Yutaka Sado cannot get enough Shosty…
"There is a great Man living in this country — a composer. He has solved the problem how to preserve one’s self and to learn. He responds to negligence by contempt. He is not forced to accept praise or blame. His name is Ives.“
— Arnold Schoenberg, a note in his private papers written in 1944 and found after his death.
Charles Ives - Three Quarter-Tone Pieces for Two Pianos (1924) - I. Largo
One piano is tuned one-quarter tone down, providing notes in-between the notes of the normally tuned piano.
"Ives crafted the Three Quarter-Tone Pieces for Two Pianos in 1924 from sketches he made in 1904-1914. His curiosity about extensions of standard tuning came naturally. Ives’ father was a notorious tinkerer and loved to experiment with sound:
”’… my father had a weakness for quarter-tones — in fact he didn’t stop even with them. He rigged up a contrivance to stretch 24 or more violin strings and tuned them up to suit the dictates of his own curiosity. He would pick out quarter-tone tunes and try to get the family to sing them, but I remember he gave that up except as a means of punishment — though we got to like some of the tunes which kept to the usual scale and had quarter-tone notes thrown in …
“‘Father had “absolute pitch,” as men say. But it seemed to disturb him; he seemed half ashamed of it. “Everything is relative,” he said. “Nothing but fools and taxes are absolute.” A friend who was a “thorough musician” — he had graduated from the New England Conservatory at Boston — asked why with his sensitive ear he liked to sit down and beat out dissonances on the piano. “Well,” he answered, “I may have absolute pitch, but, thank God, that piano hasn’t.”’ (Ives)
"Ives’s curiosity was thorough. He meticulously considered theories of quarter-tones, and produced tables of quarter-tone scale possibilities. (The standard Western scale is comprised of 12 semitones). Charts of ratios between harmonic overtones, resembling the actuarial tables of his insurance business, fill the early sketches for the quarter-tone works. When he turned to these sketches to write the Three Quarter-Tone Pieces, he also produced an essay, ‘Some Quarter-Tone Impressions.’
"Ives was pedagogic, but not polemical, about writing music outside the realm of conventional tonality. ‘Why tonality as such should be thrown out for good, I can’t see. Why it should always be present, I can’t see … 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?’ He concluded about the stacked chords he constructed, ‘… if listened to several times in succession, it gathers a kind of character of its own — neither major, minor, nor even diminished.’ (Ives)
"Movements i and iii were originally conceived for one piano with two keyboards tuned a quarter-tone apart. Eventually, Ives adopted the two-piano approach (one piano tuned a quarter-tone apart from the other). Ives’s focus in movements i and iii is primarily harmonic, as he broadly sets out processional and hymn-like music, allowing the ear time to absorb the complexities of the strange quarter-tone hybrid chords. Above the chordal accompaniment, Ives spins a cantabile line that bounces between the two differently-tuned pianos. Singing out his Yankee independence, Ives borrows motivically from ‘America’ (‘My country ‘tis of thee’), particularly highlighting the words ‘land where my fathers died!’
"Ultimately the three movements are an homage to his inventive father: ‘The quarter-tone family, like most other families, has a sense of humor. But that’s a rather dangerous thing to refer to; it depends as much on where the catcher’s mitt is as on the pitcher’s curves.’ (Ives)"
Microtonal Prog Metal - CRYPTIC RUSE just released his album "Chains of Smoke" last night! This album uses 13, 15, & 23 divisions of the octave on microtonal guitars and innovative synths. A must listen for prog metal fans and new music enthusiasts.
Aeneas and Achates on the Libyan Coast, Dosso Dossi, ca. 1520
Hurdy-Gurdy, ca. 1750-1800
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The evolution of the Grand Piano
At midnight the devil Chernabog summons evil spirits and restless souls from their graves. The spirits dance and fly through the air until driven back by the sound of an Angelus bell as night fades into dawn. A chorus is heard singing Ave Maria as a line of robed monks is depicted walking with lighted torches through a forest and into the ruins of a cathedral
Modest Mussorgsky - Night On Bald Mountain.
Joseph Haydn : Cello Concerto No. 1 in C Major, Hob. VIIb/1
Review of the Chicago premiere of Mahler’s Symphony Nº. 5, 1907.