Archive for the ‘Orchestra’ Category

Pretty Industry (for chamber ensemble)

Saturday, April 20th, 2013


Pretty Industry is a re-composition of four Benjamin Smith piano improvisations created by manipulating and re-orchestrating pitches extracted from the performances using 24 edo (24 et, quartertone) tuning. The new orchestration consists of Harp, Solo violin, viola, cello, contrabass strings, french horn, and bass drum, snare drum, and tamtam.

Bill in Concert

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Graphic by William Newbold

Bill in Concert

About 3 years back I asked William (Bill) Newbold, a visual and aural artist I admire and have collaborated with on many occasions to send me some midi files so I could manipulate them. This is the result of running his performance through pianoteq and Garritan Personal Orchestra using Lucy microtonal Tuning. The effect desired was to capture Bill’s performance as if it were on an amplified prepared piano with a symphonic orchestra. I’ll let you be the judge as to the success of the attempt.

Ashrafieh for Chamber Orchestra in 17 edo tuning

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Ashrafieh is a composition for chamber orchestra in 17 edo (equal divisions of the octave). Instruments: strings, french horn, flute, and percussion.

Gustav Holst’s Mars arranged for 7-limit JI Orchestra

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Mars in 7-Limit JI from The Planets the orchestral suite by Gustav Holst. 7-Limit Just Intonation information.

Gerbils at the Wheel of Government

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

picture from Cute Funny Pics

Gerbils at the Wheel of Government is a mixed tuning piece. There are 5 instances of Z3TA+ 2.1 in 9 notes per octave plus Garritan brass (trumpet, french horn, trombone, tuba) in 18 notes per octave. The percussion is a mixture of Hawaiian percussion and drum set. The melodic / harmonic portions of the piece is a serial improvisation on an M-Audio 88es keyboard captured in Sonar X1.

Jeffrery Dahmer Cooks at 11 edo

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

11 notes per octave (11 edo) has been a tuning that has generated a lot of music lately. Not wanting to be left out I decided to take some time to compose a piece in 11 edo using Garritan Personal Orchestra. As a subject matter suitable for the strident music that my muse handed me I chose the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, a very scary person indeed who somehow got his own PBS cooking show.

Jeffrey Dahmer Cooks at 11 edo

Scored for symphonic organ, string ensemble, french horns, trombones, and orchestral percussion.

Gadhafi’s Betrayal in Harmonic Series Tuning

Monday, February 21st, 2011

This is a piece written for a small ensemble of Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Flute, French Horn and Percussion in harmonic series tuning using a section from harmonic 12 to 30 reduced to an octave tuning of 15 steps.

This piece is written in response to Gadhafi sending fighter jets to bomb Lybia’s own citizens.

The score was realized in Sonar X1 and Garritan Personal Orchestra 4 – Please excuse the brain-dead handling of accidentals – that is Sonar’s fault, not mine.

Gadhafi’s Betrayal in Harmonic Series Tuning

full PDF score for the piece

The tuning is:

! E:\Cakewalk\scales\12to30harm12.scl
12 to 30 in octave harm

Crossing the Yalu River (1950)

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

From Wikipedia’s article on the Korean War:

UN aerial reconnaissance had difficulty sighting the Chinese PVA units in daytime, because their march and bivouac discipline minimized aerial detection. The PVA marched “dark-to-dark” (19:00–03:00), and aerial camouflage (concealing soldiers, pack animals, and equipment) was deployed by 05:30. Meanwhile, daylight advance parties scouted for the next bivouac site. During daylight activity or marching, soldiers were to remain motionless if an aircraft appeared, until it flew away; PVA officers might shoot security violators. Such battlefield discipline allowed a three-division army to march the 286 miles (460 km) from An-tung, Manchuria to the combat zone in some 19 days. Another division night-marched a circuitous mountain route, averaging 18 miles (29 km) daily for 18 days.

Not having been in harms way I have difficulty imagining what it must be like for any soldier, especially for a country whose officer’s might shoot you and viewed you as cannon fodder destined for human wave attacks against the United Nations positions.

Not knowing much about real Chinese music I associate this piece, Crossing the Yalu River (1950) with that march of the common Chinese soldier.
The tuning used is Centaur A 7-CAP tuning by Kraig Grady. The piece is scored for orchestral percussion, Chinese Gongs, Choazhou Guzheng, Bawu, Datangu Lion Drum, Choir, and double bass in Sonar X1 and realized via the Garritan Personal Orchestra and World sample sets.

Orwellian Cameras (revised)

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

This is an orchestral piece composed in 13 note subset of 31 notes per octave called “Orwell”. The purpose of this piece was to study polyphonic voice leading in a microtonal context. It was realized via Sonar 8.5 and Garritan Personal Orchestra version 4.0 (aria) which accepts scala files directly. Here is a partial scoredatura in pdf.

There are flaws – for one the humanization isn’t as picky as it could be but as usual I have limited time so the result is more or less a sketch. This is a revised version of one released to the alternate tuning list back in the summer of 2010.

audio only

Download a high quality version of the video here:

The scala file for the tuning used follows:

! 13-31a.scl
31-tET Orwell[13]

Bridgeport 2 (Super Particular Tuning)

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Download or listen to Bridgeport 2

Note: – this is best listened to at a volume as if you were close up front and center to a fairly powerful orchestra.

Story: In response the popularity of Michael Sheiman’s silver and phi tunings Michael Sheiman and Cameron Bobro joined forces to create a “Super Particular” tuning system for me to compose with. This piece is the first created with this tuning.

scala file

1/1 0.000 —– unison, perfect prime
13/12 138.573 —– tridecimal 2/3-tone
9/8 203.910 —– major whole tone
39/32 342.483 —– 39th harmonic, Zalzal wosta of
117/88 493.120
63/44 621.418
3/2 701.955 —– perfect fifth
25/16 772.627 —– classic augmented fifth
5/3 884.359 —– major sixth, BP sixth
16/9 996.090 —– Pythagorean minor seventh
24/13 1061.427 —– tridecimal neutral seventh
25/13 1132.100
2/1 1200.000 —– octave

The realization uses Sonar 8.5 and Garritan Personal Orchestra 4 (Aria player) and relies heavily on Sonar’s sequencing interface. The compositional method was the creation of a number of sequenced motives which were combined as needed with overlays of more traditionally composed portions.

A couple notes on the tuning:

From Michael

I found that tuning the middle C AKA 1/1 to about 75/76 * middle C = approximately 258hz realigns the tonal centers in such a way it works well for re-tuning 12TET pieces. I tried this with Beethoven’s “Drei Equeli” (sp.?) and it works well with about 90-95% of the notes. Makes me wonder just how pitch and perhaps alignment with the basilar membrane can skew perception of intervals as, of course, many of the intervals in the scale are very non-12TET like.


Super particular….to the best of my understanding that’s what Cameron used to fine-tune the scale. It includes reducing intervals between two tones to fractions like 21/20 and 15/14 AKA (n + 1)/n. As I understand it Cameron managed to make all dyads follow this format (and that’s how he came up with odd high-numbered fractions that, miraculously, sound better than the low numbered ones).

In general in the scale:
1) Close tones have more periodic consonance (due to super-particular format) but less critical band consonance
2) Far tones don’t match super-particular relationships perfectly (though they still get fairly close) so they lose some periodic consonance…but they are further apart and thus have more critical band consonance

This combination of the 2 types of consonance balances out so the average consonance of dyads both closer and further apart stays fairly similar…as opposed to 7-tone diatonic JI where closer tones/dyads (IE the 15/14 half-step so often avoided in common-practice chords) often have BOTH lower periodic consonance AND lower critical band consonance than ones further apart. It’s all about balance….

And from Cameron

The intervals between the scale steps were all superparticular (n+1/n) except those couple, so I just made the steps superparticular. Scales that are composed only of superparticular steps tend to be smooth and “as one” sounding, something noticed and applied thousands of years ago.

And in response to Michael’s last couple paragraphs

Yes that’s what superparticular means- n+1/n. It is the same as being adjacent partials in a harmonic series. Most of the ancient Greek theory tried to stick only to superparticular ratios. This isn’t numerology, it keeps the overall complexity of a tuning way down, even if you wind up with what looks like complex intervals in the tuning, as you can easily verify by ear. It is especially noticeable on an acoustic instrument.