A ditonic scale is a musical scale or mode with two 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. Ethnomusicologist Bruno Nettl noted that ditonic scales were common in many parts of the world but often limited to specific music types, such as children's songs, with the exception of some tribal societies.
The Cheremis (Mari people) of Russia employ ditonic scales in children's songs, generally with the two notes a minor third apart. Nettl theorised that these ditonic songs may be a remnant of a more archaic form of music.
Several ditonic scales were noted about the Modoc and Klamath tribes of the North American West Coast, and are also found in the Great Plains in the rituals of the 1800s Ghost Dance religion. The scale was also used in the music of the Shawnee.
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