We shall treat only of the diatonic scale, which is the basis of European music, and is approximated to as closely as is consistent with convenience of construction in key-board instruments, such as the piano, where the eight white notes beginning with C and ending with C an octave higher may be taken as representing the scale with C as the key-note.
The Diatonic Scale.
Now suppose we take G as the key-note and form its diatonic scale.
It was so early recognized as characteristic of Chopin that a magnificent example may be seen at the end of Schumann's little tone-portrait of him in the Carnaval: a very advanced Wagnerian passage on another principle constitutes the bulk of the development in the first movement of Beethoven's sonata Les Adieux; while even in the " Golden Age " of music, and within the limits of pure diatonic concord, the unexpectedness of many of Palestrina's chords is hardly less Wagnerian than the perfect smoothness of the melodic lines which combine to produce them.
But Zarlino uncompromisingly declared that the syntonous or intense diatonic scale was the only form that could reasonably be sung; and in proof of its perfection he exhibited the exact arrangement of its various diatonic intervals, to the fifth inclusive, in every part of the diapason or octave.