Microtonal Piano

Hi everybody. I've started exploring microtonal music a while ago - here's a couple of etudes in 31-EDO. Trying to find the sweet spot between the familiar diatonic-ish sound and xen tones on top of it. Any feedback is much appreciated.

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  • This is interesting and enjoyable music Peter.  As you say you walk a fine line between using familiar tones and those that our ears have been conditioned to perceive as out of tune. This makes your pieces conform more to what we expect which I think is a wise choice but I think it limits the possibilities of your material as well. It is surprising, to me at least, what our brains can adapt to if given the chance. Many of us balk at the first hint of atonality, let alone micro-tonality, but obviously the overall progression of western music has been moving in this direction for a long time so I'm interested if you are choosing music that appeals to you or what you think might appeal to us?

    You've chosen an etude format and you have an impressionistic style here which makes your pieces rather formless.  It's not that they don't work well that way but I'm just curious what would happen if you used some different formal structures with this tonality.

    Good work, thanks for posting!

  • Hi Peter,

    Likewise I found it interesting. I'm not at all averse to experimental styles and this has a certain surreal quality about it.

    The problem I had was being so acclimatised to the piano. A 32-note scale (I presume that's what it is) needs a fairly big reorienting but it makes sense after listening to both. 

    Hence I had to accept the works as studies in microtones rather than pianistic performance.

    It really is the province of electronics - even an electronic piano that would have to be played differently. The span of, say, a 61-note keyboard could be reduced to 2 octaves at 32 notes per octave but the playing notation would be changed hopefully so it made sense to a performer. Or of course, a far longer keyboard could be used. However, with electronics and programming via some means it would come into its own.

    Quote an achievement. Reminds me of Alois Haba who wrote at least 1 quartet in 1/6 tones and a few in 1/4 tones.



  • Hi,

    There is no melodic line, or structure its as if the notes are floating in space without order. I really don't know what is the point of music written in this style. But I guess for some it would be appealing, but this doesn't speak to me from a personal standpoint. I would like to hear clear musical thoughts and phrases. A beginning, progression and resolution, thematic music.

  • I do like the expanded sense of harmony.  There is a glittering quality to the tweaked chords .  It sounds to me like you appropriated something that was at first - a kind of improv. on some related chords, and then applied it and adjusted notes

    to the microtonal scale - moving some notes a little up, and down.  The 'Tainted Wine' - seemed to be loosely based on a blues.

    Again, I enjoyed the canopy of harmonic color.  The rhythm (though with speed ups, and slowing down the pulse) didn't seem to avail a similar complexity as you applied to the notes.   I mean that rhythmically it seemed mostly of 8ths and 16ths.

    I wonder about the possibilities with applying similar approach to rhythm.

    Thanks for posting. It certainly was a sumptuous play of color.  I was reminded a bit of the effect I get from listening to the Gamelan music of Indonesia.

  • All I have to say to this is bloody beautiful! I look forward to more works...

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