10 November 2010

Music for 1/4, 5/16, and 3/8 of a tone. Charles Ives asks: "If an addition of a series of smaller tone divisions is to be added to our semi-tone system to help round out our souls, how much of a fight will the ears have to put up?" (Emphasis is mine.) I will ease you gently into the quarter-tone world over the next three hours.

Set #1 - 8:00am - 9:00am

1. Charles Ives: Three Quarter-Tone Pieces for Two Pianos (1903-23)
Herbert Henck - piano, Deborah Richards - second piano
Charles Ives: Piano Pieces
Wergo, WER 60112-50
(A sandwich.)

2. Henry Mancini: Excerpts from Wait until Dark OST (1967)
Henry Mancini - conductor
Wait until Dark Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film Score Monthly, Vol.10 No.7
(Something you'd sooner expect from Morricone: pianos tuned a quarter-tone apart set the tone for this suspense thriller. I skip the pop song (it was too clashy even for me), but the Manciniesque source cues remain. It makes for a variegated listening experience nonetheless. My only criticism is that Mancini doesn't exploit the quarter-tones to their full potential.)

Set #2 - 9:00am - 11:00am

3. same as track 1

4. Jack Behrens: Utopianism for found piano (1994)
Jack Behrens - piano
Sound Ecology 3: Perception
Musicworks, 64
(A severely out-of-tune piano, abused by years of environmental extremes. Jack Behrens writes: "Each piano key had to be considered as an individual sound source, not necessarily related in any rational manner to the other eighty-four." Rational in the mathematical sense of whole number ratios, i.e. Pythagorean tuning. I will broadcast this piece twice.)

5. Getting in Tune (rec. 2005)
Ramin Zoufonoun - Persian-tuned piano, Abbas Etemadzadeh - tombak & daf, Jamshid Zarringhalam - voice
Getting in Tune: Improvisations on Persian-Tuned Piano
Ramin Zoufonoun, n.n.
(Did I hear right? Is that a V-I root movement in the bass? Below, an example of Persian-tuned piano technique. Hey, if your music was monodic, you'd tickle the ivories like this too.)

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