Re: con/dis-sonance

Subject: Re: con/dis-sonance
From: Phil Thomson (
Date: Wed Jul 21 2004 - 17:47:53 EDT

For much of "classical music history", the piano was not the cornerstone
of that edifice. Even the keyboard instruments that were around prior to
the piano were much more variable in their tuning than they are today.
Witness Handel's organ in meantone temperament and with 15 keys to the
octave (separate keys for g-sharp and a-flat, for example).

And for much of "classical music history" (i.e., medieval/renaissance
church music) the voice was its cornerstone, which is just as capable of
pitch continuity as the violin. The development of scales of discrete
pitches has much more to do with Western rationality (rationality =>
ratios, as in pitch ratios) than with the techn(ologi)cal limitations of
particular instruments. Instruments come after the voice, ontologically,
if not epistemologically.


> With respect to the recent intriguing discussions regarding intervalic
> structure, I've often wondered what the history of classical
> music would sound like had the violin been the cornerstone of this
> edifice - instead of the piano. If the primordial dichotomy of the
> continuous/discontinuous had been in favour of the former. Einstein
> practiced the violin.

Phil Thomson

SDF Public Access UNIX System
Geekier than you since 1987.

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