Author Topic: In-Between: The Microtonal Universe  (Read 31159 times)

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Offline torut

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Re: Ezra Sims' Microtonal Universe
« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2014, 02:45:22 PM »
easier in the sense that if you change "tonality" you don't have to think about it, like in the normal equal temperament.

and maybe for convenience of notation? For example, in case of 24 equal temperament, you only need to indicate 1/4th higher/lower tone with modified accidentals.

BTW, there is a nice Selected Just Intonation Discography by Kyle Gann.

La Monte Young: The Well-Tuned Piano
La Monte Young: Just Stompin' (Young's Dorian Blues in G)
Terry Riley: The Harp of New Albion
Terry Riley: Shri Camel
Ben Johnston: Suite for Microtonal Piano, Sonata for Microtonal Piano, Saint Joan
Ben Johnston: String Quartet No. 9
Ben Johnston: Suite for Microtonal Piano
Toby Twining: Chrysalid Requiem
Lou Harrison: Piano Concerto
Michael Harrison: From Ancient Worlds
Michael Harrison: Revelation
Ben Neill: Green Machine
David B. Doty: Uncommon Practice
Brian McLaren: Undiscovered Worlds
Brian McLaren: Music from the Edge, Volume 2
Kyle Gann: The Day Revisited on Private Dances
Kyle Gann: Custer's Ghost
Kyle Gann: Ghost Town

Offline milk

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Re: In-Between: The Microtonal Universe
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2014, 04:40:11 PM »

Something here:


The track list:
1) Echoes of Nothing: Nothing (9:10) – Kyle Gann
2) Echoes of Nothing: Something (4:03) – Kyle Gann
3) Alien Warp Etude (4:16) – Isaac Schankler
4) Ostinato Quasi Octatonica (5:55) – Aaron K. Johnson
5) Lament (6:57) – John Schneider
6) Barstow Bagatelle (8:09) – Tom Flaherty
7) Mbira or in Cage with Adams (3:49) – Vera Ivanova
8) Color Variations: I. 22-tone Indian Shruti Scale (2:45) – Jason Heath
9) Color Variations: II. Xenakis Byzantine Liturgical (3:07) – Jason Heath
10) Color Variations: III. Al-Farabi-Greek (3:23) – Jason Heath
11) All the Pretty Colours of the Rainbow (6:59) – Brian Shepard
8 smiles.

Offline torut

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Re: Ezra Sims' Microtonal Universe
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2014, 09:20:58 PM »
Give the latter another chance!   0:)

Yes, it is not that I disliked it. I recently listened to Donaueschenger 2010 (Neos), which contains many interesing works, including Wyschnegradsky's piece for 6 pianos (each tuned with twelfth-tone difference, to achieve 72 equal temperament) and Georg Friedrich Haas's concerto for 6 pianos (same tuning) and orchestra. Wyschnegradsky's piece is mysterious, and Haas's work is impressive but also elusive to me. How do you think of Haas's music? It's difficult to grasp. Haas describes the work (limited approximations) with words such as "diffusion, clouding, friction," using "pseudo-glissandi" or "a twelfth-tone cluster."
limited approximations: Work Introduction by Haas

Offline Cato

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Re: Ezra Sims' Microtonal Universe
« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2014, 02:34:43 PM »
Yes, it is not that I disliked it. I recently listened to Donaueschenger 2010 (Neos), which contains many interesing works, including Wyschnegradsky's piece for 6 pianos (each tuned with twelfth-tone difference, to achieve 72 equal temperament) and Georg Friedrich Haas's concerto for 6 pianos (same tuning) and orchestra. Wyschnegradsky's piece is mysterious, and Haas's work is impressive but also elusive to me. How do you think of Haas's music? It's difficult to grasp. Haas describes the work (limited approximations) with words such as "diffusion, clouding, friction," using "pseudo-glissandi" or "a twelfth-tone cluster."
limited approximations: Work Introduction by Haas

Many thanks for that!  The problem here is that the average ear will barely be able to tell the difference between e.g. C and
C 1/12th.

For a microtonal composer using scales for a rather traditional polyphony:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/ZstR-IsHO6w" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/ZstR-IsHO6w</a>
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Offline torut

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Re: In-Between: The Microtonal Universe
« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2014, 09:06:09 PM »
For just intonation, what about Ben Johnston? I didn't see his name mentioned yet, but I may have missed it. He wrote some really nice SQs. One of them I heard in particular (3rd or 4th, I think) had such a lush sound that it reminded me of a microtonal Ravel SQ.
That seems interesting. I only have No. 2 (coupled with Cage's HPSCHD 8)). No. 2 sounds like a typical atonal, avant-garde piece, using a serial tone row. The final movement is a little chaotic. However, according to wikipedia, later quartets are more tonal? I want to check No. 3/4, No. 9 (mentioned by Gann), and the others.

Offline EigenUser

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Re: In-Between: The Microtonal Universe
« Reply #25 on: July 21, 2014, 02:16:44 AM »
That seems interesting. I only have No. 2 (coupled with Cage's HPSCHD 8)). No. 2 sounds like a typical atonal, avant-garde piece, using a serial tone row. The final movement is a little chaotic. However, according to wikipedia, later quartets are more tonal? I want to check No. 3/4, No. 9 (mentioned by Gann), and the others.
That must be a long tone row! Much more than 12 notes? Or perhaps still 12 notes in a chromatic scale, but they are just divided differently?

It has been a while since I've heard that piece I mentioned. I should hear it again. Honestly, I don't like the idea of writing in microtones if the composer is only to use them in a typical avant-garde style. I prefer the scenario where the composer writes melodically, but with using microtones in the harmonies (or melody). That way, you really get a feel for how they sound in a "traditional" tonal environment. That was what struck me about the Johnston quartet I heard.

Ligeti's "Hamburg" horn concerto and (to a lesser extent) violin concerto use microtones in this way as well.
Beethoven's Op. 133 -- A fugue so bad that even Beethoven himself called it "Grosse".

Offline milk

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Re: In-Between: The Microtonal Universe
« Reply #26 on: July 21, 2014, 04:04:45 AM »
That must be a long tone row! Much more than 12 notes? Or perhaps still 12 notes in a chromatic scale, but they are just divided differently?

It has been a while since I've heard that piece I mentioned. I should hear it again. Honestly, I don't like the idea of writing in microtones if the composer is only to use them in a typical avant-garde style. I prefer the scenario where the composer writes melodically, but with using microtones in the harmonies (or melody). That way, you really get a feel for how they sound in a "traditional" tonal environment. That was what struck me about the Johnston quartet I heard.

Ligeti's "Hamburg" horn concerto and (to a lesser extent) violin concerto use microtones in this way as well.
Did Feldman use microtones?

Offline torut

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Re: In-Between: The Microtonal Universe
« Reply #27 on: July 21, 2014, 05:14:42 PM »
That must be a long tone row! Much more than 12 notes? Or perhaps still 12 notes in a chromatic scale, but they are just divided differently?

According to the liner notes of this album (not the one I have), a twelve-note row is used in the 1st movement. I hear a sequence of notes that resembles serial music, but didn't confirm the details.

Johnston uses just intonation, but it seems to me that n (>12) equal temperament is a natual consequence of serialism. (If all the twelve tones are equal, why not the tones in-between?) But nobody can memorize 72-note row, I think. :laugh:

Quote
It has been a while since I've heard that piece I mentioned. I should hear it again. Honestly, I don't like the idea of writing in microtones if the composer is only to use them in a typical avant-garde style. I prefer the scenario where the composer writes melodically, but with using microtones in the harmonies (or melody). That way, you really get a feel for how they sound in a "traditional" tonal environment. That was what struck me about the Johnston quartet I heard.

Ligeti's "Hamburg" horn concerto and (to a lesser extent) violin concerto use microtones in this way as well.

Works by many JI composers have very unique, memorable characteristics, IMO.

Offline EigenUser

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Re: In-Between: The Microtonal Universe
« Reply #28 on: July 21, 2014, 05:49:37 PM »
Did Feldman use microtones?
Probably, but they are played very slowly and very quietly :D.

Seriously, though, I'm not sure. That's a good question.

According to the liner notes of this album (not the one I have), a twelve-note row is used in the 1st movement. I hear a sequence of notes that resembles serial music, but didn't confirm the details.

Johnston uses just intonation, but it seems to me that n (>12) equal temperament is a natual consequence of serialism. (If all the twelve tones are equal, why not the tones in-between?) But nobody can memorize 72-note row, I think. :laugh:

Works by many JI composers have very unique, memorable characteristics, IMO.
Yeah, I bet Schoenberg wasn't thinking of that when he devised the 12-tone system.

Found it! It is Johnston's SQ No. 6! I expect people to disagree with me, but I hear Ravel (microtonal, of course).
http://www.youtube.com/v/kdqyvkfcYZo
Beethoven's Op. 133 -- A fugue so bad that even Beethoven himself called it "Grosse".

Offline Dax

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Re: In-Between: The Microtonal Universe
« Reply #29 on: July 22, 2014, 09:33:40 AM »
Probably, but they are played very slowly and very quietly :D.

Seriously, though, I'm not sure. That's a good question.

Try googling "Feldman microtones" and you'll find some answers.

Offline milk

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Re: In-Between: The Microtonal Universe
« Reply #30 on: July 22, 2014, 02:18:17 PM »
Try googling "Feldman microtones" and you'll find some answers.
The answer may be rather too complicated for me. The best I can understand is that the answer is "kind of/sort of."

Offline torut

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Re: In-Between: The Microtonal Universe
« Reply #31 on: July 23, 2014, 08:30:14 PM »
Found it! It is Johnston's SQ No. 6! I expect people to disagree with me, but I hear Ravel (microtonal, of course).
http://www.youtube.com/v/kdqyvkfcYZo
That is very beautiful, thank you. I also listened to the string quartet No. 1, 5 and 10 by Kepler Quartet and liked No. 6 the most. The later works are more accessible, and I am not saying it in a negative meaning. No. 10 is a fun piece with a lot of folkish melodies, very different from No. 6. No. 1 is in avant-garde style, and actually it sounded quite fresh after hearing No. 10. (That is the order on the album.)

Offline torut

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Re: In-Between: The Microtonal Universe
« Reply #32 on: July 23, 2014, 09:27:46 PM »
I've not been particularly struck by what I've heard of Sims: Easley Blackwood's Microtonal etudes, on the other hand . . .
try this - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odTIoRzbDhA

For a microtonal composer using scales for a rather traditional polyphony:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/ZstR-IsHO6w" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/ZstR-IsHO6w</a>

Lovely! Strangely melodious. It reminds me of Kyle Gann's The Day Revisited (on Private Dances: http://www.amazon.com/dp/b00102feoo/) The melody is very unique.

This is a little weird, sounds out of tune, but beautiful.
Fugitive Objects (Tuning Study No. 7) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlFmJEQzGPI (tuning)

Offline torut

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Re: In-Between: The Microtonal Universe
« Reply #33 on: July 24, 2014, 08:52:16 PM »
Some unusual instruments using strings such as bowed piano strings (Stephen Scott), long string instrument (Ellen Fullman), bowed guitars (Glenn Branca) have wonderful sounds. Interestingly, they are often tuned in just intonation. Probably JI composers are interested in the sounds that resemble Indian or Eastern traditional instruments? Duane Pitre's music using bowed guitars is also fantastic. I am really captivated by this kind of music.

Duane Pitre - Origin album preview
https://soundcloud.com/duanepitre/origin_album-preview



The entirety of Origin's musical material is comprised of the vibrating strings of Pitre's ensemble of bowed "harmonic-guitars," which are unconventionally strung electric guitars (utilizing multi-unisons) tuned to intervals corresponding with the Harmonic Series, a.k.a. Just Intonation, utilizing the prime numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, and 11). No effects processing (pre or post) was used in this recording. All effect-like qualities result from the multi-unison strings (phasing), sympathetic vibrations, combination/difference tones (of the chosen just tuning), and natural acoustic phenomena as such.

Some other JI works.

Music For Microtonal Guitar And Mallets
http://soundcloud.com/duanepitre/music-for-microtonal-guitar
The composer told that it was composed while "heavily under the influence of my La Monte phase." It immediately recalled Riley's Harp of New Albion to me.

Extended Studies for The Carpenter - live at ISSUE 3/25/09, for justly tuned sine tones
http://soundcloud.com/duanepitre/extended-studies
A very minimalistic sound art.

Offline milk

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Re: In-Between: The Microtonal Universe
« Reply #34 on: July 25, 2014, 12:34:33 AM »
Some unusual instruments using strings such as bowed piano strings (Stephen Scott), long string instrument (Ellen Fullman), bowed guitars (Glenn Branca) have wonderful sounds. Interestingly, they are often tuned in just intonation. Probably JI composers are interested in the sounds that resemble Indian or Eastern traditional instruments? Duane Pitre's music using bowed guitars is also fantastic. I am really captivated by this kind of music.

Duane Pitre - Origin album preview
https://soundcloud.com/duanepitre/origin_album-preview



The entirety of Origin's musical material is comprised of the vibrating strings of Pitre's ensemble of bowed "harmonic-guitars," which are unconventionally strung electric guitars (utilizing multi-unisons) tuned to intervals corresponding with the Harmonic Series, a.k.a. Just Intonation, utilizing the prime numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, and 11). No effects processing (pre or post) was used in this recording. All effect-like qualities result from the multi-unison strings (phasing), sympathetic vibrations, combination/difference tones (of the chosen just tuning), and natural acoustic phenomena as such.

Some other JI works.

Music For Microtonal Guitar And Mallets
http://soundcloud.com/duanepitre/music-for-microtonal-guitar
The composer told that it was composed while "heavily under the influence of my La Monte phase." It immediately recalled Riley's Harp of New Albion to me.

Extended Studies for The Carpenter - live at ISSUE 3/25/09, for justly tuned sine tones
http://soundcloud.com/duanepitre/extended-studies
A very minimalistic sound art.
The samples are interesting. In the vein of Fullman.

Offline torut

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Re: In-Between: The Microtonal Universe
« Reply #35 on: July 25, 2014, 06:21:11 PM »
The samples are interesting. In the vein of Fullman.
Yes, Fullman was the first name that popped into my head when I heard Pitre.
Bowed guitar may not be so unusual as I thought. There is even a Wikipedia entry. Playing it looks difficult.


This is also interesting: Nancarrow + Ligeti + Reich + Just Intonation. Just 6 min.
David D. McIntire - Hommage á Nancarrow
http://recordings.irritablehedgehog.com/album/hommage-nancarrow

(Is the cover art an image of a JI sequencer software?)

The composer wrote that Ligeti and Reich were the influences, but I am not sure how it is so. I felt rather the influence of Partch, although McIntire didn't mention him.

Offline torut

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Re: In-Between: The Microtonal Universe
« Reply #36 on: July 27, 2014, 12:06:27 PM »
Something here:


The track list:
1) Echoes of Nothing: Nothing (9:10) – Kyle Gann
2) Echoes of Nothing: Something (4:03) – Kyle Gann
3) Alien Warp Etude (4:16) – Isaac Schankler
4) Ostinato Quasi Octatonica (5:55) – Aaron K. Johnson
5) Lament (6:57) – John Schneider
6) Barstow Bagatelle (8:09) – Tom Flaherty
7) Mbira or in Cage with Adams (3:49) – Vera Ivanova
8) Color Variations: I. 22-tone Indian Shruti Scale (2:45) – Jason Heath
9) Color Variations: II. Xenakis Byzantine Liturgical (3:07) – Jason Heath
10) Color Variations: III. Al-Farabi-Greek (3:23) – Jason Heath
11) All the Pretty Colours of the Rainbow (6:59) – Brian Shepard
8 smiles.
Thanks for that. (At first, I thought you liked #8 the best. 8)) It is a beautiful album. Each piece uses different tuning. Every work is interesting and fascinating. I think this is a nice showcase of possibilities of microtonal piano music. I want to listen to volume 2.

I also listened to Ben Johnston's miacrotonal piano. Like his string quartets around the same period, the earlier piece (Sonata, 1964) is a little inaccessible, more atonal compared with other JI composers' works. I need to listen to it more times. I feel that Johnston tends to use microtones in a less exotic way.

Ben Johnston: Microtonal Piano - Phillip Bush, piano


Offline torut

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Re: In-Between: The Microtonal Universe
« Reply #37 on: July 30, 2014, 07:40:45 PM »
Michael Harrison - Just Ancient Loops - Maya Beiser, cello

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/Mgz8rOAGRCI" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/Mgz8rOAGRCI</a>

Notes: http://seriousmusicmedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Just_Ancient_Loops_-_Notes_by_Harrison.pdf

This is a fascinating work. Maya Beiser played cello with pre-recorded (up to 22) cello parts. I love Michael Harrison's solo piano works (From Ancient Worlds, Revelation), and he wrote that this is the sequel to the work for re-tuned piano, Revelation: Music in Pure Intonation. The title represents the three elements of the work: "Just" - just intonation; "Ancient" - ancient music of India, Persia, etc; "Loops" - minimalist aspects.
The other pieces on the album Time Loops are wonderful too, with Harrison on piano or Young People’s Chorus of New York City.



album info: http://seriousmusicmedia.com/?page_id=947

Offline Dax

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Re: In-Between: The Microtonal Universe
« Reply #38 on: July 31, 2014, 12:52:57 AM »
Thanks for posting that. I purchased From Ancient worlds some years back and found it disappointing and dreary. Just Ancient Loops sounds a good deal more interesting so far (I'm a few minutes in). Strangely enough, the use of just intonation seems largely unnoticeable.

By way of returning the favour, do you know Christer Hennix's The Electric Harpsichord?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGrp_q9RSYA&list=RDiGrp_q9RSYA#t=19
« Last Edit: July 31, 2014, 01:08:32 AM by Dax »

Offline EigenUser

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Re: In-Between: The Microtonal Universe
« Reply #39 on: July 31, 2014, 02:37:45 AM »
A more mainstream composer that uses microtones is Ligeti. His violin concerto (1992-ish) requires that one orchestral violinist and one violist tune their instruments according to certain double bass harmonics. They aren't quite quarter tones, either. He really plays with this in the first movement, where the soloist (normally tuned) fades in (marked pppppp in the score, so pianissississississimo??) with semiquavers alternating between open "A" and "D" strings. Then, the "mis-tuned" viola (what's new? :laugh:) fades in with their slightly lower-tuned "D" and "G" strings. Very beautiful, actually. Then more and more strings come in (tuned and mis-tuned) so you really can tell the difference.

His other major work that significantly uses microtones is the "Hamburg" Horn Concerto of 1999. He even used them as early as the 1950s in his "Concert Romanesc" (easily his most accessible work, even more so than much of Bartok), where the horn emulates a "mountain-horn" call in the 3rd movement and the end of the 4th movement. Other microtonal works of his that I can think of off the top of my head are:
-Ramifications for 12 stringed instruments (6 of them are tuned normally, the other 6 are tuned a quarter tone below)
-Clocks and Clouds
-Double Concerto for Flute and Oboe
-Piano Concerto
-Requiem (almost positive, though I don't have the score)
Beethoven's Op. 133 -- A fugue so bad that even Beethoven himself called it "Grosse".