2009 Student Research Conference:
22nd Annual Student Research Conference

The Creation and Worth of the Western 7 Tone Scale, and an Exploration of Alternative Scales
Nathaniel J. Weimer
Dr. Matthew M. Beaky, Faculty Mentor

A single tone can be easily modeled as a sine wave with a period and amplitude corresponding to the pitch and volume. However, when more tones are added, the relations between their waves soon become very complex. This paper begins by discussing the harmonic series which relates different pitches to each other, then explores how sound waves of different frequencies interact with each other, specifically the beat effect and the difference tone. It then moves to intervals such as the perfect fifth, and the creation of the widely used Western 7 tone equal temperament scale. In attempting to discover why this scale is so widely used, other scales with varying numbers of divisions are examined, and the question of what makes a scale aesthetically pleasing to the ear is addressed from both a scientific and musical standpoint.

Keywords: Scale, Chord, Diatonic, Tone, Pitch

Topic(s):Physics
Music
Interdisciplinary

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 22-2
Location: VH 1412
Time: 10:00

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