Articles

BETWEEN U S: A HyperHistory of American Microtonalists

Twelve-tone equal temperament, as this common tuning is called, is a 20th-century phenomenon, a blandly homogenous tuning increasingly imposed on all the world’s musics in the name of scientific progress. In short, twelve-tone equal temperament is to tuning what the McDonald’s hamburger is to food.

What is your favorite tuning system? Why? Johnny Reinhard, Composer, Bassoonist, Director of the American Festival of Microtonal Music

Johnny Reinhard in Kazan, Russia Photo by Svetlana Sokolova Here in the new millennium composers look about and wonder what connects them together. The answer appears to be the musical intelligence that they possess. Ever since Howard Gardner designated “musical intelligence” as the one of the legitimate human intelligences in his book Frames of Mind, […]

What is your favorite tuning system? Why? Joe Monzo, Composer and Theorist

Joe Monzo Photo courtesy Joe Monzo Ever since encountering Harry Partch‘s Genesis of a Music in the early 1980s, I’ve been most interested in just-intonation (JI) tuning systems. The initial reason for my interest was that I realized there were far more pitches available to composers than the usual 12, and that their relationships could […]

Earning Interest for New Music

Frank J. OteriPhoto by Melissa Richard As one of many American composers who has yet to make a living from composing music, I am simultaneously perplexed and humbled by the economics of music making in a free market economy. Like so many of my colleagues following in the grand American tradition of William Billings and […]

On the Money: New Music Funding in the United States

Theodore WiprudPhoto by Melissa Richard Think “new music,” and chances are, whatever you mean by “new music” does not earn its keep. Fortunately, there is more to musical life than earned income. That’s because in the United States there exists a highly developed world of nonprofit institutions, and a tax code that encourages their support […]