My Western Culture articles/lectures 3: Music, part 1

JISHOU, HUNAN — This is the article I posted for my students to read before class last week. I didn’t lecture, but played the selections indicated in the article and made brief comments. ———————— This is the first article about Western music. Please read this before class. We will listen to the music in class, instead of my giving a lecture. Western Music How is Western music different from other cultures’ music? One major difference is the pitch 音乐音高 of the notes used. Most world music, and Chinese music, is based on a pentatonic (five-tone) scale 五声音阶: do re mi sol la (do) Most Western music is based on diatonic 全音阶 (or heptatonic – seven-tone) scales, such as the familiar: do re mi fa sol la ti (do) Putting it another way, let’s look at the keyboard of a piano. You can play pentatonic tunes using only the black keys. To play diatonic tunes, you also need some (or all) of the white keys. The origin of the diatonic scale dates back to ancient Greece, but perhaps earlier cultures in the Near East also used it. Seven-tone scales are also part of music from the southern part of India. The ...
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