Sunday, August 4, 2019

Language and music (quora)

What is the most unnecessarily complicated language?

Answer requested
by Bob Smith

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Answered 3h ago
As far as I know, no language has more overall complication than another, meaning, no complication is unnecessary.

Latin has more complexity in noun morphology, adjective morphology and verb morphology than Chinese. Chinese (each dialect) has more complicated syntax than Latin. English is between the two on the two accounts.

General rule : complicate morphology and simplify syntax, or reverse. All that a language needs to be able to express (roughly equal) on top of word meanings (that is, basically, grammatical relations) must be conveyed by grammar, lexicon, or syntax. In other words, no language is unnecessarily complex, or all of them are by mischance.

Why is music around the world based on octaves? Do they share common roots like the Indo-European languages? Is there music in other parts of the world that's not based on eight notes and their harmonics?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
amateur linguist
Answered 3h ago
I think there is music which does not repeat the scale identically after an octave interval. That is, not all lower notes in scale have higher octaves in higher part of scale. I think there is a Greek scale that works like that.

Divide one fourth into tone, halftone, tone. If you separate two such fourths by one tone, you have an octave scale, but if you separate three of them with a tone, the uppermost will not be an exact octave of the lowermost, and if you don’t separate them, but have identity between highest of one and lowest of next, with two you will be short of an octave and with three you will exceed the octave, also not identically. That’s one Greek type of scale.

There definitely is music in which the octave is not divided into seven notes (not eight, since note 8 = octave of note 1). Pentatonic, for instance.

The octave, like the fifth and its inverse within octave the fourth, are the three most intuitive intervals.

Octave 1:2
Fifth 2:3
Fourth 3:4

Divide octave into fifth and fourth: 1:2 = 2:3:4.

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