David B. Doty:
Composer Bio and Résumé

David B. Doty (born 1950) is a primarily self-taught composer, performer, theorist, and synthesist.  He is a leading authority on Just Intonation, having composed exclusively in just tunings for over thirty years, and is the author of The Just Intonation Primer (San Francisco: The Just Intonation Network. 1993, 1994, 2002). He began building instruments and composing in 1970, inspired by the work of Harry Partch and other “outside” composers. In 1975, Doty cofounded the San Francisco–based experimental music ensemble Other Music (1975–1986), along with Henry Rosenthal and Dale Soules. After studying intonation with Lou Harrison at the Center for World Music in Berkeley, he began a series of experiments with justly tuned metallophones, culminating in the creation of Other Music’s American gamelan, a large ensemble of instruments tuned to a just scale of fourteen tones per octave, designed by Doty and Soules. Doty was Other Music’s most prolific composer; his compositions were featured on numerous performances by the group throughout Northern California, including the 1978 and 1979 Cabrillo Music Festivals. Some of his compositions from this period can be heard on Other Music’s two LP recordings, Prime Numbers (1980) and Incidents Out of Context (1983).

After the break-up of Other Music, Doty composed mainly for MIDI instruments in a studio environment, taking advantage of the more extensive pitch sets and greater variety of timbres available from computer-controlled synthesizers and samplers; a selection of his works for this medium are featured on his 1998 CD Uncommon Practice. He has recently (2003) resumed composing music that can be performed in real-time on acoustic and electroacoustic instruments. Movements from his Steel Suite for Just Steel Guitar were performed in 2005 by John Schneider at Microfest 2005 (Los Angeles), The Just Intonation Network Twentieth Anniversary Series (San Francisco), and the La Guitarra California festival (San Luis Obispo). A keyboard version of the Steel Suite was recorded by harpsichordist Jonathan Salzedo, with the aid of a Subito grant from the American Composers Forum.

Doty is a founder of the Just Intonation Network and was the editor of the network’s journal, 1/1, from 1985 through 2006.

 

Selected Compositions, 1975–2006

Title

Date

Instrumentation

Recorder Piece #1 for Henry Rosenthal

1975

Any Number of Recorders

Recorder Piece #2 for Henry Rosenthal

1975

Any Number of Recorders

4 x 4 for Tape Loop

1975

Two Tape Decks, Four Vocalists

Phase Canon #1

1975

Two Recorders

Envelope Study

1975

Four Cone Gongs

Cycle of Five, #3

1976

Tubular Chimes, Five Players

Hocket

1976

Consort of Four Equal Instruments

HUMNE MOUSA

1976

Four or More Chanting Voices

Prolation Canon

1976

Consort of Four Equal Instruments

5 x 4

1976

Tubular Chimes, Four Players

Mixed Consort #1

1976

Tubular Chimes, Flute, Violin

242 + 1

1977

Three Metallophones and Two Stamping Tubes (later revised for Other Music’s American Gamelan)

Lagu Chondong

1978

Other Music’s American Gamelan

Song of the Apostate

1978

Other Music’s American Gamelan

Sunagi

1978

Other Music’s American Gamelan

Gending: A Waning Moon

1979

Other Music’s American Gamelan, with Solo Flute

Recom III/River of Dreams

1979

Other Music’s American Gamelan

Dithyramb

1980

Other Music’s American Gamelan, with Solo English Horn
(later revised for MIDI instruments)

Score for Surface Tension1

1981

Other Music’s American Gamelan, plus Electronic Keyboards

Music with Too Many Parts

1981

Other Music’s American Gamelan, plus Electronic Keyboards

Waltz in Pelog

1981

Other Music’s American Gamelan, with Solo Cello

Music With Four Tones

1978–79

Other Music’s American Gamelan

Fake Greek Music

1984–95*

MIDI Instruments

Fake Irish Music

1984–95*

MIDI Instruments

Paradigms Lost

1984–95*

MIDI Instruments

Sarabande

1984–95*

MIDI Instruments

Waters of the Abyss

1984–95*

MIDI Instruments

Son of Fake Greek Music

1984–95*

MIDI Instruments

Rituals and Ceremonies

1984–95*

MIDI Instruments

Contrapunctus 1.01

1984–95*

MIDI Instruments

Bodhisattvas in Berkeley—Mu!

1984–95*

MIDI Instruments

Paradigms Lost

1984–95*

MIDI Instruments

Lament in Didymus Chromatic

2003–06

Just Harpsichord, Tack Piano, or Electronic Keyboard

Suite for Just Steel Guitar

2003–06

National Reso-Phonic Just Intonation Guitar

3 x 7 Recorder Duo #1

2004–06

Modified Alto and Tenor Recorders

Variations on a Ground (Movement for String Quartet)

2005–06

String Quartet

*MIDI pieces were begun at different times and worked on and revised repeatedly until the creation of the Uncommon Practice CD, so that it is impossible to accurately determine start and finish dates for any of these pieces.

1. A performance piece by Laura Farabough and Nightfire Theater