A dithyramb is an ancient Greek lyric poem and/or choric dance celebrating the birth of Dionysus. This piece owes nothing directly to ancient Greek music or poetic meters, but simply tries to evoke a "Dionysian" mood or ethos, albeit a rather languid one. This piece was originally composed for American gamelan with solo English horn. The version recorded here preserves only the English horn melodies and elaborations and the drumming, in the manner of the Balinese kendang, from that composition. The tuning is a fixed scale, a seven-limit version of the ancient Greek chromatic genus proposed by the medieval Arabic theorist Al Farabi (872–950 CE)
For my Irish friends, Matthew, Geraldine, Nora, and Helen Stout. In three sections: 1. Slow Aire/Chorale; 2. Reel 'n' Rock; 3. Rant. The tuning is mostly five-limit, with occasional comma-shifts as required by the harmony, and harmonic sevenths in cadential seventh chords.
A group of rebettika musicians from the opium dens of 1930's Piraeus somehow get mixed up with a 1960's Los Angeles garage band. The scale material is the harmonic series segment 8–16 on C without 13 (in the opening and closing sections) and with 17 added (in the middle sections). (A version of Fake Greek Music was included on the compilation Tellus 14: Just Intonation. This is the same composition, in a new realization and recording.)
Fantasy-world-garage-band music&em;my fantasy of where the music of the psychedelic 60's might have gone if musicians hadn't been coopted quite so soon and so thoroughly. Chord progressions and melodies characteristic of 1960's pop music are imposed on additive rhythms similar to those used in Balkan dance music. Each of the three major sections uses a different, unconventional twelve-tone just scale (described in detail in 1/1 5:1). These tunings are mostly five-limit, with harmonic sevenths added for blue notes and dominant seventh chords. (A version of "Paradigms Lost" was included on the Just Intonation Network cassette compilation Rational Music for an Irrational World; this is the same composition, but a new realization and recording.)
This piece, in two sections, employs varieties of polyphony (counterpoint) characteristic of Western Europe in the late middle ages, renaissance, and early baroque (roughly 1350–1650), while exploring changes of tonal set (mode change; modulation) that are possible only in extended Just Intonation. The first section contrasts subminor tonality, based on the primes three and seven, with the more conventional five-limit minor. The second, longer section makes use of extensive modulations around a five-limit lattice, and, on occasion, between five-limit lattices separated by a factor of seven. Almost by accident, this section came to structurally resemble a classical sonata allegro form, with an exposition, development, and recapitulation.
This is the most overtly microtonal composition on this CD, and one of my most radical intonational experiments to date. The underlying idea is a simple one: to place the microtonal intervals that inevitably result from voice leading when consonant chords in Just Intonation progress by simple intervals in the musical foreground. The choice of a slow tempo and extensive use of portamento (gliding tones) to emphasize these small intervals, along with the prominent role of flute and reed sounds, produces a texture with a certain resemblance to the Ancient Japanese court orchestra, gagaku, although the harmony is Western in origin and nothing in the structure of the piece is derived from Japanese models. The tuning was freely constructed with the composition and involves intervals based on the primes three, five, seven, and eleven.
An extended piece mixing polyphony based on cantus firmus techniques with sections of freely composed heterophony or polyphony. Elements and techniques from medieval European polyphony, Chinese chamber music, and Javanese gamelan freely mix, suggesting, perhaps, the music of some lost civilization in the mountains of central Asia or some uncharted island in the western sea. The tuning was freely constructed as the piece was composed. The cantus firmus that, with variations, underlies and structures much of the piece, uses a hexatonic scale based on the prime numbers three and seven. Additional pitches based on three, five, and seven were added as required by melody, harmony, and counterpoint, for a total of eighteen.