For almost thirty years I have been using the I Ching inspired
scales as a foundation for my compositions. The I Ching is sort of a fortune
telling system of the ancient Chinese. But it, being a system based on 8 x 8 = 64, also has the honor of being a potential key for our understanding of genetics, which
also is a 8 x 8 system, as I understand it. This comparison alone could suggest
that there is a great underlying truth to meanings in the I Ching. . .
My use of it is generally more mathematical. For a long time
I was using the six lines as half steps or whole steps & writing out the
scale unaltered from that. So a six-half-steps scale (I Ching #2) would go from
C to F# then back to C. After studying the scales of Northern India, I have
decided this is wrong. The I Ching is divided into two sets of three intervals,
not one set of six. Just as do the people of Northern India, I now Use the perfect fifth
to separate the two sets of three (tetra chords) that each scale has. So I Ching
scale #2 would be C, C# D, Eb, G G#, A, Bb. All of the scales are 8 tone
scales, just as the top octave of the horns overtone series has 8 tones.
I also have a complete system of fixed tones for each scale
that fall more into an attempt to organize the whole system of 64 scales. Which has a lot to do with
opposite patterns in the I Ching. These fixed tone scales really help me when I
am starting a composition with the random throwing of an I Ching Hexagram. I
usually start with two scales, which have fixed tonics. These two scales alone,
in comparison with each other, are all I need to inspire me to write music.