UnTwelve Microtonal Summer Camp 2017!

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We are now accepting applications for the 2017 summer camp, to take place June 22-26 at Circle Pines Center, in Delton, Michigan. This camp, like the ones before it, is a time and a place for musicians to compose, practice, study, and perform together.

To get a sense of what people are saying, check out the testimonials page.

Already know you're coming? APPLY HERE!

Total fee to participate in Microtonal Camp is from $350 to $510, depending on your lodging options. Included in the rate is food, lodging, and the program itself. Openings are limited and an advanced deposit is recommended to reserve your spot.

The campers from 2016

Hobbit-like field

Who is eligible to attend?


All musicians with an interest in tunings and temperaments are encouraged to attend, from curious beginners to seasoned veterans. We think the environment is particularly welcoming to people who consider themselves composer-performers, though not necessarily in equal measure.

What is microtonal (un-twelved) music?

Through a series of historical accidents, Western society’s music—instruments, history, theory, practice, pedagogy, consciousness—has come to be dominated by a single tuning system, often called “twelve-tone equal temperament.” This dominance is so pervasive that it is often completely invisible. Students of music who wonder “Why these notes on the piano, and not some others?” are all too often answered with “Those are the only correct notes—anything else is out of tune!”

Here, a world of more satisfying answers to this question unfolds to those looking for it: millennia-old traditions of music tuned differently; surprising inquiries & insights into how we hear; proposals for new systems yet untried. This camp is for those who want to dream up and realize new, thoughtfully-tuned music and contexts which support it.

Which instruments, tunings, notation?

A Path

The camp will be focused on making live performances on acoustic instruments and voice. It is recommended that you choose a primary instrument for the duration of the camp (which may involve electronics). You are also encouraged to bring any extra (microtonally-capable) instruments for an ad hoc communal instrument library.

The camp is premised on the necessity of using tunings which depart from the possibilities of 12-tone equal temperament, including extended Just Intonation, mean-tone, empirical tunings, equal divisions of the octave, tunings from all over the world, and tunings from ancient times, the future, and every time in between. We aspire to a pan-intonational, pan-notational environment where we each acknowledge our inherited and chosen biases.

A sharing lecture

Shared Activities

Composer-Performer Ensembles: All campers are welcome to compose for others and perform the music of others, in ensembles small and large. Our focus is on short-form microtonal music for flexible instrumentation and/or voices (songs, chamber music, lead sheets, dance tunes, etc, as well as experimental forms).

Doug at Laptop

Xenharmonic Praxis Choir: Learn tuning theory by singing it! During this daily activity, we will focus on developing relative pitch and expanding the palette of intervals tunable by ear.

Tuning Tinker Time: Most instruments were not created with microtones in mind; sometimes the resulting logistical challenges are welcome; other times they have a paralyzing effect. A space for sharing and discovering designs, fingerings, techniques, and tricks to detwelvulate—or even build—the musical instruments we wish to play and compose for, together.

Other Opportunities For Exploration, Sharing, and Collaboration include: Co-composing, co-orchestrating, chamber music reading, xenharmonic theory study, recording sessions, campfires, hiking, swimming, sauna, stargazing, birdwatching, athletics, or any other activities you want to instigate!


A Tree Mask Please follow this link to apply to attend our camp, choose accommodations, etc., and pay your fee.

Co-Hosts of XPSC 2017

Aaron Krister Johnson is the founder and creative/artistic director of UnTwelve. He is also Chicago-based multi-keyboardist, teacher and composer. Ever eclectic and multi-faceted as a virtuoso keyboard artist, his experience ranges from the Western classical keyboard tradition, to folk music, and to modern electro-acoustic free improvisation. The Chicago Sun-Times called his composition 'evocative', and his keyboard improvisations have been hailed by Keyboard Magazine as "challenging and creative". His work has been hailed by Chicagocritic.com, the Chicago Tribune, the Windy City Times, and the online music journal Tokafi.com.

Christopher Bailey, born outside of Philadelphia, PA, turned to music composition in his late ‘teens, and to electroacoustic composition during his studies at the Eastman School of Music, and later at Columbia University. He is currently based in Boston, but frequently participates in musical events in New York City. His music explores a variety of musical threads, including microtonality, acousmatic and concrète sounds, serialist junk sculpture, ornate musical details laid out in flat forms, and constrained improvisation For more information, mp3's, software, and fun, informative and interactive paraphernalia, see his webpage.

Clem Fortuna has been writing and performing microtonal music around Detroit for the last 25 years. He has conducted workshops, been a guest lecturer for university music students, and organized a microtonal concert. His compositions have been played in various venues around Detroit, including a 2015 commission for New Music Detroit using 5, 10 and 15 tone tunings. Clem has performed on piano, pedal steel guitar, glass harmonica, accordion, recorder, crumhorn, washtub bass, vibraphone, violin, flute, organ, as well as a long list of homemade instruments including the 7 string zither, octave violin, 7 tone bass board and various gamelan-like percussion.

Jacob Barton is a composer and multi-instrumentalist whose work focuses on acoustic microtonal practice and theory. Jacob studied composition at Rice University, where he received a BMI Student Composer Award for composing Xenharmonic Variations on a Theme by Mozart. Jacob later retuned two pianos at Rice and curated a global call for microtonal scores, resulting in the Seventeen Tone Piano Project concert series. After attending School for Designing a Society in 2005, Jacob co-invented the udderbot (a slide woodwind instrument) and began experimenting with composing in the domain of everyday life actions. Jacob co-founded Oddmusic-UC, a microtonal teaching space and musical instrument library in Urbana, Illinois. He has offered workshops in microtonal singing and udderbot making in Urbana, Houston, Cincinnati, Boston, Baltimore, New York, London, and hometown Virginia Beach.

We look forward to seeing you in the summer of 2017!

Trees and Sky