A couple of months ago I learned one or two pieces in Book 4 of Bela Bartok’s Mikrokosmos. And yesterday one of the people on the Xenharmonic Alliance II group on Facebook posted a link to a really nice piece for solo piano (digital, of course) in 17-note equal temperament.
Inspired by that piece, I figured I’d try my hand at a Mikrokosmos-style piece — short, melodic, and harmonically modern, in 17et. It only took a few hours to whip something up:
In case you’re curious: No, that wasn’t played in real time. There’s a lot of hand-editing of note lengths and velocities, quantizing, trying different harmonies by dragging the notes up and down, and manually adjusting the tempo here and there. After listening to it for a couple of days, I made still more edits, which are now in the file you’re listening to. Hope you like it.
I’m still foodling with the question of how best to notate a 17-note scale on a conventional five-line staff. Or even whether to bother. If you look at the Wikipedia article on 17et, you’ll find Easley Blackwood’s method. Easley obviously put a lot of thought into questions of this sort, but I find it odd that his chromatic scale zigzags. The first three notes, for instance, are C, D-flat, and then C-sharp. Also, with his method the interval of a neutral third (which divides the perfect fifth evenly) is spelled either as an augmented second or as a diminished fourth, never as a third. Read the rest of this entry »