Cerebral but Appealing

Finally, a review of my latest CD by Stephen Eddins at AllMusic, and a nice, five-star one. For the record, he’s wrong about one point: there’s no 12-step equal temperament in The Day Revisited, the whole piece uses one 29-pitch scale. It’s always interesting how people’s ears attempt to deal with my crazy tunings.


  1. says

    Congrats! And hey, that’s actually a pretty enviable misstep on his part–after all, he’s saying that the 12TET tuning (which isn’t there) sometimes sounds like the microtonal tuning (which it is!)… I guess his ears are better-attuned than he knows. How come my screw-ups are never that flattering?
    Please don’t answer that.

  2. says

    I often have to write my away around reflexive “but” thinking. For instance, why would anybody consider that “appealing” and “cerebral” might be opposed, necessitating the oppositional conjunction? Cerebral AND appealing!
    That’s my vote, anyway.
    And — congrats on the nice review!

  3. Paul Hertz says

    It seems odd to me that he would think that the samplers would be in 12TET and the instruments in the 29-pitch scale, instead of the other way around, since I recall (correctly?) that The Day Revisited is your only composition with acoustic instruments using the 29-pitch scale.
    Somehow the sensitivity of my ears depends on what instrument I’m listening to. My biggest complaint when recently playing on a moderately out-of-tune spinet-sized piano was lack of definition in the lower register, not the intonation (which I noticed but didn’t mind), but I’m a stickler for constant slide adjustment when playing the trombone, and almost always wince at bad intonation during student concerts. Maybe the fact that a piano’s intonation doesn’t change noticeably during the course of a performance has something to do with it.

  4. mclaren says

    Many hardware synthesizers are locked into 12-equal. For example, all Korg and Kawai synths are 12 only. Acoustic wind and brass and string instruments can typically produce pitches outside of 12-equal, in obvious ways with string and slide brass instruments, and in less obvious ways with winds, single and double reed instruments via peculiar fingerings and “lipping” as Bruno Bartolozzi and others have shown. (Valved brass instruments and fixed acoustic percussion instruments like the xylophone or the marimba represent an entirely different cup of tapioca, to borrow a pungent phrase.)
    So it’s not entirely bizarre that a reviewer might think the synthesizers were in 12 while the acoustic instruments used non-12 pitches.