thumbnail of Up the down staff; 9; New Uses of Old Scales, New Scales
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Up the Down staff. Conversations on music with composers got Houston and Carolyn watts of the University of Cincinnati pentatonic. Dorian Mode. Harmonic Minor. Is really.
Talk. Thomas. Carolyn that's the shortest captial history of scale you probably ever hear is that the
lot. Then I begin to think you can make up a thousand scales. I'm not quite that many on that same pitch transposing perhaps but there are more than 250 possible scales on that one. Will see we covered in a few seconds the scale used in music from 10000 B.C. or even before to the present day. We don't have the time to present even a wee part of the music represented by each scale system. All our listeners will readily recognize that most of our musical illustrations have been drawn from the Major. Or minor. Since most of the pop and concert music we heard today is based on those two scales which are a mere 400 years old. We tend to ignore the four modal scales which have been used by composers for more than 2000 years. The modes are not simply a matter of historical curiosity for they yet live on and folk music.
Popular music of The Beatles The Carpenters Peter Paul and Mary and in some concert hall music of Vaughan Williams Frank Martin and many others. So let me just for a moment or two a side track ourselves in the development of modern music by going back to scales and systems that were used before the advent of polyphony. Oh that's right. These were gradually selected So what I'm giving you existed very firmly in the music of 1000 A.D. all of the existing Greek music in 500 B.C. and in American Indian music of 10000 B.C.. Yes they found a bone flute in Arizona sometimes five or six years ago that was tuned this way. And when is that. That's a forked tongue. And I'm fascinated by the lack of music. We don't know what it just so this
is about 1000 a deep burst mode was listed as such was called the Dorian. I'm playing it on Ian first I'll play a melody and then a harmonic implication and then the scales give you its characteristics then show you how it exists. If you're seated at the piano as a white key scale has always been played in the white keys. Here we go. Here's the Dorian mode. It has a characteristic it sounds like a minor but something's wrong with it. But nothing's wrong. The thing we know as Aeolian mode or natural minor scale question came from the Dorian Dorian what if I mean it's all these modes dorian phrygian that it makes then referred to as territories in Greece this is what I want five territories counties sections of Greece Lydia for and so forth. Colum I guess what do you know already I have Asian Right.
Right now there's the door and. That was a melody based on the door and let me hear the harmony. Scale. And its like. So we call it. The Sharps. Raise that six. Seven. And there was a major. If you look up. And you go to the court on the force. It's very stern here.
And there's the door. And the next play the same pitch. First. That's a natural minor course and. So we set us up with the flat second. Miner. That was a member of the harmony and. Give an exact quote. Just indifferent.
He was born in one of the great composers that we know much about so. Minor. Wrong and the song writing. Center here in the flat too. Scale. And it's on the white keys already. Next Lydian problems and melodically and. The normal force
that is now playing harmonica. Sounds awesome. It's a totally different flavor of course. The scale. And on the white keys. It will be on half. As interesting into a different color. It's about music written before the advent of notation even. We're talking about the music of the troubadours and eleven hundred years that we just played which one could play.
The last one of the four and I play it again there's a melody. Harmonically moved into. His. Scale. To meet major goals. So we
call it. It's erroneous you understand because the modes came first and what we call key came much later. So he doesn't exist until 16:15 So we're fitting these into that particular we're making a social a major scale for an incident in question as Vaughan Williams comes in he doesn't use one of these mugs use them all. Oh he did just that. It seems strange when you compare it to Mozart and Beethoven and Brahms but it's not strange to mine with him because he was reared in the modes. You know this. How about that for transposition. Thomas tell us your will to tell us is a modal composer. No 16th century these modes lasted until
16:15 through various series of mutations they became key and then assumes we got key in 650 by 1850 we're trying to move away from the fighting. I'd like you to hear something that is not improvised by me or anyone else is from the Easter sequence victime Pasquale loud days and it isn't the Dorian mode. It was. There was a lack of a regular recurring barline it was determined there is rhythm but it is very free. And you noticed that it began. At the end.
And one of the phrases in the melody. Like you listen to a popular song by The Beatles which is let you guess them out. What you noticed this. Heading toward one of
the cords that almost slipped by as well this one happened like this. Yes so it's in the Dorian mode Pascola which is when do you think they actually knew what they were doing I was it just something that they wanted to do. Yes. And of course as a terrific instinct and that's instinctive for the baby. However in public schools in England they're taught the modes along with the conscious of the Mixolydian for a moment. And show how Palestrina in the 16th century quote improved unquote on the period in the mode the F sharp at a cadence point sort of imitate 16th century style.
Using up natural sharp the rest of us. It's easy to follow procedure here to develop an eighteenth century but we're going to push its way out of it as early as 17 22 Vol. 1 which is a series of each of the 24 keys the subject or number 24. Believe it or not and in the midpoint of the mouth at least it's tough to
find that he. Or any other high in the late 18th century were perfectly happy except fast and frequently. We're going to play for you which begins in this case. And. The second in there for the third. And the third. So. Far away. Let's hear that part. The beginning of the development section of the
number forty one. I'm looking. In lieu. And. Already you've been through at least seven very unsettled. But what is interesting to me with that little phrase and put metamorphosis is that when the first one is very dramatic is it good to go from B
flat. To F sharp minor. And your discord. Then you get this one. And if this was not resolved the minor that you go away. Mea minor So there really is no key there. Just a group of really unrelated cards and he doesn't go through 7 cues in that short section. Remember it takes two and a half to three minutes to go use just two keys G minor B by major Beethoven Wagner and Brahms in the 1000 sense are nearly always resented the restrictions imposed on to knowledge. The restrictions and make keep off and they continue to use chromaticism and fantastically altered cards. Here's a perfect example from the last known of the Brahms symphony for we hear the same short motive. First in measure 1 to 8.
Even that was ambiguous because. You don't know whether this is the owner of the tonic. Then again we hear the same. After 15 variations in measures one twenty and one thirty six. Almost all of the key was asked.
Then again and this is the last time it appears after another 15 variations in measures two hundred fifty three hundred sixty. The three harmonization of a simple motive. Get further and further away from Mickey until the last variation is just a series of unconnected cards you get simply and later. I'm a dominant 7 or. 8. And I see some. Turns and goes back to the minor. Next. You didn't quite hear you it's out of
your heart. And then the next fragment from Ricard Strauss's opera salomé Strauss is really a frustrated trying to break out of the bonds of a key and I don't mean as a frustrated composer. But his technique was frustrating as all the good news was Persian harmony chord on thirds and chromaticism. Was a ninth. Quickly to a major. Now what the Major. Is an anomaly. Yes. FEMA here. Quickly to be made sure. There's a time again a good. Heavens the major already. Beautiful singing.
And all and for D minor. D Major. The minute. You manage it and. You don't know what it is. Dominance up and. Down I have to. Hold these power C Sharp in my major minor. D-flat major. That's where we started. The whole Tong hard. Yeah I came to want to. Get on our little. E minor. They made. The Madison in the ring with. A G minor E-flat. I don't know. How many 7.
Look magazine you're going. To. See May. Diminish seven. People. Didn't read it. So it was. All just days there at one point. He made. Remember seven. The major the major. Sectors. Of the class. And mind. Heart. Now there's an E major. F minor.
Diminished. The many said. The man who's going to win. Strange isn't it. A real paradox is so interesting. All these these changes prefer salomé and my business. We can go on the Friday and come play. It's a real paradox that after centuries of developing the forces that converted the modes to a complete total system composers almost immediately tried their hardest to find ways to destroy or at least damage to analyse why because every composer who searches for musical truths will find ways of his own to break the confining rules he was taught before tonality died a possible unnecessary death though there is a way to use a key so the chords do not function down 5 or up to. Them.
To prove that he center or there are so many changes that tonality seems at least blurred. We called from the beginning of Rumsfeld's String Quartet in F major. Raphael uses all seven tongs. But only those seven of the major. You may not hear F Major is a key center but it is right in the height of the melodic curve and they'll shift easily to another sonority flat so your relationship is a flat tire and that. Is a minor third relationship. So the D.A.'s already lost this method of composing called Pan diatonic system is an easy method used
by a number of later composers more careless more lazy and less talented than rebel. Pan meaning pan and diatonic mean all seven tones of a major minor scale. Another way to kill tonality slowly is by combining two old triads in a no new way. Here's an old friend F sharp major. But when combined with an even older friend or. C major new and fresh sound emerges. The American child is the first to dare the new public order for the same topic or became famous or infamous in 1911 and Stravinsky's ballet. Let's hear a bit of it. The last I heard was in Libya.
Chart for one obviously and let me call it that means I'm what to call it I want it each and recognizable by itself. Here's one let's look at this one. A major flat major city. Obviously we've just begun to prepare ourselves for the question so often asked of us often in dismay or even horror called what happened after Beethoven to produce contemporary music. Well we've just begun to reply. So stay with us. You've been listening to up the down staff conversations on music with composer Scott Houston and Carolyn Watts our technical director is Bob Stevenson. This program was produced in cooperation with the national educational radio network in the studios of on the campus of the University of
Cincinnati this is the national educational radio network.
Up the down staff
Episode Number
New Uses of Old Scales, New Scales
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-ns0kxv6v).
No description available
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 71-17-9 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:00?
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Up the down staff; 9; New Uses of Old Scales, New Scales,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 23, 2023,
MLA: “Up the down staff; 9; New Uses of Old Scales, New Scales.” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 23, 2023. <>.
APA: Up the down staff; 9; New Uses of Old Scales, New Scales. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from