Title page for ETD etd-09252009-060704

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Shipp, Sarah
Author's Email Address sshipp@gmail.com
URN etd-09252009-060704
Title The Well Tempered Building; A Music Conservatory
Degree Master of Architecture
Department Architecture
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Emmons, Paul F. Committee Chair
Holt, Jaan Committee Member
Yglesias, Caren L. Committee Member
  • circle of fifths
  • music conservatory
  • Chopin
  • Charleston
Date of Defense 2004-06-04
Availability unrestricted
To Bach, the Circle of Fifths was the language of the universe. Similar to the constellations used to understand the sky, the Circle of Fifths is a visualization device to understand the fundamental concepts of key signatures, which are the foundation for music. The Circle of Fifths is a guide for writing music because its structure helps compose and harmonize melodies, build chords, and move to different keys within a composition.

The Octave is the most significant key signature because it completes the circle of fifths. The Octave, if in perfect tune will create an overtone, which is a tune unable to be created on its own. The movement through the Circle of Fifths led to a contemplation described by Pythagoras as “Music of the Spheres” or meeting between heaven and earth, between spiritual and material realms.

The Well Tempered Building uses the Circle of Fifths as the underlying geometry for the foundation of the conservatory. Proportions from the Circle of Fifths, including the Octave, shaped the conservatory making the musicians, audience, sound, light, water and air tuned to each other.

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