Of special interest to xenharmonic music enthusiasts will be the upcoming LP from Justin Curfman’s group, Feeding Fingers, entitled, Do Owe Harm, scheduled for release in January 2018. Check out the official video for the track, Fontanelle, spectacularly directed & animated by motion graphic and visual artist Steven Lapcevic:
All of which work together with the impeccable engineering, sound-designs, excellent vocal and ensemble performances, to create a shimmering deep-xen atmosphere. These are some really fresh xenharmonic sounds and I will be looking forward to picking up the record when available next month.
A spectacularly beautiful live performance from Ametsub on the Array Mbira
What will be of particular interest to Xen-Arts visitors, is that Ametsub’s custom Array Mbira is made by the visionary inventor, microtonal musical instrument designer, and just-intonation musician, Bill Wesley. Learn more about their mbira, as well as the work of Bill Wesley and craftsman Patrick Hadley here:
The article covers, encapsulates and extrapolates on topics featured in the Xen-Articles, Microtuning Virtual Instruments series on this site, but features a more in depth examination and PSA about the implementation of the Scala SCL and linear KBM format in software virtual instruments, in an effort to draw attention to why it’s crucial to have the KBM part of the specification available for serious microtonal and xenharmonic music composition.
Please feel free to share your impressions in the comments below, or otherwise on the MIDI Association article page. It would be great to hear from you.
He coined the term “xenharmonic”, designed and built many original microtonal musical instruments, and wrote voluminous amounts of material about various musical tunings. Perhaps his most important contribution to music theory was his idea that different tunings exhibit different “moods”.
Xenharmonic music is that which uses a tuning system which neither conforms to nor closely approximates the common 12-tone equal temperament. The term xenharmonic was coined by Ivor Darreg, from xenia (Greek ξενία), “hospitable,” and xenos (Greek ξένος) “foreign.” He stated it as being “intended to include just intonation and such temperaments as the 5-,7-, and 11-tone, along with the higher-numbered really-microtonal systems as far as one wishes to go.”
John Chalmers, author of “Divisions of the Tetrachord”, writes: “The converse of this definition is that music which can be performed in 12-tone equal temperament without significant loss of its identity is not truly microtonal.” Thus xenharmonic music may be distinguished from the more common twelve-tone equal temperament, as well as some use of just intonation and equal temperaments, by the use of unfamiliar intervals, harmonies, and timbres.
“Xenharmonic” is the generic term that we use to refer to scales that have more, or less, notes per octave than our standard twelve-tone tuning. The pitches in xenharmonic scales are either too close together or too far apart to fit any familiar melody we’ve ever known. However, it is possible to write new music with new harmonic relationships that humankind has never heard before.
Elaine Walker is an electronic musician, microtonal composer, and builds new types of music keyboards. She is also the author of a physics/philosophy book, Matter Over Mind: Cosmos, Chaos, and Curiosity.
Xenharmonic Music Introduction and Tutorial | Brendan Byrnes
Introduction to xenharmonic/microtonal music concepts, tuning, and the harmonic series. Analysis of “Kaleidoscopic”. Music and tutorial by Brendan Byrnes.