UnTwelve 2011 competition program notes
3 winners:Joel Hickman, 1st place
like the automatic couplings of railway carriages
Tuning system used: QuarterTone 24tet
Program notes: This work is written/recorded/performed for a classical guitar. I tuned it to quarter-tone 24tet. It has 7 different sections using different harmonies, rhythms, melodies and color. "like the automatic couplings of railway carriages" is taken from Winston Churchill's description of his views on episodes. This is the way I composed this piece using different episodes to demonstrate the vast colors of the quarter-tone classical guitar.
Bio: Joel David Hickman was born in Valparaiso, Indiana. Resides in Hebron, Indiana. Joel has a Bachelor’s Degree in Musical Performance (Classical Guitar) from Chicago Musical College of Roosevelt University and a recording engineering certificate from The Recording Workshop. He has many years composing, performing, and recording in acoustic/electric ensembles.
Jian Shi, 2nd place
Lady Peony and the Ghost Opera
Tuning system used: Qin-tuning system
Program notes: Lady Peony and the Ghost Opera Lady Peony and the Ghost Opera is a piece for erhu, gaohu, pipa and vocal soloists with unearthed relics bianzhong, yinxian and yueqin. The work utilizes the Qin-tuning system created by Chinese ancient musician Zhuxi. Lady Peony and the Ghost Opera was completed on December 12, 2011, written specifically for the UnTwelve 2011 Composition Competition. INSTRUMENTATION: erhu, gaohu, pipa, bianzhong, yinxian, yueqin marimba, suspended cymbal, finger cymbals, triangles (high, mid), chinese gongs (high, mid, low), crotales (with bow), bass drum, muyu strings, xun , paixiao lirico-wanwan qiang soprano, wanwan qiang baritone. *Special thanks to the outstanding vocalists: Ms. Lily Jiang and Mr. Edward Shin.
Bio: National Scholarship winner Shi Jian (b. Xi'an, Shaanxi Province) is a Chinese composer as well as a doctor. He started early in music, studying piano at the age of 3 and then beginning formal musical studies at 8. His teachers have included Shi Zhongke, Isseki Oono, and Vladimir Zanik. Jian is reading for a degree in the world-famous Xiangya School of Medicine, Central South University. He also studied at Tsinghua University, Xi'an Conservatory of Music and Shaanxi Traditional Opera Research Institute. Shi Jian's music has been performed by the Shaanxi Symphony Orchestra, New Sound Ensemble, CSU Art Troupe etc. His music and performance have been broadcast on China Central Television, Shanxi People's Broadcasting Station, Xi'an television etc. He has also received numerous awards such as Merck Serono Chinese Elites award, First Prize at 6th Hong Kong International Competition of Music & Arts, Second Prize of 5th Singapore Zhongxin International Music Competition, and Honor Student of CSU and Prominent College Student of Hunan. Shi Jian is currently the composer-in-residence for the New Sound Ensemble, the president of Harry Partch China Fans Association (HPCFA), vice-president of Nikolai Kapustin China Fans Association (NKCFA), and an intern at the Third Xiangya Hospital.
Shaahin Mohajeri, 3rd place
Three Micromusics for an ant
Tuning system used: C Db-25 D+50 Eb+75 E F+50 Gb G-50 Ab A-75 Bb-50 B-25 C'
Program notes: A microtonal music for "santoor duet" in 3 parts using Samples of santoor of Eastwest "Ra" (VST). This Work is submitted and composed specifically for this competition.
Bio: Shaahin mohajeri or Shahin mohajeri ,(in Persian شاهین مهاجری) born 26 July 1971 in Tehran, Iran is a Tombak player, Tombak Researcher and microtonal composer. He has B.A in geology from Tehran university. He began studying tombak under supervision of Nasser Farhangfar, master of tombak, but His Studies of tombak sound and fingering, tombak musical analysis and his arrhythmic musical ideas have led him to a different musical world of tombak and tombak playing. He composes music for solo of tombak and tombak group with different pitches, ranging from traditional to his personal style. He is working on a new musical notation system for tombak as a result of acoustical parameters and a system of fingering classification for this drum . On 23 Dec 2006 Shaahin mohajeri lectured on tombak history, organology,acoustics and tunable tombakof Dr.Hossein omoumi in the Tehran Conservatory of Music. As a microtonalist, he works on different tuning systems such as :
· Equal divisions of length(EDL) · Arithmetic irrational divisions of octave AIDO(or nonoctave,interval) · Arithmetic rational divisions of octave ARDO(or nonoctave,interval) · Equal divisions of octave · Arithmetic divisions of length (ADL)Shaahin mohajeri believes that 96-EDO is a good system for intervallic structure of Persian music with more accurate estimation than ali naqi vaziri's 24-EDO system. Now, He is working on a microtonal notation system based on 96-EDO for Persian music and on a model for tuning systems classification based on divisions of octavic or nonoctavic musical scales and systems.
6 finalists:Angus Barnacle
Prelude for Rhythmicon
Tuning system used: Just
Program notes: The 'Music Mavericks' website provides an online rhythmicon instrument with extended cyber-capabilities that the original 1930's instrument did not have. I use three of them in this prelude each tuned relative to the other. The simplicity of the instrument's concept of proportionally unifying pitch and rhythm makes almost anything sound homogenous on the Rhythmicon. In this prelude I introduce odd ratios to begin and later a couple of even relations to give a sense of direction and form to the piece. Simple, but effective like the instrument.
Bio: Quintessential to my composition practice are proportional relationships. In some way they permeate every aspect of my musical thought. I engage with musical elements in this way because proportional relationships hold special meaning for me. But the accuracy of the result is not as important as the act of engagement. This said to illustrate how some details in my scores are intended to communicate clearly the precise nature of the represented relationships and at the same time how a performer could not reasonably expect to realise them accurately. It is the act, not the result that is my focus. However, if the performer is not expected to realise the material accurately, then what are they expected to do? That is my research. All I know for sure is my task as a composer involves clear communication of the relationships that a musician must face for the music.
Nerding Out With Mel
Tuning system used: Mel Scale: 440*((1.07^n)-1)
Program notes: “Nerding Out With Mel” juxtaposes metrical and ametrical strands to produce dense textures. The work uses a non-octave repeating scale, composed of frequencies of the form 440*((1.07^n) -1) Hz for n an integer. The scale becomes linear as frequency approaches 0 and logarithmic as frequency approaches infinity. Scales of this sort, sometimes known as mel scales (hence the title), have been used in psychoacoustics for various purposes. To me, "nerding out" implies an approach that is savant without being academic, lighthearted without being populist. It emerges from a self awareness that one knows "too much" about some specialized topic, a topic which gives one a sense of pleasure not understood by the mainstream.
Bio: Joshua Musikantow (b. 1981) is a Chicago-born but currently Minneapolis-based composer, poet, and percussionist who has had performances in festivals across America, as well as London and Prague. He is a recent graduate from the University of Minnesota’s doctoral program in composition (in the studio of James Dillon). He also holds a Masters from the University at Buffalo in Music Composition and holds both a BM in Theory/ Comp and a BA in English from Lawrence University. Musikantow is a recent winner of a JFund award (sponsored by the Jerome Foundation in conjunction with the American Composers Forum), received an honorable mention from the Minnesota Orchestra Composers Institute, and holds a variety of academic honors and fellowships. Among the hallmarks of his musical style are microtones and the rubbing of instruments with the aid of beeswax (somewhat in the manner of certain shamanic drumming traditions) to produce long tones, shriek and other effects.
Tuning system used: 13-Limit Just Intonation
Program notes: Music for at least six electric guitars in just intonation. Tuning involves three groups of two guitars, each group having a different stringing and tuning. The first tuning, in harmonic numbers, is (from lowest-sounding string to the highest): 2.75 (11), 3, 3.25 (13), 3.5 (7), 4, 4.125 (33). The second tuning multiplies each tone in the first tuning by 1.5 (a 5th up). The third tuning multiplies the second tuning by 1.5, and is a 5th above it (a 9th above the first tuning). The pairs of guitars in each group share a stringing and a tuning but are pitched an octave apart through the use of a capo. The piece is strictly composed at the begining and involves more and more improvisation as it progresses. By the end, the piece is completely improvised (though the general direction of activity is specified). It's loud and chaotic, mercifully short, with a kind of music box ending.
Bio: James Ross is a guitarist and composer living in Brooklyn, N.Y. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pa., he has studied guitar at the University of Pittsburgh and the Mannes College of Music in New York City. He has studied sitar with Pandit Krishna Bhatt, and is currently studying North Indian classical music and composition with La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. A composer in a variety of genres, James has written music for orchestral and chamber ensembles, as well as solo music for the guitar and the zhongruan (a type of Chinese lute). He has also performed and recorded electronic and improvised music. Performances as a composer and performer on the electric guitar, laptop and other instruments include sets at The Bell House; a performance with Kyle Bobby Dunn at Issue Project Room; at Pianos with Richard Lainhart; at Glasslands Gallery with Michael Vincent Waller; providing live music for Katherine Liberovskaya and Ursula Scherrer’s OptoSonic Tea series at Diapason Gallery in Brooklyn.
Tuning system used: Bohlen-Pierce
Program notes: "Sphaera" for Bohlen-Pierce clarinet(s) is a powerful, yet soothing ambient piece based on a chord progression that I made up in Bohlen-Pierce. I recorded the single tracks one by one. The bass line is too low even for a BP tenor clarinet; I played it on a BP soprano clarinet and pitch-shifted it down a tritave through Max/MSP. Subsequently, I added some small effects like air noises and "snuffles" or dramatized the bass part.
Bio: Nora-Louise Müller is intrigued by the process involved in the creation of new music and frequently collaborates with composers, dancers, video and sound artists in Germany and abroad. Her performances have repeatedly been broadcasted in the concert series NDR - das neue werk. Nora is a well-regarded artist in several festivals such as festival (DA)(NE)S 2011 (Maribor, Slovenia), Microfest Amsterdam, and klub katarakt (Hamburg). In 2010 and 2011, she has been invited to lecture and teach a masterclass at La Conservatoire de musique de Montrèal. In 2007, it happened that an extraordinary instrument came to her: the Bohlen-Pierce clarinet which uses an alternative harmonic tone system. Since its European premiere in 2008, the Bohlen-Pierce clarinet forms an important focus of Nora's work. As one of five clarinetists worldwide who perform on this particular instrument she was invited to enrich the first Bohlen-Pierce conference in Boston, MA in 2010 with her performances.
Tuning system used: 29-EDO (and fluid tuning)
Program notes: This composition is a meditation on the constant noise that makes silence unattainable. This piece is created from recordings of microtonal violin, and of an original acoustic instrument created for this piece--a harp tuned to 29-EDO, constructed from the soundboard and strings of a former piano. This harp doubles as a percussive instrument; throughout the piece, the strings, soundboard, and plate are struck with various mallets. Meditations also employs spectral synthesis according to a 29-EDO grid, a number of 29-EDO custom samplers, pitched bubbles, and other processed sounds.
Bio: I am a student of music composition studying under the direction of Dr. Young-Shin Choi at my second year at Rochester Community and Technical College (in Rochester, MN). My musical fascinations include creating instruments to present new timbres and harmonies, spectral synthesis, juxtapositions of "noise" and music, the many sounds of water, the Bohlen-Pierce scale, the 29-EDO scale, and other microtonal adventures.
Instrospection for Three Differently Tuned Violins
Tuning system used: 9TET
Program notes: "Introspection for Three Differently Tuned Violins" was composed for the Untwelve competition and completed two days before the deadline. It is anachronistic by design, both in its use of traditional forms and tonality, and its pitch-centered, intellectual approach. In an age epitomized by extended techniques, it limits itself to basic techniques (e.g., arco, pizzicato, and tremolo). Austere in nature, it dwells on the subtlest changes of pitch and timing. Following the sonic palette of contemplative solo violin literature, it conveys a Spartan atmosphere that draws away from the outward and physical and toward the deep introspection of time and thought. At the heart of the piece is a confrontation between two essential aspects of the mental landscape: The need for deliberative intellectual understanding and the coexisting need for playful freedom to act. Only through a serious, thoughtful, disciplined attitude can life progress according to rational principles, making only those decisions that are justified. However, this serious side has an implicit need for a free, fun-loving playfulness, from which it draws ideas and variety. The playful side is able to act with freedom, unbound by the need for rigorous proof. Yet the playful side has an inherent tendency to relax and digress, and therefore needs the serious side to provide order and progress. The piece opens with the deep, questioning contemplation of time and logic; the playful side is expressed in a high-pitched pizzicato theme, reminiscent of a puppet on the roof beckoning toward conceptual freedom with a mischievous smile. The rest of the piece represents the interaction between these two different sides of human nature. "Introspection" uses a 9-tone equal-tempered chromatic scale; from this, pentatonic scales are constructed by stacking the intervals of 2 (for the scale used in the beginning), 4 (for a theme that appears later), and 1 (for a brief phrases). These pentatonic scales are treated as analogues to traditional tonality, employing tonic-dominant relationships, modulations, etc. To realize this music with standard instruments (as opposed to the computer rendition here), three violins are tuned a third of a half-step apart. Each violin plays the notes of an augmented triad only. When combined, the three augmented triads combine to form the 9 notes of a 9-tone equal-tempered scale.
Bio: Jonathan Rabson has been composing since the age of 7. He was the recipient of a number of awards as a high school student, including a BMI Student Composer Award at the age of 15. He studied composition with Samuel Adler, William Bolcom, Leslie Bassett, Fred Lerdahl and others. Mr. Rabson's music has been frequently used by the Christian dance group Pointes of Faith, and he has written music for several independent films. Some of his performances within the last few years have included appearing as a guest soloist at a faculty recital at the California State University, Stanislaus, and as a guest conductor at a choral concert called “Sing Together” in Toronto. An avid improviser, some of Mr. Rabson's most musically successful works came to life as improvisations that he plays for his wife as she's going to sleep. A few of these can be heard on his youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/JonathanRabson. In addition to his musical activities, Mr. Rabson is also a freelance software developer and writer.
Tuning system used: 7 EDO
Program notes: The piece is written for a 7EDO Kalimba that I built for the occasion. (8 tines) The amplification was achieved by placing the instrument against the lip of a bamboo bowl. Stylistically, the piece is spare in instrumentation and due to the chaotic nature of the delicate connection between the Kalimba and bowl (I just used my hand to press it) resulted in a bit of a rough sounding buzz at times (the outer surface of a geode). In addition. I had to remove a very salient bark from one of my dogs, but a few others remained because they were too entangled with the notes. No other audio processing was performed (besides amplification).Though it is somewhat rough, the form is rather defined and was whittled from 11 minutes. The piece reveals a side of 7 EDO that I believe none of us have heard. It is also purely acoustic (I verified tuning with Lingot software, and each tine is accurate within 2 cents)
Bio: The composer is rather new, and after having completed the first Xenharmonic Ukulele project ever (http://www.jamendo.com/en/artist/Small_Scale_Revolution), began building kalimbas specifically for left-handed, xenharmonic playing. So far it has gone rather well. The composer first heard of microtonal music when in 2006 a Jazz Appreciation teacher accidentally mentioned that Indian classical music is "micro-tonal" and asserted that the Western ear could never get used to it. Since then the composer has determined to further microtonal music that is not the product of any ancient culture, but rather conscious extensions of the known methods. It has always been interesting and rewarding, though a bit shocking that there are so few who seem interested.
John L Baker
Tuning system used: 31-tone ET
Program notes: Nocturne, dedicated to Leon Leeds, comprises various night sounds: some may be of the sea, others the product of an unquiet mind. The pitched sounds are all based on a 31-tone scale. The slow sections generally follow Fuchsian (species) counterpoint rules with the definition of consonance extended, allowing in particular the harmonic seventh (frequency ratio 7 : 4), which the 25-step interval in this scale closely approximates. The short quick middle section features all-interval rows in subscales of 12, 10, and 14 tones.
Bio: John L. Baker studied math and computers at university and graduate school in the 1950s and ’60s, music theory and composition in the 1990s as a non-degree student at Washington State University. Technically, most of his music of the past few years takes up a self-imposed challenge: to achieve the directional sense of tonal harmonic progressions by entirely different means. He does this by consistent quasi-functional use of partitions of the twelve tones of the equal-tempered scale into tetrachords with internal pitch symmetry. For details and examples, see ‹polytrope.ca›. He has also worked with hardware and software synthesizers for a number of years, recently mainly with Native Instruments’ Reaktor in a number of its functions.
Tuning system used: 12/7 Harmonic@Dentity (with additional quartertones)
Program notes: The scale comes from the Scale Library in LMSO and the base of the scale was designed by Jeff Scott. Additional "quartertones" were added into the scale. The base scale pattern is 13:12, 14:13, 15:14, 16:15, 17:16, 18:17, 19:18, 20:19, 36:35--the pattern repeats at 12:7. The "quartertones" were added because the scale was mapped to the white keys, but I used the black keys extensively as well: they are tuned to notes exactly halfway between each white key. I began writing the piece in December after learning of the competition. I used Logic Pro and some Native Instruments VSTs.
Bio: Brendan Byrnes is a composer, guitarist, and producer currently active in the Los Angeles area. After graduating from the Berklee College of Music in Boston he immersed himself in the Chicago music and art scene working with musicians and bands as well as spoken word, visual/video, and performance artists. In addition to performing and touring with his own projects he played guitar and wrote music with theMDR led by drummer/producer Matt Walker (Morrisey, Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage, Filter) as well as the orchestral pop sextet Canasta. His works for string ensemble and orchestra have been performed internationally ("Aman" in 5 cities in Nicaragua in 2004 and "Chroma" in San Francisco, CA 2011). He is currently pursuing an MFA in Composition at California Institute of the Arts as well as collaborating with various choreographers, musicians, and composers.
The City Sleeps, A Madrigal
Tuning system used: 11-ED2
Program notes: “The City Sleeps, A Madrigal” is a work of 4-part polyphony for 11 equal divisions of the octave. First conceived as a piece for 3-part vocal ensemble, this rendering expands the harmonic treatment somewhat and employs a specialized organlike voice. The harmonic structures explore a scale in Machine temperament and later venture into Orgone territory. The work was inspired by and sets a text by poet Eleanor Johnson. This text is reproduced below with permission of the author.
“The City Sleeps” (excerpt), from _The Dwell_, by Eleanor Johnson (Scrambler Books, 2009):
The sun breaks through me, pink with veins, a prism of water, held by a skein of skin, barely visible except in faintest outline, mapping our city: my veins red roads, my eyes littered lakes the birthmarks on my back churches, skyscrapers, clinics, homes, projects, terminals, cathedrals, grocery stores, schools. The space between them earth.
Bio: Jason Conklin is an amateur composer, flutist, and engineer living in Huntsville, Alabama. His early work comprises organized improvisation on flute paired with computer-generated soundscape, performed occasionally under the moniker of Semiautomatic Ground Environment. More recently he has explored the orthogonal worlds of traditional orchestration and xenharmonic/temperament theory.
Two Whole Fortnights
Tuning system used: 53,19,100 and 99 Tet and Just Intonation
Program notes: "Two Whole Fortnights" is in 21/8 time, or a kind of jazzy 7/4. It starts in 53-TET, the king of equal temperaments, making use of the many available tones for the chromatic sections. The second section is in 19-TET and rolls through a series of chords with many instruments playing their part in the pattern. Then sliding notes and chromatically creeping notes bounce through the circle of 5ths, now in 100-TET, chosen as the highest ET with a unison syntonic comma and providing ample notes for the creeping motifs. This resolves into a series of rich tonal chords somewhere in the vicinity of Bb. The middle passage is in the nicely tuned 99-TET. The earlier motifs are explored and new patterns emerge making full use of the sound space before the gongs announce the return to the exposition. In the repetition some new orchestration is explored using the same tuning systems as the first time. The climax resolves into the finale which is in Just Intonation.
Bio: John Coutts was born in Ballarat, Victoria, Austalia. He learnt clarinet at school and when studying Mechanical Engineering at University of Melbourne became interested in music tuning theory. At that time he retuned an old piano to 19-TET. Over the last 25 years he has explored the mathematics of music tuning systems and generalised keyboards. Due to his frustrations in the limitations of midi in 2010 he started writing a program that would allow complete freedom to a composer. He lives in Melbourne, has two daughters and works as an automation engineer.
Tuning system used: 31-TET
Program notes: "Fluid Mechanics" uses 31 equal steps to the octave. In this piece, I am using triads, including the "neutral" triad that lies between the minor and major. Although the piece uses some melodies that were written "by hand," most of the material is generated algorithmically with some programs I wrote in common lisp. These programs generated note lists that I used with the software package SuperCollider to render the audio. The principle technique used is cyclic, or looped, material in which each element of the cycle is chosen randomly from a weighted collection. For different passages, I chose different sets of weights. I created a generous amount of material from I which I shaped the final piece.
Bio: Donald Craig earned is DMA in Music Composition from the University of Washington in 2009. He has studied with Joel Durand, Kenneth Benshoof, Richard Karpen, and Juan Pampin. He also plays guitar and has studied with Steven Novacek. His dissertation, "Symphony By Numbers" was a large visual music work, for which he developed his own software. He developed the software for the latest artworks of Eunsu Kang (http://kangeunsu.com), recently shown in Seoul and New York. He won Honorable Mention at the 2011 Punto y Raya Festival (http://www.puntoyrayafestival.com/premiados11_eng.php) for his work of visual music "Midnight at Loch Ness." He has a strong interest in equal temperaments and plans to use them in his ongoing visual music projects.He can be contacted at email@example.com and his website (still under construction) is here: http://realizedsound.net/rhomboid
Neve su Roma
Tuning system used: 16ed2
Program notes: An hexadecaphonic piano piece almost in forma-sonata. Title has followed the creation, inspired by the music (and the weather...)
Bio: Fabrizio Fulvio Fausto Fiale, born in Rome on March 29, 1973, is a composer who blends seemingly opposed musical genres, from psychedelic rock to symphonic postwagnerian, from polyphony to thrash metal and grindcore. Among the finalists of the first national competition of piano composition "Rosolino Toscano" in 1998 in Pescara, with "River Idyll", he has self-produced more than 150 records since 1990. A classical pianist, he graduated from the Conservatory of Pescara in 1998 and has performed in numerous concerts in Italy and abroad. But was also perform covering a wide variety of genres, among which the polyphony of the renaissance, as a singer in the choir "Città Del Palestrina", since 1996. After a brief but intense experimentation with Semantic, a microtonal synthesizer designed by A.Danielou, he has since 2004 enthusiastically explored the world of microtonal music.
I Hear Numbers
Tuning system used: 7-limit JI, with synth solo in 11-limit JI
Program notes: A fun song about being in love with the numbers behind alternative tunings. Written by Kite, and all parts played/sung by Kite, except for Lorraine Callard's backing vocals.
Bio: just Intonation fanatic. Background in African marimba music.
Jubilant Goatherd Folklore Vector Triumphantly Fictionalizing Hedgehog Geochemist's Magical Aria
Tuning system used: 24-EDO (quarter-tone)
Program notes: "Jubilant Goatherd Folklore Vector Triumphantly Fictionalizing Hedgehog Geochemist's Magical Aria" is a 24 equal-divisions-of-the-octave electronic dance piece that explores quarter-tone harmony, complex mixed-meters, and blurs the lines between contemporary classical composition and pop formats. It is presented in a catchy, danceable, yet intelligent medium that allows for both the everyday listener and the hardcore microtonalist to be entertained by its unorthodox sounds.
Bio: Matthew Lawrence Hollier is a guitarist, composer, philosopher, poet, mystic, and microtonal theorist from Louisiana. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Music Theory/Composition and a Master's degree in Classical Guitar Performance from University of Louisiana, Lafayette. He is currently pursuing a second Master's degree in Musicology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.
A Wrinkle In Tone
Tuning system used: Ancient Solfeggio Tones
Program notes: Sean Luciw's composition "A Wrinkle In Tone" conforms to a numerical tuning system known as The Ancient Solfeggio Tones, and was instrumented using a VSTi created by the composer which specializes in overproducing these frequencies over several octaves. The six frequencies are Ut=396Hz, Re=417Hz, Mi=528Hz, Fa=639Hz, Sol=741Hz, La=852Hz. A little known fact: within their ratios they contain two occurences of the Perfect Fourth and two occurences of The Golden Mean.
Bio: Sean Luciw explores many facets of music... or, he explores music as one large faucet of infinite supply. Descriptors so far include: guitar, bass, drums, keys & synth, loops, vocals, rock, metal, classical, blues, house, jazz fusion, idm, breakbeat, fractal, tribal...
Chaconna en G=, La Padana, ou la septimala
Tuning system used: 31-TET
Program notes: A Chaconne for chamber organ in the 31-tet approximation of subminor G. Septimal minor thirds 'G-Bb;' mostly characterise the tonality of this neobaroque piece, as well as plenty of harmonic seventh intervals. We have five modules of four variations each, on the same eight-measure xenharmonic ground bass. In particular measures 4-5-6 feature the chromatic descending scale G G; F# F E Eb; D| D. All variations show quite similar harmonies in their first four measures but two different types in their last four ones. We refer to them as types '1' and '2'. Type '1' is ancient flavoured, type '2' is much more dissonant. As to these types, the first four modules have the structure 1-2-2-1, whereas the last one has the structure 1-1-1-1. Also, the last two variations are little fugues, supported by the usual ground bass.
Bio: Claudi Meneghin was born in Milan on 1967-07-14. He started to study classical guitar at the age of eight and organ at the age of twenty. He was awarded a MSc in mathematics in 1995 and a PhD in mathematics in 2001. At present, his official name is "Claudio Meneghini", turned however into its Swiss Romansh equivalent by the composer.
Half a murder, Twice a Wake
Tuning system used: 3L-4S MOS scale, Hanson Temperament, approximately 19 equal divisions of 2/1
Program notes: Half a Murder, Twice A Wake was an exploration of the Moment of Symmetry structures of the 3L-4S scale mapped to a 7-limit child of the Hanson Temperament (though I'm not sure which one). Because only one of the notes from the 7-note (effectively "diatonic") scale can be tonicized with a 4:5:6 or 10:12:15 triad without using notes from the larger 11-note gamut (which is effectively "chromatic"), I spend much of the piece with little harmonic variation and instead focus on the characteristics of that 7-note scale over a single tonic with varying rhythms and time signatures. Towards the end I explore a Hanson comma pump within the larger 11-note scale using root movement almost exclusively derived from the "circle of 6/5's", the correlate to the "circle of fifths" in Meantone. Similar to how movement by 3/2's in meantone seem to just make voice leading "work", it seems to me that the same is true of root movement by generators of other temperaments.
Bio: John Moriarty is currently a student at The University of Pittsburgh studying music and computer science. His interest in microtonal music stemmed originally from his curiosity about alternative musical interfaces, and he uses a modified AXiS-49 as a generalized keyboard to play and compose.
allgedacht für Violoncello
Tuning system used: System of Planets
Program notes: The piece allgedacht uses the harmony of the first five planets of our space. The circulation time of each of them (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter) results in a special harmony, which I used for my piece. Otherwise, the energy of different sounds are important. There are situations with the same energy, but the sound changes, inversely, the sound remains, but the energy is not equal. Three times there is a melody, which structures the piece in four parts. Each time, the melody has another colour and quality.
Bio: Adrian Nagel was born in 1990 in Offenbach am Main. In 1996 he received his first piano lessons and later he was also informed on the viola. At 16, he graduated as a church musician. Ensemble experience he received in different ensembles and orchestras in Germany. From 2002-2010 he was several times winner of Bundeswettbewerb Komposition. He received the 2007 first prize in "Jugend-komponiert" Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse, Saarland, and Luxembourg. In 2009 he won the Student Composition Competition of the Berlin Philharmonic. Since 2010, he studies with Professor Mark Andre and Jose Maria Sanchez-Verdu at the University of Music Carl Maria von Weber in Dresden. He worked with members of the Sinfonietta Dresden, the Orchestra of the City Theatre of Bremerhaven, the Opera and Museum Orchestra Frankfurt and Berlin Philharmonic.
Tuning system used: Slendric (1029/1024) temperament
Program notes: A free-form improvisational piece for solo synthesizer, "Angan-angan" is named after the Indonesian word for daydreaming. It is in the 11-note MOS of slendric temperament, the 2.3.7 regular temperament that temper out 1029/1024. It explores the contrast between pure and beating intervals in this temperament, as well as the contrast between ringing and damped notes.
Bio: Keenan is a graduate student in the UC Berkeley Department of Physics, and really enjoys xenharmonic music as well as performing with Gamelan Sekar Jaya.
Jørgen Walker Peterson
late evening anxiety
Tuning system used: Custom
Program notes: I've elected to write a piece for heavily distorted solo electric guitar. The tuning system is original (not derived from a previously established alternate tuning system or mathematics). From the lowest string (formerly the low E string) to the highest string (formerly the high E string), the tuning is as follows: Eb(+10 cents) - Bb(-30 cents) - D - F#(-30 cent) - B(+30 cents) - E(+20 cents) A lot of the world of non-12-pitch music that I've been exposed to focuses on the sound of the pitches themselves and their relationship. In this piece, I attempt to explore the sounds of the implicit world of sound - the natural harmonics, the hum of the muted strings, feedbacking. By using a unique and "untwelve" tuning system, I've been able to unlock a lot of really neat sounds that could not be played with standard tuning. I've done my best to highlight the microtonality in the piece. The final step in my process was to organize these sounds into a meaningful composition, the product.
Bio: Jørgen Walker Peterson is an American electronic and concert hall music composer and multi-instrumental performer. He graduated with a magna cum laude degree in Chemistry and a summa cum laude degree in Music Composition from Amherst College, where he studied composition with Eric Wubbels, Eric Sawyer, and Jason Robinson. In 2011, he was the recipient of the Eric Edward Sundquist Prize for excellence in music composition and performance. In addition to a number of orchestral, chamber, and solo contemporary “concert hall” works, he has released 8 self-produced electronic music albums and 4+ experimental and heavy metal albums. Walker now lives in Kyoto, Japan, where he is doing ethnomusicology research on the underground noise music and experimental jazz scenes in the Kansai region. He is an avid jazz and electronic music performer and is involved in the Kyoto scenes.
Tuning system used: Quarter Tones
Program notes: Mira is a piece in two movements for Quarter Tone piano. Inspired by the Quarter Tone works of Ivan Wyschnegradsky, the piece is intentionally sombre and discordant. The first movement of the piece is slow and methodical, while the second is fast and aggressive. The piece is named after the red giant of the same name, each movement is named after the two scientists credited with its discovery.
Bio: Thomas S. Pottage is a composer and guitar player based in the UK. He studied Sonic Arts at New College Nottingham, where he was first introduced to contemporary classical music. After taking a break from composing he is now concentrating on building a portfolio of works for solo piano, while also developing himself as a rounded composer in many different styles.
Tuning system used: A+50, B+25, C#-50, C#-10, C#+20, D-45, D+25
Program notes: The scale was derived from found objects (struck metal domes) and the other instruments (a trombone and a motorized stringed drone I made) were tuned to match the scale. The speed and pitch (by octaves) of various elements were altered to achieve different sounds. The piece goes through five twelve-bar cycles of varying interval combinations, while the overall speed and pitch (in octaves) changes at regular time intervals not corresponding to the twelve bar cycles. Unpitched textural elements are also an integral part of the piece.
Bio: Paul Rubenstein is a microtonal composer, instrument inventor and educator who has been composing microtonal music since 1992.
Tuning system used: found tuning
Program notes: Original guitar loop is recorded and mixed into 8 separate voices, each voice within 4 cents of the original loop.
Bio: Edward Ruchalski has been commissioned by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Helen Boatwright, Syracuse's Society for New Music, and dG Studios, among others. He has composed work upon request for the Buffalo Guitar Quartet, Robert Black, and Shiau-uen Ding. His compositions have been performed at Lincoln Center, Mass MOCA, Miller Theatre, the Festival of Miami, Kirk in the Hills in Detroit, the Everson Museum of Art, and elsewhere. Previous publications include interviews with Roberto Sierra and the Castellani-Andriaccio Duo in Soundboard Magazine and with poet Michael Burkard in Intersection. Ruchalski has also been the recipient of two Artist Grants from Syracuse's Cultural Resources Council for his compositions using motorized string and percussion sculptures of his own design, and the recipient of a NYSCA AIE Grant for his work with students at Meachem Elementary School. Ruchalski’s composition, “Winter Light,” is included on the Innova recording Serendipity (2009),
Thiago Salas Gomes
Undoing the Classical Guitar
Tuning system used: adjustment mobile
Program notes: The piece is built from a moving pitch. This move gradually deconstructs the traditional guitar tuning. Departing from the tradition-tuning of the guitar (EBGDAE), we toward the noise. To do so runs a movement of the strings to tune the moment is no more possible to hear sounds of definite pitch. The movement of the strings stretching is done slowly and in order to maintain a relationship with the other microtonal sounds. Starting the string sharper and then leaving for the distension of the other until that takes place around the instrument.
Bio: I Thiago Salas, develop work in the fields of performance, creation and music technology, with special interest in contemporary music. I teach classes in music theory, music perception and classical guitar at the Music Conservatory Leopoldo Miguez in São Paulo, I am a member of Project AQUARPA, I gave in LabCIM UFSCar, where research and produce artistic materials related audiovisual improvisation, building musical instruments and musical creation. Carry out works at festivals such as the 4th Contact, and FILE2011 Ibrasotope. In 2011, I was the fellow Dutch Impro Academy (Amsterdam, NL) and held presentations in Imrpovisação Free Bimhuis, ZAAL100, ZomerJazzFeistTour and Steimer. I'm studying music in the Federal University of São Carlos.
Tuning system used: non-octave - invented by the composer (prime numbers)
Program notes: This piece was designed using computer-driven random processes. In it I try to explore intensely the whole range of microtonal scale. Moreover, with the sustain pedal triggered throughout the work plan to create various atmospheres harmonics. This work has a minimalist texture in order to accentuate the differences harmonics.
Bio: currently lives in québec city, and is an active composer in brazilian contemporary music scene. he has participated in events such as the biennial of brazilian contemporary music, panoramas of present brazilian music, the "contemporary music scene" festival, among others. his works have been performed in prominent theatres in brazil such as municipal theatre of rio de janeiro, sala cecília meireles, cultural center oi futuro, and his work has been performed in germany, united states of america, canada and france. he was a research scholar in brazilian baroque music at the national council of research and technology. in 2001, he received 3rd place in the national competition of music composition brazilian foundation of arts for the oboe solo work 0,3103. in 2009, his work fragment #9 for clarinet and piano was premiered by the new york miniaturist ensemble at the bruno walter auditorium, lincoln plaza center. he produced the event "...this is children's play..." which was presented in new york by the group thyngny. heber participated in the brazilian composers ensemble prelúdio 21. currently he is studying towards a master's degree in composition at the laval university. he has been a permanent resident of canada since 2009.
Tuning system used: None
Program notes: My first composition.Grand piano only
Ghost of Max
Tuning system used: Modified 28th Harmonic Scale (Michael Sheiman and Paul Elrich)
Program notes: Emotionally, this piece is inspired by my grandfather and a resurgence of his personality(and even his facial expressions) in my daughter. It is soft and ambient, but designed to imply a much higher energy...notes are positioned in gap-intensive rhythmic patterns and motifs with different notes missing each time. So many of the notes you hear are not actually played, but imagined notes your mind fills in. Coming from a primarily EDM (electronic dance music, driven much by drum beats) compose, this was born out of a challenge. And that challenge is to use instrumental rhythm and both instrument texture and microtonal scale structure to get EDM-like momentum by and large without using drums or a high BPM/tempo rate. This piece the JI scale based on the 28th Harmonic, including extra notes suggested by Paul Elrich to optimize the JI Lattice and allow more chords:
45/28 about 8/5
25/14 (near 16/9)
Bio: Michael Sheiman is a 31 year old EDM producer from Houston Texas. His musica; obsessions are with rotating beats on odd meters (IE alternating between 4/4 3/2 5/4 etc.) while maintaining a smooth/steady groove and discovering 7-9 tone scales that optimize highly consonant dyadic harmonic and melodic possibilities. Specifically, he aims to find systems equally consonant as (but far different sounding than) 12EDO and compose works that trick people into thinking they are no less confident than 12EDO works. Many of Michael's discoveries concerning scale systems, along with more pieces, can be found on http://xenharmonic.wikispaces.com/Mike+Sheiman%27s+Very+Easy+Scale+Building+From+The+Harmonic+Series+Page
News To Me
Tuning system used: 8tet
Program notes: "News To Me" is an attempt at making a pop song in 8tet that is relatable to the average listener. It's lyrics are an honest sentiment about a situation in my life and it's melody exploits the blues-like quality of 8tet. 8tet can be thought of as two diminished 7th chords that are 3/4 of a step apart, and all the harmony in this piece uses at least one note from both chords (in other words, there are no harmonies that can be played in 12tet.)
Bio: Jake Sherman is a jazz and gospel pianist and organist. When he gets fed up with dividing the octave into twelve he sometimes divides it into eight. He has just recently begun his exploration of the microtonal world, and is fascinated by the innumerable new harmonies within it.
Tuning system used: 24-tone equal temperament
Program notes: Disembodied II is a composition that explores counterpoint in a quartertone environment. It was written for alto flute, bass clarinet, cello, muted trombone, and electronics. The instrumental parts were recorded and played in slow motion to resemble disembodied voices. The electronic sounds create various textures and ambient spaces. This work is inspired by its partner piece “Disembodied.“ In that work the disembodied voices serve as a distant backdrop in a densely layered texture. In this composition, we are telescoped to the location where the voices originate from, and we can fully explore that sonic environment.
Bio: Composer Steven Snethkamp was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in composition from the College of Music at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a Master of Music degree in composition from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Currently, Steven is pursuing a Doctor of Music in composition from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where he also works as an Associate Instructor for the composition department. His composition instructors have included Sven-David Sandström, David Dzubay, Claude Baker, Don Freund, Per Mårtensson, P.Q. Phan, Daniel Kellogg, Andrew May, and Richard Toensing. He has also studied computer music and multimedia work with Jeffery Hass, John Gibson, and Alicyn Warren. His music has been performed across the United States and in Europe, and his electronic music has been performed at festivals such as EMM and SEAMUS.
Tuning system used: 22-equal
Program notes: Piece in the style of romantic piano music of the 19th century. It applies a technique popular mainly in the second part of that era (and later) to create harmonic progressions, surprising harmonic turns and modulations via minor chromatic motions of individual voices. The tuning system of 22edo is well-suited for this - in particular, the 7-limit major tetrad in 22edo (the chord built from the overtones 4 to 7, roughly equivalent to a dominant seventh chord) and its inverse (roughly equivalent to a minor chord with an added sixth) have the property that it divides the octave into 7, 6, 5 and 4 steps. This means that starting with one interval of a given chord of this type and applying slight pitch shifts, there are unusually many ways that lead again to an interval of another chord of this form, offering rich possibilities for natural-sounding chord progressions and modulations.
Bio: Professional education: study of mathematics and computer science at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich (1984-1989), with a thesis in the field of mathematical music theory (Professors: Jürg Marti and Guerino Mazzola). Musical education: 9 years of classical piano lessons. Apart from this, no professional music education. I would call myself an advanced amateur and a self-taught composer. From my education sketched above stem my preferred instrument (piano) and a preference for mathematical methods in music. It is the latter that led me to microtonality, since mathematical models of musical phenomena often can be extended naturally to microtonal music, thus offering hints on how to make microtonal music (e.g. how a microtonal modulation could be written), and, in turn offering possibilities to test the validity of the mathematical models.
Tuning system used: Carlos' Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Scales, plus Fokker's 7-limit Just Intoned 12-tone scale
Program notes: This piece is one section of a larger, five-section work, still in progress. It represents my most optimistic hopes for the survival and growth of our civilization and species in a time where it is only clear that there are great difficulties ahead. The piece is a computer generated 4-track recording. Each voice is comprised of a Pianoteq Instrument Model, processed by Soundhack Spectralstretch, a granular synthesis-based time stretcher, and that in turn is fed into the Izotope Ozone 4 plugin, which provides dynamic signal processing facilities for sound sculpting and mastering. Although the Pianoteq instruments, 2 models of historical pianos, a model of a Cimbalom, and of a harpsichord, are all keyboard instruments, the resulting sounds after processing give a strong illusion of chorus, strings, brass and percussion. There are no sampled voices, strings, brass, or percussion involved.
Bio: Born in North Carolina, in 1951. Studied composition with Dary John Mizelle, Edward J. Miller, electronic music with Ron Pellegrino, Maggi Payne, and Chris Brown, gamelan with Lou Harrison and Widiyanto, and synthesizer design with Sergio Franco. Active in the West Coast electro-acoustic improvisation community since the mid-1970s. Active in the West Coast gamelan community since the mid-1980s. Received MFA from Mills College in 1995. Technical Director of the Electronic Arts Department of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in NY from 1997 to 2001. Now living in Starkville, Mississippi, where he composes and teaches shakuhachi and sometimes composition, Joel is actively involved with numerous internet-based collaborations with other microtonalists and improvisors.
pitch a curve
Tuning system used: original guitar tuning
Program notes: This work “pitch a curve” was created in January, 2012. This work is expressing a surge which we have not ever experienced before. All sounds were improvised by the combination of original tuning electric guitar and Laptop PC with basic DSP techniques.
Bio: Shinichiro Toyoda was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1976. He now goes in for interaction design study especially for computer music. On a parallel with research activities, he also improvises computer music around Tokyo area.
A Stiff Shot of Turpentine
Tuning system used: lemba
Program notes: a little spare towards the end, but its got some pretty changes
Bio: you know me
Tuning system used: 14TET
Program notes: Recently I have been looking for a way to make microtonal compositions more accessible to the general public. This work is one such attempt and is a departure from my usual soundscape/experimental works. In the future, I plan to release an album of such "easy" pieces as a "beginner's introduction to microtonal music." Or something like that:)
Bio: I am a composer, sound designer and recording artist. I believe the trendy term these days is "sound artist." I have been studying microtonal music for over a decade and wrote my Masters Thesis on microtonal composition and sound design. I was classically educated in Russia, and moved to the US when I was in my teens. My last experimental album, "Haunted Corridors," released under my artist name "Cinema Braille," won the 2009 JPF Award for Experimental Album of the Year.