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Znamenny scale – fait accompli?

Author(s): Alexei Yaropolov

Journal: Studii si Cercetari de Istoria Artei : Teatru, Muzică, Cinematografie
ISSN 0039-3991

Volume: 4(48);
Issue: ;
Start page: 27;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Znamenny Chant | Deciphering | Paleography | Solmisation | Guidonian hexachords | Temperament | Tuning | Diatonics | Old-believers | Emergence | Mode | Glas | Aristoxenos | Tone | Accidentals | Metavola | Modulation | Mese | Paramese | Division of octave | Pomety | Cinnabar letters | Dvoeznamenniki

The author addresses one of the most sensitive topics of Znamenny chant: its scale. He tries to restore the “burned bridges” between ideographic and staff-notation of the Chant as he redefines and essentially generalizes the concept of scale as such. The possibility to artificially construct ad hoc many scales sounding sometimes very similar to the scale suggested by the modern staff-notation is a serious argument to regard the “staff-notation based” deciphering from the 17th century (dvoeznamenniki) a pure game of chance. The constructed scales, presented in the paper, are different to “keyboard diatonica” and from one another and are never subject to the unified theorizing (unified nomenclature of degrees, etc). Critically commented is the practice to uncontrollably use the trivial pitch-symbols for deciphering, which ipso facto makes the probabilistic steps of unknown scales look as the ill-founded deviations from the diatonic scale steps, which are currently in use in the common musical education. This practice hinders the chance to acknowledge the right of the remote musical culture to rest on foundations that can be formulated both positively and explicitly, all the more so, as the usage of paleographic signs looks rather consistent. The resemblances and differences between musical cultures may be treated more liberally since no scale is seen a norm. The author is based on the writings of Russian musicologist and organologist Felix Raudonikas.
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