Xen Radio, Special Edition: The Mercury Tree

For this special edition of XEN RADIO, I was joined in the KPISS RV by the mircotonal rock band, The Mercury Tree. They’re in the midst of a tour all over the country and I was luck enough for them to make the time to visit the studio and to curate a playlist of xenharmonic/microtonal tracks that they love.

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Xen Radio, Episode 7

Xenharmonic and microtonal music is more than “classical” experimentations and deviations from 12-tone equal temperament (in fact, there’s really quite a bit to say about how loaded the term “microtonal music” truly is — but that’s a discussion for another day), so this episode is almost completely filled with tracks from the rock, jazz, and other streams of xenharmonic music.

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Xen Radio, Episode 5

The first five weeks of Xen Radio are done. This week’s episode featured larger works (20+ minutes) such as Georg Friedrich Haas’ Limited Approximations and Ben Johnston’s String Quartet No. 6, along with a couple short electronic pieces by Dan Stearns.

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Xen Radio, Episode 4

This week’s Xen Radio program was dedicated to microtonal piano music. It featured a few generations of piano music, ranging from the early quarter tone music of Ives and Wyschnegradsky to Kyle Gann’s 2011 work, Echoes of Nothing.

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Intabulations

The Renaissance practice of ‘intabulations’ was the arrangement of consort music – instrumental or vocal – for keyboard. An intabulation was the making of the impossible possible: a single person could now render a performance only possible by a consort. Late last year I began work on a series of new intabulations in just intonation. Created using notation software and with sampled sounds of classic electric pianos, they are in a some respect the impossible made possible. I recently published the first three of what will be a larger and longer set of works.

Stuff costs money 

Recently someone made an interesting observation about paying money to have art made:

Yeah—lots of “art” doesn’t make sense from the standpoint of return on investment. But then again, we have this:

https://twitter.com/SharknadoSYFY/status/893864563480940544

And I’m reminded of the claims that we need gatekeepers (i.e., contemporary patronage) to ensure the quality of art doesn’t degrade away.

june (madrigal)

My march of “madrigals” in just intonation continues into June. This time, the material is loosely organized into three “studies.” And this time however, the pitch material is fixed—e.g., a particular A flat will always vibrate at the same frequency—and the pitch material is in non-repeating octaves—e.g., the different octaves of A flat do not line up as perfect octaves. Some of this material will be developed into a series of short works for re-tuned fender rhodes electric piano.