While I knew about the whole-tone and octatonic scales prior to the course, I never heard about nonatonic or nine-step scale. None of my teachers mentioned it to me, nor did I find it among any of my earlier study material. Even online, there was very little information about this scale. As it seems, it has been rather neglected by musicians.
Similar to the whole-tone scale, but especially the octatonic scale with whom it shows a strong link, nonatonic scale also occurs from the symmetrical division of the octave. While this is done using the whole/semitone alteration within four minor third sections, which equally divide the octave in the octatonic scale, the nonatonic scale is formed by the alternation of whole/semitones in the octave divided into three equal major third sections. In the major-third tetrachord, the tones may be arranged in following ways: semitone/whole tone/semitone, whole/semitone/semitone, and semitone/semitone/whole tone. (Fig. 1) Depending on this arrangement, there are three versions of the nonatonic scale. (Fig. 2)
Fig. 1. Three versions of the major-third tetrachord
Fig. 2. Three versions of the nonatonic scale Continue reading “Example 4 Research, Part 1: Nonatonic Scale and its Coincidental Use until Tcherepnin”