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Microtone Pianos

The piano: historical and mechanical information
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Microtone Pianos

Postby PJF » 26 Oct 2006, 02:29

Microtonality is the division of an octave into more than the usual twelve tones. I don't know much about this oddity, yet. The pianos in this recording have been retuned so that an octave consists of 17 tones. At first, it just sounded out of tune, but after a few listenings, I realized there is order in the chaos, just not what we normally think of as order. The intervals one thinks of in music do not apply. I suppose intervals heard here could be a major3.35th or a minor 9.17th. However, the re-tuned pianos are normal instruments. The pitches have just been altered.

Youtube is down, I'll link to the weird piece later.

Here is a link to a true microtone piano site. This is so bizzare.


http://www.sauter-pianos.de/english/pia ... otone.html
Last edited by PJF on 26 Oct 2006, 02:36, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby PJF » 26 Oct 2006, 02:35

http://www.sauter-pianos.de/english/pia ... creen=true

Check out the interval between f and fis! (F and F-sharp) From ti to do there are eight keys!
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Postby jre58591 » 26 Oct 2006, 17:21

i wonder if herbert henck used one in his recording of clarence barlow's massive microtonal (possibly) piece congluotobusisletmesi, or was the piano just really badly out of tune?
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Postby PianistSk8er » 27 Oct 2006, 17:01

Was this the video?..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY4UwgwV4RY

It sounds... different... :P

PS
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Postby jre58591 » 27 Oct 2006, 17:17

haha its like a mix of charles ives's songs and his 3 quarter tone pieces for two pianos. i just love that "out of tune" noise.
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Postby PJF » 27 Oct 2006, 20:50

Yeah, that's the video. You keep waiting for some kind of resolution, but there is none. After listening to it, I hear twelve-tone music in a whole new light. I know Bartok wrote quarter-tonal pieces, I can't find them, however.

I still haven't heard a true microtone piano, namely the 16th tone piano, which divides the octave into 96 equidistant tones. The 97 key Sauter microtone piano tonal span is only one octave from key #1 to Key #97! On this piano each half-step is subdivided into eight equal tones. That's eight tones in between the note B and the note C. I've yet to find any recording of it.

Are we in the Twilight Zone yet?

:lol:
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Postby juufa72 » 27 Oct 2006, 22:15

maybe it's just me but i don't hear a difference. to me is sounds like the pianos are out of tune and not in time with each other.
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Postby PJF » 27 Oct 2006, 22:31

The pianos in the video are technically retuned. You are right though, as compared to normal pitch, they are out of tune. This weirdness is done on purpose with the intent of creating a new system of harmonics.

Here are excerpts from Charles Ives' "Three Quarter-tone Pieces". Here, two pianos are used, one being a 1/4 tone lower than the other. This is weird stuff, but I really like the last one. These compositions are of a much higher calibre than the one in the video, IMO. Tell me what you all think.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/music/wma-pop- ... 50-6601529
http://www.amazon.com/gp/music/wma-pop- ... 50-6601529
http://www.amazon.com/gp/music/wma-pop- ... 50-6601529
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Postby juufa72 » 27 Oct 2006, 23:56

A little too modern for me. Maybe if this type of piano was available from the start then I would not be saying this :roll:...but thank you I'll stick to what is "normal". :|
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Postby PJF » 28 Oct 2006, 20:24

For the most part I agree; this music is not for easy listening. Artistically and technically, its on a different plane. Where composers like Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Schoenberg stop, Ives begins. Even the most abstract of Shoenberg is still written in the twelve-tone format. Ives' 1/4 tone pieces make Shoenberg's atonal extremes sound like Chopin.

We must make attention of compositions that fly in the face of what is considered "normal", if only with the intent of gaining a fresh appreciation of the divine gift that is classical music.
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