The yo scale, which does not contain semitones, according to a traditional theory is a pentatonic scale used in much Japanese music including gagaku and shomyo. The yo scale is used specifically in folk songs and early popular songs and is contrasted with the in scale which does contain semitones. The In scale is described as dark while the yo scale is described as 'bright' sounding.
It is defined by ascending intervals of two, three, two, two, and three semitones. An example yo scale, expressed in western pitch names, is: D - E - G - A - B. This is illustrated below.
Yo scale on D with auxiliary notes (F) & (C) Play (help·info)
Yo scale on D, ascending and descending.
More recent theory emphasizes that it is more useful in interpreting Japanese melody to view scales on the basis of "nuclear tones" located a fourth apart and containing notes between them, as in the min'yō scale used in folk music, and whose pitches are equivalent to the yo scale:
scale on D,
equivalent to yo
scale on D,
with brackets on fourths Play (help·info)
The Ryūkyū scale appears to be derived from the yo scale with pitches raised.
- ^ Japanese Music, Cross-Cultural Communication: World Music, University of Wisconsin – Green Bay.
- ^ Titon, Jeff Todd (1996). Worlds of Music: An Introduction to the Music of the World's Peoples, p.372. ISBN 0-02-872612-X.
- ^ a b Chris Hiscock, Marian Metcalfe (1999). New Music Matters 11-14, p.49. ISBN 978-0-435-81091-7.
- ^ Koizumi, Fumio (小泉文夫 Koizumi Fumio) (1974). Nihon no Ongaku: Rekishi to Riron (日本の音楽：歴史と理論) (Japanese Music: History and Theory), 76. Tokyo: National Theater of Japan.
- ^ Titon (1996), 373.
- ^ Susan Miyo Asai (1999). Nōmai Dance Drama, p.126. ISBN 978-0-313-30698-3.
- ^ a b Minoru Miki, Marty Regan, Philip Flavin (2008). Composing for Japanese instruments, p.2. ISBN 978-1-58046-273-0.
Further reading