A microtonal wind controller building on Yamaha’s technology to facilitate the performance of music based on the “19-EDO” scale

Bailey, N., South, A., Evans, B. and Hair, G. (2016) A microtonal wind controller building on Yamaha’s technology to facilitate the performance of music based on the “19-EDO” scale. Scottish Music Review, 4(1),

150676.pdf - Accepted Version


Publisher's URL: http://www.n-ism.org/SMR/smr.php


We describe a project in which several collaborators adapted an existing instrument to make it capable of playing expressively in music based on the microtonal scale characterised by equal divsion of the octave into 19 tones (“19-EDO”). Our objective was not just to build this instrument, however, but also to produce a well-formed piece of music which would exploit it idiomatically, in a performance which would provide listeners with a pleasurable and satisfying musical experience. Hence, consideration of the extent and limits of the playing-techniques of the resulting instrument (a “Wind-Controller”) and of appropriate approaches to the composition of music for it were an integral part of the project from the start. Moreover, the intention was also that the piece, though grounded in the musical characteristics of the 19-EDO scale, would nevertheless have a recognisable relationship with what Dimitri Tymoczko (2010) has called the “Extended Common Practice” of the last millennium. So the article goes on to consider these matters, and to present a score of the resulting new piece, annotated with comments documenting some of the performance issues which it raises. Thus, bringing the project to fruition involved elements of composition, performance, engineering and computing, and the article describes how such an inter-disciplinary, multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary collaboration was co-ordinated in a unified manner to achieve the envisaged outcome. Finally, we consider why the building of microtonal instruments is such a problematic issue in a contemporary (“high-tech”) society like ours.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bailey, Dr Nicholas and Hair, Professor Graham
Authors: Bailey, N., South, A., Evans, B., and Hair, G.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Research Group:SMRG
Journal Name:Scottish Music Review
Journal Abbr.:SMR
Publisher:Scottish Music Review
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Scottish Music Review 4(1)
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record