Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Love these diaries, rg, sorry for not commenting till now.

Theremin... yay.  My ex built one from a kit, it was so much fun to play around with.

Re: scales and pitch, as you know, the Western scales are not universal... they use different systems, for example, to compose Indian ragas and Arabic maqamat.  The maqam scales are best taught (and many would say can only be taught) in real life, by listening and playing, but as good an explanation as I've found is here:

Maqam World

The Arabic scales which maqamat are built from are not even-tempered, unlike the chromatic scale used in Western classical music. Instead, 5th notes are tuned based on the 3rd harmonic. The tuning of the remaining notes entirely depends on the maqam. The reasons for this tuning are probably historically based on string instruments like the oud. A side effect of not having even-tempered tuning is that the same note (by name) may have a slightly different pitch depending on which maqam it is played in.

How can maqamat be broken down ?

The building blocks for maqamat are sets of 3, 4 or 5 notes, called trichords, tetrachords and pentachords, respectively. The Arabic word for these sets is jins (plural ajnas). The word jins means the gender, type or nature of something. In general each maqam is made up two main ajnas (sets) called lower and upper jins. These can be joined at the same note, at two adjacent notes, or can overlap each other. A maqam may also include other secondary ajnas which are very useful for modulation. Instead of thinking of a maqam as a collection of 8 or more individual notes, it's often useful to think of it as a group of two or more ajnas (sets).

And for your listening pleasure, an oud taqsim (improvisation) on the maqam Al-Rast.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7xvagoJOvQ (2:36)

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Wed Apr 23rd, 2008 at 02:26:37 PM EST

Others have rated this comment as follows:


Occasional Series