Speaker examines evolution of Western pitch system

November 28, 2004


Sigrun Heinzelmann of the Department of Music and Dance will present a lecture entitled "Do(e), a Deer... The Evolution of the Western Pitch System: How changing concepts of musical pitch led to our system of tones,” on Thursday, Dec. 2 at 12:20 p.m. in Bezanson Recital Hall.

The talk is part of a series of lectures by the music theory faculty. Heinzelmann will follow the development of the Western scale system, from the Middle Ages to modern times, and focus on the conceptual changes that have evolved in both defining and understanding musical pitch. She will explain why alphabet letters are used to name pitches, where solfege syllables originated, and what inspired J.S. Bach''s work “The Well-Tempered Clavier.” Heinzelmann will also explain the significance of major and minor keys, as well as the origins of the signs for sharps, flats, and naturals.

The lecture is free and open to the public.