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#2171056 - 10/24/13 07:09 AM Interesting Listen: Piano Tuned to Microtonal Scales  
Joined: Jun 2013
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sydnal Offline
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I just stumbled upon this youtube account and I think it's very interesting. He is playing instrumental improvisations/preludes using a piano tuned to microtonal scales. (Since these do not work like equal temperament I guess he had to tune it many times for different scales, yuck)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=laQlWnhB0JQ&list=PLjrOaHIDFicnU5ozzocBHQhZx9XL8bVbR

Afaik the first makam (microtonal scale) called Huseyni for example is similar to Dorian but with 2 of the notes in different pitches. (E.g. the 2nd note of the scale is between a half and a whole step)

I really liked these but maybe because I am used to them. Because often people say it sounds like an out of tune instrument to them. Anyway; if anyone has some time to listen and share some opinions I would love to hear them.


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#2171256 - 10/24/13 12:50 PM Re: Interesting Listen: Piano Tuned to Microtonal Scales [Re: sydnal]  
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His performance is very interesting! Perhaps this is too obvious, but it reminds me a lot of some works by Fazil Say. It's interesting what you say about Huseyni being similar to Dorian. I had never thought of microtonal scales being mostly similar to western scales, but for a few notes "in the gaps." When I think of microtonal music, I automatically think of quarter tone music, such as this, which is really beautiful and eerie, but not similar to your example:


#2171290 - 10/24/13 01:52 PM Re: Interesting Listen: Piano Tuned to Microtonal Scales [Re: sydnal]  
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sydnal Offline
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@MarkH

I agree that the term "microtonal" may not have been completely suitable.

As for reminding you of Fazil Says music; it must have been "Black Earth" by him, because the original folk piece that it's based on is in Huseyni scale. Ofc. Fazil Say plays it on a regular tuned piano but Huseyni is the same as Dorian except two tones, so I guess it sounds somewhat passable. (And of these two tones the 6th degree is close to its Dorian counterpart, it only adds a little spice. That only leaves the 2nd degree which gives the makam most of its unique feel though). Upon searching for more microtonal/makam music I also found a similar guitar, here is an arrangement of the original folk piece "Black Earth" played on it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYnmJetd08s&feature=player_detailpage#t=44


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#2171320 - 10/24/13 02:41 PM Re: Interesting Listen: Piano Tuned to Microtonal Scales [Re: sydnal]  
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I've always been a big fan of Easley Blackwood's work from the early 80's. Not just for the freshness of the microtonal scales, but for the compositions themselves. Here's an example.



-J


Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
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#2171402 - 10/24/13 05:22 PM Re: Interesting Listen: Piano Tuned to Microtonal Scales [Re: sydnal]  
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MarkH Offline
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Seattle, WA
Originally Posted by sydnal

As for reminding you of Fazil Says music; it must have been "Black Earth" by him, because the original folk piece that it's based on is in Huseyni scale.


Yes, in fact, Black Earth is exactly the piece I was thinking of, but I wasn't sure whether some of his other stuff (Anatolia, Violin Sonata) might also have some of these sounds in them.

Thanks for sharing the original folk tune!

P.S. Syndal, do you know a good online (or other) source to read about these tunings?


Last edited by MarkH; 10/25/13 01:29 PM.
#2171444 - 10/24/13 06:49 PM Re: Interesting Listen: Piano Tuned to Microtonal Scales [Re: sydnal]  
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Wyschnegradsky is one of my favourite composers and, had I access to a quarter tone piano, I would be following him every step (or half...or quarter...or.. laugh ) of the way; following is one of my favourite pieces of all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxWRu2PY_c8 Um...his Etude sur le Carre Magique Sonore Op. 40 is incredible also...not amongst my favourites, but you can see how intelligently crafted it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTmMLCJYBE8 Of course, Scelsi is the absolute master of microtones for the acuteness of them, but Coates has some incredible symphonies that deserve a listen...like shimmering oil being slowly whisked into chocolate...um...I had some software that let you compose in microtones but it was *so* complicated! I mean....just...all to do with nodes and ridiculousness...um...microtonal music is, sparing the sonophonic music that's even *more* ignored, my favourite....*so* much more room to express yourself in laugh I mean, to quote Saariaho on serialism: "You were not allowed to have pulse, or tonally oriented harmonies, or melodies. I don't want to write music through negations. Everything is permissible as long as it's done in good taste." One of the worst things about having a digital piano and being a technotard is the inability to play anything other than equal temperament...which, to use the vernacular, *sucks*... frown Anywho, um, I'm glad to see it's not all dead and dying laugh Thank you ^_^
Xxx


Sometimes, we all just need to be shown a little kindness <3
#2171469 - 10/24/13 07:55 PM Re: Interesting Listen: Piano Tuned to Microtonal Scales [Re: FSO]  
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Originally Posted by FSO
One of the worst things about having a digital piano and being a technotard is the inability to play anything other than equal temperament...which, to use the vernacular, *sucks*...


I thought all digital pianos give you access to at least one unequal temperament.

Mine includes Pythagorean, Kirnberger, meantone, and Werckmeister, as well as the microtonal 'Arabic'.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2171519 - 10/24/13 10:13 PM Re: Interesting Listen: Piano Tuned to Microtonal Scales [Re: sydnal]  
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Alas, the Yamaha DGX 520 offers no such luxury...well, unless liberal usage of the pitch bend wheel gets involved...which I'm sure Bach could have mastered [insert musings here] but I simply can not. Though...um...."wooweewooweewoo" *is* microtonal, I suppose we must admit it's true, but it's simply not cricket. It's not even squash...in short; I envy you! laugh


Sometimes, we all just need to be shown a little kindness <3
#2171676 - 10/25/13 06:55 AM Re: Interesting Listen: Piano Tuned to Microtonal Scales [Re: FSO]  
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Originally Posted by FSO
Wyschnegradsky is one of my favourite composers and, had I access to a quarter tone piano, I would be following him every step (or half...or quarter...or.. laugh ) of the way; following is one of my favourite pieces of all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxWRu2PY_c8 Um...his Etude sur le Carre Magique Sonore Op. 40 is incredible also...not amongst my favourites, but you can see how intelligently crafted it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTmMLCJYBE8 Of course, Scelsi is the absolute master of microtones for the acuteness of them, but Coates has some incredible symphonies that deserve a listen...like shimmering oil being slowly whisked into chocolate...um...I had some software that let you compose in microtones but it was *so* complicated! I mean....just...all to do with nodes and ridiculousness...um...microtonal music is, sparing the sonophonic music that's even *more* ignored, my favourite....*so* much more room to express yourself in laugh I mean, to quote Saariaho on serialism: "You were not allowed to have pulse, or tonally oriented harmonies, or melodies. I don't want to write music through negations. Everything is permissible as long as it's done in good taste." One of the worst things about having a digital piano and being a technotard is the inability to play anything other than equal temperament...which, to use the vernacular, *sucks*... frown Anywho, um, I'm glad to see it's not all dead and dying laugh Thank you ^_^
Xxx


I have various software synths that can be tuned in micotones, and the nice thing is that they use the fairly standardized Scala tuning system. That means there are over several thousand pre-made tunings already freely available to load into the synths. And it is still possible to use the program to cook up something new besides those thousands of scales, but you have to learn the program to do it.

More pieces involving microtones -

Toby Twining's Chrysalid Requiem is interesting if for no other reason than the singers actually could sing the microtones! Here is the Kyrie - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHtadMpziY8

Ben Johnston has been doing microtonal stuff for a very long time - he has an interesting series of string quartets that are in various tuning systems. Here's a little pseudo-pop piece of his for microtonal piano that has an interesting way of wandering in and out of microtonal territory.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RT4ChF1cWrc



#2171680 - 10/25/13 07:26 AM Re: Interesting Listen: Piano Tuned to Microtonal Scales [Re: sydnal]  
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sydnal Offline
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@beet31425
That's actually very beautiful and not dissonant sounding to my ears. And I have a strong feeling I have heard something similar somewhere, maybe in a video game soundtrack (Final Fantasy??). Maybe NES/SNES era video game composers (Nobuo Uematsu etc.) explored microtones since midi allows it and that's how I heard something similar.

@MarkH
Unfortunately I do not have any more resources than what could be found on a web search with terms Makam/Maqam. But there are very interesting bits to read, for example take this one from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makam :

Çargah Makam = identical to C Major Scale
"... and in fact has at certain points of history been attacked for being a clumsy and unpleasant makam that can inspire those hearing it to engage in delinquency of various kinds."

Lol XD


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#2171714 - 10/25/13 09:04 AM Re: Interesting Listen: Piano Tuned to Microtonal Scales [Re: sydnal]  
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I'm not sure "microtonal" is the right word for this sort of thing. I think it's more an unequal temperament. Microtonal instruments are able to access the normal chromatic tones and tones in between - ie. dividing the octave into more than 12 parts. This music is still dividing the octave into 12 parts, but they are just different to the normal size. So, I have to conclude this is just a different temperament. It doesn't actually affect the way you play piano, or its notation.

Interesting nevertheless.

#2172554 - 10/26/13 11:11 PM Re: Interesting Listen: Piano Tuned to Microtonal Scales [Re: sydnal]  
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In Spaichingen I had the chance to try out the 1/16-tone Sauter upright piano. It has 96 keys spanning one octave, but otherwise the keyboard looks the same. It is quite disorienting.

Here is someone else trying it out on Youtube:



Yamaha C3, Sauter Delta 185

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