The People variation 5 – take 15

Here is a proposal for variation #5 of People. It’s based on the harmonies of measures 11 & 12. Out of the 5:4 Utonality I derive a just E minor and D minor. Out of the 4:3 Otonality, I pull a just A major. Inside the 16:9 Otonality, there is a just D major.

Unfortunately the most prominent note is D, but it shifts from 182 to 204 cents depending on the tonality I’m in. The same is true of other notes, like F, which goes from 460 to 498 cents. And Bb from 969 to 983 to 996. G stays at 702 cents, which is nice.

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People var #5 – 15

People #4

Opening score of People

This is the fourth try at a tuning that sounds reasonable. I’m using the same two utonal and three otonal 16 note scales as the source for the notes. I start at with the 9:8 utonality, which has a very nice D minor and A minor modes. In measure 6 I shift to the 5:4 utonality to play a sweet G minor and A major, the D minor and F major modes. Each is unique and charming, to my ears.

Rzewski used this theme as the vehicle for 36 variations that explored the range of pianistic techniques that he was so famous for. It’s really a wonderful piece. I don’t plan to transcribe his variations at this point. I may come back to variation 13, my favorite. My intention is to explore the tuning in different ways. I’ve been playing along on my little Midi keyboard in the various tuning, and have found some delightful keys that I plan to explore. And I can transpose the tunings in interesting ways as well.

The People United Can Never Be Defeated.

People #2

I made a few changes to the tuning. It’s still very rough. This will take some time.
Basically, I use the following five 16-note scales which are either otonal (overtone based) or utonal (undertone based).

  • 9:8 utonal
  • 5:4 utonal
  • 4:3 otonal
  • 16:9 otonal
  • 1:1 otonal

The 16-note utonal scales four “minor”, one neutral but close to major, and one major scales. The otonal scales can create 3 major and three “minor” scales. From all those scales I pull the tones I need to make each measure as consonant as I can.

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The People United Can Never Be Defeated – Frederic Rzewski #2
People first page

The People United Can Never Be Defeated – Frederic Rzewski

This is a version of the first movement of the Rzewski piece with some altered tuning based some otonal and utonal scales derived from the tonality diamond to the 31 limit. I’m not happy with some of the tuning and will continue to work on some different chords.

The piece is a set of 36 variations for virtuoso piano on the Chilean song “¡El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!” by Sergio Ortega and Quilapayún, which was popular in the 60’s and 70’s in Chile. Rzewski wrote his variations in 1975 as a protest against the repressive regime of Augusto Pinochet. Some say the U.S. had a major role in the coup that lead to Pinochet’s rule, which lasted from the 70’s into the 90’s.

The first movement is just a statement of the theme. I like the romantic harmonies, which sound ironic in a protest song. I hope to take the tuning into interesting areas as I continue to learn the piece.

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The People United Can Never Be Defeated – Frederic Rzewski #1
People first page

Fantasy on Ave Maria – recomposed by Lizst from Schubert – #5 – in progress

Here’s the first six measures of a recomposition of Lizst’s recomposition of Schubert’s Ave Maria. In this one I’ve stretched the tuning with some high number ratios. Not very far at this point, but that’s the direction. I also play with the thumb melody. In the Lizst version, the vocal part is played by the thumbs, between the high and low arpeggios. In this recomposition, they can go anywhere, and slide into place, or trill and slide simultaneously, or tremelo. More to come.

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Fantasy on Ave Maria #5
Ave Maria first page

Ave Maria by Schubert, recomposed by Liszt #2

This is a realization of Ave Maria by Schubert, as re-composed by Franz Liszt. It’s a very familiar tune; it is often performed as Schubert wrote it, for tenor and piano. Liszt decided that he could play it all by himself. It’s devilishly difficult, as you have to play the melody with alternating thumbs of each hand, while playing thick chords and arpeggios above and below. It’s also a challenge to transcribe for Csound, since each measure contains up to 100 different notes. One measure (3:20 into the piece) took me an hour and a half, with most requiring at least 30 minutes. That compares to Standchen, which I could transcribe each measure in about five minutes.

The tuning is Carl Lumma’s VRWT temperament transposed to B flat.
Lumma temperament

The piece is realized using Csound on Prent’s Microtonal Slide Bosendorfer.

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Ave Maria #2
Ave Maria first page