FB: To back up a little bit in you dicussion of microtonality, would you first perhaps define it? And then show how Joe's class... DF: Yeah, I mean that's actually difficult. First of all, what we consider to be microtonal here in the west, is music that is outside of our twelve tone tempered system. Twelve notes per octave. The fact of the matter is that's a very eurocentric concept. Ninety percent of the world's music is microtonal. In other words they have tuning systems that have five, seven, nine, notes per octave. Gomalan can kind of fall into that, twelve or thirteen I'm not really sure. Each Gomalan orchestra has a different tuning for the orchestra. Arabic modes are often based on quarter tones - that's twenty-four notes per octave, but that's kind of more the grid, they slur them one way or another. The Turkish system is based on a nine note per whole tone, so I guess that would be fifty-four notes per octave, that they use to alter six, seven, and eight note modes. But you can't really call them modes, because they're Makams. Which is, that's a pitch set with rules. But never the less, to come back, in terms of microtonal music, what we consider to be microtonal would be for example, the western classical microtonal grandfather's would be Julian Coreo, Aluiz Haba, and Ivan Visnagradski. Ives wrote a few pieces that have quarter tones here and there, but he's not really included because he wrote so few of them, where as these guys, that's what they did. The either wrote twenty-four, thirty-six, forty-eight, seventy-two, ninety-six notes per octave, equal tempered. In terms of microtonality you can look at two basic systems of though. One is equal tempermant or just intonation, where its' based on the overtone series and notes that fall between the cracks, but the steps between them are not equal, and they sometimes don't even line up according to an octave, they could go further. So in a way they are not microtonal, they're macrotonal. So there's a whole, you know this sentiment, you know twelve notes per octave that's it. It's kind of like the continents on our planet. We think this is a solid, we think the ground we walk on is solid, it doesn't move. But if you look at it in a larger way, all of the continents are floating. And it's the same thing with twelve tone equal temperment. Most orchestras didn't even really use it until 1850. I think organ tuners only then started tuning organs to equal temperment in 1850. We're talking less than two hundred years here. FB: In those two hundred years, if you looked at a map of the world, you would see that the continents had shifted ever so slightly, and of course the oceans are rising, so you know maybe it's time for a shift. DF: Well it is really a time for a shift because more and more people I talk to are looking for something or they already have experimented with it. FB: You did say that Shurenburg was quoted as saying tonal music as we know it is kaput. Even as he was devising his twelve tone material. DF: Well what actually he said, he mentioned that music systems based on twelve notes, I mean with the chromatisicm of late Romanticism, it's basically exhausted. And it's really striking he wrote that before he started his twelve tone experiments. But he also said something really interesting, he said, "Microtones will arise when their time has come." Now I wrote an essay called "Global Microjams" and I think the time for microtones will come when there's a technological innovation. In other words, when there's an affordable microtonal keyboard that people can aquire easily and start working on. Right now they're too expensive and they're hard to find and.... FB: You'd want one where you could push a button and get the Turkish fity-six tones, push a another button and get the Arabic flat second. DF: You can do that, there are some Arabic Casio keyboards where you can do that. But I'm talking about a keyboard that has a row of keys like our piano, but then it has more rows of keys above and below so this could be quarter tones and then this could be sixth tones and so forth. FB: Programmable function keys, like you could get on a keyboard for you computer. DF: Yeah, but something that is playable, that is easy to understand, and I mean uh, you can reprogram a keyboard right now, and that's what one of my students does in Berklee's first ever microtonal groove ensemble that I started teaching this semester. FB: Who were the kids? DF: It's Ev Genny Levidef on piano, a really great piano player from Moscow. But he reprogrammed his keyboard to twenty-four notes per octave. So he has all twenty-four notes over two octaves. So now he has to re-learn where every note is. What happens if he switched to thirty-six tones? He has to re-learn again. What if you do seventy-two notes, that's the grid I would like to work on. He would run out of keys, that wouldn't even be one octave. So with a microtonal keyboard, like one made by H-Pi, or Star Labs, or Turbstra, you can do that. And I'm trying to get one of those here and hopefully we can start a revloution here. FB: Hey alright.