnee, and Sioux, as well as some Plateau tribes, especially the Flathead, the tetratonic and pentatonic scales used are anhemitonic (that is, they do not include semitones).[5] Tetratonic scales have also been noted among the music of the Creek Indians,[6] and in the Great Basin region among the Washo, Ute, Paiute, and Shoshone.[7] In the Southwest, the Navajo people also largely used the pentatonic and tetratonic, occasionally also tritonic scales.[8]

Inuit[edit]

Tetratonic music was known among the Inuit, including the Greenlandic peoples.[9]

Maori[edit]

A 1969 study by ethnomusicologist Mervyn McLean noted that tetratonic scales were the second-most common type among the Maori tribes surveyed, accounting for 31% of scales used. The most common were tritonic (3-note) scales at 47%, while the third-most was ditonic (two-note) scales at 17%.[10]

Oceania[edit]

Tetratonic music was noted as common in Polynesia and Melanesia.[11] On Guadalcanal in particular, anhemitonic pentatonic and tetratonic scales are the predominant types, although the minor second does nevertheless occasionally appear as a melodic interval. The most often used melodic intervals, however, are the major second, minor third, perfect fourth, perfect fifth, and octave.[12]

Africa[edit]

The main instrument in the Lobi area of Ghana is the xylophone, some of which are tuned to a tetratonic scale.[13] In eastern Uganda, the Gwere use for their six-string harp (called tongoli) a tetratonic scale in which all the intervals are nearly equal, which to Western ears sounds like a chain of minor thirds.[14]

India[edit]

Tetratonic, as well as tritonic scales, were commonly used by the tribal peoples of India, such as the Juang and Bhuyan of Orissa state.[15]

Russia[edit]

The music of the Volga-Finnic Cheremis (Mari people) of central Russia was primarily pentatonic, but used tetratonic scales 20% of the time.[16]

Western Europe[edit]

The second-earliest scales of Scandinavian, German, English, and Scottish folk music are believed to have been pentatonic, themselves developed from an earlier tetratonic scale.[17][not in citation given] Tetratonic scales, along with pentatonic scales, account for 54% of songs in the traditional joik repertoire of the European Arctic Sami people, where the singing range extends to a tenth or eleventh.[18]

The predominant style of traditional music from the Peloponnese region of Greece is a mixture of Christian, Albanian, and Vlach. It employs tetratonic, pentachordal, and pentatonic scales, around the notes of which microtonal ornamentation (stolidia/psevtikes) occurs.[19]

Art music[edit]

Basic five-note unit of Reed Phase, by Steve Reich

A rare example of an art-music composition based entirely on a tetratonic scale is the early minimalist work Reed Phase (1966), by Steve Reich, which is based entirely on a single five-note cell, or "basic unit", repeated continually throughout the entire work. Because the note A occurs twice in this pattern, there are only four pitches in all.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bruno Nettl; Helen Myers (1976). Folk Music in the United States: An Introduction. Wayne State University Press. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-8143-1557-6. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Anthony Baines (1967). Woodwind Instruments and Their History (third, revised ed.). Faber and Faber. pp. 176–[page needed]. Retrieved 22 June 2012.  (Reprinted, New York: Courier Dover Publications, 1991, ISBN 978-0-486-26885-9).
  3. ^ Baidyanath Saraswati (ed.) (1991). Tribal Thought and Culture: Essays in Honour of Surajit Chandra Sinha. New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company. pp. 131–[page needed]. ISBN 978-81-7022-340-5. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Alan P. Merriam (19 August 2011). Ethnomusicology of the Flathead Indians. Transaction Publishers. p. 325. ISBN 978-1-4128-4244-0. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  5. ^ Bruno Nettl, Victoria Lindsay Levine, and Elaine Keillor (2001), "Amerindian Music", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers, §2(ii).
  6. ^ Bruno Nettl; Helen Myers (1976). Folk Music in the United States: An Introduction. Wayne State University Press. pp. 38–. ISBN 978-0-8143-1557-6. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  7. ^ Bruno Nettl, Victoria Lindsay Levine, and Elaine Keillor (2001), "Amerindian Music", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers, §2(v).
  8. ^ Bruno Nettl (1954). "North American Indian Musical Styles (sections 3, 4, and 5)". Journal of American Folklore 67 (265 [July–September]): 297–307. Retrieved 22 June 2012. . Citation on 305.
  9. ^ Thomas F. Johnston (1976), Eskimo Music by Region: A Comparative Circumpolar Study (Mercury Series, Canadian Ethnology Service Paper 32), Ottowa: National Museums of Canada, pp. 150, 161.
  10. ^ Mervyn McLean (1996). Māori Music. Auckland University Press. pp. 239–. ISBN 978-1-86940-144-3. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  11. ^ Mervyn McLean (1978). "Record Review of Polynesian Songs and Games from Bellona (Mungiki) Solomon Islands, Ethnic Folkways Records FE 4273. Recording, notes and photographs by Jane Mink Rossen (Danish Folklore Archives)". The Journal of the Polynesian Society 87 (2): 144–48. Retrieved 22 June 2012.  Citation on p. 146.
  12. ^ Mervyn McLean (1974). "Record Review of Musique de Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, recording, notes and photographs by Hugo Zemp. One 12" 33⅓ disc. Ocora OCR 74 (Paris, Office de Radiodiffusion Television Fransaise [sic]). Notes (in French and English) 10pp., map., photos.". The Journal of the Polynesian Society 83 (4 [December]): 490–91. Retrieved 22 June 2012.  Citation on p. 491.
  13. ^ J. H. Kwabena Nketia (2001) "Ghana, Republic of [formerly Gold Coast]", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
  14. ^ Sue Carole DeVale (2001) "Harp, §III: Africa", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell, London: Macmillan Publishers.
  15. ^ Sudhibhushan Bhattacharya (1968). Ethno-musicology and India. Indian Publications. p. 54. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  16. ^ Bruno Nettl (1960). Cheremis musical styles. Indiana University Press. pp. 7–. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  17. ^ Joel Ashmore Nevis, ed. (1989). FUSAC '88 ACEFO: Proceedings of the Sixth Annual Meeting of the Finno-Ugric Studies Association of Canada. University Press of America. ISBN 978-0-8191-7492-5. Retrieved 22 June 2012. [full citation needed]
  18. ^ György Szomjas-Schiffert (1973). "Traditional Singing Style of the Lapps". Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council 5: 51–61. Retrieved 22 June 2012.  Citation on p. 52.
  19. ^ Sotirios Chianis and Rudolph M. Brandl (2001) "Greece, §IV: Traditional Music", The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell, London: Macmillan Publishers.
  20. ^ Keith Potter (2000). Four Musical Minimalists: La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press. p. 181. ISBN 0-521-01501-4. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bartha, Dénes. 1963. "Le développement de la résonance dans les musiques évoluées: Occident au XXe siècle—La musique de Bartók". In La résonance dans les échelles musicales, edited by Édith Weber, 279–90. Colloques Internationaux du CNRS 516. Paris: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.
  • Griffiths, Paul. 2001. "Dusapin, Pascal". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
  • Ho, Allan B. 2001. "Lee, Dai-Keong". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.
  • Nettl, Bruno (1956). Music in primitive culture. Harvard University Press. 
  • Ramón y Rivera, Luis Felipe. 1969. "Formaciones Escalísticas en la Etnomúsica Latinoamericana". Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council 1:200–25.
  • Roberts, Shawn M. 2010. "Aztec Musical Styles in Carlos Chávez's Xochipilli: An Imagined Aztec Music and Lou Harrison's The Song of Quetzalcóatl: A Parallel and Comparative Study". DMA thesis. Morgantown: West Virginia University.
  • Ulveling, Paul. 2001. "Cigrang, Edmond". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.