DD—What about pelog. Are you still inclined toward high prime numbers, like 17 and 19?

LH—I have not tuned a pelog in some time, it would take me some thought. The reason that both the Si Betty and the Mills gamelan are what they are, and are the same is, in part, an honor to Pak Chokro. I know that's maybe not the right thing to say, considering what it is. You know the origin of it. I was hunting in the overtone series that Bill ran me up, and I was just striking a succession of them, hunting for a pelog, because, you remember, I think, in that World Music course over in Berkeley [a class called "Intonation in World Music," which Lou offered at the Center for World Music in Berkeley, in the summer of 1975, which triggered a great deal of American gamelan activity—Ed.] I had somehow conceived by this time the notion that somewhere in the upper overtones lay a pelog for every gamelan, so I was trying them out. And the one I found which I was playing in my office at San Jose State began on 12. It went 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 21. [in other terms: 1/1, 13/12, 716, 17/12, 3/2, 19/12, 7/4—Ed.] And I liked it. And I’d just been playing it and Pak Chokro knocked on the door. He had been in the gamelan room, which was right next to my office. And he asked me what I was doing, and I told him, and then he asked me to repeat the last one I’d been doing. And he listened very carefully, and he said it was a very good pelog, and it would be very good for singing with. So I learned two things right away: that it was an OK pelog, and that some pelogs are better to sing with than others. So I checked it off in my head and I thought, if we build a gamelan (we hadn't done anything like that at the time) I will do that. So Bill ran it up for me when we started to build Si Betty, and I got scared, because pitch 2 sounded outrageous. That 13, you know, it just undid me. So hastily, in panic, I went through all the tapes and records I had of Javanese gamelan, and it turned out that it's almost identical with Guntur Sari, an 18th century gamelan that's quite famous. So I thought well, OK we'll try it. So we ran it up, and Pak Chokro was, of course, perfectly right, as he always is. And the first time we sang with it, it was like failing off a log. When you consider that your thirds are 7/6's and that you're singing pretty high ratios, for the most part, it's astonishing. As I have said frequently, if you'd told me ten years ago that you could sing a series like that, I’d have said no way. But there it is. If I were going to design a pelog now, it would take me a lot of work, for various reasons. I’d make another kind, probably.

The only trouble we had with it was when we recorded with the Mirecourt Trio, when we recorded my Double Concerto [Double Concerto for Violin and Cello with Javanese Gamelan], they were troubled by pitch 2, too. It's a little far out for a Northwest Asian ear, so to speak.

DD—Thirteen is a number that I haven't found my personal use for, yet.

LH—I know, I’m still struggling with it. The piano in here now is tuned to that same pelog, and I’m having difficulty making melodies that make sense with it, you know, which to me is the final test. I’m a "melode" in the old sense. But maybe I can, I’m still working with it. To have it right under your fingers like that is a little bit of a help.

DD—Have you developed any kind of a formal or informal theory of interval affect?

LH—No, I haven't. I gave that up some time ago. I did an awful lot of reading in New York, and for a few years afterward, on those subjects; and I really don't know anything about it. All I know is that some intervals and their combinations affect me, but I don't know how. The associational aspects of those things are just baffling to me.

… You mean the whole business of this mode is proper at three in the afternoon, and will not cause thunder, whereas this one will at five in the morning? You mean that?

DD—Yes, that sort of thing.

LH—I love it, of course. And the pictures of those ladles in swings, and romantic moonlight trysts with lovers in landscapes, and Miss A-Minor Raga, as opposed to Miss Georgia Peach … [general hysteria] … and we don't have anything like that.

I love it, but I cannot make any connection personally with it. …All those wonderful Hellenistic modes, that series between Archytas and Didymus, I think they're absolutely ravishing, and I love Larry London's use of them. He'll take one seven-tone mode from that period, or even from the later Islamic developments of them, and make whole suites out of tones chosen out of them. I do recognize a difference in quality and feeling between those modes, but I can't associate it with ladles in swings. Or, for example, as I like to point out to the San Francisco Architectural Club. the Greeks left us three genera of tetrachords: enharmonic, chromatic, and diatonic. And they also left us Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders of architecture. Whether they're related I haven’t a clue. And Plato's suggestion that some modes ought to be banned from the perfect society sort of baffles me. I don't understand. I’m subject to musical excitation; there's really very little doubt of that. I’m what Virgil [Thomson] keeps calling "audio-visceral."

 I tend to think that interval relationships themselves really don't tell the story. I think it has to do with rhythm, too. Because for me, music is essentially a song and dance. And if the dance part isn't there. I have more trouble discerning any specific expression in the interval series.