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Proportion

The ratio of two numbers or quantities to each other. Proportion is in three kinds: (1) multiplex. (2) Superparticularis. (3) Superpartiens. Proportio multiplex is when the larger number contains the smaller so many times without a remainder, as 2:1 (dupla), 3:1 (tripla), 4:1 (quadrupla). Proportio superparticularis is when the larger number exceeds the smaller by one only as 3:2 (sesquialtera), 4:3 (sesquitertia), 5:4 (sesquiquarta). Proportio superpartiens is when the larger number exceeds the smaller by more than one, as 5:3 (superbipartienstertias), 7:4 (supertripartiensquartas), 9:5 (superquadripartiensquintas).

Thus, it will be understood, that instead of giving simply the ratio between two numbers, early writers on arithmetic and geometry, as well as music, coined a single word to express that ratio; for example, 17:5 was said to be Triplasuperbipartiensquintas, i.e., that the larger number contained the smaller number three times (tripla) with two remainder (bipariens). Again, Triplasupertripartiensquartas proportio, signified that the larger contained the smaller three times and three over, as 15:4, 27:8, etc., the last part of the compound word always pointing out the smaller of the numbers compared, or an exact multiple of it. Lastly, the addition of sub showed that the smaller number was compared to the larger, e.g., 4:15 would be called Subtriplasupertripartiensquartas proportio. This system of proportion was used not only with reference to intervals but also to the comparative length of notes (time). [Stainer, John; Barrett, W.A.; A Dictionary of Musical Terms; Novello, Ewer and Co., London, pre-1900]

See Also

3.13 - Reciprocals and Proportions of Motions and Substance
6.8 - Proportionate and Relative Geometries
9.12 - Velocity of Sound and its Propagation Rate are Proportional
12.00 - Reciprocating Proportionality
13.15 - Principle of Proportion
Figure 14.10 - Proportionate Tonal Relations dictate Contraction or Expansion
Figure 6.17 - Areas and Volumes - Relations and Proportions
Figure 6.19 - Sphere to Cube - Relations and Proportions
Figure 14.10 - Proportionate Tonal Relations dictate Contraction or Expansion
Law of Definite Proportions
law of multiple proportions
Ratio
Reciprocating Proportionality
Table 2 - Controlling Modes and Proportions



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