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Abstract: The structure of musical scales has been proposed to reflect universal acoustic principles based on simple integer ratios. However, some studying tuning in small samples of non-Western cultures have argued that such ratios are not universal but specific to Western music. To address this debate, we applied an algorithm that could automatically analyze and cross-culturally compare scale tunings to a global sample of 50 music recordings, including both instrumental and vocal pieces. Although we found great cross-cultural diversity in most scale degrees, these preliminary results also suggest a strong tendency to include the simplest possible integer ratio within the octave (perfect fifth, 3:2 ratio, ~700 cents) in both Western and nonWestern cultures. This suggests that cultural diversity in musical scales is not without limit, but is constrained by universal psycho-acoustic principles that may shed light on the evolution of human music.

Cite this article:
  title={Automatic analysis of global music recordings suggests scale tuning universals},
  author={Ho, Meng-Jou and Sato, Shoichiro and Kuroyanagi, 
          Jiei and Six, Joren and Brown, Steven and Fujii, Shinya 
          and Savage, Patrick E},
  proceedings ={Extended abstracts for the Late-Breaking Demo 
                Session of the 19th International Society for Music Information },
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