a choral study in 17 equal – animated score

September 1st, 2014

a choral study in 17 equal was written in a response to a call for microtonal choral works on the Facebook group Xenharmonic Alliance II by William Lynch.
The score is here
The audio is here

The full quality video is here

Prepared Aeolian Harp – Steel Plate

August 31st, 2014

IMG_2831

spectrum

The Prepared Aeolian Harp is going to be a series of modifications – like the 3rd bridge post. This modification was inspired by the harp picking up a tornado warning siren by sympathetic vibration. The reasoning here is that the steel plate offers more surface area and would be a more sensitive detector. To some extent this is correct. The harp has become very sensitive to foot steps even in the back of my home. (Those are just “thuds” and more from the large mass of the plate vs the pickups I suppose) and I saw and just heard in one spectral view a car motor. Since this is new there needs to be some optimization. The current file displayed here is almost entirely due to wind – on a day with very light (<5 mph) breezes coming from over my home to the back of the harp – the worst possible angle. So I am looking forward to the experience of having a windy day and a more favorable wind direction. Even at these mediocre conditions the harp pickups can be easily overloaded and I am recording with compression on (applied after this recording) to prevent spikes. The plate is about 6″ x 18″ and 32nd” and is mounted by weaving the plate into the existing strings.

a cup of time (harmonic series / just intonation)

August 30th, 2014
graphic by William Victor Newbold

graphic by William Victor Newbold

a cup of time is a derivative work of 4 compositions by William Victor Newbold. I sampled the four pieces listed below and applied harmonic filtering and also pitch adjusted the filtering to be in the form of a just minor-minor seventh chord (1/1, 6/5, 3/2, 7/4) – effects were applied in the Sonar X3 mixing process. You can hear the originals at this location.

non-buzzed-effectual-contextations-of-dimensions-2a-a020
outside-part-6
buzzy-a020-hows-edits-one-1
beyond-the-outside-levels-of-time-1

Lullaby for Refugee Children

August 29th, 2014

(Syria_1,_Emergencies_6)_(9362333059)

Lullaby for Refugee Children by Christiane Offenbar (vocals) and Chris Vaisvil (EP 73).

17 12ths – Just Intonation Interval Music

August 27th, 2014

DSCF1130crop

17 12ths is a piece inspired by Scott Thompson’s addition of Just Intonation intervals to the xenwiki. The music you hear uses the interval of 17/12 as plucked strings in Kontakt 5 with adaptive “pure” tuning with a harmonic 7th turned on. I improvised and then added reverb in post production. Each key played is an interval of 17/12 and when using multiple keys complex harmonies build up quickly though Kontakt tries its best to interpet and at times you can hear a pitch drift when I add a note to a ringing chord.

The xenwiki says the following about this interval:

In 17-limit Just Intonation, 17/12 is the “second septendecimal tritone,” measuring very nearly 603¢. Its inversion is the “first septendecimal tritone,” 24/17, and the interval that separates them is the small comma 299/298, about 6¢. This difference is usually negligible, and tempering out this comma allows the 600¢ half-octave to function as both septendecimal tritones. Thus, every even-numbered EDO system contains a close approximation to these intervals.

17/12 is the mediant between the two septimal tritones 7/5 and 10/7.

Diablack (Fokker Block tuning)

August 27th, 2014

DSCF1186crop

Diablack is an unedited piano improvisation in Gene Ward Smith’s tuning “diablack”.

! diablack.scl
Unique 256/245&2048/2025 Fokker block
10
!
16/15
9/8
6/5
81/64
64/45
3/2
8/5
27/16
9/5
2/1

dans l’esprit de Nighthawks (diachrome4)

August 25th, 2014
Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, 1942

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, 1942

dans l’esprit de Nighthawks is a piano solo improvised and then slightly edited to remove glitch notes and rendered at the original tempo. This is my first attempt at playing something in Gene Ward Smith’s diachrome 4 tuning (below). So far the diachrome series has been a smoky, blues / jazz mixture. Finely crafted tunings with definite attitude and plenty of expressive freedom.

Nighthawks is one of my favorite 20th century paintings and one I’ve seen in person at the Art Institute of Chicago – a very worthy destination for inspiration.

! diachrome4.scl
Fourth 25/24&2048/2025 scale = inverse diachrome5
10
!
16/15
75/64
5/4
4/3
64/45
3/2
5/3
16/9
15/8
2/1

Dumpster Diving Blues (solo piano in Diachrome5 Tuning)

August 23rd, 2014

6460025a
photo credit Carol Rice

Dumpster Diving Blues is a one take improvisation in Gene Ward Smith’s Fokker 10 based diachrome5 tuning (see below). I was intrigued by the fact this didn’t have a 3/2 fifth in the root position of the tuning. After playing the opening two chord exchange I decided to try a bit of blues. I think the tuning certainly seems quite soulful and reminded me of dark Chicago alleys in a frosty fall night.

Gene’s tuning in scala format

! diachrome5.scl
Fifth 25/24&2048/2025 scale = pipedum_10b inverse diachrome4
10
!
10/9
75/64
5/4
4/3
64/45
25/16
5/3
16/9
15/8
2/1

Straight From the Box

August 23rd, 2014

016a

Straight From the Box is a piece built around the provided lyrics of Evan Harrington. It was performed in 1986 on a Casio CZ-101 using two cassette decks and a 4 mono channel mixer. (see schematic below). With this method you simply had to live with what happened in the past, so a lot of practice took place to get to even this amount of finish on the production which could be loads better. On the other hand it did force a certain amount of discipline in the form of practice and ingenuity to circumvent or hide what you know you couldn’t perform better. There was a way to “tune” the cassette decks by adjusting the motor speed so that one could transfer a cassette from one deck to the other to avoid a layer of tape noise which built up quickly. Considering really good brands of cassette decks can be found at Goodwill it is possible to do this for very little money. I have been told, but never tried, that VHS tape has even high fidelity for this method. Again, those can be found for very little money at second hand shops.

cassette deck A => L/R ==> cassette deck B
new performance => L/R =^

A word about the lyrics. Evan Harrington was one of my very best friends and provided me with much material for setting to music. Evan has passed on and is greatly missed. He was and still is a constant inspiration.

Everywhere You Are (Fokker 10 – JI – Blackchrome1)

August 17th, 2014

P1080311a

Everywhere You Are is a piano solo using the Blackchrome1 tuning created by Gene Ward Smith (below)

blackchrome1 created by Gene Ward Smith
! blackchrome1.scl
First 25/24&256/245 scale = Dwarf(<10 16 23|) = efg33335
! x^10-17*x^8-16*x^7+78*x^6+132*x^5-29*x^4-168*x^3-100*x^2-16*x
10
!
16/15
9/8
6/5
4/3
27/20
3/2
8/5
27/16
9/5
2/1