Shí-èr-lǜ (Chinese: 十二律, [ʂɻ̩̌.âɚ lŷ], 12 pitches) (twelve-pitch scale) was a standardized gamut of twelve notes. Also known, rather misleadingly, as the Chinese chromatic scale, it was one kind of chromatic scale used in ancient Chinese music. The Chinese scale uses the same intervals as the Pythagorean scale, based on 2:3 ratios (8:9, 16:27, 64:81, etc.). The gamut or its subsets were used for tuning and are preserved in bells and pipes.
- 黃鐘 (黄钟) - Huáng Zhōng - tonic/unison - 1 : 1 -
- 大呂 (大吕) - Dà Lǚ - semitone - 37 : 211 -
- 太簇 - Tài Cù - major second - 32 : 23 -
- 夾鐘 (夹钟) - Jiá Zhōng - minor third - 39 : 214 -
- 姑洗 - Gū Xiǎn - major third - 34 : 26 -
- 仲呂 (中吕) - Zhòng Lǚ - perfect fourth - 311 : 217 -
- 蕤賓 (蕤宾) - Ruí Bīn - tritone - 36 : 29 -
- 林鐘 (林钟) - Lín Zhōng - perfect fifth - 3 : 2 -
- 夷則 (夷则) - Yí Zé - minor sixth - 38 : 212 -
- 南呂 (南吕) - Nán Lǚ - major sixth - 33 : 24 -
- 無射 (无射) - Wú Yì - minor seventh - 310 : 215 -
- 應鐘 (应钟) - Yìng Zhōng - major seventh - 35 : 27 -
There were 12 notes in total, which fall within the scope of one octave. Note that the mathematical method used by the ancient Chinese could never produce a true octave, as the next higher frequency in the series of frequencies produced by the Chinese system would be higher than 880 hertz.
- Reinisch, Richard (?). Chinesische Klassische Musik, p. 30. Books On Demand. ISBN 978-3-8423-4502-7.
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- Chen (1996), p.97.
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