- What was your path to discovering alternate tunings?
- I went to graduate school in music at U.C.S.D. in 1975-1977, where I met Jonathan Glasier, Tom Nunn, and David Poyourow. Jon had worked with Harry Partch, and Tom & David liked to play music on found objects. All three felt the 12-tone world was too restrictive. I joined up to play music in the park on brake drums, flower pots, and assorted aluminum instruments purchased at local junk yards. Early on we visited Erv Wilson in Hollywood, who showed us his 31-tone tubalong, made from metallic electrical conduit pipe. We quickly went back to San Diego and built our own. I then went on an instrument inventing and building binge. I made a 31-tone finger piano, 31-tone xylophone, and 31-tone brass tubalongs. I also built some balloon flutes, balloon helium organ, balloon shrieks, balloon drums, and few other balloon instruments, with no reliable tuning system. Other amplified percussion instruments with indeterminant tunings followed.
- What are your current/past/future particular interests?
- Today I make music using Csound and orchestral instrument samples, using a pre-processor I wrote that simplifies the use of sample based instruments in alternative tunings. I'm currently working in 72-tone to the octave equal temperament, but have used 53-EDO and the Partch tonality diamond until very recently. I've been using these tools since 1997.
- What instruments or means have you had/do you have now/do you want for the making of microtonal music?
- The laptop works just fine at the moment. I'd love a generalized keyboard that could interface to the computer to try out some ideas.
- What instruments or means have you successfully used in the making of microtonal music? Recommendations?
- Metal conduit pipe is a good place to start, since you can quickly make an instrument with an octave in any tuning. But for the computer, I prefer Csound. It offers the freedom to have as many notes as I'd like, free from the limitations of MIDI channel trickery. It offers terrific flexibility to modify the tone after creation, with the application of envelopes for each note, tuning vectors for glissandi, and the ability to have any instrument play any note you can imagine.
- Any good microtonal anecdotes?
- There's a whole world between the 1:1 and the 2:1. Go explore!