Category: microtonality

  • Sixth-Tone Exercise Audio

    This is a very simple exercise for playing sixth-tones The audio file has undulations on three notes: (I picked these because they appear in a piece I am coaching.) Bb3 – Bb3 sixth-tone lower Db4 – Db4 sixth-tone lower C3 – C3 sixth-tone higher All you have to do is practice at first playing with […]

  • Glissandi and Quarter Tones on the Lowest Notes

    I often get asked if (lipped) glissandi and quarter tones are possible on the lowest notes of the flute. Sure, I say, theoretically. Nine times out of ten, I regret this positive answer. Here are the notes in question: On these notes, glissandi and quarter tones are produced with the embouchure. There are no open […]

  • Crowd-Source Question, What Are the Difficulties Performing Mircotonal Music?

    This is a bit unusual for me, but I would like to informally survey performer’s thoughts on performing mircotonal music. Not thoughts about microtonal music in general, but the issues, problems, difficulties or joys of actually playing or singing the stuff. Which notations are best? Are the difficulties worth the acoustic result? Are the acoustic […]

  • Harry Partch’s Yankee Doodle, and my tin oboe doodlings

    Harry Partch’s Yankee Doodle Fantasy is scored for soprano, flex-a-tones, tin flute(s), tin oboe and chromelodeon. The tin flutes were easy enough to aquire, thanks to the folks at  For the tin flute, I played a Tony Dixon in E (transposing the part). For the two whistles part, I added a Clarke in D, […]

  • Microtonality: some basic tips

    Microtonality is the use of intervals smaller than a half-step such as quarter tones, sixth tones, eighth tones and so on. There are several standard ways in which microtones are used (which may be interconnected):• As part of a “just” intonation scheme (based on pure intervals instead of equal [keyboard] temperment). Used in a simple […]

  • Intonation III : the Spectre of Spectralism

    Some days ago I got the score for G. F. Haas’ new work „ … wie Stille brannte das Licht“. (What is it with German-speaking composers and their titles with elipses?). It got me thinking about how different composers notate microtonality. I like what Haas has done, it is explicit in placing the note within […]