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Thread: Microtonal music

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    Senior Member Albert7's Avatar
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    Default Microtonal music

    Still trying to figure out this concept but I gather that this is where the revolution in Western music starts?

    Ives_quarter_tone_fundamental_chord.png
    "if a horse could sing in a monotone, the horse would sound like Carly Simon, only a horse wouldn't rhyme 'yacht', 'apricot', and 'gavotte'. Is that some kind of joke?"
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    Quote Originally Posted by albertfallickwang View Post
    Still trying to figure out this concept but I gather that this is where the revolution in Western music starts?

    Ives_quarter_tone_fundamental_chord.png
    there are other threads on this argument (is there a competition between you and deprofundis to see who open more discussions? )
    Music in quarter-tones and other micro-tonal systems

    Anyway I guess this one composed in 1558 by Guillaume Costeley is the first microtonal piece ever:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT6-Ndx1EbM

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    Quote Originally Posted by norman bates View Post
    Anyway I guess this one composed in 1558 by Guillaume Costeley is the first microtonal piece ever:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT6-Ndx1EbM
    I had no idea about this! Sounds sooooo weird pitch-wise - fascinating and a bit sea sick. Makes you think how equal vs just pitch are subtly moderated by "modern" musicians

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    Quote Originally Posted by norman bates View Post
    there are other threads on this argument (is there a competition between you and deprofundis to see who open more discussions? )
    Music in quarter-tones and other micro-tonal systems

    Anyway I guess this one composed in 1558 by Guillaume Costeley is the first microtonal piece ever:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT6-Ndx1EbM
    Nice find on the old thread. It didn't show up in the music theory section so I didn't locate it easily but thanks for the back link.
    "if a horse could sing in a monotone, the horse would sound like Carly Simon, only a horse wouldn't rhyme 'yacht', 'apricot', and 'gavotte'. Is that some kind of joke?"
    --Robert Christgau
    "there's a fine line between having an open mind and having your whole brain fall out"
    --Anonymous

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    '"Microtonal" is a very general term. There are many possibilities for "microtones" to arise, from various systems.

    Taking "equal temperaments," which means any equal division of the octave, of which our 12-note division is just one, a myriad of possibilities arise.

    The Thai system is "7-tone ET," where the octave is divided into seven equal steps. Ironically, if one experiments with this scale, it begins sounding more "normal" like our 7-note diatonic scale. This is probably due to our listening habits and conditioning. But try it; when simple melodies are played, they are recognizable as their 12-note ET diatonic counterparts.

    If you have an electronic keyboard or module, you can vary the keyboard voltage and create almost any ET scale, by re-tuning the octave. Good candidates for this are the Ensoniq ESQ-1, the Yamaha TX80Z, Yamaha DX7, and any tunable module. Simply re-tune it to a different octave.

    For example, tuning C to its next out-of-octave G, and creating an octave, gives you 19-tone ET. To the next-higher G gives you 31-tone ET, and so on. Wherever you put your octave will give you that form of ET.

    One of the best books on this is this one:

    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
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    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

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    This scale, "Beta," is discussed in the book above.

    From WIK:
    The β (beta) scale is a non-octave-repeating musical scale. In one version, it splits the perfect fifth (3/2) into eleven equal parts of 63.8 cents each.[citation needed] Another interpretation splits the perfect fourth into two equal parts, or eight equal parts of approximately 64 cents each. At 64 cents per step, this totals approximately 18.75 steps per octave. It may be derived from using 11:6 to approximate the interval 3:2/5:4, which equals 6:5 .

    It was invented by and is a signature of Wendy Carlos and used on her album Beauty in the Beast (1986).

    Although neither has an octave, one advantage to the beta scale over the alpha scale is that 15 steps, 957.494 cents, is a reasonable approximation to the seventh harmonic (7:4, 968.826 cents) though both have nice triads.
    The delta scale may be regarded as the beta scale's reciprocal since it is, "as far 'down' the (0 3 6 9) circle from α as β is 'up.'"
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Mar-03-2015 at 18:15.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

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    Is there a concept of "macrotonality". As in an octave divided into less than 12 parts, or 2 octaves divided into some parts (e.g. 25). To me microtonal music sounds bad, but I would be curious as to how "macrotonality" would work, and if it could achieve beauty.

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    Senior Member arpeggio's Avatar
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    Cool Harry Partch

    I should mention the music of Harry Partch.

    There is a thread that is devoted to him: Harry Partch
    It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious. And I am a very ingenious fellow

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    Quote Originally Posted by Classicalophile View Post
    Is there a concept of "macrotonality". As in an octave divided into less than 12 parts, or 2 octaves divided into some parts (e.g. 25). To me microtonal music sounds bad, but I would be curious as to how "macrotonality" would work, and if it could achieve beauty.
    You just have to retrain your ears.

    I think some people have done things with 7-TET and such. Look around, see what you can find.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Classicalophile View Post
    Is there a concept of "macrotonality". As in an octave divided into less than 12 parts, or 2 octaves divided into some parts (e.g. 25). To me microtonal music sounds bad, but I would be curious as to how "macrotonality" would work, and if it could achieve beauty.
    My understanding is that the possibilities of microtonality are infinite. People try many different tunings. Some sound weird (not necessarily bad to me), some sound beautiful. You can compare different tunings with Debussy's Arabesque No. 1 on Chris Vaisvil's web site. I think just intonation version is nice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Classicalophile View Post
    Is there a concept of "macrotonality". As in an octave divided into less than 12 parts, or 2 octaves divided into some parts (e.g. 25). To me microtonal music sounds bad, but I would be curious as to how "macrotonality" would work, and if it could achieve beauty.
    Any octave division of equal parts is considered an "equal temperament." This could be 2 through 11. The Thai system is 7, ours is 12.

    There are scales which span two octaves before "coinciding" again with the starting pitch. Slonimsky's Thesaurus of Scales has some weird examples of this.

    There could also be scales which do not divide the octave equally; I think the Pythagoran pentatonic (5 notes) is like that; it has different-sized whole and half steps.

    See if you can find "The Just Intonation Primer," currently unavailable.

    http://amzn.com/0972681000
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

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    Exclamation Request for Score

    Hello

    I was wondering if anybody here has the score to Easley Blackwood's iconic Fanfare in 19-Note Equal Tuning, Op.28a.

    I found an address from this link and it says I can obtain the score from that address. However, I have sent a letter to the address to request for the score but I still haven't gotten a reply after 2 months. As the content in the link is a transcript of the liner notes from his 1980 album Microtonal Compositions, I believe the address has since changed.

    Since I could not find any other methods to obtain the score, I would appreciate it if you can let me know of an alternative method, or send me a copy at chant67@rchk.edu.hk if you have it.

    Thank you very much!

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    I'm going to have to get that Blackwood CD.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
    -Confucious

    "In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg

    "We only become what we are by the radical and deep-seated refusal of that which others have made us." -Jean-Paul Sartre

    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

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