LH—And that's why we did, too, as a matter of fact. And I don't think I’d have written directly for Javanese gamelan unless Pak Chokro had asked me to. And so I did. I plunged right in. And have been doing so ever since. We have two kinds of gamelan, one with extended range. Both the Mills and the Si Betty gamelan are each two octaves in the balungan instruments. [The balungan, in Javanese gamelan music, is what some Western musicologists have termed the "nuclear melody." This is sort of a cantus forums, often in equal note values, which is played on a group of usually trough-resonated metallophones with heavy keys, covering a range of three or four octaves.—Ed.] And I don't see how you could do with less. Though you can, of course. Still, there are melodies that don't sound the same if you don't have those notes. So my pieces are divided between those that require extended range, and pieces that are for a standard Javanese gamelan. Well, that's, in a sense, a laugh, because there is no standard Javanese gamelan. They may have seven slendro keys or they may have six. It's up for grabs.

I, however, continue to write for Western instruments, and in the last decade have been involved with the "Northwest-Asian" symphonic world. [Northwest Asia is Lou's term for what is commonly called Europe. In his Music Primer, he says, "Europe is no more a continent than I am, it is simply the other end of Asia."—Ed.] And there, again, I’ve mixed things. The one I mentioned, for Louisville, requires the tuning of a Northwest-Asian orchestra—pianos and harps and things—and also requires the avoidance of certain open strings [in the string section] so that it all makes harmony. And the piano concerto that I wrote a couple years ago, I guess it's two or three by now, requires the retuning of the solo piano into the Kirnberger number 2 [well temperament], which is very harmonious and easy to tune. And that's proved a certain difficulty. And a certain subsidiary thing has happened. When, at Saratoga Springs last summer it was performed, Keith Jarrett played it. They gave him the second piano, of course, and he said he was beyond complaining at that point. But a new thing has arisen, because the piano tuner got a quarter page in the newspaper, with a portrait. Because of this new thing, you see. Finally, the piano tuner gets recognized

DD—It might make them a little less reticent in the future.

LH—Yes, exactly. I should bring this up when anyone complains about having to do it. But a fair number of them enjoy doing it. Of course, it bothers them, because their checkpoints in twelve-tone equal temperament don't exist anymore. I think it throws some of them. But if they actually use their ears, they enjoy it.

DD—Do you find that, in the piano concerto, and other things that you've written that involve non-tempered intonation with an orchestra, that the orchestral musicians are able to hear and play the intonation properly?

LH—Oh yes. Of course, you don't have any trouble with the strings, with slide trombones, and anything that can be retuned, like the harps. In New York, at the first rehearsal of my first piano concerto—I say first because right now I’m doing another one, in which the piano is tuned to a Javanese gamelan—but at the first rehearsal, Dennis [Russell Davies] asked me to explain this, and the musicians got very nervous. And also, there's this added problem: the only pitch in that tuning that's tempered is 'A,' so you can't do the regular D minor triad for the strings, that they’re so accustomed to. So I ask in the score that they tune to D and G, which all of the strings have. They do share those notes. So that scared them in the first place. But they discovered that that's the way they would tune it themselves, anyway. So that was encouraging. Then they started to play, and discovered, of course, that the piano was very much more in tune than had ever occurred before, and they liked it. So the players do like to play it, and there's no difficulty. In the Largo, for example, I make long chord structures, and it's wonderful to hear the piano and the strings exactly in unison, with none of that torsion that I usually experience when equal temperament contrasts with Just Intonation. It's really marvelous to hear the concordance, and they realize that too.

DD—Do you leave out the woodwinds and the valved brass?

LH—Yes. In fact, the piece is called Concerto for Piano with Selected Orchestra. As the next one will be called Concerto for Plano with Javanese Gamelan. I’ve got my piano in here tuned to the Mills gamelan. I haven't done the extreme upper octave, because I tune two or three notes, then write a passage, then realize I need another octave, and go back and retune. [Laughs] But it's going to be fun, and I don't know why no one ever thought of it before, it's a natural of course. to write for piano and gamelan, as it's a natural with harp. I’ve used harp for ages. Before we built our gendér, I needed that sort of sound, and I told Pak Chokro once that I was going to use harp, and he threw his hands up and said, "Oh, I love the harp!" And because of the nature of gamelan. I saw rows of harps. [Laughter] And I’m sure Pak Chokro would use them if we had rows of harps. So I very frequently write for harp with gamelan. I’ve found myself a couple cengkok, little patterns that can be applied. and they're very "harpistic." Sooner or later I’ll write a concerto for harp with gamelan, too. In the meantime, I mix it in with the panerusan [soft elaborating instruments—Ed.], the gendérs and the celempung and the rebab and so on.

DD—To go back to the subject of gamelan and tuning, what makes certain kinds of tunings appropriate to gamelan as opposed to Western instruments?

LH—To me, that's very simple. For example, slendro, which I studied and wrote a little paper about called "Slippery Slendro." [The Javanese use two scale systems. One, slendro, is an anhemitone pentatonic, but neither the familiar minor third-whole tone variety nor, as some early ethnomusicologists concluded, a five-tone equal scale. The other, called pelog, is a seven-tone "gapped" scale that serves as a source of hemitone pentatonlcs.—Ed.] During my trip around the World, I did a lot of recording and studying of gamelan in Java, and talked with a lot of people about this. Because it had been my experience from having heard my pieces played on a number of gamelan that slendro is unstable. The tonic can flip, you know, jump up a fourth in some gamelan. So I thought, since I’m interested in Just Intonation, and all the gamelan we build are in one form or another of it, I’m going to see if I can work out a kind of tuning that is really acceptable to both Javanese and Just Intonation ears. I’d already tuned "Si Betty," but Javanese ears find the pitch 1 in that slendro eccentric. [The slendro of Si Betty consists of harmonics 16, 19, 21, 24, and 28, with 19 in the role of pitch l—Ed.] it's too high. Not that they would complain, Javanese are so tolerant of everything, and it's all just another expression, but I could sense that wouldn't be quite normal, so to speak. Then the Mills gamelan, I tuned as a very classic tetrachordal system. I had by this time decided, as you had too, I’m sure, that the intervals related to the overtone seven are the functional ones in slendro. Either 7/6 or 8/7—they're really important. So I tuned a classic pair of tetrachords, separated by a 9/8, then put an 8/7 at the bottom of each one, which could not be more classical, it's like a Hellenistic mode. And, in fact, Larry London matched one of the Hellenistic modes with it, and wrote for his wire-strung harp, with the gamelan. Then, when I went around the world and began to study it, I noticed that the Javanese like very wide intervals between 1, 2, and 3, so I decided to put two 8/7's together there. Then that leaves you with two choices: either you go up a 7/6, from pitch 3 to pitch 5, or you can leave a remainder there, for the just 3/2 from pitch 1 to pitch 5. Then you have between 3 and 5 an interval which is slightly less than a 7/6—it's one of those in the hundreds—it's still rational but it's in the hundreds [147/128—Ed.]. From there you would use another 8/7 between pitch 5 and 6, you see, and then you would have a 7/6 ending up there between 6 and 1. [1 <8/7> 2 <8/7> 3 <147/128> <8/7> 6 <7/6> 1—Ed.]

However, there's another way to do it, and that is to run them up just: 8/7, 8/7, 7/6, 8/7, and then the remainder up top [147/128 again—Ed.], if you're going to consider it as a closed octave in a 2/1. [1 <8/7> 2 <8/7> 3 <7/6> 5 <8/7> 6 <147/128> 1—Ed.] And there's some thought that the Javanese spiral up by reason of using a full 7/6 up there. They lift the octaves, which is, as far as I’m concerned, the only good reason for distorting octaves. Still, I like a closed 2/1 system, and all of our gamelan are tuned that way, all the way up and down, which results in it sounding funny if you omit an octave .

…Bill [Colvlg] was asked, to my great surprise and delight, to tune the very big gamelan up at Lewis and Clark [in Portland, OR]. Well, you know it's a big gamelan, it's got everything. And to our astonishment, Vince asked Bill to tune it. Well it was, at the time we started, running about five simultaneous slendros, it was just outrageous. So I thought, this is my chance. I had, in the mean time, taken two versions of these tunings to Pak Chokro, and I took alternate slabs so he could hear them. First I put on the one that had the just 1 to 5, that is a 3/2 there, and that compressed the 3 to 5 relationship. And he listened to it and said, "Oh, Jogya, Jogya." And then I put the lifted 5, with the remainder up at the top, and he said, "Surakarta, straight Solo." [In central Java there are two old court cities, centers of culture, in close proximity: Jogyakarta ("Jogya") and Surakarta ("Solo"). These two cities, while they share a common musical heritage, present that heritage with distinct stylistic variations, like that referred to above—Ed.] So Pak Chokro was perfectly happy with either one of those. (This had all happened before we started to tune the Lewis and Clark gamelan.) So what I did was to slip in, because I know Vince McDermott loves the Solo style, I slipped in the one that Pak Chokro had said was Solo, that's the one that has the remainder between 6 and 1 up at the top, to try to correct that condition of multiple slendros. And Vince said, "Oh, it will take some getting used to," but we did it and he liked it. And then when Widiyanto went up there [Widiyanto S. Putro, a brilliant young Solonese third-generation dalang (shadow-play performer), composer, and gamelan director currently teaching at Lewis and Clark], he called us twice from Portland, and said "Oh, this tuning touches my heart!" That was a sort of determinant, and Pak Chokro likes it too, very much. So that swept the boards. So I had this gamelan ["Si Aptos," the central Javanese iron gamelan in Lou's home in Aptos, CA—Ed.] tuned to that, too. Then I found that I’m getting to be like Claudius Ptolemy. I have to have an interlocked series of superparticular ratios. There's no getting around it, I’m unhappy if I don't. And so, I pulled down pitch 6, and eliminated the remainder, and that gave a 9/8 again. Well, what that did, of course, was to flip us into another tetrachordal scheme which begins on pitch 2. 2 to 5 is then just, then there's a 9/8 again,· and from 6 up to 2 is still just. So actually it's like the Mills tuning, except that it has flipped, and it gives us two consecutive 8/7's, between 1, 2, and 3. And that has proved very satisfactory. [2 <8/7> 3 <7/6> 5 <9/8> 6 <7/6> 1 <8/7> 2—Ed.] I venture that if Pak Chokro heard it, he would regard it as another inflection of a Jogya-style tuning. This is to point out that slendro is slippery and subtle, because the difference between 7/6 and the fraction interval [147/128] is minute [27 cents—Ed.1. But it was enough to disturb me, so that I had to put in that 9/8, so that every interval in Si Aptos is a superparticular ratio. And everybody loves it.