me and my Microtonality

‘it gives me freedom, I can access the notes in between the cracks, it is good for real improvisation and it sounds great’ are just a few of my answers to the question how I came into the world of fretless guitar. I didn’t know much about tuning theories or temperaments, I only learned about the 12 tone equal temperament. Not why and how, only that. Microtones are only to be found in Indian Raga and Arabic Maqam music is a common thought here in the Dutch academic music system, and you should go to the Rotterdam World Music Academy to study it.

My main interest at that time was Jazz and by the time I got interested in the fretless guitar, I already had a Bachelor of Arts. But I started to listen to Arabic and Indian music and even bought a book or two about the musical practices of these regions. Alas, I never became a real student of this material.

Then I found out about Joe Maneri whose recorded music is informed by his microtonal theories and compositions which use 72 equal temperament, the equal division of the octave in 72 parts, although he doesn’t confine himself to that temperament in performance: “We don’t use theories when we play. We can’t. We are those things. If they took X-rays of us, you would see all of the music inside”. This idea really inspired me, I contacted the Boston Microtonal Society and ordered his book ‘Preliminary Studies in the Virtual Pitch Continuum’, which explores this 72 equal temperament. But alas, I never became a real student of his material.

I wanted to wait for my 10-string to be finished to continue my quest. Since the tuning of the open strings will be based on pure intervals, Just Intonation might be the next step.

Shall I ever become a real student of this material?

to be continued…

One thought on “me and my Microtonality

  1. Byzantine music is theorised in 72 equal temperament; it is purely vocal and monodic.
    It is the music of The Orthodox Christian Church and believed to be inspired directly by God.

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