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xenharmonic (microtonal wiki)
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Seventeen Equal Divisions of the Octave (as opposed to the usual 12) is a microtonal/xenharmonic scale with no shortage of musical potential, but a scale in which very little music has been written. The Seventeen Tone Piano Project was initiated in Houston in 2006 when two of Rice University's surplus pianos were tuned to the 17-EDO scale. Since then, four concerts or 'phases' have been organized with this name, which featured new 17-tone music by Rice composers as well as microtonalists around the world. For recordings and more information about the project, visit
Phase Four of the project began with a CALL FOR MICROTONAL SONGS and culminated in (1) a sing-along/sharing on
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
at the Bonnie Brae house, and (2) a presentation of songs on
Thursday, May 1, 2008
at Hirsch Orchestra Rehearsal Hall, Rice University, Houston, TX.
17 Tone Piano Project Phase 4 Program and Recordings
(5- and 7-limit JI) ~ micro choir
Needs A Title
(17-edo) ~ Dan Sedgwick & Lembit Beecher, pianos
These Things Don't Happen Here
(24-edo) ~ Ian Dicke, guitar
Cirrus and Pileus
(17-edo) ~ Ryan Stickney, mezzo-soprano; Dan Sedgwick & Jacob Barton, pianos
(17-edo) ~ An Exciting Event, autoharp, violin, udderbot, voices
Lost and Found Things, #2
(17-edo) ~ micro choir
(13-limit JI) ~ micro choir
Paul Rapoport: "Goodbye (Apple)" and "Bananas" from
Songs of Fruits and Vegetables
(31-edo) (unreleased) ~ micro choir
(17-edo) ~ Jacob Barton, sharps piano
Dirt, dust, and pollen, paralleled by signal bells
In two parts because of file size restrictions
) (JI) ~ Travis Weller, owl
(24-edo) ~ Meghan Tarkington, soprano; Hilary Abigana, flute; Marjorie Gere, violin
(BP) ~ Jacob Barton, voice; Lembit Beecher & Dan Sedgwick, keyboards; Shawn Conley, double bass; Ben Grow, beatboxing
Confrontation and Finale
Story Worth Telling
(17-edo) ~ Meghan Jacob Ben Dan Lembit
Marjorie Gere & Meghan Tarkington, soprano
Angelique Poteat & Ryan Stickney, alto
Jacob Barton & Dan Sedgwick, tenor
Benjamin Grow & Brian Nelson, bass
Page with embedded flash players
*) NB: due to an organizational error this was not presented as an official Shepherd School of
"concert", but instead an independently produced "showcase".
The call for songs
'MICROTONAL': intentionally deviating from the (Western-music) norm of 12 tones per octave, AND not restricted to 17 tones per octave either.
'SONGS': anything unashamed to call itself a 'song' is welcome. Some suggestions: art songs; madrigals; ballads; rounds (naïve and/or virtuosic); canons; "children's music"; singalongs; campfire songs; musical games; pedagogical ditties and mnemonic devices; spirituals from another planet. The line between 'professional' and 'amateur' is blurred.
INSTRUMENTATION: Preference will be given to songs with at least one vocal part. Up to 6 voices (SSATTB) are available, but there is a maximum of 6 performers total, including the use of any combination of these instruments:
the Seventeen Tone Pianos (see below for details)
grand piano (in 12-EDO)
freely sliding instruments: fretless strings, trombone & slide trumpet, udderbot
standard woodwinds, brass, percussion, WITH the necessary attention paid to the rendering of the needed microtones (i.e. fingerings for woodwinds)
a variety of software and hardware synthesizers, capable of any tuning system imaginable, with various MIDI controller devices. Inquire for details.
Some performers can sing and play multiple instruments as well—inquire for details.
LENGTH: maximum five minutes for each submission.
REQUIREMENTS for submission: Send a score, recording, or even both. Include a clear description of the required tuning (and notation, if unconventional). Mockup recordings at learning tempo for rehearsal purposes are much appreciated! Send submissions by APRIL 1, 2008. Let us know your intentions before then, if possible.
Inquiries and submissions go to
Seventeen Tone Piano Project
c/o Dan Sedgwick
1618 Bonnie Brae
Houston, TX 77006
VISIT: Let us know if you plan to attend. You may bring your own performers, or yourself as a performer, if you'd like. The sing-along will be an informal opportunity to share, teach, and learn music. The concert will be audio-recorded at the very least.
PIANOS: the Seventeen Tone Pianos are two pianos tuned to overlapping 12-out-of-17-EDO scales. Following the circle-of-fifths naming system for 17, the white keys of both pianos are tuned identically, to the (notated) C major scale (C D E F G A B). The piano called "flat" has black keys tuned to (Db Eb Gb Ab Bb); the one called "sharp" has (C# D# F# G# A#). Remember, C# is HIGHER than Db! In scores with separate staves for each piano, it is not necessary to spell chords with these distinctions; notating intervals in their most common appearance is recommended for quick readability, e.g. Eb-C in the sharp piano part, rather than D#-C.
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