Land urchin

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Land Urchin is a piece for string band in 11-limit just intonation, written by JacobBarton during Xenharmonic Praxis Summer Camp 2011. Now part of The Sagittal Songbook.

Back story

I've been interested in old-time string band music since 2008, when I attended an open jam & tune-learning session with the folks at Community Center for the Arts. I was interested in the technical challenge of playing fiddle tunes on the udderbot, and I liked how it seemed to blend well with the violin-banjo-bass-mandolin sound world. I also liked the orientation less towards performance and more towards open jams, teaching each other tunes, a musical community that cared for itself.

I got excited about the prospect of attending this huge string band festival that was only 90 minutes away from our camp in West Virginia, in order to enter the Neo-traditional string band contest. We didn't quite get a competition entry together, but Michael Garman penned a boisterous bluegrass piece in quartertones called "Twang", and I managed to write this tune. It's informed a lot by the common-tone JI modulations we were teaching in the camp.


Various melodic tweaks are still being discussed, but we're going to let performance practice have its way with it from here on out. PDF of "definitive version" of the song, which uses sagittal notation: barton - land urchin.pdf.

Newer score, with ratios, made for Jim Altieri: land urchin.pdf

And now, tablature for 22edo guitar by Andrew Heathwaite!: Land Urchin tab.rtf


Ryan wrote some lyrics, but we're not sure they're the right ones. Taking submissions.


Dan's studio mockup and rough live recording of 1st draft:

...and at half-tempo: