Instrumentalists, vocalists and composers are invited to explore the still new and growing field of microtonal music. The course begins with basic ear training–hearing, singing and playing microintervals as small as 1/12 of a tone (n-note equal temperament), which will be of great value to all who perform and listen to any kind of music. We continue with the creation of short compositional and improvisational exercises as presented in our textbook “Preliminary Studies in the Virtual Pitch Continuum.” Playing and discussing these exercises in class will provide an opportunity as a group to understand the esthetic and stylistic implications of using these strange new sonorities–a topic that often leads to more fundamental questions about what we expect from music. Students will be perfoming their own or their classmates’ short works by the end of the course. To put these pursuits in context, we will take a look at explorations with microtonality from the turn of the twentieth century to the present–the music of Carrillo, Ives, Wyschnegradsky, Haba, Partch, Johnston, Boulez, Bancquart, Stahnke, Maneri and others. By listening to recordings and studying scores, we will try to answer the basic question “Why microtones?”
The Class: Format: wsp project
Extra Info: Meeting time afternoons.
Extra Info 2: James Bergin is exec. director of the Boston Microtonal Society; conductor of its permanent chamber ensemble NotaRiotous; composer; violist and teacher. His microtonal compositions have been performed by NotaRiotous; he plays viola in the Berk Symphony
Materials/Lab Fee: Cost to student $50.