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Generalized Musical Intervals and Transformations$
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David Lewin

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195317138

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195317138.001.0001

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Generalized Interval Systems (1): Preliminary Examples and Definition

Generalized Interval Systems (1): Preliminary Examples and Definition

(p.16) 2 Generalized Interval Systems (1): Preliminary Examples and Definition
Generalized Musical Intervals and Transformations

David Lewin

Oxford University Press

This chapter takes as its point of departure a figure showing two points s and t in a symbolic musical space. The arrow marked i symbolizes a characteristic directed measurement, distance or motion from s to t. It intuits such situations in many musical spaces, and i is called “the interval from s to t” when the symbolic points are pitches or pitch classes. The chapter begins by running through twelve examples of musical spaces: six involve pitches or pitch classes in melodic or harmonic relations; six involve aspects of measured rhythm. The general intuition at hand is then made formal by a mathematical model called a Generalized Interval System (GIS). A few basic formal properties of the model are explored. Then the twelve examples are reviewed to see how each instances the generalized structure.

Keywords:   Generalized Interval System, music theory, musical space, interval, pitch

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