many words

so, I mistakenly released an album which was already online “in some loung” by posting the photo/link to my portfolio on here, which made a notification to the Noah Jordan Music facebook page.  But it sold me a copy which was cool.   The album is here if you want to hear: .  It is a solo piano exploration of a variety of tunings (and also a couple rhodes tracks).  It was not really meant to be an album per se, but more of an alternate place to store some files, since I was releasing tracks individually through Patreon.  –Which, if you would like to know more detailed information about the tunings of the tracks, they are on the Patreon posts (, they are free to listen and such, but your support is always much appreciated.

Hopefully, I will start to write on here a bit more, the Patreon “blog” section took over my ideas flow because I was posting weekly, usually specifically about the piece that was being posted, but also would go on tangents.  I found it challenging to also write something here as I felt like I would be repeating myself.  But perhaps I can find their own identities moving forwards.

Last weekend was the Microtonal Adventures Fest in Bellingham, Washington.  Outside of it being a great time and being able to meet in person many who I’ve spoken with online, it provided a number of interesting ideas and concepts with which to address, and a number of them are connected.  For example, in the challenge of notation: do we base the “major third” name and notation on what is nearest to 12tone, what is nearest to 5:4, what is nearest to 81:64, or what is generated with 4 fifths and octave reduced.  This is challenging, for example, because in 15edo, 4 fifths is a fourth (and the 400¢ 3rd exists), in 22edo, it is the “large/supermajor” 3rd (and a near 5:4 third exists).  Tall Kite has been working on a notation scheme to be comprehensive (please check it out and bring feedback) (  Comprehensive and complete and generalizable might not be easy for musicians who have not already be trained to play microtonal music, but the easiest notation might not communicate the intuition and intention of the composer (for instance in systems written in 12tone notation with cent deviations marked).  It was discussed also the idea that simultaneous notations might be ideal, as a sort of key that can be used for general interpretations. — Personally, I am fond of the usage of an “adaptive” modular approach, as have used such in most “microtonal” projects I have been a part of.  This is based on knowing which tonic, scale degree, and chord tones are present at a given time and notating as such.  This mean in 15edo, for example, there can be two G’s, these would be the minor 3rd from E, and the perfect 5th from C, assuming this C is the minor 6th from E.  There are other ways to describe this, given a certain system, and these are generally easiest to comprehend when still in a tonal frame of mind, but somewhat familiar with the interval structure of the tuning system.  One of the great challenges in notation is that of familiarity — to which concepts will we be most familiar with and have the easiest time adapting to, and how does this change depending on the training of a musician. 

Another challenge that we are faced with, is that of the perception of microtones, tuning systems, and music in general.  I speak about this in relation to a new tune I have posted: Cloud Rhyme (, if you are interested in a specific discussion.   Essentially, how to we hear comma pumps ((  Is this, as Aaron Wolf hypothesized, a syntax error when the commas are tempered / removed?  And especially, to which commas could we parse this as a syntax error?  The syntonic commas ( and pythagorean comma ( are quite comfortable to western ears, would these be parsed as such?   What about to cultured of a different music tradition?  What about the difference between two 11/9s and 3/2, this is only a comma of 8 cents, but 11/9s are already a strange interval, so would we parse a comma as a syntax error anyways? 

For equal division tunings, especially of the octave, are we hearing perpetual approximations to just intonation?  Or are we hearing a symmetry instead?  Or a combination?  What about higher limits?  Do we hear 350¢ as a 5-limit, or 11-limit, or what is the range in which we are hearing something, and what is the function of context?  If we hear two subsequent 11/9s, can we hear 121/81 or the 19edo 5th, or 3/2?  or is 121/81 always “3/2” when one of the tones leading to it (or in the harmonic framework) is a 11/9?  Could a higher prime function differently, since, of course 11/9 and 11/9 is 11*11/9*9, is two 11s harder or easier to hear than a higher prime, but if they approach a lower prime (with less multiples), is it always approximated?  How does the 3 as the undertone function though in this situation?  Does 11/9 adapt more easily to 3/2 (as in temper to when in multiples) and 11/8 to 2/1 due to their subharmonics? 11/10 and 11/10 make 121/100 which is 121/120 higher than 6/5, but in this case the 5 is the utonality of both the 11/10 and the 6/5.  And for 7 — 11/7 * 11/7 = 121/49 which is the neutral third range, so this falls apart.  But these utones are all different forms, in 11/9 the utone is 3*3, in 11/8 it is 2*2*2, in 11/10 it is 2*5 and in 11/7 it is 7, these are all quite different types of composition.  In 5/4 * 5/4 = 25/16, it is near to 8/5 which would fit this pattern somewhat, but it is hard to analyze these patterns without going into multiples or much higher harmonics much quicker, and then it is a challenge to what the acceptable range of error is from an approximate harmonic.  IS 20¢ reasonable from anything?  But what if it is a superparticular distance?  These questions come into significance which dealing with EDOS as if we are stating that the interval’s nearest just approximation is 15¢ from the 11th or 13th harmonic, is it really possible to hear this in this way? 

I will hopefully test some of these questions more rigorously in pieces to come — and by that I mean compositionally – or through improvisation.  

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