Kite Giedraitis is a musician, author, theorist, instrument builder and software developer.
Latest track: I Hear Numbers
He has invented the Kite Guitar, which makes a 41-edo guitar about as playable as 19-edo or 22-edo.
He has written alt-tuner, unique from other microtonal software in several ways:
It allows dynamic retuning via midi input from the musician, in the form of keyswitches and/or foot pedals. This in turn allows the "holy grail" of retuning: adaptive just intonation.
It features a color-coded lattice and a graph of all intervals up to an octave, both of which respond instantly to tuning changes.
With others such as Robert Walker and Ozan Yarman, he has developed a new tuning method that uses very high keyswitches (midi notes 122-127) to "smuggle" tuning information through DAWs that won't transmit sysex messages. This method has been used to retune Kontakt instruments to allow complete retuning freedom -- any note can take on any pitch in the 10-octave midi range, and can even glide to any pitch while sounding, all using only one instrument instance, one midi channel, and one DAW track.
He has written the EDOtuner, a free strobe tuner for microtonal guitars.
He has developed several notation systems, not only typable and staff notation but also spoken and sung notation:
His color notation represents each prime via 1 or 2 colors (2 = clear, 3 = wa, 5 = yo for 5-over and gu for utonal, 7 = zo and ru, etc.). Combined with standard diatonic notation, any ratio can be expressed as a color plus a degree, e.g. "zo third" for 7/6. There is a rigorous one-to-one correspondence between ratios and color notation, making it ideal for JI. But it can also be applied to temperaments and EDOs, since ratios are often used to refer to intervals in such tunings.
His ups and downs notation can notate every EDO with only 2 new accidentals. The standard seven letters and the standard sharp and flat is used to represent the chain of fifths. For EDOs in which 7 fifths octave-reduce to one EDOstep (12edo, 19edo, etc.) this is sufficient. For other EDOs, the up symbol "^" and the down symbol "v" represent raising and lowering the pitch by one EDOstep.
Along with Praveen Venkataramana, he has developed the concept of a pergen, which categorizes rank-2 and rank-3 temperaments. The pergen article also exhaustively covers how to notate them.
Unlike Sagittal, Johnston, HEWM and Sabat, Kite's color notation, ups/downs notation and pergen notation include relative notation. This makes naming not only intervals but also chords possible. Kite has listed hundreds of JI chords and EDO chords with their names.
Kite has called for xenharmonic terminology that requires less memorization. His manifesto:
Things I refuse to memorize:
- I refuse to memorize any ratio with numbers of more than 2 digits
- I refuse to memorize any extended ratio with numbers higher than 20
- I refuse to memorize the difference between a limna, a kleisma, a schisma, a diaschisma, and a diesis
- I refuse to memorize the 62 sagittal accidentals
- I refuse to memorize the 750 temperament names
Kite's horribly opinionated rant about the current state of microtonal music:
There's such a thing as an over-educated ear. Anyone that studies microtonal music for a decade or so can hear consonance in anything. You learn to appreciate ever larger odd limits and prime limits until the octave is packed with hundreds of ratios. And every possible cents interval becomes a tempered version of some ratio or other. I personally would never use, say, 15/13. I just don't want to make music that requires that level of ear training. I don't think any of us should. It just makes microtonal music unlistenable and inaccessible to the general public. It's like avant-garde jazz or atonal classical music. It's honestly hard for me to tell the difference between either of those and a toddler plunking away on the piano at random. I guess if I went to music school, I could learn to tell the difference, but why bother? Music is supposed to be fun, and you shouldn't have to read a textbook to get it.
www.tallkite.com (Kite's microtonal software, writings and music)
www.FoolsInParadise.com (Kite's marimba/mbira band)
www.PortlandMarimba.com (group classes in African marimba)