Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Psychology of Music 
find the answer in psychological experiments in the laboratory. It is 
found that, on the whole, our present half-tone step is as small a 
step as the average of an unselected population can hear with 
reasonable assurance, enjoy, and reproduce in the flow of melody 
and harmony in actual music. 
However, anthropology has shown that in the process of evolu¬ 
tion we can discover a variety of units which have become con¬ 
ventional in a certain culture, some of them larger and some of 
them smaller than a half tone. Instrumentalists unquestionably 
imitated the tendencies of the human voice in playing their 
intervals; and when, in comparatively recent times, keyed instru¬ 
ments were introduced, or a certain number of strings or other 
vibrating media were played together, the prevailing tendency was 
crystallized. Yet we have at the present time quarter-tone instru¬ 
ments. Music is being written in quarter-tone steps, and this 
mode of music reveals resources entirely beyond the possibilities 
of the half-tone steps. Nor should we ignore the fact that in many 
instruments and many types of musical performance, fixed inter¬ 
vals are relatively ignored and the melody flows like the soaring 
bird in abandon on its wings. 
Two things are clear, then, on this point: (1) that artistically 
there is nothing rigidly mandatory for our present diatonic scale, 
and (2) that the tendency to support it is one of economy, of desire 
for cooperation, and of recognition of natural limits, particularly 
in the ear and the voice. 
Scales and tendency tones. In the development of modern 
music we find a gradual crystallization of a number of tendencies or 
principles in the form of license in deviation from mathematically 
equal steps, or from any of the now current scales. These principles 
are never adequately treated in the musical literature. It is quite 
common for an artist to speak of “his” system. As we shall see in 
Chap. 21, good artists differ greatly in this respect, and probably 
should; for it involves freedom in the use of artistic principles of 
deviation from the regular. In current musicology this is becoming a 
central problem and is being discussed with great acumen and with 
marked signs of progress. To the musician it is a real problem which 
can be settled only in terms of artistic demand. But it will be the 
function of psychology to submit these demands to objective 
analysis for the purpose of collecting fair samples from performance


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