Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Reflections of an American Composer$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Arthur Berger

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520232518

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520232518.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 06 July 2022

The Octatonic Scale

The Octatonic Scale

(p.185) 15 The Octatonic Scale
Reflections of an American Composer

Arthur Berger

University of California Press

The chapter examines the octatonic scale, which is the term to describe any eight-note musical scale. It has been at issue insofar as it interacted with the old diatonic scales to surround the tonic with a relational situation. The octatonic is capable of two scales with different interval orderings depending on whether it starts with the whole-tone or the semitone. It is a symmetrical scale since the dyad, whether whole half (TS) or half hole (ST), repeats itself throughout the system, just as the single whole-step does in the whole-tone scale. One cannot expect that any simple octatonic scale passage presenting the referential order unmitigated is going to suffice to create the octatonic ambience just as we encounter it in Stravinsky. If all the notes of an octatonic scale are similarly depressed at once, we would scarcely be able to detect anything of the octatonic sound, but we would also hear, rather, a cluster comprising an undifferentiated mass of notes out of the chromatic scale.

Keywords:   octatonic scale, musical scale, octatonic ambience, octatonic sound, chromatic scale, symmetrical scale

California Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.