Snapshot No. 2

Here’s another brief example of what can be done with microtonal equal temperaments — a quick pencil sketch, if you will, not a fully worked-out piece. The Asian vibe being unmistakable, I’m calling this “Apple Blossoms on Mt. Yu.”

The scale here is 20-note equal. Most of it is in 10ET, in fact, but there are a couple of inconspicuous chromatic passing tones. The fascinating thing about 20 (or 15, or 10, or 5) is that you have a pentatonic scale in which all five steps are equal interval ratios. The sound of this pentatonic was what inspired the piece.

I have no idea whether Mt. Yu is a real place. Doesn’t matter. If you suspect I’ve been listening to some gamelan, you’re absolutely right. And if you notice the deviations from 4/4 to 5/8 and 11/8, you win a Music Scout merit badge. (The merit badges are made of chocolate, but the scouts seem not to mind.)

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