Saturday, February 28, 2009

Interval of the Day: Unisons and the Square-root-of-2


The unison and the Square-root-of-2. Suggesting the possibility of treating these intervals as "harmonic equivalents" - in the same manner octaves function as identical pitch classes in most of the world's music.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Scale of the Day: D Pythagorean Chromatic - Ionian Mode


The D Pythagorean Chromatic - Ionian Mode - Scale. The 4/3 perfect fourth is the only utonal member of this scale (in this example, Ionian means having just one utonal member). All the other frequency ratios have the largest prime factor (3, Pythagorean tunings are 3-limit) in the numerator. This necessitates the unusual spelling of these intervals. The 2187/2048 is the Pythagorean augmented unison represented as D-sharp. The 19683/16384 is the Pythagorean augmented second represented as E-sharp. Pythagorean scales do not have enharmonic equivalence the way equal temperament does.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Scale of the Day: F Lydian no 5 1% wide


The F Lydian no 5 1% wide Scale. Subtracted and stretched, making the gap opened up by omitting the fifth just slightly wider.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Original Concepts

Joe Henderson: Mode for Joe. 1966. (re-released in 1988). Blue Note Records: CDP 7 84227 2.

Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone
Lee Morgan: trumpet
Curtis Fuller: trombone
Bobby Hutcherson: vibes
Cedar Walton: piano
Ron Carter: bass
Joe Chambers: drums

The iconic title track - a staple sound when calling the sound of Joe Henderson to mind - is actually composed by pianist Cedar Walton. As is the excellent bop classic "Black." Given the incredible improvisational prowess of Joe Henderson, it's surprising how few Joe Henderson originals spring to mind when feeding the addiction to his tone. Mode for Joe offers a glimpse into the creative mind of Henderson's world with such originals: "A Shade of Jade," "Caribbean Dance" and "Granted." The rest of this disc is the impossible talent assembled for this session along with "Free Wheelin'" penned by the trumpet great Lee Morgan. All in all, a recording that belongs on even the shortest lists of jazz must-haves.

James Tenney: Postal Pieces. 2004. New Worlds Records: 80612-2.

The Barton Workshop
Jos Zwaanenburg: flutes
Alex Geller, Nina Hitz, Judith van Swaaij: cellos
Marieke Keser, Jacob Plooij: violins
Elisabeth Smalt: viola
John Anderson: clarinets
Gertjan Loot: trumpet
Krijn van Arnhem: bassoon, contrabassoon
Frank Denyer: melodica
Charles van Tassel
: baritone
Theo van Arnhem, Jos Tieman: contrabasses
James Fulkerson: conductor, trombone, live electronics
Tatiana Koleva, Tobias Liebezeit: percussion
Ulrike von Meier: harp

Maximusic (1965)
Swell Piece (1967)
A Rose Is a Rose Is a Round (1970)
Beast (1971)
Swell Piece #2 (1971)
Having Never Written a Note for Percussion (1971)
Koan (1971)
For Percussion Perhaps, Or... (night) (1971)
Swell Piece #3 (1971)
Cellogram (1971)
August Harp (1971)

James Tenney was a friend and an important mentor for me personally. His encouragement to keep one's ears open carries on as these Postal Pieces present the conceptual riches contained within "simple" - often singular - ideas communicated on a score no larger than a post card. Having Never Written a Note for Percussion is presented as a single note (with tremelo) notated with a crescendo and decrescendo underneath. In practice, this shape unfolds as a stunning texture of enharmonic partials rolling off of a cymbal struck repeatedly over a meditative duration. A conceptual idea that suggests endless permutations on gongs, electronics, ensembles or any other imagined instrumentation. For Percussion Perhaps, Or... is performed on trombone and live electronics by James Fulkerson on this collection. The beauty of this sound drawing its form and impetus from the bare essentials communicated from the small score. The Swell Pieces are exquisite, artful texture studies realized by the Barton Workshop. Each realization is a drama-free, taut study in focused listening and understanding that gently celebrates the wonders of human auditory perception.

Anthony Braxton: 9 Compositions (Iridium) 2006 [disc 6]. 2006: Firehouse 12 Records: FH12-04-03-001.

Recorded live: March 17, 2006 at Iridium Jazz Club, New York City.

The Anthony Braxton 12+1tet
Anthony Braxton: composer, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, sopranino saxophone, clarinet and Eb contalto clarinet
Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet, flugelhorn, trumpbone, piccolo trumpet, bass trumpet, shell
Andrew Raffo Dewar: soprano saxophone, c-melody saxophone, clarinet
James Fei: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet
Mary Halvorson: electric guitar
Stephen H. Lehman: alto saxophone, sopranino saxophone
Nicole Mitchell: flute, alto flute, bass flute, piccolo, voice
Jessica Pavone: viola, violin
Reut Regev: trombone, flugelbone
Jay Rozen: tuba, euphonium
Sara Schoenbeck: bassoon, suona
Aaron Siegel: percussion, vibraphone
Carl Testa: acoustic bass, bass clarinet

Disc 6 = Composition 355 - dedicated to the multi-instrumentalist/composer Gino Robair

Ghostrancendentalism from a hot, large ensemble. Instrumental big bands may be the most attractive medium of all - and few have worked out such a methodical application of multi-layered group free improvisation with as much rigor and result as Anthony Braxton. My slow ride through this multi-night stint at New York's Iridium has finally reached the sixth disc. So far each has been a wonder. Each has been a hour-long mural of vibrant color and detail. Music that begs for total immersion into its own, inner logics. Composition 355 offers up some heavy contrast between group unison and independence as well as pulse-state textures and wild flights of fancy.

Wrong Answer

The Baltimore Symphony @ The Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Baltimore, MD
Friday, February 20, 2009

Marin Alsop: conductor

Charles Ives: The Unanswered Question
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No. 29 in A Major
Camille Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 in C Minor, opus 78 ("Organ")

The Unanswered Question
was composed as "A Contemplation of a Serious Matter" (the title Ives originally gave this work). Serious contemplation was missing in the aurally crippling liberties exercised by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Friday's performance, and botched attempt to re-work this quietly insistent piece into a spatial construct, offered a poor answer that undermined the serious sincerity behind one of the twentieth century's great sonic portraits.

Composed for the three independent units of strings, flute quartet and solo trumpet, the Ivesian signature of giving each unit its own tempo and key is intended to give the piece a feeling of a collage. The strings maintain a steady, tonal presence over which the trumpet poses its "question" while the flutes attempt to answer with increasingly atonal turns. It's an impressive work. The solo trumpet part is played off stage, adding an element of theater and space that gives its "question" unusual transcendence.

The Baltimore Symphony chose to have the strings perform off stage as well. Further separating the compositionally distinct units and completely undermining the collage, balance and intent of this piece. Visually having Marin Alsop conducting upon a large stage populated by four flutes and an army of empty chairs was bad theater. Having the trumpet part sounding unseen from different parts around the space was bad theater. Rendering the string part nearly inaudible exposed the Achilles Heel of the Baltimore Symphony: its insufferably unsophisticated audience. Much of this crowd clearly had no idea that the stings were playing at all as its subtle presence was just beyond their ability to hear it.

On most occasions, I am willing to tolerate the mindless chatter uttered during performances along with the inevitable intrusion of ring-tones and unearthly amounts of phlegm being coughed up. But if the decision is made to dissect and obliterate a great work into deep pool of uncomfortable silence then there needs to be more effort on the part of the BSO to address this long-standing and predictable problem. Most venues address the cell phone problem up front with a simple announcement prior to a performance. This is a common courtesy in this day and age that the Meyerhoff has yet to catch up on. Individuals who allow their phones to ring and ring and ring repeatedly (a common occurance at the Meyerhoff) should be removed. I would even encourage a level of self enforcement within the audience toward shutting down phones and chatter during a performance. We wouldn't tolerate individuals spraying grafitti upon paitings displayed at the Smithsonian. Why endure the moral equivalent at the concert hall?

But most of all, given the wealth of compositions that are intentially and sucessfully spatial (i.e. the outstanding works of Henry Brant), there is no reason to remake The Unanswered Question into something that it is not. Adding more theater is not the same as good theater. Interpreting the off-stage trumpet call as "good gimmick" should not invite "more gimmick."

The syrupy, sticky sweetness of Mozart's Symphony No. 29 in A Major was a bit much to take in the wake of botched Ives. Especially given the thick irony of programming Mozart after Ives given the well documented low opinion Ives held of Mozart's "overly pretty" aesthetic.

Saint-Saëns "Organ" symphony was a large scale, bombastic crowd pleaser. I had difficulty warming up to it. But I was there for the Ives.

Scale of the Day: E Lydian no 5 mapped to the Square-root-of-2


The intervallic content of the E Lydian no 5 mapped to the Square-root-of-2 Scale.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Chromatic Scars Along the Universe

Chromatic Mysteries @ The Windup Space, Baltimore, MD
Thursday, February 19, 2009

Marshall Allen: alto saxohpone, evi
Elliott Levin: tenor saxophone, curved soprano saxophone, flute, poetry
Michael Gibbons: electric guitar
Ed Ricart: electric guitar, processing (and lots of it)
Scott Verrastro: drums, percussion

One gets the feeling that Marshall Allen simply taps into some cosmic force, then channels its radioactive energy into something mere mortals might perceive. Over the course of two long, single movement sets the Chromatic Mysteries charted a course for sonic territory unbounded by gravitational forces. Armed with passports from Jupiter and Philadelphia, this quintet managed to steer well beyond mere spaced-out jam session and into a focused, free improvisation of blistering and relentless outward expansion. This was the sound of improvisation when it locks onto something tangible without becoming bounded. And that is a beautiful thing.

Marshall Allen and Elliott Levin worked as the front men in this textural odyssey. Allen bringing his characteristic laser-like stare and sweeping alto lines along with his square-wave infused EVI playing. Levin proved to be no stranger to this territory as he brought his own aggressive energy - particularly with his "barely controlled" explosions on the curved soprano saxophone - and occasional poetry to bear upon the sound.

Working behind these fire breathing reeds men was the remarkable two-guitar and drums rhythm section that transitioned seamlessly between ostinato progressions and free form textures boiling over with noise and grit. Scott Verrasto moved between a table filled with percussive materials and drum kit - feeling his way into and out of grooves as the tide of the music rose and fell. Late in the first set he circled around behind the audience with a hand held gong that tastefully added a spatial component to the relentlessly mind expanding sound flooding the room.

Experiencing the Chromatic Mysteries live and up close is an exhilarating and exhausting ride. Few performances take this sense of adventure - and good taste - to such an extreme. Chromatic Mysteries plants many, many seeds of possibility along their route as one of the most mind-blowing live bands I've seen in some time.

Scale of the Day: F Lydian minor 2 no 5 mapped to the Square-root-of-2


The F Lydian minor 2 no 5 mapped to the Square-root-of-2 Scale.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Beat and a Boom

Boom Tic Boom @ An Die Musik, Baltimore, MD
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

With a loud, confident burst from the drum kit Allison Miller launched into a long, wickedly varied set as a live tune-up run before heading into the studio with this quartet of talent.  The material previewed for this future release sounds incredibly promising.  The space afforded to each individual courses along a shifting groove that never falls out of the pocket.  Boom Tic Boom works a healthy and intoxicatingly funky part of the creative improvised spectrum.

There were several moments of remarkable chemistry within parts of the quartet.  
The muted pizzicato of Todd Sickafoose maintaining flawless time against Miller's extreme syncopation during a quiet moment in Mary Lou Williams' "Intermission."  Myra Melford's rhythmic exploration of the natural harmonics of the lowest strings on the grand piano.  Jenny Scheinman's brilliant, vibrato-free tone on the violin.  The beautiful sheen surrounding the group's interpretation of Louis Armstrong's "Rocking Chair."  The twists and turns of Miller's original compositions as the rock solid time never felt rigid or set in stone.  Moments that hang in the air and invite the ears to draw in close.

The easy engagement between collaborating improvisers and between performers and audience led to a natural flow of solos and group dynamic in this remarkable quartet.  Soft details were never lost as the overall dynamic range allowed for high contrast.  The formal contours of these pieces retaining their compositional identity without stifling the creative instincts and interplay involved.  The appreciation expressed on the heels of each solo unfolding naturally, and without sense of obligation or politeness, as the full house took in the sonic ride.  This is definitely a quartet to watch.

Scale of the Day: E Lydian minor 2 no 5


The intervallic content of the E Lydian minor 2 no 5 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Scale of the Day: A Ionian no 5 mapped to the Square-root-of-2


The A Ionian no 5 mapped to the Square-root-of-2 Scale. Three quarter-tones away from being a standard "chromatic run" from A-natural to E-flat.

Monday, February 16, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: The 3 S's - Soul Coughing, Schoenberg and Skeleton Crew

Soul Coughing: El Oso. 1998. Slash Records/Warner Brothers: 9 46800-2.

Mark De Gli Antoni: keyboard, sampler
M. Doughty: voice, guitar
Yuval Gabay: drums
Sebastian Steinberg: bass

Placing language in the pocket, turning simple phrases into syncopated riffs that repeat out of necessity, adds aural mass to the groove by placing hard limits on the poetry at work. Soul Coughing mined their own territory by folding words into the tight spaces around the beat. And these ears have been drawn to that sound from time to time. El Oso was the third - and final - studio effort from this band. And arguably not the best of the three. In retrospect, hearing how tightly wound this sound became between Ruby Vroom and El Oso it's surprising that they held together under a major label contract as long as they did.

Arnold Schoenberg: Moses und Aron. Conducted by Pierre Boulez. 1996. Deutsche Grammophon: 449 174-2.

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
The Chorus of De Nederlandse Opera
Zaans Jongenskoor
Jongens Muziekschool Waterland

David Pittman-Jennings: Moses
Chris Merritt: Aron

The incomplete opera that forms Schoenberg's final expression of aesthetic and faith reinforcing one another leaves a palpable emptiness where the third act should be. Especially given the profound beauty of the second act - Schoenberg's final. The choral writing is incredible as it plays against the Viennese textures of Schoenberg's mature sound. With Pierre Boulez conducting this recording is as definitive as anything else he has ever waved a baton for. The personal expression of one of the twentieth century's most enduring, and fascinating composers in the twilight of his existence. Powerful stuff.

Skeleton Crew: Learn to Talk/The Country of the Blinds. 1984/1986. ReR/Fred Records: 8/9.

Fred Frith: guitar, 6-string bass, violin, home-mades, drums, voice
Tom Cora: cello, bass, accordion, drums, contraptions, voice
Zeena Parkins: organ, electric harp, accordion, drums, voice

This should have been Tom Cora's world. His off kilter cello sound and collaborative energy across imaginary stylistic borders is sorely missed. Equally poignant is how much salve for our own times this mid-80's experience holds. The aggressive, angular punk-like attitudes illustrate the world of absurdity as viewed critically from the fringes. That fringe has never sounded more true than what passes down the middle of the road both then and now. Also missed is the New York of CBGB that fostered this manifestation of the "downtown" sound. The grouping of these two releases provides an enormously appealing document.

Conversant and Extended

Reuben Radding/Jen Baker + DJ Sniff/Keir Neuringer @ The Red Room, Baltimore, MD
Saturday, February 14, 2009

Reuben Radding: bass
Jen Baker: trombone

DJ Sniff: turntables, electronics
Keir Neuringer: alto saxophone, electronics

Extended technique is simply a matter of fact - an expansive set of tools in the service of improvised exigency - in the spontaneous dialogue between bass and trombone as practiced by Reuben Radding and Jen Baker. Clothes pins clipped onto nodal points on a pair of strings between the finger board and the bridge slanting the timbre toward a "prepared" buzz compliments the mouthpiece-free playing on trombone. The calm, and exquisitely musical interplay between improvisers downplays any sense of extraordinary ends employed. Weaving an impressive balance of connected and independent parts tempered by audible musicianship. The two minds at work displayed an uncanny sense of timing that allowed for natural contours to develop and the rare improvisational feat of collaborative conclusions.

The DJ Sniff/Keir Neuringer set that followed offered a more postured, amplified and aggressive sense of dialogue and play. Neuringer frequently mined the "blowing one's brains out" method of saxophone to the point of breathless exhaustion while DJ Sniff propelled the texture forward with cascades of beats. Sniff would occasionally take his textures to natural extremes that explored textures of barely contained noise. Neuringer's contribution to the electonic mix featured processed cassette tapes of pre-recorded materials. The timing of vocal or stylistic "punch lines" dropping in late in the set straddled a terrain between John Cage's Variations IV and a collage mix of pulse colliding with counter-pulse.

Scale of the Day: G Ionian no 5


The intervallic content of the G Ionian no 5 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: Trudel, Hancock and Hersch

Marianne Trudel Quintet Live: Sands of Time. 2006. Marianne Trudel: TRUD 2007-1.

Marianne Trudel: piano, composition
Rob Mosher: soprano saxophone, oboe
Jonathan Stewart: tenor saxophone
Morgan Moore: bass
Robbie Kuster: drums

Underneath the polish and gentle luster of this melodically centered, harmonically lush collection of Trudel originals lurks a jazz pianism and sensibility that is unusually striking. The members of the quartet perform feats of musicianship and weave in their own personalities. But it is the peculiar angles of this French-Canadian pianist that sets the tone and casts a spell over this session. Lyrical lines and inventive harmonies cast interesting shadows along a jazz sound bubbling with optimism. Beauty that leaves these ears curious and unsated.

Herbie Hancock: Empyrean Isles. 1964 (re-issued in 1999 as a Rudy Van Gelder edition). Blue Note Records: 7243 4 98796 2 1.

Herbie Hancock: piano
Freddie Hubbard: cornet
Ron Carter: bass
Tony Williams: drums

"The Egg" is a revelation to these ears - every time I hear it. Bob Blumenthal's liner notes describe it as "an open improvisation that grows from the slightest fragments." Free improvisation featuring Herbie Hancock and Freddie Hubbard. The creative impulses reverberating through the decades on this classic document. The sound, and the spaciously open settings explored by Freddie Hubbard makes the argument for why he is so revered (and missed). And of course there are the classic tracks of "One Finger Snap" and "Cantaloupe Island" bringing gravity to repeated listenings to this wonder.

Michael Moore Trio: Chicoutimi. 1993. Ramboy: 06

Michael Moore: clarinet
Fred Hersch: piano
Mark Helias: bass

This one has wormed its way into my "favorite CD" category with its completely unassuming excellence. Trio music hovering in a territory vaguely between composed and improvised - leaving no impression of where one begins and the other leaves off - through a set of short bursts of sonic poetry. Understated without being undramatic. Melodic without relegating any player to a background role of support. Chicoutimi never hits one over the head with its quiet genius. But there is so much detail contained within each expressive moment that the ears and mind are drawn completely in and won over by it all.

Scale of the Day: A Ionian minor 2 no 5


The A Ionian minor 2 no 5 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument. This scale takes its interesting hue from the augmented second between the minor second and major third and the 400-cent gap left open by removing the fifth.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

HurdAudio Rotation: At the Altar of Jazz

Matana Roberts: Matana. 2007. Individually painted CD-R available from the composer.

Matana Roberts: saxophone

Matana Roberts brings all the introspective, experienced and emotionally raw material of a writer to her improvised, solo alto saxophone performances. Her individual voice drawing upon the tangible influences and sense of self she dedicates to the expressively lyrical lines that emerge. This short set is an offering to the music of Steve Lacy. Sonically stated with a voice that is often both strong and vulnerable. The strength found in asserting Matana's own place along the same continuum that includes the likes of Steve Lacy, Sonny Rollins and Charlie Parker. The vulnerability found in the exposure of extended, unaccompanied solo improvisation as an act of honest homage to the greatness that serves as inspiration.

Kenny Dorham: Trompeta Toccata. 1964 (re-released in 2006 - Rudy Van Gelder edition). Blue Note Records: 0946 3 62635 2 6.

Kenny Dorham: trumpet
Joe Henderson: tenor saxophone
Tommy Flanagan: piano
Richard Davis: bass
Albert Heath: drums

This recording is an oasis of incredibly "right" music that couldn't be more on the mark at the end of a crazy week. If your ears have ever been hooked by Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers then you already know the outstanding arrangements that Kenny Dorham produced. With the opening title track the air immediately fills with the allure of Dorham's arranging prowess applied to his own compositions. Stacked with a hot quintet, this is another one of the classic, jaw-dropping Blue Note records from a truly golden era. Kenny Dorham is a trumpet player and composer that continues to grow on these ears - leaving unexpectedly deep impressions with each passing.

Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet: Husky. 2006. Hyena Records: HYN 9349.

Skerik: tenor saxophone
Craig Flory: baritone saxophone, clarinet
Hans Teuber: alto saxophone, flute
Steve Moore: trombone, wurlitzer
Joe Doria: hammond organ
Dave Carter: trumpet
John Wicks: drums
guest - Isalee Teuber: vocals on one track

In the soundscape of Critters Buggin', another one of Seattle-based Skerik's dynamic vehicles of musical mayhem - the funk is all dominant. With Syncopated Taint that same engine sits under the hood as it propels the charts along. The churning organ lines from Joe Doria give this sound its purr as the horn section shifts gears through melodic vistas. The funk is tempered down into soul-drenched bed with frequent bursts of groove-heavy energy leading in and around heady solos.

Scale of the Day: E Mixolydian no 4


The E Mixolydian no 4 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Scale of the Day: F 7, 5, Square-root-of-2, Construct No. 1 - Lydian Mode - reflected into the first pool


The F 7, 5, Square-root-of-2, Construct No. 1 - Lydian Mode - reflected into the first pool - Scale. The final installment of a short run of 3-note scales.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Scale of the Day: E Pythagorean Construct No. 1 - Lydian Mode - reflected into the first pool - inversion


The E Pythagorean Construct No. 1 - Lydian Mode - reflected into the first pool - inversion - Scale. A long name describing a scale with just three notes.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Finding Possible Musics with Maarifa Street

Jon Hassell + Maarifa Street @ World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, PA
Sunday, February 8, 2009

Jon Hassell: trumpet, keyboard
Peter Freeman: bass, laptop
Dino J.A. Deane: sampler, live sampling
Jan Bang: sampler, live sampling
Kheir-Eddine M'Kachiche: violin

"Wait, wait," the unassuming Jon Hassell pled as applause met his arrival on stage.  "I was just looking for my cell phone."  Disappearing briefly he returns in a conversational mood.  "It was off," he confesses.  After sizing up the audience seated at tables below a stage filled with electronics he extends an introduction to the band.  "Pretend you just dropped into a loft, and we just happen to be assembled here."  

The long, uninterrupted set that followed defied conversation.  A delicate texture that requires amplification to become "possible" within a wash of sustained tones and decibel restraint. Electronics in the service of the softest, most liquid pastels.  Peter Freeman's ostinato bass patterns providing an anchor underneath the plaintive, vocal-like lines from Algerian violinist Kheir-Eddine M'Kachiche.  Jon Hassell appeared to fall into deep thought, considering the texture, before adding his own layer of processed trumpet or a few chords on the keyboard. Hassell's collaboration with many of these performers extends back through the decades.  The sonic imprint of this music is identifiably his own and refined.

Dino J.A. Deane's live sampling, particularly the weaving in of violin and bass material heard just moments before was a virtuosic display of live electronics at its best.  While Jan Bang's dance-like DJ demeanor gave visual cues to the deep grooves present in a music with a light percussive touch.  

The oversized "loft" performance of friends with a deep history offered up an understated sound of overwhelming beauty.  A music of contrasts.  Soft, lush music bubbling with intricate details.  Music that fills every corner of a room with a thick, forceful delicacy that leaves the audience mindful of every scrape of the chair or fork finding a plate.  The large space of the downstairs stage of World Cafe Live taking on the intimacy of an artist's loft.  The sound carved out an open sea that washed over to the rhythm of its own tides.  Transportive and an overdue live experience of the sound so meticulously crafted by the septuagenarian trumpet player.

Scale of the Day: E Flat Dorian no 4 2% wide


The E Flat Dorian no 4 2% wide Scale. Stretched subtractive Dorian-esque harmony with a 408-cent gap between the third and fourth degrees of the scale.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Scale of the Day: E Flat Dorian no 4 mapped to the 3/2


The E Flat Dorian no 4 mapped to the 3/2 Scale. The standard fourth degree subtracted and with the entire scale compressed to fill a just perfect fifth.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Scale of the Day: E Flat Pythagorean Dorian no 4 mapped to the Square-root-of-2


The E Flat Pythagorean Dorian no 4 mapped to the Square-root-of-2 Scale. Unsurprisingly - given the nature of mathematics - the square-root-of 81/64 yields the 203.91-cent interval with a ratio of 9/8. The square-root-of 16/9 is the same as the 4/3 just perfect fourth.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Scale of the Day: E Flat Dorian no 4 augmented 5


The E Flat Dorian no 4 augmented 5 Scale as one would find it on any conventionally tuned, equal tempered instrument.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Scale of the Day: E 3, Square-root-of-2 Construct #1, Lydian Mode - reflected into the firts pool


The E 3, Square-root-of-2 Construct #1, Lydian Mode - reflected into the first pool - Scale. This particular scale construction is an example of a harmonically impoverished scale with uneven distribution that clumps the few member pitches close to the root.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Counting to Seven

The often entertaining, insightful, thoughtful - and not posting nearly often enough - Improvising Guitar has sent the "Seven Things" meme my way. (TIG, you'll get nothing but encouragement for your writing from me. Blog anytime.)

  1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
  2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog - some random, some weird.
  3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.
  4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
  5. If you don't have 7 blog friends, or if someone else already took dibs, then tag some unsuspecting strangers.

Like the Improvising Guitarist, I'll take liberties with those last two rules and note that TIG has tagged some of my favorite blogs already.

My obsession with prime numbers is somewhere between eccentric and pathological. A list that asks for "seven things" falls into my prime-oriented universe. Seven is an excellent prime (not that there are any "non-excellent" primes). The prime factor that gives rise to the 7/4 minor seventh - the so-called blue note of the blues scale. The 8/7 septimal whole tone. The 9/7 septimal major third. Harmonically attractive in many ways. My prime number "thing" then extends into odd quirks. When confronted with a fast food menu I'll limit my choices to the prime numbered value meals. I try to keep a prime number of coins in my pocket. It's probably something most intonation theorists resort to at some point.

I have lived in seven different states: California, Colorado, New Jersey, Maryland, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. I have also resided in Ontario, Canada. All have their good and bad points. Except for New Jersey.

I have a somewhat tortured relationship with film. Bad films make me want to swear off of the medium entirely (going for years at a time without watching anything). Excellent films make me want to gorge on the stuff. With a marked preference for dark humor my top three films (thus far) are: Wonder Boys, Doctor Strangelove and Brazil. I also have a marked preference for "films" over "movies."

I dislike cranberries in all forms. This can be traced back to an irrational loathing for the can-shaped substance supplied at every other lunch throughout grade school. I also detest macaroni and cheese. Possibly a result of attempting to subsist on a diet of little else through my undergraduate years. Gravy also falls on the "very bad" list.

I am a Seattle Mariners fan in spite of it all. A painfully mismanaged (and bad) team in recent years. It's still the team that drew me into a deep obsession with the game and its history. Chess may be the only rule-based activity that can rival baseball in depth and longevity.

The number of CDs and vinyl records I own and have every intention of listening to - but haven't yet - is well over 500. The number of CDs and vinyl records I have enjoyed at least once and want to spend more time with is astronomical. New music acquisition is expanding at a rate greater than consumption. I regard this as good fortune for an ear-driven life.

The home office of HurdAudio is bracing for a move. The only downside is the all-consuming nature of moving and packing all those CDs, records, books and equipment. It's the price paid to live where the action is.

Tag: Sounds Like Now (hi, Brian), Mind the Gap (hi, Molly), A Monk's Musical Musings (hi, Hucbald), The Well Tempered Blog (hi, Bart), Blaq Lghtn Strikes.. Again and Again (and Again) (hi, Forbes), Aworks (hi, Robert) and (hi, Paul. I'll be in LA on business later this year).