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Subject: Big Maxwell's Elitist Music Thread

Written By: MaxwellSmart on 11/11/15 at 9:15 pm

American microtonality (inspired by Asian tonal scales), examples:

Harry Partch: The Letter (1943)

Lou Harrison: Song of Quetzalcoatl (1941)

John Cage: Tossed As it Is Untroubled (1943)

All three composers hailed from California in the early 20th century.  The West Coast had many Chinese immigrants.  Chinese music, as well as many other Asian cultures, uses different tonal intervals from Western music.  Whereas most Western music consists of whole tones and semitones, Asian music often employs smaller intervals.  So-called microtones (quarter tones, 16th tones, etc.).  Ancient Greek music does use microtones, but Western composers had not used them for hundreds of years until composers such as Charles Ives (from Connecticut) and Henry Cowell (also from California, and a mentor to the above three) reintroduced them in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Partch is most famous for devising a scale of 43 tones to the octave, for which he designed his own orchestra.  Partch also championed the Ancient Greek scales, and set some Ancient Greek plays to his own music. Harrison was among the composers pioneering notated percussion music in the modern Western canon.  Cage took a cue from Henry Cowell, who opened the lid of the piano and used the strings.  Whereas Cowell merely stroked and plucked the piano strings (eg. The Banshee and Aeolian Harp), Cage created microtones with the piano, which can only play semitones.  Cage used objects such as screws, bolts, and weather stripping to bend the tones and create new resonances. 

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Subject: Re: Big Maxwell's Elitist Music Thread

Written By: Foo Bar on 11/13/15 at 10:17 pm

From Wikipedia: "Shortly after its sale, the album was played in its full length on Radio Luxembourg. Jarre launched the album with the words "Piratez moi!" (Pirate me!), and bootlegs of the radio broadcast do exist, although at a very poor quality (the radio station was broadcast on AM). Some of the music, however, has been reworked into subsequent Jarre albums, so the music from the album is not completely lost to the public."


  - Jean Michel Jarre, Music for Supermarkets, 1983.

Video is actually only about 2/3 of the album, but it's enough to convey the general idea.

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