An Introduction to the Charyan Octave

An essay into harmony, melody and instrumentalism...

Introduction

The musical theory and the music discussed in this piece is a form of a fictional tradition. Everything presented here is deemed to exist in some imaginary world, and to form part of an old tradition. The tradition as such is the work of art; the exponents of it are ‘translations’ of literary and historic documents, ‘linguistic papers’ (and other ‘scientific works’, other works of art such as statues and drawings and music and papers about the music. The tradition as a whole is meant to be a work of art, of fiction. Internally as consistent as our own traditions, having external relations only with other traditions in the same world. Of course influences upon the creator of this fiction from our tradition and world exist, but not internally to the fiction.

Just don't take it too serious, nor dismiss it too easily. Let's call it an experiment...

The Charyan octave

The Charyan ‘octave’ actually consists of nine tones, den, tiren, klintar, quan, shal, sung, pandan, bath and vayn. If we -arbitrarily- take a=220 and couple a with den (equally arbitrarily), we can compare Charyan temparement and Western equal temperament as follows:


name

meaning

Hz

equivalent

Hz

den

daybreak

220.00

= a

220.00

tiren

grasp, wax, grow, increase

241.00

< b

246.94

klintar

flee, run away

264.60

> c

261.63

quan

promise

277.63

= cis

277.63

shal

wisdom

304.86

> d

293.66

sung

rest, sleep, peace

333.23

> e

329.63

pandan

noble

349.23

= f

349.23

barh

safe, port, haven

382.73

< g

392.00

vayn

star

419.65

> as

415.50

den'


440

a

440

It follows that some combinations of Charyan tones ‘beat’ awfully, but it is also clear that there are no problems with circles of fifths, as with, for instance, meantone temparament.

Not immediately clear from the preceding table is that Charyan tones group quite easily into three groups of three tones that are in themselves harmonious. This will be clearer if we translate the Charyan tones to retuned western equivalents, an excercise we will have to do anyway because no-one sells a synthesizer based on the Charyan octave!

1

d

0


-

a

0


2

t

160

160

-40

b

200

200

3

k

320

160

+20

c

300

100

4

q

400

80

-

c#

400

100

5

sh

560

160

-40/+60

d#/d

600

200

6

s

720

160

+20

e

700

100

7

p

800

80

-

f

800

100

8

b

960

160

-40

g

1000

200

9

v

1120

160

+20

g#

1100

100

0

d’

1200

80

-

a’

1200

100

If we take the notes that aren't retuned together, the notes retuned by -40 and the notes retuned by + 20 we have these three groups of three harmonious notes: d, q, p; t, sh, b and k, s, v.

In its most developed form the Charyan musical theory (and practice) uses these groups to form pentatonic scales, mixing in notes from other groups. This gives four groups per pure scale, two of which have two foreign notes from one other pure scale, givin g a pure chord from a foreign scale, which can be used to modulate from the first pure scale to the second.

The other two have two foreign notes from two other pure scales, giving an inharmonious chord which can only be used for modulation of one of the beating notes is slided towards a note from the scale it beats with, forming an inharmonious chord sliding to an harmonious chord from another scale.

Scales:

Pure scale of den: d q p

1 with klintar: d t q sh p

2 with quan: d s q v p

3 with klintar and quan: d t q s p

4 with quan and klintar: d k q sh p

Pure scale of klintar: t, sh, b

1 with den: t q sh p b

2 with quan: t k sh s b

3 with den and quan: t q sh s b

4 with quan and den: t k sh p b

Pure scale of quan: k, s, v

1 with den: k q s p v

2 with klintar: k sh s b v

3 with den and klintar: k q s b v

4 with klintar and den: k sh s p v

Other uses of the nine-tone chromatic scale exist, for instance the symbolic tradition in which every tone is considered to have certain properties and meaning and in which the progression from first group of three to the last group and then down to the mi ddle is meant to invoke a sense of growth and decay. Less subtle scales are for instance the quhurankayan or Whores Scale, which consists of the following tones: den, tiren, quan, shal, pandan and barh.